Behind the Scenes
Meet the Staff at Woodstock Pediatric Medicine
By Cyndi Braun
A visit to Woodstock Pediatric Medicine (WPM) is more than just a visit with your childs doctor. Staff members, from administrative to medical assistants to doctors, play a role in making sure your child receives courteous service, prompt attention and excellent care.
Independently owned, WPM has served the community since the late 1990s. Six providers offer patients a level of care unsurpassed among other pediatric practices. Doctors, nurse practitioners and medical assistants treat illnesses while promoting good health, wellness and disease prevention.
Each month, the practice sees about 2,500 patients. Appointments are available six days a week, with Saturdays set aside for sick visits. The practice accepts almost all forms of insurance, including Medicaid.
Recently, Woodstock Family Life sat down with some staff members to discuss what makes this practice special.
Our panel included -
Evelyn Francia, medical assistant
Dr. Chinenye Iheme, M.D.
Hallie Jacobson, medical assistant
Kelly Marulanda, practice administrator
Candice Pendergrast, administrative
Daniela deAlba, medical records
Tarsha Strong, medical assistant
How is this practice unique?
Kelly: Since we are not a corporate practice, we can be flexible and customize care to meet the needs of our patients. Our goal is to make every visit a positive experience. We are not a minute-clinic. We want to spend more than a minute with you and your child.
Daniela: From the front desk, to the nurses and doctors, everybody does the best they can to accommodate the parent and the child.
Dr. Iheme: Even when I have a lot of patients on my schedule, everything goes smoothly because the nurses are so knowledgeable that they know what to do before I even get into the examination room.
How do you make appointments easier for parents?
Kelly: Staff members are like the hands and feet of this place. They get paperwork moving and patients ready for the doctors. Theyre the first line of defense, the first voice, the first face of the practice.
Hallie: Were all moms, so we understand. Depending on what the child is here for, well sit and joke with them, laugh and have fun until they smile. We want to make sure they are comfortable.
Daniela: Were confident in what we do, and we love what we do. Parents know we care about their kids. Were going to do our best to make them smile. We might even sneak an extra sticker if we know theyre having a bad day.
What can you tell us about the providers?
Hallie: I like how the providers talk to the child, not just to the parent. That makes children understand that the doctor is listening carefully to what they say. Also, they really care about their patients. They take time with every patient. They know them, and they remember them.
Candice: The doctors are very respectful and mindful of their patients. They are punctual; they keep appointments on time. And they really like what they do.
Daniela: All the providers take an interest in their patients. They remember details about their patients lives. Theyll ask how their vacation was, how a pregnancy is going, how their mom is doing. I am amazed at how the doctors can remember so much about patients and their families. It shows that they have built a connection, and they care.
How does the practice work as a team?
Kelly: We are very family-oriented. We celebrate successes, and we support each other during hard times and heartaches. Its a caring atmosphere from top to bottom. We arent a large corporation with a board of directors, shareholders and a large circle of red tape. When we need to make something happen quickly, we can normally do it very easily with a single line of communication.
Hallie: We all have good relationships with each other. We enjoy working with each other, and we work well together.
Tarsha: The best thing is we get to wake up every morning and come to an amazing place to work! Were like family here. I tell everyone, teamwork makes dreamwork.
Are your children patients here?
Kelly: Yes! The entire staff trusts the practice enough to bring their own children here, and Evelyn will when her baby is born. That says a lot about the practice.
Hallie: My 12-year-old son is a patient and loves all the doctors here. Eventually, he will probably prefer a male provider, and Im glad he has that option here.
Evelyn: People have asked me what doctor my baby will see, but my baby can see anybody here. Each provider has their special touch and interest. All the providers are great.
Why do you recommend this practice?
Kelly: Patients are never just a number or a medical record. We see children from birth to 21. Thats a long time to build relationships, and we want those long-term relationships. Its important for continuity of care. Our goal is not to be the biggest practice. We just want to be the best practice we can be, and that means being flexible, adapting to changes and making those changes when we should.
Evelyn: The doctors are all excellent, and they treat you well.
Daniela: Our interest is in the patient, not in revenue. When my sister had her baby, I told her, you have to bring
Newest Provider, Dr. Chinenye Iheme
Chinenye Iheme, M.D. joined Woodstock Pediatric Medicine last year.
Originally from Nigeria, Dr. Iheme received an education that spans the globe. After graduating from Georgia State University, she went to medical school at the American University of the Caribbean. She completed her pediatric residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, with a sub-specialty at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She traveled to London to learn more about the fields of obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics and surgery.
Last year, Dr. Iheme initiated a program to provide newborn packets to new mothers at WPM.
We give new mothers a packet that includes a booklet with information about what to expect, what to do, when to call us. Being a new mom can get overwhelming, and it helps to know when you should call the doctor, said Dr. Iheme. The booklet gives everyone peace of mind. Moms look through the book, and realize, Oh, this is normal, and then they dont worry in the middle of the night.
In addition, Dr. Iheme plans to implement the Reach Out and Read program. This national program incorporates books into pediatric care by encouraging families with young children to read together.
I always wanted to be a doctor. Pediatrics was the obvious choice for me, said Dr. Iheme. Im happy to be part of Woodstock Pediatric Medicine.
Woodstock Pediatric Medicine
200 Professional Way, Woodstock, GA 30188
Monday-Friday, 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00-5:00pm
Saturdays starting at 9:00am for sick appointments only.