Please join us in giving Dr. Julie Cheek a warm welcome to Bellingham! Dr. Cheek recently moved from Florida to join the Interfaith Community Health Center as their first ever pediatrician.

What inspired the move to Bellingham?

I was looking to make a change that’d allow me to do more pediatric care. I always had an interest in living in a western state, and saw the opportunity come up. When I came for an interview, I fell in love with Bellingham. I’d never heard of the town before the interview.

What were you doing before the move?

I came from a large community health center in St. Petersburg, Florida. I practiced pediatrics there for 20 years, and served as director for the past ten.

Tell us about the importance of pediatric care for low income children.

Low income children may not have easy access to basic care like many of us take for granted. It’s often complicated by social, financial, and transportation barriers. I advocate for proper nutrition for under and overweight children, preventative dental health, support for emotional and mental health concerns, and preventative care like immunizations. Not addressing these needs can have a significant impact on a child’s learning ability, and long-term physical and behavioral health outcomes as adults.

What impact do you look forward to making in the community?

I see myself as the promoter and coordinator for children’s health. At Interfaith, I have the opportunity to help create a pediatric program that encompasses all of these healthcare needs at one location with our onsite dental and behavioral health programs. I want to improve the community’s immunization rates and make sure all our children are properly immunized against preventable deadly or debilitating diseases.

What do people not know about you that they should?

The most important job I do is listen.

Some people think doctors have to order multiple tests and blood work or prescribe a medicine. Sometimes all the answers lie in what the patient or child’s parent has told you. Often the diagnosis is clear and sometimes gentle reassurance and patient education. Sometimes attentiveness is the best medicine a physician can give.

What have you gotten to explore in town so far?

I’ve been trying to keep up with all the endless activities in Cascadia Weekly. I love going to live theater. Bellingham is great because there are excellent choices for affordable theater with great talent. My favorites are iDiOM Theater, Upfront Theatre, and Western Washington University productions.

I also love how close so many outdoor activities are. I’ve already been on a whale watching trip, hiking near Mt. Baker, riding my bike on Chuckanut, and horseback riding. The coolest thing that I couldn’t do in Florida was riding my bike along the Interurban Trail and picking enough blackberries to make a pie when I got home.

Do you have a favorite restaurant or brewery in town yet?

I really like the food and beer at Aslan! My kids love the t-shirts there, too.

What’s a perfect Bellingham weekend look like?

The perfect weekend would be going to the Farmers Market for fresh peaches and veggies, then packing a picnic and riding the trail to Lake Whatcom to sit under trees and read a book. On Sunday, I’d go for a long hike near Mt. Baker and then come back to town to sit outside at a local brewery to enjoy the weather.

January 3, 2017

Jeff Jewell

December 30, 2016

Matt Mullett

December 26, 2016

Todd Elsworth

December 23, 2016

Corrinne Sande

December 21, 2016

Downtown Improvement Gardens

December 17, 2016

San Juan Airlines

December 15, 2016

Holiday Classic

December 9, 2016

Baker Beacon Rally