Pioneer Power

Free Hess ’00

Helping others, especially children, is a passion for Free N. (Doecks) Hess ’00, a pediatrician working in the pediatric emergency medicine department at North Central Bronx Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“It’s an underserved area that needs physicians to be there,” Hess says. “I love the unexpectedness of it, and I don’t ever get bored in any way. I love working with children and the patients who come for treatment and enjoy learning about different cultures. There’s never a dull moment.”

Hess admits the job is a challenge. “There’s a lot of education that can be done with the families that can be rewarding," she explains. “We’re not only teaching them about medicine, and the particular illnesses they have, but also everyday things. Unfortunately, in areas like the Bronx the emergency room becomes their primary place for medical care. They end up coming to the emergency room for basic care because they don’t have a primary care physician.”

Hess graduated from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2006 and completed a residency at Jacobi Medical Center, the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is married to Christopher Hess ’01, a neurologist at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. The pair met on campus while both were psychology majors.

They were married on June 14, 2003 in the living room of Hobart Manor on campus because, as students, they attended many meetings there of the various clubs they were in including Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology, and the Galen Society. They are the parents of a daughter, Willow.

Hess, who attended William Paterson as an Educational Opportunity Fund student, is grateful for the education she received. “Everyday at work I see kids just like me who didn’t have the opportunity to have an education for various reasons,” she says. “I see that they have the potential to succeed, but most will not get the opportunity that I did. I might not have had that opportunity if it had not been for my mother who knew what had to be done and found a way to do it.”