PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2022) – The California Medical Detachment’s Pediatric Medical Home Clinic offers a full range of services for the youngest members of the Monterey Peninsula’s military community.
Located within the Maj. Gen. William H. Gourley VA-DoD Outpatient Clinic in Marina, the clinic serves the children of military service members who serve at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, the Naval Postgraduate School and the Presidio of Monterey, among other local military organizations.
Dr. Shelley Yamamoto, a general pediatrician, and Barbara Bielas-Flynn, a pediatric nurse practitioner, treat newborns through 17-year-olds at the clinic. “We’re doing the full scope of medical care that a general pediatric clinic can do,” Yamamoto said.
The clinic’s medical team provides primary pediatric care needs that range from acute visits to well visits, immunizations and overseas screenings. They also perform a variety of procedures, sports physicals and manage any chronic medical problems patients might have, Yamamoto said.
It is also easy to get an appointment, with sick patients able to receive same-day appointments and well patients usually able to receive same-week appointments, Yamamoto said.
Yamamoto, a pediatrician for 20 years, has worked at the clinic for nearly 14 years, and Bielas-Flynn, a nurse and nurse practitioner for 35 years, has worked at the clinic for nearly five.
Yamamoto said she became interested in pediatrics as a medical student on rotation at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She saw the staff help incredibly ill children become healthy in a matter of moments, and witnessing the transformations was inspiring.
“[The] ability to go from super sick to the average well child visit right there in one setting was amazing and I loved it,” Yamamoto said. “From that moment I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician. There was no doubt.”
She enjoys her job at the clinic helping children stay and become healthy. “I like the variety of things that I see,” Yamamoto said. “We have so many different kinds of patients.”
In addition, Yamamoto said she particularly likes helping service members get ready to go overseas.
“I worked overseas myself in the Peace Corps, so I enjoy helping other people to go overseas and experience other cultures,” said Yamamoto, who spent two years in Ghana, a country in West Africa.
Bielas-Flynn said she has spent a lot of her career teaching and has always aimed to improve the health care of children by influencing others—whether patients, parents or medical professionals.
“These families will eventually go and share some of the things that I have talked about or showed them, and if you influence parents’ parenting, then you influence their health,” Bielas-Flynn said. “That’s always been the foundation [of my work].”
Like Yamamoto, Bielas-Flynn also became interested in pediatrics when during her first rotation in a hospital.
Bielas-Flynn said she was working on her Bachelor of Science in nursing degree and did her first rotation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland with Dr. Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, candidate for president and secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development .
The experience inspired her to continue in pediatric medicine and she never looked back. “I’ve been in pedes ever since,” Bielas-Flynn said. “My mantra all these years has been to influence or affect children’s healthcare.”
The Maj. Gen. William H. Gourley VA-DoD Clinic, which services active duty, family members and pediatric patients, as well as local veterans, opened in August 2017, and the building continues to have a brand-new feel to it. The three-story, 146,000-gross-square-foot facility provides care for approximately 80,000 military veterans living on California’s Central Coast, and patients of the CAL MED pediatric and family medicine clinics on the third floor. It is only the second fully integrated VA-DoD facility in the nation.
The clinic is located at 201 9th St. in Marina, near the Ord Military Community, which is where many of the facility’s patients live. It is also less than a half a mile from the Pacific Ocean.
For more information, visit https://calmed.tricare.mil/Clinics/Major-General-William-H-Gourley-VA-DoD-Outpatient-Clinic.