Two specialties, one difficult decision.
That was what faced Greenfield-area native and McClain High School graduate Kristen (Free) White, M.D., when she found herself torn between her love of pediatrics and her enjoyment of the delivery room experience and nursery work involved with obstetrics. The answer to her quandary was found on an entirely different continent.
“I did a spring break trip to Peru, a pediatric medical mission trip, and that really solidified that this was the route I wanted to go,” said White, now a pediatrician with Adena Pediatrics. “The trip was all pediatrics, so we worked with different HIV-positive orphanages, we did some routine health screenings there, we did health and wellness for teen pregnancy centers. I just loved that in pediatrics you got to take care of a kid from infants all the way through teenagers and see that growth.”
Soon, that turn of events in her career path will lead her back to the portion of Southern Ohio where she grew up. Beginning Aug. 16, White will bring pediatric care to Greenfield and the surrounding communities with the opening of Adena Pediatrics-Greenfield in the Adena Specialty Clinic-Greenfield at 536 Mirabeau St. The opening will mark the fourth location for Adena Pediatrics, joining offices in Circleville, Waverly and at Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe.
Her arrival will further enhance available health care options for children in communities like Greenfield, Hillsboro, South Salem, Washington C.H. and others, building on the efforts of an established network of primary care providers that White said have done a great job serving children across Adena’s service area.
Pediatricians specialize in children’s physical, mental and social health, while primary care physicians are board-certified to treat people of all ages, including children.
White has been with Adena Pediatrics working out of Chillicothe for nearly the past year, but returning to serve the Greenfield area has been a goal of hers since completing medical school at Wright State University and her residency at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“Coming back to Adena, coming back home, has always been the plan and when I first signed on that was the goal, to have some office hours in Greenfield to serve that community and Highland County and Fayette County and some patients in Ross County,” she said. “It’s a great central location for a lot of smaller communities to allow them to have dedicated pediatric care that’s a little bit closer to home. I remember as kids, we traveled for everything — for the grocery store, the movie theater, a lot of different things — so having this service there will be very helpful to a lot of different people.”
When she makes the move to Greenfield, she will bring a “whole family” approach to her treatment.
“I try to make every encounter very personal, finding out what family’s concerns are, finding out what’s going on at home and what it is that keeps you up at night because I think that’s different for everybody,” White said. “Especially for new moms, it’s overwhelming, and you need to make sure that from the mom’s or dad’s or caregiver’s standpoint that they’re getting enough support because you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of a baby. We look at how we as an office and a community can support them.”
Several of those community connections already exist for White, who is involved with the 4-H program, whose mother serves on the Greenfild Exempted Village Board of Education, and whose husband teaches and coaches basketball at McClain High School. She has been busy developing others prior to the opening of the new office, taking part in a couple of office walkthroughs and meeting with representatives from Community Action, Head Start and the WIC program in Highland County.
“It’s been exciting to get to meet those people who also have the same goal and mindset of helping kids in that region do their best,” she said.
White also is looking forward to being a partner in that effort with children and their families.
“What I love about kids is they want to get better, they want to do things you tell them to that help them get better and their parents want their kids to get better, so I think everyone has that same goal and mindset,” she said. “You see those kids get better, and I think that’s really rewarding to see improvement, see changes and get to see their personalities evolve. You also see parents grow from that first newborn visit and see how they enjoy the development of their own kids, and that is really fun.”
The new office opening is the latest move by Adena to expand pediatric care close to home in the communities within its nine-county service area. This year began with the launch of a pediatric hospitalist program in partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital that allowed more children to receive care locally for conditions that previously would have required their transport elsewhere.
Those having existing appointments with White through Aug. 14 will see her at the Adena Pediatrics office in Chillicothe. Those with appointments at any time after Aug. 14 may keep the same appointment date and time, but will see White in the new Greenfield office.
Existing patients of White’s who prefer to continue receiving their pediatric care at Adena Pediatrics’ Chillicothe location can work with that office’s staff to get established with one of the office’s other pediatric providers.
Those looking to make an appointment with White moving forward can continue to call 740-779-4300 and request to be seen at the Greenfield location.
Submitted by Jason Gilham, communications manager, Adena Health System.