"I’ve always loved kids."
Meghan Young was just a kid herself when she knew she wanted to become a doctor, one that cared for children the way her own pediatrician did. "I grew up with various medical problems," she explains, "and my times in the hospital sparked an interest in medicine."
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Young’s mom, grandma and aunts were all nurses.
"When I got into high school, I went to work at my pediatrician’s - my first official job," says Young. As a records clerk, she experienced "the front desk side of medicine" while learning about the various roles that supported the clinic’s work.
Now a practicing pediatrician, Young enjoys building relationships. "I get the privilege of meeting new families, sometimes at birth - such an intimate, sacred moment - and then not only watching children grow, but entire families as they evolve and develop."
While you’d expect pediatricians to be up to speed on things like childhood illnesses and physical development, our pediatric clinic takes a multifaceted approach to patient care that includes working as a team to stay informed on rapid changes in technology, and the impact of social media on children and families.
"We understand there are risks and pitfalls to parenting in a technological world," says Young. "We also recognize the benefits of technology for kids with special needs or communication disorders. We try to help families find balance."
Because pediatric patients range from birth to age 18, the clinic’s providers also stay informed and aware of trends, studies, and solutions for families with pre-teens or adolescents dealing with issues like stress, mental health, and substance abuse.
Young encourages those who may feel overwhelmed. "We're in this together," she says. "We’re a team - the provider and the family. Together, we work towards ensuring people have the tools they need to succeed and keep their kids safe."
When it comes to childhood safety, no topic seems more controversial than immunizations. "It's understandable why some parents feel confused and overwhelmed, with all of the information out there, some factual, and some not," says Young. "People are really trying to make the best decision they can for their child. I always try to keep that in mind."
"That being said," notes Young, "Vaccinations are one of the most extensively studied things in pediatrics. As a pediatrician, I feel very confident to say that these are effective, these do make a difference, they are recommended, and we want to keep your child safe and other children in this community safe by vaccinating."
"It can be a delicate dance," admits Young, but her clinic welcomes candid conversations and does its best to be a safe place to have them. The providers begin by listening to learn more about the family’s views. "Then we work to find a solution that balances any fears and questions while also trying to maintain the safety and health of their child."
Spoken like a pediatrician who is successfully fulfilling her childhood dream.
Young was born in Missouri, near Saint Louis. The youngest of four girls, she remained in the Midwest through medical school, then ventured north to Minneapolis for a fellowship in pediatric hospice and palliative care. "And from there, we moved out here," she notes, "we" being Young, her pharmacist-husband Phil, and their Saint Berdoodle, Murphy.
"We're just loving the Northwest," says Young. "This is the most rural community we've lived in and we absolutely love it. People are warm and welcoming, the scenery is beautiful, and we love not having traffic. We've settled in really nicely and are excited to lay down roots and continue to get to know the community."
For those who judge the mettle of a pediatrician by what they do outside the office, in her free time, Young decorates cakes, creates abstract art, plays piano, and loves board and card games with family and friends.
In other words, the kind of things enjoyed by children of all ages.