Tracey DeLucia, M.D., Ph.D., is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. When she walks through the halls of her office and visits patients in the hospital, faces light up. Although her work is busy and often comes with long hours, she still manages to raise her sons to be responsible and kind. She is a woman who wears many titles with pride. Among those titles is wife, mother, and pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
She grew up in Chicago and graduated from Loyola University, Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois. From there she completed orthopedic surgery residencies at the University of Illinois and the University of New Mexico, and her pediatric orthopedic surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
DeLucia has been married to her husband, Joe, for 15 years and has two sons, 6-year-old Jackson and 9-year-old Joey.
She moved to Tampa in 2014 to begin her career at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. DeLucia has been practicing pediatric orthopedics since 2010, and her desire to work with children and her love of sports inspired her to go into this field of medicine.
What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?
Teamwork. We run our family like a team. Everyone has a position and they each have to do their part in order for our team to succeed. Even my 6-year-old has a position on the team; he helps out by washing dishes.
What is your biggest fear?
I worry that when I finally send my kids off to college they won’t be ready for the world. This fear definitely has a part in how I am raising them. I try to look at it like I’m training little husbands.
What advice would you give to other women?
Never compare yourself to others. There is always going to be someone smarter, busier or wealthier than you. Just focus on being the best you that you can be. Also, never consider yourself as less than a man. I try not to ever see myself different than a man in regards to what I can achieve in life.
What is your proudest moment?
When a Little League baseball player that I performed surgery on let me sign his All-Star Championship trophy. He fractured his humerus bone and even after undergoing surgery we weren’t sure if he would ever be able to play baseball again.
What is your biggest achievement?
Balancing a full-time surgical practice with a busy family schedule while also keeping my husband happy.
What makes you happy?
Sitting on my porch and drinking coffee after a long run.
How do you relax and take time for yourself?
Going for a run, exercising and trying out new sports are some of my favorite ways to unwind. However, like most moms, I need to be better at taking time for myself.
What is the greatest challenge you face as a mother?
Giving each child the undivided attention that they need between the hours of 6-8 p.m. each evening, in addition to all the routine of school nights. Also, trying to be a “normal” mother who shows up to daytime activities at the school, is in charge of bringing snacks to the sporting events or even has time to go out with other mothers and share experiences.
Does being a doctor effect how you view parenting?
Yes, definitely. On a daily basis I treat broken limbs in children the same age as my own. I’m probably the most cautious mother I know. I never leave my children unattended in the pool or at the playground. Trampolines and bouncy houses no longer exist in our playtime routine. We do own bunk beds; however, we have a house rule that bunk beds are for sleeping and not playing. I also encourage my children to be very active based on the significant rise in the number of obese children across the nation.
Do you have any advice on how to keep your relationship with your spouse strong with so much on your plate?
Before you give a gripe or complaint, always start with “I love you very much.” I also actively remind myself that my husband is the most important person in my world and none of the other things would exist without him. I cannot manage a household, take care of my children, or have companionship without him. Also, I think it is also important to say thank you every day. When I have nothing left to give at the end of a long work day, I still do my best to find time to focus on my spouse. Our most valuable time together is not going on a date but instead the daily belly laughs we get from the good old routine.
What else would you like to share with our readers about being a mom or about your work?
We are lucky to live in such a great community and in a place with big-city resources like a children’s hospital. I’m proud to work at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and I’m inspired every day by the many caregivers here who have dedicated their lives to healing Tampa’s kids.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay?
We love to take family bike rides along Bayshore Boulevard. We also enjoy watching the Tampa Yankees play.
What is your biggest inspiration?
My grandmother. She taught me how to balance having a family and running a household while also having a full-time career. She did a great job of caring for her four boys and for my wheelchair-bound grandfather, while also working outside of the home. She told me once that I should never worry about how much dust is on the floor, but instead find a rug to sit down on and play.