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From Humans to Horses

TSPMG Emergency Medicine Physician Uses Talents to Care for 'All Creatures Great and Small'

Madeleine Ponder, MD, DVM

She is trained to treat any medical problem, has mastered organic gardening and beekeeping, logged hundreds of volunteer hours and completed a triathlon. Plus, she's a veterinarian.

Madeleine Ponder, MD, DVM, a member of the Emergency Medicine team at Kaiser Permanente's TownPark and Southwood Medical Centers, knew she wanted to be a vet when she was only 3-years-old. Through her grandfather’s work as a county agent, she discovered her innate interest in farm animals.  It was a passion she followed all the way through childhood and on to N.C. State Veterinary School. But after earning her degree, Dr. Ponder had a change of heart, and her life took an unexpected turn.

“I wanted to do something more helpful to the population in general, and I became more interested in human medicine. Then, I went to East Carolina Medical School.”

After enduring another round of academic rigor, Dr. Ponder found her calling in Emergency Medicine—but first, another curve ball.

She was in her last month of school and had already matched in General Surgery. With “the odds stacked against her,” she frantically searched for an Emergency Medicine Residency. There were two spots in the entire country, and Dr. Ponder landed one of them. She has been practicing EM for the past 19 years, with no signs of slowing down.

Dr. Ponder later shifted her attention from medicine to motherhood. She adopted two daughters from China, the younger of which was diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder. Though the news was “kind of devastating,” Dr. Ponder fought back with perseverance and courage.

“I was looking for resources and heard about an ‘All About Developmental Disabilities’ (AADD) course. I wanted to learn how to help your special needs family member and get funding for special needs projects.  Many are destitute. Someone needs to be a champion for them.”

Dr. Ponder stepped up and became that champion. She served two years on the Governor’s Counsel for Developmental Disabilities, and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Therapeutic Riding Community.

“Kids come who are limited physically and have a great time,” explained Dr. Ponder. She also volunteers at their yearly riding competition through the Special Olympics of Georgia.

And then there’s that Veterinary degree she still has. On Saturday afternoons, Dr. Ponder trades sterile hospitals for dusty stables in Fulton County, where she provides free vaccinations for the horses. Run entirely on donations, the stables’ needs would likely go unmet without Dr. Ponder’s generosity.

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group sincerely thanks Dr. Ponder for extending her unstinting compassion to both our members and her four-legged patients.

Dr. Ponder‘s big goal for retirement?  “Doing spays and neuters.” When asked if she sleeps, Dr. Ponder replied with a laugh, “I try not to.”


Christee Goode Laster Joins TSPMG as Director of Regulatory Compliance

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group (TSPMG) is pleased to announce that Christee Goode Laster has joined the medical group as the Director of TSPMG Regulatory Compliance.

In her new role, Christee will ensure that TSPMG is in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements, including monitoring federal, state and local legislative and regulatory activities that affect our practice. She will work closely with our Chief of Risk on items brought to Georgia licensing and regulatory bodies and other matters that arise through risk management activities.  She will also be responsible for our annual compliance training and conflict of interest reporting, and will participate in TSPMG’s political action committee work and other legislative matters.

Christee joins us with a unique background that is ideally suited for her new role. She received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Florida A&M University and a Law degree from Boston University and maintains a current license as both a pharmacist and attorney. Prior to joining TSPMG, she was part of a private law practice that worked with a variety of physicians, physician group practices and other health care clients.




Emile Pinera, MD Named TSPMG Physician Lead for Diversity

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group (TSPMG) is pleased to announce that Emile Pinera, MD has been named TSPMG Physician Lead for Diversity. In his new role, Dr. Pinera will collaborate with Dawn Bading, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia (KPGA) VP of Human Resources, to lead the region’s diversity activities and chair KPGA’s Diversity Council. He will also partner with our clinical client engagement team (Area Physician Market Leaders and Regional Ambassadors) in market-facing activities across the region, focusing on engagements that give KPGA a distinct opportunity to leverage our own diverse practices and culturally competent care. He will report to Joey Cadle, MD, Assistant to the Medical Director for External Relations.

Dr. Pinera joined TSPMG’s Ambulatory Medicine department in 2012 after receiving his medical degree from St. George's University School of Medicine and completing residency training at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, NY. He currently practices in our Fayette MOB, is a co-lead of the office’s unit based team, and works as an urgent care physician. Dr. Pinera is active in our group of regional Ambassadors and has already given several local presentations in the metro Atlanta area.

Please join us in welcoming Emile to his new role.



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Kaiser Permanente of Georgia is growing. We are located in more than 25 metro Atlanta facilities and associated hospitals. Kaiser Permanente will make a significant investment over the next five years to considerably increase the number of facilities, services and specialty care throughout Atlanta.

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