CCHCI Opens New Pediatric Center – Douglas Dispatch
Published in the Douglas Dispatch
By: Bruce Whetten
Chiricahua Community Health Centers Inc. recently opened a second pediatric center especially designed for those with special needs.
The staff and as well as some of the patients at the Early Childhood Center of Excellence (ECCE), located at 1151 E. 16th Street, held a formal ribbon cutting on Monday, April 8 at the facility which opened in October.
Some of the patients at the ECCE did the honors of cutting the ribbon.
CCHCI CEO Dr. Jonathan Melk said in his welcoming at the ribbon cutting, that Chiricahua is fortunate to be able to care for children throughout Cochise County.
“Our dream is that our children here in Douglas and the surrounding areas can receive healthcare not as good as, but better than what can be received elsewhere,” he said. “This dream has been our crazy dream since the beginning when we started the pediatric program in 2006 in the Ginger Ryan Clinic. … We decided that we would not just try to provide the best possible care given the circumstances but to seek to simply provide the best care period.”
The Pediatric Center of Excellence (PCE) opened on 15th Street in 2011. Dr. Melk and his staff said that they thought it would last forever.
“It’s certainly been wonderful but the PCE also wasn’t big enough because the dream that our team has for the children of Douglas keeps growing bigger and bigger,” he said.
The new facility on 16th Street offers dental care, reading corners, a screen free zone, toy boxes, support groups, volunteers, a Parental Advisory Committee, The First 365 program and home visitation.
“There is so much potential for a child that needs to be captured in the early years,” said Darlene Melk, M.D. medical director for Southern Arizona Children’s Health Project and director of community pediatrics for Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc. “It is exciting to have a space dedicated to serving the children in the community and specially to ensure robust care is provided early-on in children’s lives.”
“My niece … has been a patient here for about eight years,” she said. “When she was born somebody put my sister in contact with Dr. Jonathan. Ever since she has been part of this clinic and honestly, I don’t know what we would do without this clinic. The care and attention she receives here is outstanding.”
Vildosola says looking at the ECCE as an aunt of someone who is a patient there, she sees this place as being very important and very vital to the community.
“It’s hard for many of us to go to Sierra Vista or Tucson so having a center like this in Douglas, is huge,” she said. “People can show up knowing they are going to receive quality care.”
“Our dream is to grow a system that never, never gives up on any child no matter what their illness or challenge may be,” Dr. Melk said. “Our dream is to be guided by children and their families. Our dream is that if you want this level of incredible care for your child, you are going to have to come to Douglas to get it.”