|Q1: What is your touchpoint in foster/adoption care, and how does that shape how you care for patients in the Foster Adoption Clinic?|
Dr. Cliff: I grew up in the California foster care system from the ages of 4-18. After multiple foster care placements, I was taken in by the Moeckelmann family, who provided me with a consistent, stable home and opportunities to thrive in finding my passion for education, athletics, and my Christian faith. My experience in the foster care system gives me a unique perspective and motivation to provide the highest quality care to children and families in foster and adoption care. I hope that my education and training can place me in a position to give others the same opportunity at a second chance in life that I was able to have in foster care.
Desiree: I’ve had a lot of unique touch points to foster care, including volunteering in college in the NICU & PICC for babies who had been abandoned, and later fostering families in my home while they supported their child. My life now outside of work is as an adoptive momma to two pretty great kids. They are my greatest teachers and supporters of when “mom goes to work to take care of the kids”. (I wonder if they think I work at a daycare?!)
Q2: What is your favorite thing about your job?
Dr. Cliff: My favorite thing about my job are the people that I work with and the families that I am able to provide care for. April, Jessica, Kevin, Brigette, Nichole, and Desiree are such incredible co-workers, who not only do their jobs well, but also are so fun to work with. It’s also a bonus that they have the same mission and motivation to provide kids with trauma minimizing care, and a consistent, compassionate medical care experience that has children saying, “when can we come back to the doctor’s office?” as they leave.
Desiree: I love the small victories—when a scared 2-year-old is willing to engage while holding a stuffy; when the shot blocker alleviates needle fear for a 2nd grader; when a teenager starts a visit with “hey, remember that thing we talked about…?” Those small victories are based on building relationship and will hopefully become the building blocks for a healthy future.
Q3: What changes would you like to see in the future of medical care for kids in foster care?
Dr. Cliff: I would love to see better integration in the healthcare system that allows medical records and other systems to be more consistent and efficient in caring for children in foster care. It’s more challenging to manage their care and records across systems when these patients are forced to move between counties, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.
Desiree: Hopefully one day, that there doesn’t need to be a unique clinic for kids and families in foster care. Until then, that relationship focused/trauma minimizing health care becomes the standard across all of medical and dental care.
Q4: Who has been your most impactful mentor or role model regarding your approach to medical care?
Dr. Cliff: My foster parents. They made an incredible sacrifice to provide me with opportunities to succeed, and ultimately gave me my life perspective. They are the reason I pursued a career as a doctor.
Desiree: My children’s pediatrician has been a beautiful example of coming along side my own family as more than just a medical diagnostician. I hope to tell her one day how much she impacted the development of the Foster Adoption Clinic.
Q5: Who is your favorite musical artist?
Dr. Cliff: Favorite musical artist right now is Wilder Woods, an independent musical pursuit by the lead singer of Needtobreathe.
Desiree: I’m a big fan of Pink Martini. Truth be told, if I’m left alone in the car, a 90s power ballad concert may take place.
Q5: Are you a cat or a dog person?
Dr. Cliff: I am dog person because they are joyful, social, and love to eat.
Desiree: 100% dog person. As a child my siblings and I also raised Guinea pigs and rabbits.
Q6: What’s your dream vacation destination (where money and time off is no object)?
Dr. Cliff: A 1 month stay on Jeff Bezos’ yacht named Koru, which cost 500 million dollars to build. I would use the yacht to tour around port cities on the Mediterranean Sea.
Q7: What’s your favorite movie or tv show of all time?
Dr. Cliff: Remember the Titans, or any other movie that Denzel Washington has been in.
Desiree: I could watch Little Women (any version) on repeat all day long.