Ralph Northam has served as an Army doctor, business owner, state Senator and Lieutenant Governor. However, the thing his friends and family would tell you he’s most proud of is his career fighting for children. As a pediatric neurologist and volunteer medical director for a pediatric hospice care facility, he knows children are the key to Virginia’s future, and they will always be a focus of his administration.
Virginia Military Institute graduate, Army veteran, and pediatrician Ralph grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and attended local public schools. Ralph attended the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he graduated with distinction. While at VMI, Ralph was elected by his peers to serve as president of the honor court, charged with upholding the school’s honor code.
After VMI, Ralph was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. He attended Eastern Virginia Medical School and then traveled to San Antonio for a pediatric residency, where he met his wife Pamela, a pediatric occupational therapist at the same hospital. Ralph served eight years of active duty and rose to the rank of major. Ralph did his residencies at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and served as chief neurological resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital. As an Army doctor, he served in Germany, treating soldiers wounded in Operation Desert Storm.
When Ralph and Pamela returned home, they chose to build their life not far from the same Chesapeake Bay he had grown up on. Ralph began practicing pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. He established Children’s Specialty Group, his current medical practice, to provide expert pediatric care for patients. Ralph also served as assistant professor of neurology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he taught medicine and ethics.
For 18 years, Ralph has volunteered as medical director for the Edmarc Hospice for Children in Portsmouth, where he cares for terminally ill children.
Ralph believes you can find ways to work together while still staying true to your core beliefs. Ralph approaches public service with the same passion he brought to his military and medical service. As he has said, “Never once did an injured soldier stop me before a medical procedure to check if I was a Democrat or Republican. And I never asked them. We were all in it together. I look at government the same way.”
Today, Ralph lives with his wife Pamela – most recently the community outreach coordinator at Lynnhaven River NOW – along with their black lab, Murphy, and cat, Odysseus, in Norfolk. They have two children: their son, Wes, a neurosurgery resident and their daughter, Aubrey, a recent graduate of UVA working as a web developer.
Governor Northam is the first eastern shoresman to serve as Governor since Governor Henry A. Wise was sworn in on January 1, 1856. He will also be the first VMI Keydet to serve as Governor since Governor Westmoreland Davis was sworn in on February 1, 1918.