TAMC welcomes pediatricians and expands services to Caribou Health Center

TAMC’s Aroostook Pediatrics practice is expanding services to meet community needs thanks to the addition of a new pediatrician and the full-time return of a much-loved and respected one.

Dr. Maria Rutmann joined the practice on July 25. She earned her medical degree from Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas, Venezuela, her native country. She worked as a primary care and community health provider in a rural area in Venezuela before coming to the United States and completing her Pediatric Residency at Miami Children’s Hospital.

Being around children most of her life, Dr. Rutmann said her experiences as a summer camp counselor and hailing from a large family are reasons she chose to enter the pediatric field.

“Kids make me happy. They teach you about being brave,” she said. “They never cease to amaze me.”

Dr. Rutmann is an avid outdoor enthusiast and said that part of the attraction of northern Maine was its sheer beauty. Accomplished in several water sports, she is looking forward to learning some winter ones, particularly snowboarding. She and her 9-month old golden retriever, Simba, are settling into the community, and she’s excited to have joined the team at Aroostook Pediatrics.

After visiting TAMC, Dr. Rutmann was impressed by how nice everyone she met locally was and by both the team and the procedures at Aroostook Pediatrics.

“There is a true continuity with the patients. I like the structure here, where they save spots each day to help fit in the calls with immediate need so the patient is being seen by those who know them best, not in the emergency department or urgent care setting,” Dr. Rutmann said. “It is very different from my experience in Miami.”

Among those that Dr. Rutmann will be joining in the practice is Dr. Peter Morningstar, a very popular pediatrician who has been with TAMC for many years but had been serving in a limited part-time basis for more than a year. He is returning to full-time status on August 21.

Rounding out the Aroostook Pediatrics practice with Dr. Rutmann and Dr. Morningstar are: Jorge Piniero, MD; Rebecca Ayala, MD; Renee Fournier, DO; Lori Eckerstorfer, PA-C; and Carolina Merida-Copeland, MD, a psychiatrist specializing in pediatric care.

With the return of Dr. Morningstar and the addition of Dr. Rutmann, Aroostook Pediatrics will be expanded services to TAMC’s Caribou Health Center beginning August 22.

“We are excited about being able to now treat pediatric patients regularly in Caribou,” said Michael Beaulier, manager of Aroostook Pediatrics. “Even with the extended evening hours we have had in place for some time in Presque Isle, it has been a struggle at times to keep our access as open as we would like. By holding regular hours at a second location, not only can we more conveniently serve our patients who travel from Caribou and points north, but we will also create more access in Presque Isle to better meet patient needs.”

Beginning the week of August 21, providers from Aroostook Pediatrics will begin seeing patients at the Caribou Health Center on Bennett Drive four days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Dr. Morningstar will be in Caribou on Tuesdays and Fridays, while Lori Eckerstorfer, PA-C will be in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays.