Inspired by her brother, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Katherine Schlaerth, MD, pursued a career in medicine with an initial concentration in pediatrics. Subsequently, she flourished in family medicine before shifting her focus toward geriatrics. Today, Dr. Schlaerth excels in private practice with Pomona Valley Health Centers.
In the past, Dr. Schlaerth held several positions in the health care profession. Upon completing a residency and an internship in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, she served as a fellow of infectious disease with the USC Medical Center from 1970 to 1973. Soon thereafter, she worked with the aforementioned hospital in several capacities including as an attending physician and a preceptor for the USC Multi-Family Practice Residency Program. Additionally, Dr. Schlaerth also taught family health and served as an academic adviser of family medicine at the University of Southern California and Loma Linda University.
Over the years, Dr. Schlaerth has utilized her expertise in several capacities, writing a textbook for non-medical graduate students on the effects of aging and teaching courses at the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology, as well as Loma Linda University. Additionally, she provides urgent care on weekends, contributes to a local federally qualified health center, conducts research with residents at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and teaches physician assistants at California State University, Bakersfield. In order to remain aware of changes in the field, Dr. Schlaerth is affiliated with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Family Practitioners and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society.
In pursuit of her medical dreams, Dr. Schlaerth earned an MD from the State University of New York at Buffalo’s School of Medicine in 1968. Likewise, she became certified in family medicine, pediatrics, pediatric infectious diseases and CAQ in geriatrics. Raised in a large family, Dr. Schlaerth authored the book “Raising a Large Family.” Moreover, she has appeared on “Oprah” and other television shows as an expert on the topic. With a plethora of knowledge at her disposal, she regularly writes for magazines and newspapers on raising children, as well as family medicine.
Achievements to Dr. Schlaerth’s credit include being the lead researcher of the family developmental, organizational and functional issues, as well as factors affecting the initiation and continuation of lactation in inner-city African American and Hispanic mothers. Additionally, she led the research on geriatric street drug abuse for the Journal of Addictive Medicine and the senior use of electronic communications. The highlight of Dr. Schlaerth’s career has been the privilege of being able to teach medical students and graduate physicians. She feels that having the opportunity to work with these young physicians has been a godsend. She sees them as wonderful people, so she thinks it is a privilege to teach them. Another highlight was proudly raising seven children while working. For fellow members aspiring to work in the industry, Dr. Schlaerth advises individuals to understand their patients’ circumstances and environment, genetics and the interests to guide them on a path to further maximize their recovery.
In light of her outstanding body of work, Dr. Schlaerth was recognized as the Teacher of the Year by the University of Southern California/CHMC Family Practice Residency Program in 1990 and 2001, the Natividad Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program in 1997, the USC Multi-Site Family Practice Residency Program in 1999, and the Loma Linda Family Practice Residency Program in 2004 and 2005. She was also presented with an infectious disease fellowship from the LAC-USC Medical Center. Looking toward the future, Dr. Schlaerth intends to experience the continued success of her career as she dedicates her spare time to her wonderful children and grandchildren.