U pediatrician remembered as passionate children’s advocate

G. Scott Giebink worked to make Minnesota the first state with a child health care plan.

G. Scott Giebink, a talented doctor and ardent advocate of children’s health care died Friday of heart failure. He was 59.

Services were held Sept. 5 at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.

Dr. Giebink was born and raised in Edina, Minn. He received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and his medical degree from the University’s Medical School.

After completing his residency in Denver and serving in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps, he returned to the University. He served as head of the infectious diseases division of the department of pediatrics.

Giebink was regarded internationally as an expert in pediatric infectious diseases and immunizations. In addition to his medical work, he worked on public policy for children’s health care.

In 1986, Minnesota became the first state to pass a children’s health plan. Giebink worked with legislators to push the plan.

By 1992, Giebink had worked to pass MinnesotaCare through the Legislature. MinnesotaCare is a health care insurance program that provides coverage for 160,000 people who cannot get health care coverage otherwise.

“(He) loved his work at the University and he loved public policy work to improve health care for children,” said Jim Koppel, director of the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota. “He was a gentleman but was not afraid to stand up when it came to children personally and professionally.”

Not only was Giebink a great advocate for children’s health care, he was a good person to be around, Koppel said.

“He was passionate and yet liked to laugh and certainly had a great perspective. He understood how the world worked but he always looked to the brighter side and tried to improve it,” Koppel said.