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Building blocks

U.S. Air Force Capt. Cathy Boggs, the medical director of pediatrics with the 18th Medical Group, checks a patient in the pediatrics wing of the Kadena Clinic on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Preventative medicine is a large part of pediatrics and a key part is proper education of parents and other caretakers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Cathy Boggs, the medical director of pediatrics with the 18th Medical Group, checks a patient in the pediatrics wing of the Kadena Clinic on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Preventative medicine is a large part of pediatrics and a key part is proper education of parents and other caretakers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The walls are covered in stickers, children’s shows on the television and toys in the waiting room, pint-sized patients play under their parent’s watchful eye. The pediatrics unit at the Kadena Air Base, Japan, Clinic tries to make children and parents as comfortable as possible when they come in for check-ups, shots or other healthcare needs.

The 30th of March may be National Doctor’s Day, but the members of the pediatrics unit find reasons to be exceptional every day
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“As long as I can remember I wanted to be a doctor, around when I was in high school was when I started to think pediatrics, because I love kids, from babysitting growing up with younger siblings,” said Capt. Cathy Boggs, the medical director of pediatrics with the 18th Medical Group. “My favorite part of being a doctor is helping people, I feel like it’s what I was born to do.”

Due to the semi-remote nature of Okinawa, health practitioners have less access to consult with specialty doctors, so learning is always a part of the job.

“We actually use an online consulting system where we can talk with specialists in Hawaii, and that has made us more comfortable dealing with tasks we normally would send to specialists,” Boggs said. “We actually get to learn more and become more comfortable with such tasks.”

According to Boggs, the nature of pediatrics is preventative practice. Healthy kids grow up to be healthy adults, it’s all about starting on the right foot.

“In the primary care setting as a pediatrician, you have the ability to be a caretaker for a child from birth to adolescence,” said Capt. Rachel Auger, 18th MDG a pediatric nurse. “The rapport you can build in pediatrics is like no other.”

Preventative medicine is a large part of pediatrics and a key part is proper education of parents and other caretakers.

“Teaching is my favorite part of the job,” Auger said. “Parents come in, especially first time parents, with concerns about their children and being able to reassure them and hearing the relief in their voices when they realize their kid is going to be ok is so rewarding.”

Education, preventative medicine and building strong relationships with patients is what the pediatrics wing of the Kadena Clinic strive for.
“We’re here for them, and every member of this team is absolutely committed to providing the best care to these kids, and know the challenges families face overseas,” said Auger.