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Tinker’s new pediatrician knows her stuff

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Editor's note: This is the second story in a nine-article series about military providers assigned to Tinker.

If it hadn't been for Paul Davis, Tinker could have missed out on a valuable medical asset.

Because of her dad's advice, Jessica Davis applied for an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps college scholarship. Following her commission, she applied to medical school. Dr. (Capt.) Davis, a pediatrician, arrived at the 72nd Medical Operations Squadron in June, where she cares for the children of military members.

"Dr. Davis comes to us from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where she completed both her residency training as well as two additional years as a medical doctor. Wilford Hall Medical Center has always been a major medical center for the Air Force and holds a full complement of pediatric specialists ranging from cardiology to urology," said Maj. Amy Quirke, 72nd MDOS Medical Services Flight commander and Dr. Davis' supervisor. "She has had the great fortune to work with many of these specialists during her residency and after her board certification. This has afforded her the opportunity to stay abreast of information regarding the latest treatments and standards of care."

Prior to becoming a doctor and officer, Dr. Davis wasn't totally naïve about the health sciences career field or military. Like many others, she thought about being a doctor when she was a child, and has an uncle who is a cardiologist. In her San Antonio high school, Dr. Davis participated in Army Junior ROTC and was encouraged by her dad, a retired civil service employee who worked for the Air Force, and Junior ROTC instructor to apply for a ROTC scholarship.

While on scholarship at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, she studied biology and chemistry. And, even though she doesn't recall a specific incident or story that made her choose her career field, Dr. Davis said she made the decision to become a doctor during her freshman year of college. By then she knew she enjoyed working with people and thought pediatrics would be a rewarding and challenging career.

"Kids are just so spontaneous and for the part, they don't create their medical problems," Dr. Davis said. "They're pretty fun and just more natural than adults."

Just prior to graduation, she applied to the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio and was accepted.

Having survived challenging undergraduate and medical school classes, and her internship, Dr. Davis was on her way. Determined to be the best provider she could, she said she learned as much as she could and now applies it every day.

As a pediatrician within the 72nd Medical Group, she sees roughly 18 to 20 children a day ranging in age from infancy to 18 years old. Her favorite age groups are the babies, kindergartners and first graders.

"They make me laugh," she said, "and the kindergartners and first graders always have funny stories."

But, that isn't always the case, especially when a child isn't feeling well. Dr. Davis said one of her greatest challenges is calming a parent. Oftentimes when a child is sick she has to put the parents at ease.

"Sometimes it's hard to convey my medical knowledge with what they're concerned about," Dr. Davis said.

In other cases, Dr. Davis just has to be there for the parents as they face a difficult experience, like the one she faced roughly a year ago. While she was still in residency, she had made the diagnosis of a young boy. At 4 years old, he had a brain tumor.

"It was a hard thing to talk to the parents, you know?" she said. "It was good in that it was really caught early and the boy ended up doing really well. He's a normal kid now and that was rewarding knowing that I potentially made a big difference."

Medicine is not for everyone, but it is for Dr. Davis. A mother to 9-month-old son Ian, with husband, S.T., she can relate to other parents and put her knowledge to good use.