Dr. Marisel Santiago says that she came to La Red Health Center after being in private practice after she and her husband moved to Delaware. She learned of the work being done at La Red Health Center and felt that it would be the perfect place for her.
“I came in for an interview and learned they never had a pediatrician on staff,” Dr. Santiago said. “I love working here because I feel I am making a difference in the lives of children and their families. They are so appreciative of everything we do for them and it feels great when they see me on the street, come running to me and give me a hug or to thank me for taking care of their son or daughter.” Dr. Santiago has been with La Red Health Center since 2012.
Dr. Santiago was born in New York but moved with her parents to Puerto Rico when she was nine. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico and received her Doctor in Medicine from the Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in Santiago , Dominican Republic. She completed her internship at the Mayaguez Medical Center in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Her husband of 28 years brought her to Delaware when his job relocated to the state. She has a 20-year old daughter in her third year at the University of Delaware.
“I enjoyed my work in private practice at Beacon Pediatric,” Dr. Santiago said. “I learned about La Red through my church and the more I heard, the more I became interested. What drew me was the population served as they are often missed when it comes to medical care. Today, we have three pediatricians on staff in our three offices.”
The hardest part of the job for Dr. Santiago is informing parents that a child has a life-threatening or serious illness. Despite the challenges and difficulties those types of duties present, she would not change her job for anything as she feels she is making a difference in the lives of children.
In addition to caring for young patients, Dr. Santiago also acts as the newly appointed Director of Pediatrics at La Red Health Center. In this position, she is responsible for expanding and integrating services at three primary care sites in Milford, Georgetown and Seaford. She feels that La Red’s integrated services will further increase the health center’s ability to take on additional pediatric patients, providing healthcare to more young people throughout the area. Since she began to work at La Red Health Center, the pediatric population has grown as they now have three full time pediatricians, one in each office. The pediatricians at the Milford and Georgetown offices are bilingual in Spanish and English and the pediatricians at the Seaford office have translators for Spanish and Creole. All three offices are accepting new patients.
The dental department has two new dentists and they are accepting new pediatric patients as young as nine months old, to help maintain a healthy dental hygiene in children that receive care at La Red Health Center. A behavioral health social worker in the Georgetown and Milford offices works with children with emotional and or behavior issues, ADHD, autism and problems with school performance.
“We also have very good relationships and communications with other community services and especially with AI hospital for children in regards or referrals for pediatric specialties and consults as with Children Hospital of Philadelphia,” said Dr. Santiago. “Also our Prenatal class for pregnant mothers of La Red and also from the community has grown and has been very helpful especially for young and or first time parents, with information about breastfeeding, baby’s care, safety and well being.”
On the first Friday of each month from noon until 1 PM, Dr. Santiago conducts prenatal classes at La Red Health Center. The class is open to any woman who is in her third trimester of pregnancy and they do not have to be a patient of La Red Health Center to join the class. To learn more about La Red Health Center and the services they offer, contact 302-855-1233 or visit them online at www.laredhealthcenter.org.
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