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Distinguished Alumni Awards
  Elfriede Pahl

Dr. Elfriede Pahl Schuette '79

2012 Distinguished Alumna Award for Professional Achievement

Dr. Elfriede Pahl is a 1979 Carroll graduate with a B.S. degree in chemistry. She went on to receive her medical training at Northwestern University. Her postgraduate training includes a residency in pediatrics at Children's Memorial Hospital, and a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She currently serves as the Medical Director of the Heart Transplant Program at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, as well as the Marvin E. Wodika Professor of Cardiology and the Professor of Pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She has a special interest in cardiomyopathy, heart transplantation and heart failure.

Drawn to Carroll because of its strong science program, Elfriede found Carroll to be a home away from home. It provided her the opportunity to leave her hometown of Chicago, yet was still a nurturing, welcoming and safe environment that prepared her for a successful career in medicine. Her Carroll experience was also enriched by the opportunity to study music, piano, and choir as an active student in the Choral Union, The Concert Choir, and performing in the play Fiorello.

One of her fondest memories as a student was during her junior year participating in a NCEP trip to Nicaragua. Led by Professor Bud Hudson, she was only one of two women who went to Nicaragua during the time of the Sandinista revolution. She thought she was going there on a mission to teach people about health care, yet she was the one who learned and was inspired by what little the people had. That experience solidified her path to become a physician, and created a special bond among the students on that trip.

Elfriede has spent her entire career working in hospitals that serve children. She has more than 75 peer- reviewed manuscripts; and has been a member of a number of organizations including the American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Disease in the Young Committee, founder of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study Group, and the Pediatric Council of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, which she chaired in 2010.

Her current practice focuses on mentoring and teaching young doctors and medical students, writing papers, presenting at conferences, and conducting research—yet the best part of her job is when she provides direct care to the patients she serves. Her main area of specialty within cardiology has been directing the heart transplant/failure program and caring for patients with end- stage heart failure from infancy to young adulthood.

Her greatest reward is seeing patients thrive. The ability to work with youth who leave the ICU, and grow up to become healthy teens and eventually college students has been extremely rewarding and motivating. Elfriede is eager to announce that in June 2012 Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago will be moving to its new location within the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Lurie Children’s Hospital will be a new, state-of-the art, 288-bed facility located in downtown Chicago—and will have the distinction of being the tallest Children’s Hospital in the United States.

To this day, Elfriede credits Carroll for providing her the opportunity to discover herself. Carroll is the place where she gained her independence, and learned how to make decisions for herself. Her student experiences helped develop her drive and ambition, and provided insight to appreciate the importance of a work-life balance in her life. Elfriede currently resides in Wilmette, Ill., with her husband Michael and three wonderful daughters Stephanie (20), Sarah (18) and Caroline (15). They love entertaining friends, cooking, going to the theatre, and importantly, spending time together as a family.

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