“I view parents as the foremost experts on their child”
What was your path to becoming a pediatrician? What inspired you to choose this profession?
After many years as a General Pediatrician in the US and around the world, I found myself in NYC working with Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, a long-time champion of environmental policies that benefit children’s health. I earned a Master of Public Health degree in Pediatric Environmental Medicine from Mount Sinai, while conducting research on endocrine disrupting toxins and how they might adversely affect the developing brain. I soon realized I wanted to combine my experience in pediatric medicine with my research in neurodevelopment and apply this knowledge in a clinical setting.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
While I appreciate the value of performing medical evaluations in a clinic, I learn a lot about children by simply observing and interacting with them in their natural environment, something that can’t be duplicated in a clinical setting.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
Collaboration between physicians, psychologists, social workers, therapists, etc. in child mental health is critical to ensuring families are receiving the appropriate help they need, especially when it comes to children with complex health issues. To accomplish this, I take on a more central role, not only as a clinician, but as someone who coordinates care so that families don’t get lost in a sea of providers.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
One of the fundamental shortfalls in medicine today is not the lack of specialists or specialty care, but the difficulty in achieving interdisciplinary collaboration among all these specialists. Medical care has become a feudal system where competing agendas among academic institutions and healthcare reimbursement systems keep doctors siloed behind proverbial castle walls.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy what would they be and why?
Dr. Berry Brazelton’s Touchpoints influenced how I approach each family with an open mind, instead of allowing my own beliefs and biases to cloud my interactions with them. To do this, I abide by two Touchpoint assumptions: that all parents have strengths and that all parents want to do well by their children.
“I believe that Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians are uniquely qualified to deliver a truly “holistic” developmental assessment because, as pediatricians first, they have a broad understanding of the biological, psychological, and educational issues that impact children’s lives.”