Longtime pediatric office rebrands, relocates
Photography by Daryl Calfee
In the early 1970s, Dr. John A. Stephenson and his partner and friend Dr. Robert Milanovich teamed up with Drs. Brad Malcom and Dick Morris to start a small pediatric care facility located on Langhorne Road across from E.C. Glass High School. Their goal was to build a pediatric care facility in Lynchburg focused on strong patient-doctor relationships.
Known as Stephenson and Milanovich Pediatrics at the time, the small practice expanded quickly, moving its facilities to a house off of Old Forest Road in the mid-70s. Eventually, in the early ’80s, the practice relocated to its home of nearly 30 years, a two-story building on Richeson Drive, the road for which it would derive its name, Richeson Drive Pediatrics.
Now, nearly 50 years since its humble beginnings, the practice is marking another milestone by expanding to a new, much larger, location and changing its name as well. Under the leadership of Drs. Melody Ailsworth, Michael Padilla, Loan Kline, Kendra Simpson and nurse practitioner Tiffany Kidd, the newly renamed Lynchburg Pediatrics recently opened its brand-new 7,000-square-foot facilities on Gristmill Road and is preparing for the next season of growth and expansion.
“We are so excited to be moving into a space where we can grow, expand our services, provide educational sessions and better serve the pediatric community,” an update on Lynchburg Pediatrics’ website said. “We will continue to learn, evolve and always do what is best for our patients.”
Drawing from the strong foundations of the practice’s history, while forging forward with a new building and new ideas, the leadership of Lynchburg Pediatrics hopes to sustain its position as a stalwart in the pediatric medical community within the greater Lynchburg area.
“The move and rebranding is exciting for us because when we joined Richeson Drive Pediatrics, we knew they have such a great reputation and legacy,” Kline said. “Now, here’s our chance to ask, ‘How do we continue that legacy?’”
For several years, the physicians and staff began realizing that the practice’s former home on Richeson Drive was hindering growth more than helping. While the overall size of the building was adequate, the facilities were beginning to feel outdated and the space proved ineffective, Ailsworth, Kline and Simpson concurred.
Moving patients in and out also became difficult, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when extra safety measures were put in place to ensure social distancing and the separation of sick patients and those coming in for a regular visit.
“For a while we felt like we needed a bigger space,” Kline said. “The building we were in was [built in] 1980, so it was a little on the older side and we were kind of restricted because I think it was zoned for residential at first. We really needed a space to grow.”
According to Ailsworth, Kline and Simpson, the practice desired a building that not only expanded the patient capacity, but also allowed for the staff to offer other services such as family education classes and an expansion of the literacy program that was launched at the previous location.
Simpson, a Sweet Briar College graduate and the newest doctor on staff, joined the practice in 2019. For her, the staff’s willingness to listen to new ideas and pursue evidence-based care drew her to Richeson Drive Pediatrics.
“I wanted some input,” Simpson said. “I wanted a practice where I felt like they were interested in hearing my ideas. Somewhere where I was part of a team.”
In addition to designing the new acorn logo for Lynchburg Pediatrics’ rebranding, Simpson also came up with an exciting idea to create a welcoming atmosphere for every patient that walks through the doors of the new building.
In tandem with local artist Christina Davis, Simpson worked with every person on staff to design, draw and paint fun and unique artwork on the walls and ceilings of each examination room in the new building. Joy beamed from Simpson’s face as she walked through the freshly painted hallways, pointing out each room—featuring designs of everything from Star Wars and anime to superheroes and a galaxy—which she hopes will bring smiles to the faces of Lynchburg Pediatrics’ patients, both young and old.
“We wanted a place that was comfortable for babies through college-age kids,” Simpson said. “So, we want this to be a place where even if you are 18, you can walk in and not go, ‘Oh gosh, I’m at the baby doctor.’”
The header image on Lynchburg Pediatrics’ new Facebook page reads, “Same great care with a new name and new home!”
For Ailsworth, Kline, Simpson, Padilla and the entire staff of Lynchburg Pediatrics, the move and name change is both the opening of a new chapter and the continuation of a legacy that began with Stephenson and Milanovich’s commitment to patient-first care—a commitment that remains the central mission of the practice today.
“I think most of our patients know that we do more than just medical care,” Ailsworth said. “We are here as a resource, we are available 24/7 and we are partnering to grow healthy families.”
Grand Opening Celebration
August 28, 2021 • 12 p.m.
Carnival-themed food and games. Open to the public.