Meet Dr. Mark
Mark E. Helm MD, MBA, FAAP (known to his patients as “Dr. Mark”) is the founder and owner of Small Town Pediatrics. His mission is to provide pediatric care to children in the small towns around the mid Willamette Valley. Mercer University’s School of Medicine instilled in him the important mission to increase primary care services for “rural and under served areas of Georgia.” Maybe Oregon is not Georgia, but 2 out 3 is not bad.
Dr. Mark spent the first half of his childhood in Arkansas. The nearest pediatrician was 1 ½ hours away. He understands the importance and need for families to have nearby access to their child(ren)’s healthcare clinicians. “I am always as close as your phone,” he tells families, who feel secure that they can always reach him when needed.”
Dr. Mark’s mother knew he would be a doctor when he was a little kid. It took Dr. Mark a more circuitous route lending a diverse set of work and life experience to his pediatric care practice. For almost a decade prior to medical school, Dr. Mark worked in the pharmaceutical industry in market research. This background allows him to answer in depth questions about pharmaceutical interventions including vaccines.
Dr. Mark’s medical school followed a problem based learning format rather than a traditional lecture style. His lifelong interest in continued education coupled with his analytical style means he combines up to date knowledge with a comprehensive approach to meeting the healthcare needs of children. It also allows him to help even the most medically complicated children reach their highest health potential.
Dr. Mark’s work in Arkansas included time as a hospital attending, pharmacy coverage and policy work with the state Medicaid and state employees health plans, and patient care primarily at Arkansas Pediatric Clinic in Little Rock. Dr. Mark became involved in state and national advocacy through policy work relating to medication use and pharmacy benefits. Dr. Mark considers his greatest accomplishments in Arkansas were to create policies changing the treatment of asthma to be consistent with treatment guidelines, and to assure informed consent and safety monitoring for children treated with antipsychotic medication for behavior disturbances. His policies relating to antipsychotic medications led to a decrease in use of these potent and potentially hazardous medications by 50% in young children and by 30% in teens. This work is part of the reason Dr. Mark does not rely soley on pharmaceuticals for health needs and prescribes cautiously. Before these policies went into effect, Arkansas’s children were treated with antipsychotic medication at a higher rate than any other population for whom data were known.
Dr. Mark has been serving the families of Marion and Polk Counties for ten years – first at Childhood Health Associates and now at Small Town Pediatrics, In addition to the pediatric care Dr. Mark has been privileged to provide, he continues his advocacy and leadership roles at the local, state and national levels. He serves with the Willamette Health Council, and has been involved in pharmacy benefits and policy in Oregon serving on several committees locally and for the state. He also continues his engagement with the American Academy of Pediatrics on issues relating to community-based private pediatric medical practice
Dr. Mark wanted to be a small town doctor with the practice attached to his home. Bringing neighborly “small town” care to underserved areas is the closest he could get. He is proud to be part of the communities he serves and feels privileged to watch and help your children grow.