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Retired USA Health pediatrician Cindy Sheets died after battling lung cancer

Colleagues and friends remembered retired pediatrician Cindy Sheets as someone who loved her family, her work in academic medicine, and introducing young children to books through the early literacy program Reach Out and Read.

Published Aug 15th, 2023

By Casandra Andrews

Cindy S. Sheets, M.D., FAAP, a beloved and respected pediatrician at USA Health and an adjunct assistant professor at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama, died last week after battling lung cancer for more than two years.

Sheets, 66, who retired in 2022 from USA Health Pediatrics, was known as a passionate advocate for early childhood literacy. She was recognized as one of the first pediatricians in Alabama to become a Reach Out and Read program provider, an initiative she personally and professionally supported for more than 17 years, touching countless families in the Mobile community.

“We were saddened to learn of Dr. Sheets’ passing,” said John V. Marymont, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the Whiddon College of Medicine. “Her drive and determination to care for our youngest patients and to encourage an early love of learning by providing them with new books each year are inspiring.”

She earned a medical degree in 1981 from the University of Florida, then accepted a research fellowship in obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Next, she joined the pediatrics residency program at the Yale-affiliated Bridgeport Hospital, where she served as chief resident.

In 1986, Sheets moved to the Mobile area and held positions with Prime Health, Pediatric Associates, and eventually, USA Health and the Whiddon College of Medicine. During her years in academic medicine, medical students recognized her with Best Private Attending and Best Faculty Attending awards.

While active in her pediatrics practice, she also was proud of her roles as a wife, mother, grandmother, and contributor to Christ the King Catholic School, where she was a math team coach for fifth graders, a Science Olympiad coach, and president of the Parent-Teacher Association.

Sheets is survived by her husband, Jonathan Scammell, Ph.D., chair of comparative medicine and professor of comparative medicine and pharmacology at the Whiddon College of Medicine; her son, Alex, and his wife, Lyndsey; her granddaughter, Aubrey; her daughter, Emily; and son, Adam. She also is survived by her mother, Elizabeth Bryan; her sisters, Melanie, Mari and Amee; and her brother, Mark.

Her family recognized the medical teams at the Mitchell Cancer Institute and University Hospital for their care and encouragement during her illness. A memorial service is planned this fall.

In recognition of her unwavering devotion to serving the children of Mobile, her family asks that donations be made to the Reach Out and Read program, Office of Development, 650 Clinic Drive, TRP III, Ste. 1500, Mobile, AL 36688. For those who would like to donate in her honor to USA Health, use this link for memorials.

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