Grows To Fill Community's Needs
By Ellen Samsell Sales
For almost 20 years, Woodstock Pediatric Medicine, P.C. (WPM), in the hub of Woodstock, has provided comprehensive and compassionate care to children from birth to age 21. And just as the community’s population has continued to grow, so too has the practice, adding practitioners, a second building, and new technology. Now again, the practice is growing to better serve patients and families.
By early 2020, three more practitioners will have joined the WPM family; more treatment rooms will be available; current spaces will be renovated; and new state-of-the-art technology will better serve patients and families.
Growing To Serve Patients Better
“Every part of a patient’s life is important,” says Dr. Chineye Iheme. That shared belief is manifested in the anticipated addition of a lactation consultant, a nutritionist, and a child psychiatrist and/or counselor.
“We see such a need in our county for these specialists, and resources seem to be getting smaller and smaller due to the problems of location and acceptance of insurance,” explains Kelly Marulanda, practice administrator.
WPM’s doctors agree that adding these specialists will enhance the team’s ability to address patients’ needs.
WPM’s medical professionals see themselves not as individual providers but as a family treating other families, according to Dr. Iheme. “We feel like a big family,” she said. “I felt it when I first interviewed.” Together, they work to provide the best, most comprehensive care to patients.
Exchanging ideas, discussing treatments, and knowing what their colleagues are treating are part of each day according to Dr. Ferdinand Yates.
“Everyone is willing to help,” added nurse practitioner Milan Wade. “We want to have all the resources needed to be successful in treating our patients.”
The new staff members will complement the current team of six pediatricians and two nurse practitioners: Jordana Heaven, M.D.; Thanh Tam Le, M.D.; Adriana Rzeznik, M.D.; Frini Shah, M.D.; Ferdinand Yates, M.D.; Shannon Dobson, C.P.N.P.; and Milan Wade, C.P.N.P.
While each of these practitioners has areas of specialization, including newborns and breastfeeding, diabetes and nutrition, asthma and respiratory medicine, adolescent medicine and behavior issues, depression, and parenting, all work together to provide compassionate care to their patients.
Facilities To Expand and Improve
“Patients can look forward to larger waiting rooms, more treatment rooms, and renovation of current spaces — all geared to create a more comfortable environment for patients,” Marulanda said.
The additional space will also serve as both an education and a support center providing areas for group meetings where specialists can share guidance about significant medical concerns including lactation, nutrition, and depression.
“Because today’s parents have access to so much information,” Dr. Yates explained, “Woodstock Pediatric Medicine recognizes that it is vital that professionals help parents filter and understand that information. We provide guidance and focus on what is germane to their case.”
As part of WPM’s dedication to promoting good health, space will be dedicated to nutrition and diabetes treatment. Having a nutritionist on the team will allow one-on-one education and counseling of children and parents, so that they are equipped to make healthy eating choices.
Likewise, respiratory medicine and asthma treatment will be given designated space for exams, consultations, and education.
“With complicated conditions, such as asthma, that can manifest in many forms, ongoing education will improve parents’ and children’s ability to manage their conditions,” said Dr. Yates.
New space will also be available for lactation consultations where soon-to-be and new mothers can meet one-on-one with a lactation specialist, and where lactation support groups can meet and share their questions and experiences.
Technology To Improve Health
New hardware and software will mean quicker and more accurate laboratory tests and results for problems such as strep throat.
“The results will come back faster, with more detailed information,” said Marulanda. The new technology can help to keep children from becoming ill and speed up the recovery time for those who are sick.
“We are doing this so our patients will come to us rather than exposing their children to viruses and illnesses from urgent care facilities and emergency rooms,” Marulanda added.
The changes in personnel and facility improvements are further evidence of the dedication that has earned WPM the loyalty of the Woodstock community.
“Our patients and parents see us as part of their families,” said Dr. Iheme. “They come to us for advice.”
Having established long and trusting relationships with families, Dr. Heaven, who joined WPM in 2002, is even welcoming children whose parents she treated early in her practice.
On-Going Education To Serve Patients
A less tangible improvement is the continuing education that staff members undergo, so that they remain up to date on current research, medications, and treatments.
“Wisdom is knowing what is right today may change tomorrow,” said Dr. Yates. “We have to do anything we can to forearm our parents and patients, to be proactive, to be on top of current trends, rather than playing catch-up.”
Responding to patients’ needs also means the practice takes steps such as adding expanded hours. For those families who struggle to make an appointment by 5:00pm, the practice is now open till 7:00pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Saturday from 8:00am-12:00pm. When Saturdays are especially busy, a second doctor is added to the schedule.
“If a child needs to be seen, he or she is seen. No one is turned away,” said Wade. And, if necessary, doctors and nurses adjust their daily schedules to better serve their patients.
“We don’t force our patients into a time slot,” said Dr. Iheme. “We don’t watch the clock; we give each patient the time needed.”
Treating the Whole Child
WPM’s mission does not stop at seeing and treating their patients for medical concerns. In their dedication to serving the whole child, the practice has partnered with the national Reach Out and Read program.
This means that at every well child visit, from six months to 5 years old, each child receives a developmentally appropriate book. And so that the older children are not left out, the staff makes certain that they have extra books on hand for them.
As a vital member of the Woodstock community, giving back is integral to the practice’s philosophy. Active throughout the region, the team provides education booths at events and partners with Woodstock Elementary School by adopting a Woodstock family each holiday season and providing gifts and food that help make the family’s holiday brighter. Patients and parents can also enjoy seeing artwork by local schoolchildren displayed at the practice.
Whether they are seeing a newborn for a first checkup, counseling an adolescent who is suffering with a weight problem, or discussing diabetes treatment with a parent, the practitioners at Woodstock Pediatric Medicine are dedicated to the health and well-being of their patients and families.
“You have to have heart a for pediatrics — a heart for children and for their parents,” Dr. Yates said. “You sense that when you meet our doctors.”
Woodstock Pediatric Medicine
2000 Professional Way
Woodstock, GA 30188
8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5pm
Starting at 8:00am for all appointments