Tracey Hessel, MD, Associate Medical Director, Pediatrics, has advocated and cared for children and families at Marin Community Clinics for 20 years. From infancy to adulthood, she’s there throughout a child’s entire development. It’s not just the children’s health and wellness that Dr. Hessel nurtures – she’s helped shape Marin Community Clinics’ Pediatrics Department in the process.
Connections: You’ve been with the Clinics since September of 2003. What’s changed since your early days and what continues to inspire you?
Dr. Hessel: The biggest changes involve our care model and approach. Now, we have so many more resources that are fully integrated – from our innovative lactation training and support to nutrition education, and our dental and behavioral health services. We’re offering the type of care that everyone truly deserves. Working with our committed and capable staff, as well as the people we serve, continues to inspire me.
Connections: What’s a current Pediatrics program you’re excited about?
Dr. Hessel: We’re currently rolling out an exciting, evidence-based program called HealthySteps. The focus is on preventive behavioral health care and parenting support for our families who are experiencing significant challenges and stresses. Rather than referring patients to go see a behavioral health provider or meet with a social worker after a visit, which can be a barrier, we’ll have a specialist check-in during a pediatric visit. It’s all about building trusting relationships and proactively connecting families to resources immediately rather than waiting for an issue to get worse or become a crisis. We’re getting ahead of potentially serious problems and we’re seeing positive results!
Connections: What’s one piece of advice you regularly give to families to benefit their daily lives?
Dr. Hessel: There’s growing evidence about the positive impact of time spent in nature and outdoors on both physical and mental health. Our local parks are a great, affordable resource that are easy to access. I’ll often talk to families about how beneficial it is to take a walk outdoors together, and how that time together can really address a lot of things at once in an easy and affordable way.
Get more Marin Community Clinics news from Connections:
- A Mother’s Journey, Inspired by Compassionate Care
- An Update from Leigha Andrews, MBA, Interim CEO
- Dental Spotlight: Expanded Orthodontics has Kids Smiling
- Donor Profile: Meet Joan Kelly, Ph.D.
Download and print the May/June 2023 Connections newsletter:
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