Dr. Hyman “Hy” Penn is a pediatrician with magical ways. He is a pediatrician by trade and a magician for fun. For the kids of the area he is a magical man who takes care of them well. He has been serving the Humble Kingwood area since he first joined Humble Pediatric Associates in its office Near Northeast Hospital 27 years ago. Penn came to the area just out of his medical residency and is now one of four practicing pediatricians at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Humble Kingwood, located at on Rockmead Drive in Kingwood.
“They brought me in when they opened up the Kingwood location. Dr. Leach and I started the Kingwood Office.” Penn said.
He explained the office was originally located near Northeast Hospital and moved to its present location on Rockmead Drive 15 years ago. Humble Pediatrics also became a part of the larger Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates that maintains offices throughout Houston.
“We care for children from birth through high school and I practice general pediatrics,” Penn said.
Now that he has been providing care here for 27 years, he finds himself caring for the kids of grown children he cared for when he first began.
Penn was born in Houston in 1954, the oldest of three children. At the age of 3 his family moved to Newgulf, Texas, in Wharton County, but returned to Houston when Penn was 11. He explained his Dad was in the clothing business and it made sense to move back to Houston. After graduation from Westbury High School he earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Texas.
“I knew I wanted to do something with children. I have always loved to make a difference in a child’s life,” Penn said.
He decided being a pediatrician was the way to do it. Penn went on to medical school at the University of Texas Medical School, San Antonio, and took his pediatric residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
“From UTMB I came straight here and have been here ever since,” he said.
Penn said he and the pediatricians in his office have one major ongoing project.
“We are trying to increase the quality of care. That has been a big issue and our group just got accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, which means we are following a set of standards of screening and evidence-based medicine for different diseases. It has been a big push for the last couple of years,” he said.
Besides practicing to evidence based standards as a pediatrician, Penn practices as an entertainer in the art of magic.
“I am an amateur magician. I do it all the time, in the office for sure, and I do a lot of volunteer work. When I was 7, my grandmother used to send me tricks to learn. By fifth grade I was performing for my friends. It was a self-taught thing,” Penn said.
He is in various Houston-area magic groups and is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. He explained if he had not become a pediatrician he likely would have been a professional magician.
The most influential people in Penn’s life were his parents, both of whom were survivors of the Holocaust of WWII. “My father was hidden by Christian families in Lithuania and my mother was from Poland. My mother and grandmother survived and went through eight different concentration camps. My grandmother lived to be 101 years old and died in Houston. My father, his brother and his brother’s wife were the only members of their family who survived,” said Penn.
His parents met in a post-war dislocation camp. He said his knowledge of what they went through moved him deeply and in the direction of wanting to help people, especially children.
Penn celebrated 26 years of marriage in August with his wife, Lynn Gordon, who goes by her maiden name as a nurse at Memorial Herman Northeast Hospital.
“We met in Galveston and got married three years later after I was in Kingwood,” said Penn. They have no children.
When not working or doing magic, Penn serves on the board of directors in his synagogue, Temple Beth Torah, in Humble. He is also active with the Holocaust Museum in Houston.
“Both my parents were survivors, so I am very involved. I am one of the vice chairmen and I give tours of the museum,” Penn said.
Given his experience with children and his wondrous ability as a magician, Penn is truly a magical pediatrician. He says he has his parents and grandmother to thank and always will.
Cutline: Dr. Hyman Penn is always trying to improve his focus on the children in his care.