Meet Dr. Mark
Mark E. Helm MD, MBA, FAAP (known to his patients as “Dr. Mark”) is a founding member of Small Town Pediatrics. He is very excited about the prospects 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 underserved areas of Georgia.” Maybe Oregon is not Georgia, but 2 out 3 is not bad.
A Previous Career & a Lucky Ticket
Dr. Mark brings a diverse set of work and life experiences to his pediatric care practice. For almost a decade prior to medical school, Mark worked in the pharmaceutical industry in market research. He realized that a career in pharmaceuticals would require him to continually learn about medicines and health, but that learning would not likely be directed toward helping others. Mark decided to use his gifts and abilities for the good of mankind rather than to further profit multinational corporations.
While in medical school in Macon, Georgia he once could not find his current auto insurance card and received a ticket. While at municipal court contesting the charge he happened to meet a Georgia Peach contesting a parking ticket. Obviously fated to meet, Mark promptly and sensibly married Jade in 1999. After graduation from Mercer in 2001, the Helm’s returned to Mark’s home state of Arkansas for his residency in pediatrics at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Creating Policies for Children
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. Dr. Mark’s 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. 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.
In his Spare Time…
In 2013, Dr. Mark and Jade left the South for Oregon to enjoy the beauty and bounty of the Pacific Northwest, and (if we are honest) the wine. Together they enjoy travel, all kinds of live performances, and excellent food. He doesn’t “enjoy” home renovation, but can’t seem to stop.
Dr. Mark continues his advocacy and leadership roles at the local, state and national levels. He serves as Chair of 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 is also engaged with the American Academy of Pediatrics on issues relating to community-based private pediatric medical practice.