By Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
An Airman anxiously watches his child flip through a coloring book in a brightly-colored waiting room decorated with cartoon characters. After patiently waiting, a medical technician calls them back to be seen at the 19th Medical Operations Support Squadron pediatrics clinic at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.
The pediatric clinic provides health care to children of active-duty service members and retirees; an additional service that has a positive impact on operations base-wide.
“Being a parent in the Air Force is hard and you spend a lot of time away from your kids,” said Tech. Sgt. Mariah Pike, 19th MDOSS maternal-child flight chief. “We take care of kids so their parents can focus on the mission without having to worry about their child’s health.”
The pediatrics clinic provides routine and acute healthcare to children. The clinic also offers walk-in hours for anomalies such as sore throats and wart treatments. On average, the clinic personnel see approximately 90 patients a week.
Despite their large clientele, the clinic makes an effort to provide a pleasant experience for each of their younger patients.
“All of us try to make it as fun as we can for them,” Pike said. “For example, everyone hates getting shots. So, we give them stickers at the end of the experience to make it more of a fun memory instead of a painful one.”
While making a positive impact within their playfully decorated facility, the pediatrics clinic makes an impact in the surrounding community.
“We provide education at the child development center and the youth center for emergency medication administration, such as inhalers,” Pike said. “We try to educate these kids and keep them as healthy as possible so they can help keep all the other kids healthy too.”
The clinic’s influence reaches even further in the community due to their working relationship with local medical facilities such as Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Pinnacle Pointe.
“One of the biggest things we do here are referrals,” Pike said. “We receive some of the most complicated medical cases in the Air Force here because some service members have children who are really sick. There aren’t many places in the Air Force that they can go so they come here for the resources. In a way, we bring business to local providers, especially if it’s something that specializes in a resource we don’t have. ”
The dedication and extensive impact in the community proves the clinic puts their patients first with genuine care for each patient.
“Almost all of us here are (parents) so we understand where they’re coming when they are scared and worried for their child,” Pike said. “We’re here (for them) and we want to help.”
To schedule an appointment at the pediatrics clinic, call 501-987-8811.