Photo by Ted Escobar
Mary Pine, right, goes over information on becoming qualified to give child immunizations, with receptionist Alexandra Baldovinos and Medical Assistant Michelle Rangel.
As of Friday, September 7, 2018
Mary Pine grew up in Vicksburg, Miss., wanting to become a veterinarian.
“My uncle was a doctor in Dallas, and I helped him in the summers,” she said.
Pine did not become an animal doctor, but she is a physician’s assistant with her own practice in Sunnyside.
“I love helping people, and this is the best way I can do that,” she said.
Pine has leased the Sunnyside Family Medicine building, just beyond the schools campus on East Lincoln Avenue. The owner is retired Dr. Ronald Couturier.
The practice was dedicated Sunday in a blessing ceremony by Pastor Dale Hayes of the church Pine attends in Grandview.
“My church has been praying for me for a couple of months,” she said.
She added that she believes the healing process is enhanced when patients call on God for help.
Pine didn’t work for Couturier, but she worked in the building under Dr. Kent Vye for two years. Now she’s on her own.
“It’s not scary,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot.”
That makes sense. Pine picked up a lot of business and medical experience getting to this point.
She went to business school first and earned a degree. She took employment in the business world for the next eight years.
Pine enrolled in Central Texas College of Nursing in 1985 and left a registered nurse in 1987. She worked in Illinois, Texas, Kentucky and Missouri.
In 1997, Pine enrolled in PA school at the University of North Dakota. She emerged as the next best thing to a doctor.
A PA can perform any service that can be performed by a family medicine doctor. All she needs is a supervising physician, and he is Dr. David Johnson, DO, who works at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima.
“I only need to have a supervising physician who is within phone reach,” Pine said.
Pine was a traveling provider. That brought her to the Tacoma VA Hospital and, eventually, to the Grandview Medical Center for two years. She stopped traveling.
Pine moved on to Mid-Valley Community Clinic, affiliated with the Sunnyside hospital. She was there six years, then moved to Sunnyside Family Medicine.
Pine has changed the name of the practice, but her new sign had not arrived last Wednesday.
She has hired three staff members. Elvia Baldovinos, who’s known her way around the building for years, is the office manager and a medical assistant.
Baldovinos’ daughter Alexandra is the receptionist, and Michelle Rangel is a medical assistant.
Most of the patients from the past have hung around too. Pine said more than 100 people have filled out patient forms.
She opened her practice to the public on Sept. 4.