While being a part of a strong, friendly and professional practice is high on the priorities list for Dr. Mary Ellen Ulmer, one of the best feelings of accomplishment in her pediatric tenure at The Portland Clinic is the feedback she receives from parents, when children take physicians’ advice and help themselves outside of the medical office.
During medical school, her ambition to enter the practice of pediatrics emerged after her third year rotations. “Children’s brains are changing and learning constantly, and their bodies heal rapidly,” says Dr. Ulmer. “The kids and their parents require teaching and guidance, normally not chronic maintenance and endless tinkering with medication. Being around children is a joyful and forward-looking experience.”
Dr. Ulmer, who joined The Portland Clinic in 1999, sees her colleagues as trustworthy partners, able to discuss diagnostic dilemmas and provide sound advice for her patients. With such a vast spectrum of patient services at The Portland Clinic, Dr. Ulmer can rely on all the specialists available to tend to her young patients and their guardians. “Parents certainly appreciate not having to travel too far to see orthopedics, ENT and dermatology specialists,” says Dr. Ulmer.
“I see my job as a pediatrician as one of a teacher or guide, providing a road map to optimal physical health and mental development,” she says. “This might mean telling a parent that offering five fruits and vegetables a day will teach their kid to like them some day in the distant future, if not now. It might also mean telling a teen that managing their chronic pain is up to them, with help from a psychologist and physical therapy — not narcotics.”
Dr. Ulmer sees children from birth through college and takes pride in hearing which recommendations took hold. “The most humbling feedback is when a former patient chooses me as their child’s pediatrician. It’s an honor to be a part of someone’s life over many stages.”