HALEYVILLE - A local doctor is about to see the full realization of her dream, a dream that is going to help families across Winston County and the surrounding area.
Haleyville native Dr. Brooke Goar is officially opening her new medical practice, Haleyville Pediatrics, a division of Lakeland Community Hospital, Monday, September 14. Her office will be located in Suite E of the professional building in front of the hospital. Haleyville Pediatrics is the only medical practice in Winston and Marion counties solely dedicated to the care of children.
Goar’s ties to Haleyville run deep. She is the wife of Clay Goar. They have two sons, Owen, who is 4, and Henry, who is 18-months old. Her parents are Dewayne and Tammy Bailey, and her grandmothers are Barbara Shirley and Ruth Bailey. Clay’s parents are Tim and Teena Goar.
A 2009 graduate of Haleyville High School, Brooke graduated from Samford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 2012. She graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine with a Doctorate of Medicine in 2017 and completed her residency in pediatrics at Children’s of Alabama Hospital this year.
Brooke is so happy to see her dream of having a pediatric practice in her hometown coming true.
“It is nice to be settled and back home,” Brooke said about opening her own clinic. “When I started medical school, Clay and I always talked about how we wanted to be back home, that I could have a practice here to take care of the kids in our community. That was 11 years ago. For it to finally be here feels very good.”
Lakeland CEO Ashley Pool is thrilled Brooke is back in Haleyville and is so ready to see Haleyville Pediatrics open and serving children and parents in the area.
Lakeland CEO Ashley Pool is so happy to see Goar opening her practice in Haleyville.
“For a rural area to have a specialist like a pediatrician be available to the community is a rarity in today's healthcare landscape. Dr. Goar not only brings her expertise in children's health, but also her love and care for a community she has known all of her life. I can't imagine a better combination,” Pool said.
Haleyville Pediatrics is very kid-friendly, with a beautiful color scheme and paintings of scenes and references to Disney animated films and cartoons everywhere, something that will definitely put the clinic’s young patients at ease. The clinic will offer a wide range of services for children - from newborns through adolescence.
Brooke looks at pediatrics as a preventative medicine field, an area where making good decisions early can make a big difference in the years to come.
“We try to catch things early. That is why we do well child check-ups. These can make a difference from the beginning. I will be monitoring for developmental delays, monitoring for developmental differences and coming up with plans for those so they do not affect the child’s outcome,” Brooke said.
Of course, Brooke will also be treating the many common illnesses that can affect children, such as pink eye, ear infections, skin infections, urinary tract infections, determining the difference between colds and sinus infections, etc.
As a mom and a doctor, Brooke knows how important it is to keep well children separated from sick children, something that is not always feasible at many medical clinics. Officials with Lakeland Hospital have worked very hard with Brooke to make Haleyville Pediatrics a place where sick and well children will be separated when they come in for visits. There are two separate entryways into the clinic, one for well child visits and another for children who are sick. The waiting rooms are completely separated, and each has its own sign-in desk.
“From the beginning, in my mind, I thought we have to have separate areas somehow. There is no way to keep children from interacting with one another if they are in the same room. When I first came to the clinic, it was one huge waiting room, so there was plenty of space. Lakeland and everyone here has made this happen,” Brooke said.
One aspect of child health that Brooke will be taking on is mental health, something that has been in the news more since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While some pediatricians do not tackle these complex issues, Brooke will be working with parents on mental health issues such as ADHD, behavioral issues, etc. She says that coming up with solutions for these issues can take time, but it is time she is willing to spend to help the area’s children and their families.
“This will take time, sitting down with families and talking with them to get down to the root cause of the problem. I enjoy doing that with families, and that is part of why I chose pediatrics, to involve the parent or caregiver in the plan to help the child,” Brooke said.
The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic will make visits to Haleyville Pediatrics a bit different, just to keep all patients, parents and staff members safe. Parents will need to call the office at (205) 485-7288 upon arrival in the parking lot before coming inside.
“We will screen you over the phone, determining if you or your child have had a fever, respiratory symptoms or cough,” Brooke said. “If you or your child have had these symptoms, we will do a car visit, where I will come out to the patient instead of bringing them into the clinic to possibly expose everyone else in the clinic.”
Caregivers and children will be required to wear masks within the clinic. For children who are younger and have a difficult time wearing masks, Brooke completely understands and will not require masks on very young children.
“We will not turn you away if you cannot get your very young child to wear a mask,” Brooke said.
Brooke will also be offering televisits where parents can call in if they do not feel good about bringing their sick child into the office. Brooke believes this can be effective in some situations.
“Some things I can probably troubleshoot by learning what the symptoms are over the phone instead of having a parent bring their child with a 103° fever in around everyone,” Brooke said.
For children who need extra care, Brooke will have the ability to send them to a hospital where specialized pediatric care will be available.
“Lakeland has always admitted children if they need to be admitted, and that is not changing. If a child needs specialized care, we will send that child somewhere with a pediatric floor or to Children’s of Alabama,” Brooke said. “It’s nice that I trained at Children’s. I have very close ties with all the pediatricians who work there now. They are willing and open to helping me when I need specialized care for one of my patients.”
Brooke cannot wait to start meeting her new patients and parents.
“I am so thrilled to be back caring for our kids. That has been my goal since I decided I wanted to go to medical school over 11 years ago. I am ready to get started. I know we have other medical providers here who are caring for children, but to have a pediatrician who is trained just to take care of these children, I hope it will meet the need,” Brooke said.
Haleyville Pediatrics will accept Medicaid, All Kids and most major private insurers. The clinic will be open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 8 a.m. until noon. The clinic will be closed each day from 12:30-1 p.m.
Appointments are being accepted now. Call (205) 485-7288 to make an appointment.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.