Once a year, hundreds of patients good-naturedly wait in line at Paradise Valley Hospital to have lunch with a very special physician. Cardiologist Jerome Robinson’s annual Christmas lunch has become so popular that many of his patients look forward to it all year.
The idea of hosting a heart-healthy holiday lunch was conceptualized 25 years ago when Dr. Robinson noticed his heart patients were struggling with weight gain during the holidays and he wanted to show — rather than “tell” — them how to create healthy, yet good-tasting feast. Since then, the holiday lunch has expanded year after year, recently outgrowing the hospital’s largest conference room.
Giving back to his community is integral to Dr. Robinson’s philosophy. Growing up in a low-income primarily African-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, he developed a desire to help those in similar circumstances.
“I came to San Diego South Bay in 1985 and have found the residents to be so similar to the people I grew up with — truly the salt of the Earth,” Dr. Robinson said. “In many ways, I have come full circle.”
Not many kids in the impoverished Hill District in the 1960s dreamed of becoming a doctor, so young Jerome was an exception. His academic success earned him the respect of his peers, as well as his instructors — many of whom encouraged and supported him throughout medical school and residency, especially at a time when African-American physicians were few in numbers.
Dr. Robinson earned his medical degree from Hahnemann University and served his residency at USC in Los Angeles.
Dr. Robinson is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease. He also is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, American Society of Hypertension and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions.
He married his wife Pam in 1982 and they raised three boys, currently ages 24, 26 and 28.
Early on, Dr. Robinson realized that socio-economic status had a tremendous impact on access to quality healthcare — especially related to cardiovascular disease. “I found that lower-income blacks had much higher death rates from heart disease than their white counterparts.”
He noted that despite the advances in healthcare, heart disease is on the rise across all populations. Dr. Robinson said he is particular proud of Paradise Valley Hospital and the access to high-quality care the facility provides his South Bay patients. “Paradise Valley Hospital is a hidden gem. The hospital is always recognized at or near the top for quality care and patient safety in every national report, but often overlooked by the media and the public.”