How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
We have three girls – ages 7, 5, and 4
How long have you lived in Columbus and what made you decide to live here?
I moved to Columbus from Charlotte, NC for medical school in 2005. I worked as a medical assistant for three years before applying to medical school and Ohio State was the first school to integrate patient care with book learning. My state school was UNC but they didn’t allow medical students to have patient care until the third year. I didn’t want to stop seeing patients for two years, so I moved here (and FROZE for several years before I adjusted) and then really fell in love with Columbus and chose to stay at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for residency and then again as an attending. I was there until March of this year when I opened Roots & Wings.
What are some of your favorite activities that you like to do as a family in the Columbus area?
We like to do it all! The butterflies at the Franklin Park Conservatory are a family favorite and we love the Children’s garden there. We frequent the zoo, the metro parks, OSU women’s sporting events, playgrounds all around the city but Westerville has some amazing ones! We love riding our bikes (mostly to playgrounds and to get ice cream), hiking, playing and camping in our backyard, making s’mores, swimming, and going to Japanese Steakhouses.
When did you decide you wanted to be a Pediatrician?
Even as a child, I always chose jobs that revolved around children – I babysat often, was a camp counselor every summer in high school and college, nannied throughout college. My undergraduate degree is in Recreation Administration and Leisure Studies because I wanted to be a camp director! A few years into my job with the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department, I found myself craving more intellectual stimulation and tried to sign up for classes on how to refinish or reupholster furniture, but I was too late for those and instead landed in a class to get my Emergency Medical Technician certificate. I think I drove my poor instructor crazy because I always wanted to know why and then what happened when they got to the hospital. My curiousity couldn’t be harnessed, so I switched careers and worked in a doctor’s office as a medical assistant while I took all the pre-requisite courses to go to medical school. I tried to like other specialties in med school – ones with better hours or higher pay – but I always felt happier on the days I got to work with children. Pediatrics was not a surprising choice to anyone who knew me but I didn’t make my decision until the very last day. I was planning to be an OB but in my fourth year of medical school while doing high-risk OB rotations, I often snuck into the NICU to check on the babies of the mom’s I was following. A NICU fellow noticed and challenged me to think about which I liked more – the mom and the pregnancy or the baby. While I find pregnancy and embryology completely fascinating, the truth is, I was always more interested in the baby, so I ended up choosing what everyone else thought was a given and I’ve never looked back!
Tell us about your practice Roots & Wings Pediatrics.
Roots & Wings is the culmination of years of thinking “there has to be a better way to do this”. I have a very small patient panel who I know very well and am available to at all times. My patients text or email me with questions, get seen the same day they call, and are treated like family. My office looks like a living room and has plenty of toys so children love coming to play. I offer all traditional pediatric services but also home visits and much longer appointments when needed.
What makes Roots & Wings Pediatrics unique?
For all the reasons I listed above, Roots & Wings is the only practice of its kind in Columbus! While I accept all insurances, I only use them on expensive things and am able to save patients quite a bit of money despite a monthly membership fee. I answer the phones, schedule appointments, give all vaccines, run my own lab tests, and know my patients histories and medical conditions by heart because of my level of involvement! This practice is the kind of medical care everyone wants but doesn’t even think is an option!
What do you love about your job?
I am a helper and this model allows me to truly help my patients and make their lives so much easier! Without red tape and blanket policies, I am able to provide services to people who need them and it feels wonderful!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Early morning exercise before the kids wake up, the mad race to get everyone dressed, fed, packed, and to the bus (anyone else SO excited for summer!?) and then to the office. Some days I have patients already scheduled to see and some days I do administrative work until I hear from someone who needs to be seen. Sometimes I do home visits or ear piercing, or meet with other professionals and at least in May, I am often at one of my kid’s schools for an end of the year event! Every day is different.
How do you juggle work and being a mom?
This is tough for all parents. My husband is amazing and we have a nanny who is family to us. I used to work 24-hour shifts and really miss my family. My girls didn’t really understand what I did because they couldn’t see me when I was at work. Now, if one of my kids is having a hard time separating from me, I can bring her to my office. I have a separate play space for my kids when I am seeing patients and the building where Roots & Wings is housed (Be Well Collective) is all working moms, so it is not uncommon to have kids there and we all look out for each other! Our monthly meetings often include kids because the day of the week rotates and not everyone has childcare for each day. It is SO important to find flexibilty for family life and Roots & Wings certainly allows me to be home for dinner and bedtime almost every night which we all love! Several of my patients have met my five year old as she is the most likely to be at the office with me 🙂
What is one piece of advice you received from a mom that has stuck with you?
I have received a lot of good advice over the years, but I think the best I’ve received was something fairly simple from a mom friend who has kids slightly older than mine. She suggested I take lots of pictures and videos of my kids to capture their giggles, movements, facial expressions and voices because things change so quickly and you forget things that you thought you never could. So, I try to do this and we love looking at pictures of the girls as babies or toddlers or watching videos of them singing or dancing or saying the ABCs! As they say, the days are long but the years are short so I try to embrace the chaos and live in the moment with my family as much as possible.