Katie Plax, M.D., has long desired to provide for community members who are under-served. As an undergraduate student at Brown, she volunteered with an organization working to allow teens with HIV to attend public schools. She also worked with other community groups on HIV-related issues and volunteered her time at a homeless shelter.
As a pediatrician and director of the Adolescent Center at Washington University School of Medicine, Katie saw a great need for a place where St. Louis-area teens with HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases could receive free health care, job training and leadership skills. She brought together area youth organizations to create a welcoming drop-in center in the Central West End called The SPOT. Opening its doors in September 2008, The SPOT served more than 1,700 individual youth in its first year, which was more than three times its goal.
Katie is passionate about and committed to improving the community. She is an inspiration to the youth she serves and to those working with her at the School of Medicine, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and The SPOT. She works tirelessly to meet the goals in all of her projects, always providing timely and wise guidance and resources for her colleagues. Katie also created a popular rotation for pediatric residents, allowing them to team up with local social service organizations to learn more about the community’s most vulnerable children and to become advocates for change.
Intelligent and articulate, Katie dedicates herself to statewide advocacy issues, including improving access to Medicaid. Her ability to foster partnerships with community members to better serve children and youth is unmatched.
James Keating, M.D., a colleague in the Department of Pediatrics, has known Katie since early in her career. “Since our first meeting, Katie’s idealism has held up and grown with the years that have followed. She consistently shows compassion for her coworkers, nurses, residents and truly anyone who approaches her for help. She is the ‘go-to’ person at St. Louis Children’s Hospital when someone wants to work on a project for the benefit of children and teens.”