CHOC Wants to Hear From You: Complete the Physician Survey April 23-May 21

CHOC Children’s 2018 Physician Engagement Survey will be held April 23 – May 21. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to provide us with your candid feedback, which will allow CHOC to further improve our programs and services to better meet your and your patients’ needs.

In appreciation of completing the survey, all participants will be entered in a raffle for a chance to win one of the following prizes: gift card to The Resort at Pelican Hill; gift card to The Ritz-Carlton; gift card to Mastro’s Restaurants; and gift card to Amazon. One winner will be selected each week of the survey.

Please look for an email with your personal link to the survey from Press Ganey, who is conducting the survey on behalf of CHOC.

Should you have any questions, please contact Leslie Castelo, director, business development at CHOC, at 714-509-4329 or lcastelo@choc.org.

Meet Dr. Charles Golden

CHOC Children’s wants community providers to get to know its physicians. Today, meet Dr. Charles Golden, a board-certified pediatrician and executive medical director, Primary Care Network, CHOC Children’s.

Q: What is your education and training?

A: I earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at University of California, Riverside. After completing my undergraduate studies, I attended Western University of Health Sciences College of Allied Health and earned a certificate as a physician assistant. I worked at Southern Orange County Pediatric Associates (SOCPA) as a physician assistant until I started medical school at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, in Pomona. I completed my internship and residency, including a year as chief resident, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Q: How long have you been at CHOC?

A: Just over a year.

Q: What are your special clinical interests?

A: I love all aspects of clinical medicine, but get energized when I have the opportunity to teach. I believe that every encounter with a patient is an opportunity to teach them something about the body and explain why we make the decisions that we do in medicine. I’m also passionate about teaching medical students and residents, as they continually challenge me to stay up to date with new research. I love the feeling I get from contributing to the development of their careers as physicians.

Q: Are there any new programs or developments within CHOC’s Primary Care Network?

A: In the near future, we plan to open an after-hours clinic for the entire community. By the end of summer, we’re planning on implementing a single electronic health record (EHR) through Cerner for all our primary care offices so that all of our providers chart on patients in the same record, and a patient’s medical information can securely be available to whoever they see in our group. This will continue to improve communications within the practices.

We’re also growing our comprehensive adolescent medicine services. We will be hiring another adolescent medicine specialist to address this unique, complex patient population. Additionally, we’re working on the use of digital vision screening devices to look for problems with vision in children younger than 4 years old, who are often too young to read a visual acuity chart.

In addition, we’re working closely with CHOC’s chief psychologist, Dr. Heather Huszti and her team to provide a mental health professional in each of our primary care offices to help the medical team screen for and address mental health issues. This is a component of CHOC’s mental health initiative, including the mental health inpatient center opening this spring.

Q: What would you like specialists to know about primary care at CHOC?

A: I would want the specialists to know about the high-quality care that our physicians provide on a daily basis, as well as the breadth of our network – from central and north Orange County to the most southern part of the county in San Clemente – and the broad diversity of the patients that we care for.

I’d also like them to know that they can feel comfortable collaborating with our pediatricians, and that they can count on us to provide evidence based care to our patients, consistent with what we know their divisions to do. Lastly, I’d want them to see CHOC primary care as a trusted partner in our health system, where we are keeping children healthy through regular examinations, screening, education and integration, and strive to treat our patients and their families holistically rather than simply by disease process.

Q: What would you like patients and families to know about your division at CHOC?

A: For many people, bringing your child to seek medical care can be a stressful event. There are many sources of information out there regarding children’s health, and in some cases those sources may contribute to more confusion and anxiety. I would like patients and families to know that when they choose a CHOC pediatric provider, they can trust that the care being delivered is state of the art, up to date and based on clinical and scientific evidence, combined with years of expertise. They will be greeted by empathic staff who are skilled in making children feel comfortable, and providers who are not only skilled at diagnostics, but bring a warm and compassionate touch to the visit.

Further, our pediatricians are partners with our specialists, and through this partnership they share knowledge, collaborate in patient care, and help to create a sense of calm for patients and their families.

Q: What inspires you about the care being delivered at CHOC?

A: Every day pediatricians, pediatric specialists, nursing staff, technicians and so many other professionals come to CHOC to make a difference in the lives of children in need. It’s a calling, and they’re passionate about it. You can feel it when you walk through the door, whether it’s from the smiles and greetings from the folks at the information desk, or when you see a security guard assist a family. Perhaps it’s when you see an associate go out of their way to offer hospitality to a random person in an elevator, or the cutting edge surgical and medical treatments that are happening every day. To try to answer what inspires me most about the care being delivered by CHOC would do a disservice to every little thing that occurs on our campus that makes CHOC a special place. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it!

Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor?

A: I fell in love with science as a teenager. Around the same time, my father had a heart attack. I remember going to the hospital and learning about his heart and how the medicine was working to provide care for him. I was fascinated by it all and never looked back.

Q: If you weren’t a physician, what would you be and why?

A: I would probably be a general contractor. I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I love spending time with my wife and children. I also enjoy cycling and mountain biking, and being involved in my kids’ sports.

To refer a patient, please call 1-855-212-6740.

Learn more about CHOC Children’s Primary Care Network.

 

Dr. Hoang Nguyen Appointed Medical Director, CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center

A psychiatrist with a long history of service in Orange County, Dr. Hoang “Wayne” Nguyen has been appointed medical director of the CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center. He will also serve as medical director, child and adolescent psychiatry and chair of the psychiatry section of CHOC’s medical staff.

Dr. Nguyen earned his medical degree at Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center, followed by additional training at University of California, Irvine and University of Utah Health Science Center, where he served as chief resident. He is a diplomate with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in child/adolescent psychiatry and general psychiatry, as well as being board certified in psychosomatic medicine.

Dr. Hoang “Wayne” Nguyen, medical director, CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center

In addition to seeing patients in private practice, Dr. Nguyen has been a consulting psychiatrist for Fairview Development Center. There, he also served as chief of medical staff for five years. He was director of undergraduate medical education for psychiatry at University of California, Irvine, where he still holds an appointment as associate clinical professor.

Having joined CHOC’s medical staff in 2000, Dr. Nguyen has been integrally involved in the development of the Center. When it opens in April 2018, the 12,000-square foot, 18-bed facility will be the only one in Orange County to treat patients younger than 12. It is the only facility in California to offer all private rooms, as well as an option for parents to stay overnight with their children, as appropriate.

“I am extremely proud of CHOC’s commitment to creating a mental health system of care, including the Center as its centerpiece,” says Dr. Nguyen. “A child’s mental health is as important as physical health, and we are committed to making sure children and adolescents with mental illnesses receive high quality services without stigma or barriers to access.”

With Dr. Nguyen as its medical director, the Center will serve patients ages 3 to 17, with specialty programming available to children 12 and younger. Patients will participate in therapeutic programming seven days a week, which is unique among inpatient facilities. During their stay, typically five to seven days, patients will also have access to medical specialists if assessments suggest a relationship between the mental health condition and an underlying health issue.

CHOC’s broad and robust pediatric system of mental health care has been built to facilitate early diagnosis, intervention and treatment of pediatric mental health problems.

The system’s components include the ASPIRE® (After School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education) Intensive Outpatient Program at CHOC Children’s, designed to prevent psychiatric hospitalization and re-admission; mental health screenings in primary and specialty care settings; pediatric mental health training for community health care providers, school personnel and therapists; and a co-occurring clinic for patients with mental health challenges complicated by physical illnesses.

Other aspects include mental health triage at the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s Hospital; an early childhood mental health initiative set to begin in spring 2018 that is aimed at reducing behavior-related suspensions from child care and preschool settings; and faith community partnerships.

Learn more about CHOC’s mental health services.

Meet Dr. Micaela Thordarson

CHOC Children’s wants its referring physicians to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Micaela Thordarson, lead psychologist, ASPIRE® (After School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education) Intensive Outpatient Program at CHOC Children’s. 

Q: What is your education and training?

A: I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from UCLA with a minor in Spanish. I earned my PhD and master’s degree in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University with a specialization in children, adolescents and families. I completed my pre-doctoral internship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and my post-doctoral fellowship with Geisinger Health Systems in Pennsylvania.

Q: What are your special clinical interests?

A: I am particularly passionate about working with high-risk pediatric patients. I have done a great deal of work with suicidal and self-harming youth and their families. As a bilingual clinician in Spanish and English, I am also very interested in the interactions between mental health and cultural identities, for example, race/ethnicity, gender, religion and age.

Q: How long have you been on staff at CHOC?

A: I joined CHOC in October 2017.

Q: What are your most common diagnoses?

A: Depression, anxiety, and major life stressors are the most common difficulties our patients face.

Q: What would you most like community/referring providers to know about the ASPIRE® Intensive Outpatient Program at CHOC Children’s?

A: Our eight-week intensive outpatient mental health treatment program – the only pediatric-dedicated one of its kind in Orange County — is designed to serve a broad range of emotional and behavioral difficulties for high-school aged teens 13-18. It includes individual and family sessions, and crisis support as needed. If the teens and families you serve could possibly benefit from an intensive program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Additionally, we aim to collaborate closely with all the important stakeholders in our patients’ lives. This includes primary care physicians, psychiatrists, therapists, educators and coaches.

Q: What would you most like patients and families to know about ASPIRE®?

A: While our program is hard work, it’s pretty fun to be a part of! The daily after-school programming for teens and their families is all interactive, including art and other expressive therapies, and designed to teach and practice new skills in fun ways.

Q: What excites you most about the program?

A: I am so excited to be able to offer a very important service to teens and families who are in crisis and need extra support. The program we offer is guided by research and has been carefully constructed to generate the best outcomes possible.

Q: What inspires you most about the care being delivered at CHOC?

A: I have worked with a number of different organizations and teams since I began my career in the mental health field. The team at CHOC is unparalleled in its enthusiastic dedication to innovation and excellence in the care of children.

Q: Why did you decide to become a psychologist?

A: I fell in love with the field of psychology immediately after taking my first job at a crisis shelter for teens. Getting to witness, and even participate in, the incredible changes these youths made in their lives in a few short weeks was inspirational. I knew that was work I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my career.

Q: If you weren’t a psychologist, what would you be and why?

A: Either a zookeeper, so I could spend time with cool animals every day, or a Disney princess at one of the theme parks so I could wear awesome costumes and play with kids all day.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?

A: I love spending time with my family, hiking with my dog, and eating delicious food. I have a huge family and we have a lot of fun together!

To contact Dr. Thordarson, or to refer a patient, please call 714-509-8481.

CHOC Launches Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program

A new intensive outpatient program at CHOC Children’s will offer solutions to teenagers and their families seeking hope and intervention for emerging mental health problems.

The ASPIRE® (After School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education) Intensive Outpatient Program at CHOC Children’s is designed for teens who show moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety, depression or other mental health problems.

Participants ages 13 to 18 attend after-school programming for three hours a day, four days a week in sessions that span eight weeks total.

Run by experienced, licensed clinicians who specialize in working with teens, ASPIRE incorporates therapy, mindfulness exercises, coping and problem-solving skills, art therapy and other expressive therapies to help teens develop and practice healthy behaviors and how to manage their feelings, emotions and personal interactions.

Parents or guardians also participate in family counseling and skills groups two days a week in the late afternoon and early evening.

A board-certified adolescent psychiatrist is also available for consultation and medication management, as is case coordination with other medical providers and the teen’s school, and crisis support.

Teens who could benefit from the program may exhibit a range of behaviors:

  • Moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Extreme emotional outbursts
  • Significant conflict with family or friends
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Decreases in functioning at home or school
  • Self-harming behaviors, such as cutting, burning, pulling out hair, excessive picking and scratching the body to cause bleeding

Time in the program is spent on identifying interventions that can aid participants in a variety of ways:

  • Improve symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Improve functioning at home, school, and with friends
  • Develop new skills to cope with stress.
  • Establish new and healthy behaviors to learn how to manage feelings, emotions, and personal interactions.

ASPIRE® is a component of CHOC’s landmark pediatric mental health system of care launched in spring 2015 to ensure children, adolescents and young adults with mental illness get the services and support they need.

The system of care also includes outpatient support for patients whose physical conditions are complicated by mental health challenges; mental health screenings for all 12-year-olds at their well child visits with CHOC pediatricians; and an increased presence of psychologists and social workers in the Julia & George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s Hospital.

The cornerstone of the wide-ranging effort is the CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center, set to open this spring at CHOC Children’s Hospital. With 18 beds, it will be the first unit in Orange County to accommodate children younger than 12.

Call 714-509-8481 to refer a patient to the ASPIRE® (After School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education) Intensive Outpatient Program at CHOC Children’s.