BY ANDREAS BUTLER
After 22 years of service at Halifax Health’s Keech Pediatric Neighborhood Care, Dr. Andrea Thorpe officially retired on Feb. 28.
She was the medical director in pediatrics at the center located at 431 S. Keech St., Daytona Beach. Thorpe had worked for the center since 1996 and had been with Halifax Health since 1990.
The facility is located in Daytona’s Midtown, which has had high numbers of health disparities.
Halifax Health threw a retirement party Thorpe outside the newly renovated Halifax Keech Health Center on Feb. 21. The facility reopened on March 1 as a location of the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County.
‘Mission is over’
The party drew Thorpe’s family, friends, members of the community, public officials, health care professionals and the Halifax Health family. Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry spoke at the event.
“To be honest, I heard a little voice in my head from up above that said it is time to go. I think the mission is over. I’m at peace. I originally planned to retire in 2019 but now I just feel like it’s coming from God that it is time to go on,” Thorpe stated.
The Jamaica native doesn’t plan to be idle during her retirement.
She told the Daytona Times, “I am heading back to Jamaica. The Jamaican government paid for all of my education. I need to go back and give back to the country. I may get involved in mission work. I will also get some rest. I’ve been in medicine for 33 years.”
She calls the time spent with Halifax Health and at the Keech Street Health facility as priceless.
“Many of the parents coming in now have been my patients and now their children are my patients. For me personally, it has been a very challenging time, but it is also has been very rewarding,” Thorpe explained.
“I got to learn the stories of each family. These families have become my family over the years. I have a longstanding relationship with these families.’’
‘An awesome doctor’
Her patients have fond memories of her as well.
Daytona Beach resident Mona Brown had four children who are now all adults. They were Thorpe’s patients when they were children.
“She was an awesome doctor. She loved the kids, her patients. She was good to my children. She treated all the kids with love. She was always there if anything went wrong. My kids had asthma bad. She jumped on it real quick,” Brown told the Times.
‘Not for the money’
For inspiring doctors or any other career goals, Thorpe had this to say.
“You must want to be a doctor for the right reason, which is to help people. It’s not for the money. Coming to work every day as a doctor requires dedication and wanting to help your patients. Medicine is one of the professions where you become close with your patients where they can share things with you that they won’t with anyone else,” she reflected.
“You cannot pass judgment. When they become your patient, you have to try to walk in their footsteps to try to see where they come from. You can’t put your views on them because their situation is different from yours. Your day goes on even when you leave the office. Trying to balance your life is difficult. Balancing family and work is difficult.”
Born in Kingston
Thorpe was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She graduated from Wolmer Girls School in 1971.
She earned both her Bachelor of Science in 1975 and medical degree in 1989 at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica which is five miles south of Kingston.
Thorpe did her residency at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx, New York. She also did an internship and a residency at Cornwall Regional Hospital in Jamaica.
She also had been the medical director for pediatrics at Halifax Keech Street Center since 1996. Previously she was the medical director for pediatrics for the Volusia County Health Department (1990-1996).
Thorpe also worked as an assistant professor of pediatrics at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx, New York City, New York (1986-1990).
She has several medical certifications, licenses and affiliations, certification with the American Board of Pediatrics.
Thorpe also serves as the chairperson for the professional advisory committee for Easterseals of Volusia County in Daytona Beach. She served as chair for the board for the Sickle Cell Disease Association from 1990 to 2011.
She has two adult sons – Fred and Andre – who currently reside in Atlanta.