Pediatric Perspective Page

"What's Up, Docs?" is a forum for pediatricians, by pediatricians, to share your perspectives, voices, and ideas.

So, what's on your mind?  Docs, tell us what's up!

Children on the Run

Chrysa Cheronis, MD

From the safety of my home across the Atlantic, I watch the war in Ukraine unfold. The humanitarian crisis that has developed is not just limited to the loss of power, heat, and running water for many Ukrainian cities – civilians are now running for their lives as residential areas throughout the country are targets for bombardment. Attempts to flee these areas are further impeded, as heavy shelling is preventing the safe passage of humanitarian columns with Ukrainian and foreign citizens, as well as the delivery of medicines and food. . .

Promoting Health Access for Children in Immigrant Families

Andrew Brennan, M.D.

"'When was the last time you saw your pediatrician'

'Oh, he doesn’t have a pediatrician.'

I was taken aback by this response as typically, families reply immediately with their pediatrician’s name or the many valid reasons they haven’t scheduled an appointment..."

Just One Voice

Ruzan Orkusyan, MD, MPH

I was on vacation, enjoying a hot summer day at the community pool. I had hoped to unplug from work and turn off my pediatrician brain. My 10-year-old cousins begged to go to the jacuzzi and I reluctantly joined them. What happened next has prompted me to think...

Another One

Magi Gabra, MD, MS

“Hey team, we’re getting a PICU admit… another suicide attempt.” 

My teammates and I sigh. I see my co-residents’ faces fall and can almost feel their shoulders slump. Only a few days ago we had a sad case of a bright, promising adolescent who had been struggling with depression for years and had shown improvement but due to shortage of mental health professionals during the pandemic, was not seen by a therapist or psychiatrist for several months...

What is Your Favorite Vegetable?

Emma Squire, MD

I try to ask this question at all of my regular well child checkups. It’s an easy segue to counseling on the importance of varied nutrition and adequate physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. Prior to this year, this question was usually met with giggles and stumped faces before finally blurting out an answer. (I’ve heard answers ranging from French fries, to apples, to artichokes)...

Promoting Resilience

Meghan Schmitt, MD

As I near the end of my intern year, I reflect on all that I have learned from my patients. Starting residency in a global pandemic, I have seen more adversity than I ever thought possible in a year: Parental loss, food insecurity, chronic disease, systemic racism, homelessness, abuse, neglect. But I have also seen resilience...

A Call to Catch Up on Childhood Vaccines

Catherine Nguyen, MD




These, along with 13 other infectious diseases, must not be forgotten as the COVID-19 vaccination effort is underway. These are diseases that are life-threatening but now...

Two Words for the New Year

John Ichiro Takayama, MD, MPH, FAAP

It’s 2021 and I’m thinking of two words to inspire me for the new year. One is “gambaru-na” and the other is “interdependence” and they are interrelated. Gambaru-na, a Japanese term, means “don’t try your best.” In Japan, there is a tradition of “gambaru” (try your best) and a high rate of Karo-shi (“death related to work”), and my interpretation is that overwork is related to poor health outcomes...

The Pediatrician Role in Immigrant Voting: Encouraging Voices to be Heard

Samantha Sechrist, MS-1, Greta Peng, MD and Ali Valdrighi, MD

As the 2020 US presidential election quickly approaches, the call to political advocacy for physicians is of high importance. With the degree of voting misinformation being circulated during this election cycle, it is even more necessary for medical professionals to be a trusted resource for patients...

Climate Change is a Health Emergency

Lisa Patel, MD

As I write, the West Coast is engulfed in flames. Mid-August brought a searing heat wave along the West Coast, with the highest-ever recorded temperature on Earth at 130 degrees F in Death Valley. Lightning, an extremely rare occurrence in many parts of California, lashed the state, striking 10,000 times in rapid succession over just three days...

COVID-19 Pandemic: Protecting Future Residents

Ali Valdrighi, MD and Helen Pu, MD

With the COVID-19 pandemic drawing to a close, the world begins to breathe a sigh of relief as things move toward normalcy. Yet, for healthcare providers, even as work lessens, the physical stress and psychological toll of the numerous tragedies we have witnessed persists and is unlikely to vanish in the near future (1). This stress is amplified for resident doctors who have shouldered a disproportionate...

The Navajo COVID Experience

Nelson Branco, MD, FAAP

It is obvious that the novel coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated and revealed racial inequities in our country and our communities in a way that many of us have never seen. Those of us who work with these children and families may be unsurprised, but it remains to be seen what our country will do to address these issues. Do we have the political will to spend our resources in a way that improves the health of those communities?...