Relationship Approach to Children's Healthcare
By Michelle Martin
As fall ushers in the start of another flu season, the doctors at Woodstock Pediatric Medicine urge parents to vaccinate their children in an effort to keep their family healthy.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the flu vaccine for most children beginning at 6 months of age," says Dr. Jordana Heaven, one of the physicians for Woodstock Pediatric Medicine. "To help prevent younger infants from being exposed to the flu, it's important for parents and older siblings to get the annual flu vaccine as well. Our first approach to pediatric care at Woodstock Pediatric Medicine is prevention, so we offer the flu vaccine not only to our pediatric patients but also to their parents and older siblings. As with any illness, the best line of defense against the flu is taking the proper steps to prevention before it becomes an epidemic."
Woodstock Pediatric Medicine has provided comprehensive pediatric care to infants, children and adolescents in Woodstock and surrounding Cherokee County communities for more than 15 years. The entire medical team — Drs. Maren Bear, Jordana Heaven, Adriana Rzeznik and Frini Shah, along with Shannon Dobson, nurse practitioner — is board-certified and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In addition to flu vaccines, Woodstock Pediatric Medicine's services include prenatal consultation; newborn care; annual well exams; sports physicals; treatment of acute illnesses, injuries, ADHD and behavioral issues; nutritional counseling; and immunizations recommended by the AAP. In most instances, same-day appointments are available. "We want to be accessible to our patients and their parents on a daily basis, whatever their medical needs," says Dr. Shah, noting that parents also can call the 24/7 nurse hotline for after-hours issues and emergencies.
Dr. Heaven describes Woodstock Pediatric Medicine as providing "patient-centered" care based on current AAP guidelines. "We strive to be a partner to our patients and their parents. We like to think of ourselves as 'tour guides,' pointing out recommended care options that help parents make the best decision for their children's immediate medical needs and overall wellness." Woodstock Pediatric Medicine also emphasizes the importance of immunizations in keeping children healthy. "Many parents think immunizations are no longer necessary because the diseases covered by certain immunizations are no longer at epidemic levels like they once were," says Dr. Rzeznik. "The reality is that there is no longer an epidemic due to the widespread practice of immunization over the past 40 years. But, as more parents have moved away in recent years from immunizing their children according to AAP recommendations, we have personally seen an increase in whooping cough, measles and other illnesses. As partners in their children's health, we take every opportunity to educate parents on the proven safety of immunizations and the critical role they play in preventing illnesses that could result in serious long-term issues — even death — for their children."
Having served the Woodstock and Cherokee communities in the same location for more than 15 years, Woodstock Pediatric Medicine offers a continuity of care that is vital to patients' long-term overall wellness. "We believe a personal relationship with our patients, built over time as their primary physician, gives us a better understanding of their complete medical history for a more accurate diagnosis," says Dr. Bear. "Seeing our patients year after year for their annual well exam makes it easier for us to notice those subtle differences when they're not feeling well. Plus, patients feel comfortable coming to us and their parents can rest assured that their children will always receive the same standard of quality, personal care from our doctors, nurses, assistants and administrative staff."
Dr. Rzeznik notes that the level of specialty care by the experienced pediatric physicians at Woodstock Pediatric Medicine can't be matched at "minute clinics" or emergency medical centers. "We are experts in pediatric care. We have access to our patients' entire medical history. We know which medications work for them and which ones don't," she says. "We take same-day appointments, including Saturdays, and are on call for after-hours emergencies. Woodstock Pediatric Medicine is the complete, around-the-clock pediatric care provider."
Parents have trusted Woodstock Pediatric Medicine for their children's healthcare for generations. Many former patients are now parents themselves and, as Dobson explains, chose Woodstock Pediatric Medicine for their own children's pediatric care based on the trust and relationship they experienced firsthand when they were children. "We also have several sibling groups who bring all of their children here. Those extended relationships give us a more complete picture of their family medical history, which allows us to care for them on a different level," she says.
To give back to the community for its support over the years, the medical team and administrative staff at Woodstock Pediatric Medicine participate in a variety of outreach efforts. They try to support patients' causes as much as possible, especially programs that help raise funds for medical research; collect school supplies for Children's Restoration Network's annual back-to-school backpack giveaway for children in need; and work with local schools and organizations to "adopt" families at Christmas. In addition, Dr. Shah participates in a three-day walk for breast cancer each October, and Dobson runs in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's annual 5K race. Kelly Marulanda, office manager, and Dr. Rzeznik traveled to Peru recently as part of a children's missions project with a local church. "It was such a rewarding and humbling experience," Marulanda says. "The children we ministered to there had never seen a physician or even a photograph of themselves. After our experience with the Peru mission, we want to expand our involvement into other areas in the future."
Dr. Heaven has volunteered with Camp Kudzu, a sleep-away camp for children with Type 1 diabetes, in Cleveland, Ga., for the past 15 years. Some camp participants are also patients of Woodstock Pediatric Medicine. "It is a neat experience to relate on a different level," says Dr. Heaven. "For many children, Camp Kudzu is their first overnight experience away from home. It's rewarding for me to play a part in helping them become more independent and build valuable life skills that they can't learn in the medical office, and then build on that new relationship throughout their pediatric care."
Relationships are at the heart of the personal care provided by everyone at Woodstock Pediatric Medicine. "We are a tight-knit group, like family — this is our home away from home," explains Dr. Bear. "We enjoy what we do, and that reflects in the type of care that we offer to our patients."
Woodstock Pediatric Medicine
2000 Professional Way, Woodstock
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday
(Closed 12:00-1:00 p.m. for lunch)
Jordana Heaven, M.D.
Special Interests: Adolescent Medicine, Diabetes, Thyroid, Growth Issues
Adriana Rzeznik, M.D.
Special Interests: Nutrition, Healthy Eating
Frini Shah, M.D.
Special Interests: Childhood Obesity
Maren Bear, M.D.
Special Interests: Newborn Care, Breastfeeding, Asthma
Shannon Dobson, CPNP
Special Interests: Newborn Care, Childhood Obesity