Perspectives on Work and Family from Three Generations of a Pennsylvania Physician Family

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When Bob Richards Jr., MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Chambersburg, first started practicing out of residency, he began working with his father who is also an orthopedic surgeon. It was an arrangement that worked out well for both.

“I learned a great deal from him. He had been out working for years and years and he taught me some techniques that I hadn’t learned in residency and he also introduced me to a lot of his friends who were in the orthopedic community, said Dr. Richards, Jr.

Like all physicians, Dr. Richards, Jr., also had to manage the demands of balancing a busy work schedule with family life. He did so with the help and support of his wife Cindy. The Richards raised five children, several of whom have pursued careers in medicine, and they did so by working as a team.

Dr. Richards, Jr. says he made a commitment to be there for his children’s activities whenever possible, and was involved in coaching both soccer and diving. Now, Dr. Richards, Jr. works in a practice with one of his daughters, podiatrist Karli Richards, DPM, FACFAS, CWSP.

Karli Richards has three children of her own, and she’s been able to employ some of the lessons she learned from her father as she balances work and family. “Growing up with a father who had a similar work schedule, I saw how he balanced it. He did well and he was always at the games and was always home at night to help us with homework.”

The patriarch of the family, Robert Richards, Sr., MD, sums up the life of medicine best:

“I lived a great life, been wonderful and I am very happy with a wonderful family and a good practice. An encouraging thing is to sometimes go into the office—I try and stop by on a regular basis—and have somebody, some old timer come up to me an introduce himself and say ‘you took care of me 35 years ago and you know I’m still able to move my knee’ or ‘you took care of my grandson when he was hurt in a motorcycle accident.’ Those kinds of things are very gratifying.”

Learn more about the Richards family and their approaches to work-life balance by listening to episode three of the Pennsylvania Physician Podcast.

Take PAMED with you on your daily commute. You can listen to the podcasts via the iPhone/iPad Podcast app or the Podcast Addict app from Google Play on Android devices. In the app, search for Pennsylvania Physician Podcast and then hit Subscribe. You can also listen online at

The first two episodes of the Pennsylvania Physician Podcast feature interviews with two more Pennsylvania physician families who share their tips on maintaining work-life balance.

The Pennsylvania Physician Podcast will also cover the latest news Pennsylvania physicians need to know—from reimbursement to public health to new laws and regulations. It’s a quick listen and the perfect choice for your daily commute.

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