Military News

Friday, April 10, 2015

Former military child cares for military children

by Senior Airman Sarah Hall-Kirchner
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

4/10/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Military children are celebrated each April during the Month of the Military Child. April is also Military Children's Health Month.

At the 375th Medical Group, four pediatricians and a nurse practitioner work each day to ensure the health of military children is maintained.

One of those pediatricians, Capt. Chauncey Tarrant, 375th Medical Operations Squadron General Pediatrician, is a military child herself.

"Being from a military family, I really wanted to give back to the families who helped to raise me and helped to take care of me," said Tarrant.

She said that when deciding what to do with her life, she wanted to do a job that she would do even if she weren't getting paid.

"I love children for their innocence, and I want to help them," she said. "I would definitely take care of children for no pay, so I decided to go into pediatrics, because I knew I would enjoy it every day. This is also a low stress job, and you get to help children. What could be better?"

She joined the Air Force to go to college and get training as a pediatrician.

"Medical school is really expensive," said Tarrant. "The Air Force offers scholarships like the Health Professions Scholarship Program, which is the program I participated in. It allowed me to finance medical school and serve my country at the same time, which was a win-win for me."

Tarrant has already begun to make an impact on the medical technician who works with her, Senior Airman Allison Medina.

"Dr. Tarrant is knowledgeable," said Medina. "She is willing to teach me and to show me how to do everything with the patients. She answers my questions patiently. She has an encouraging personality, and I like her positive attitude."

Through her work as a pediatrician, Tarrant helps military families and children to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"A lot of what we do in pediatrics is preventative medicine," said Tarrant. "It is really important for people to have their kids seen on a regular basis so that we can ensure that they are growing and developing appropriately."

Well-child visits, conducted at set intervals during a child's early life, and then yearly visits throughout childhood and adolescence, can help doctors to more easily track a child's wellness.

"We, as a care team, stress the importance of good follow up care and good rapport with your provider and team," said Tarrant. "We try our best to incorporate your family into ours as a clinic. It's important to follow up with your provider. If there is a good relationship then it is easier to feel like you can reach out."

Getting children into the doctor on a regular basis to be looked at for common illnesses, or for preventative care, is important, because it can lead to wellness and a healthier child overall she said.

"It is really a key thing to stay on top of well visits, even if your child is doing great, just to check in with us to make sure there is nothing else we need to be doing to make sure they develop in a better way and make sure there is nothing else that is making them fall behind," said Tarrant.

If a child is not meeting developmental milestones, the pediatricians at Scott are able to get them the care that they need. Pediatricians can refer children directly to the specialists in the local community that can care for their specific needs.

"Pediatric care plays a big part in making sure military children have gotten everything they need as far as vaccines, specialty care, and care for any other illnesses that come up along the way," she said. "We help guide parents through the whole thing to keep their children well, or to get them on the road to wellness."

The pediatric clinic hopes to create an open environment where families feel like they can be seen and get answers to their questions she said.

"We are here to nurture and usher your child through childhood and adolescence without any problems," said Tarrant. "If you have any questions, I tell all of my families, no concern is a bad concern, so even if your child is well or if they are not doing great and may be ill, ask those questions."

Through her work as a pediatrician, Tarrant hopes she can make a difference.

"Hopefully when it's all said and done and they leave pediatrics, we've helped to nurture a healthy young adult into society."

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