Photos Cameron Flaisch
Knowledge, innovation, honesty, and care are the touchstones that characterize the work and commitment of the physicians and staff of Harbin Clinic Pediatrics Adairsville. A newly arrived addition to this exceptional pediatric team is Dr. Chelsea Tehan.
Like her colleagues, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of children by providing quality health care, a friendly environment, and a positive experience for the children at every age and every stage of their lives.
A childhood dream fulfilled
Dr. Tehan developed a desire to study medicine at an early age. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was about six years old,” she says. “My aunt was a pediatric nurse, and she would take me to the hospital.” So as a little girl, Dr. Tehan personally experienced the positive impact of professional interactions between patients and medical professionals. Then, during medical school she saw the same thing as she shadowed a family medicine doctor in a rural community. As she followed the physician from room to room while he visited patients, she felt a deep respect for the ways families allowed him to be a part of their lives.
Dr. Tehan received her medical degree from Florida State University College of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency and internship at the University of South Florida. After residency, she pursued additional training in pediatric mental health. She recognized the critical need to treat and care for young patients navigating mental health challenges, and she wanted to be equipped and ready to help.
While still in medical school, Dr. Tehan did a rotation with a family medicine doctor in Bonifay, Florida. This family medicine doctor was one of only six total doctors in the rural town. She also practiced obstetrics, delivered babies, and served a weekly 24-hour shift at the hospital as an ER doctor. Experiencing the dedication, the intellectual capacity, and the need in such a community, Dr. Tehan felt called to serve in rural communities as well.
“Working in that community opened my eyes to how many people needed care from a medical professional they could trust,” she explains. “I love serving my patients in a variety of ways based on their individual needs.” She goes on to say, “In many smaller communities, there are often not enough psychiatrists available to young patients. I continue to educate myself about this essential element of pediatrics so that I am better prepared to care for my patients.”
Shared medical standards and values
Dr. Tehan is excited to be a part of Harbin Clinic Pediatrics Adairsville and to work with a physician-owned organization. She strongly agrees with Harbin Clinic’s emphasis on families and doctors making decisions together about a patient’s healthcare journey. She finds it personally and professionally satisfying to work with an organization that cherishes and upholds values so closely aligned with her own. “I chose to come to Adairsville because I knew Dr. Harbin Pickett personally, and I felt like this was the best fit for myself, as well as my family.”
“At Harbin Clinic Pediatrics Adairsville,” says Dr. Tehan, “our goal is to create a very warm, very friendly, very fun atmosphere. We do our best to treat them [the patients] as we would our own families.”
Her outstanding qualities are not lost on her coworkers. “Dr. Tehan is a delightful and compassionate pediatrician,” Dr. Sara Harbin Pickett of Pediatrics Adairsville said upon Dr. Tehan’s appointment to the team. “We welcome her expertise, extensive knowledge-base, and joyful personality.”
On a personal note
Though the diagnosis and treatment of children can be a sobering business, Dr. Tehan also experiences many instances of levity and joy in the exam room. “My favorite part of pediatrics is the honesty of the kids,” she says. “An example of this is when one time I was examining a young boy—probably around six—and he reached out [a finger] to the corner of my eye and said, ‘Dr. T, are these wrinkles? You have wrinkles!’”
“When I’m not working,” she says, “I enjoy spending time with my three small children—ages eleven, eight, and four—and with my husband as well. And I also enjoy spending time with my extended family, as well as my pets.” (Speaking of pets, the Tehans have chickens, dogs, cats, and four horses.) Dr. Tehan and her family also love to travel.
Healthy for life
Regarding Harbin Clinic’s work in pediatrics, Dr. Tehan takes a long-term view. She doesn’t see it as the treatment of the child only, but of what and who that child will be for the rest of his/her life. “Children have a chance to improve their lives early on,” she says. “They have a chance to avoid diseases rather than trying to fix them later, and I want to be part of families and be part of their care and growth over time.
The most important thing for a patient or a family to know is that their pediatrician is there for them to help them. It’s our job to help take care of their child. I’ve helped them with the most important thing in their life, which is their child. And so, to do that and to make their lives a little bit easier is what this is all about.”
One thing Dr. Tehan prioritizes is really getting to know her patients—again, in the long-term sense. She says, “As a pediatrician, I hope to be there for your children through every stage of their young lives. I aspire to care for a community of children and then care for their children…and their children’s children!”