The 2015 Nappie Award for “Best Pediatrician” goes to Dr. Alfred L. Shearer at Pediatric Associates of Mobile. Born and raised in Mobile, Shearer developed an interest in science and mathematics while attending UMS-Wright Preparatory School. It wasn’t until he graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and attended the University of Alabama School of Medicine that he realized his passion for pediatrics.
“When I was in medical school, I did pediatric rotation and just fell in love with it. Kids were just so much fun to take care of,” Shearer said.After finishing medical school in 1987 and his residency at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Shearer returned to Mobile in 1990 and established his practice with Pediatric Associates of Mobile, where he’s been ever since.
“I’m lucky that I get to practice in Mobile, where I grew up. I’m also lucky that I’m part of such a good group,” Shearer said.
One of the aspects of his job Shearer most enjoys is watching his patients mature into adults.
“I’ve been doing it a long time. I’ve gotten to see people I took care of as infants now becoming parents, now becoming mothers and fathers, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing that,” he said.
To Shearer, winning the Nappie Award for “Best Pediatrician” came as a surprise.
“I’m honored … I love Lagniappe and I enjoy reading it … I get it every week,” Shearer said.
In addition to his medical expertise, one skill Shearer has developed in his career as a pediatrician is the ability to ignore the sound of children crying.
“All the time, I’ll be out somewhere and someone will complain about a baby crying and I’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t even notice.’ It’s just background noise for me,” he said.
When asked whether there’s any particular message he’d like to share with the community, Shearer stressed the importance of vaccination.
“Pediatrics has really changed over the past 25 years. So many diseases that I saw early in my practice have been prevented now through the improvement of vaccines. I never got to see polio but I’ve heard some of the older doctors talk about it. I’ve seen lots of bacterial meningitis and lots of bad diseases be eradicated through the vaccines, and I would just like to encourage everyone to continue to vaccinate their children … Prevention is so important.”