Leigh Nieto wanted to be a doctor for as long as she can remember. As far back as middle school, every research paper she wrote delved into a different medical topic. Her passion only grew and she never once waivered from reaching her goal.
“The further I got into medicine, the more interested in pediatrics I became. Now, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I love what I do,” said Dr. Nieto, who was born and raised in Holland, Ind. “Children bring innocence, playfulness and resiliency into our lives. They can go through incredibly tough things and come out on the other side still smiling.”
Dr. Nieto is the first person in her family to become a doctor, so she understands how confusing health care can be and how important it is for parents to feel listened to and cared for. She strives to partner with parents by anticipating their questions and concerns so she can ease their minds, and by helping them understand every recommendation she makes.
“What works for one child might not work for the next, so I’ve learned to be open and creative and to meet families where they are at,” Dr. Nieto said. “In my years of practice, I’ve also learned to always be in the moment and to laugh, play, hug, cry and always listen to my patients and their parents.”
While her husband’s job brought her to the region, Dr. Nieto chose Beacon because the health system places such a strong emphasis on children’s health. “Having Beacon Children’s Hospital and pediatric specialists right here in our community allows for collaboration and great care for our patients close to home,” she said. “I’m proud to be part of this team.”
In her own words
Who is your role model? My parents are the most influential people in my life. They taught me that with hard work, anything is possible.
What was your first job? I worked at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind. for seven summers. I started out as a cashier in the food service department and progressed to supervisor. I spent a lot of time training people and helping them build confidence in themselves. I also got to make fun food like funnel cakes, cotton candy, ice cream cones and dipped apples.
What is your favorite movie? The Breakfast Club.
If you could sit down to dinner with anyone, who would it be? I would love to have dinner with Mother Teresa. She was full of life and love for others.
In addition to medicine, what are you passionate about? My family. I love spending time with my husband, Rubin, and our dog, Einstein. I also enjoy trying new foods and restaurants, traveling, baking and music.
What is something most people don’t know about you? I once had a piece of artwork displayed in a local art gallery.