Meet Dr. Esther Yang

CHOC Children’s wants its referring physicians to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Esther Yang, a pediatric psychiatrist.

Q: What is your education and training?

A: I attended UCLA for undergrad, Loma Linda University for medical school, and University of California, Irvine for both my psychiatric residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship.

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

A: Two months.

Q: What are your special clinical interests?

A: I am interested in cultural psychiatry, the integration of mental health and spirituality, and implementing a holistic approach in treatment by working with therapists and other providers to integrate care. During fellowship training, I received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to work with minority communities in building awareness about mental health.

Q: What are your most common diagnoses?

A: Depression, anxiety and ADHD. It seems to be much harder today to be a teen than it was ten years ago with social media, bullying, and increased responsibilities.

Q: What would you most like community/referring providers to know about you/your division at CHOC? 

A: In the psychiatry clinic at CHOC, virtually every patient that we see is also seen by a therapist in the same clinic, making it possible to integrate care, and all of our doctors are fellowship trained in child and adolescent psychiatry.  There are many resources and more on the horizon with the opening of the inpatient unit and the intensive outpatient program.

Q: What excites you most about CHOC’s mental health initiative? 

A: It’s an exciting time at CHOC with the upcoming opening of the inpatient mental health unit, programs such as the intensive outpatient program and new clinics – all coming at a time when there continues to be a shortage in providers and services in psychiatric care. It inspires me to work at a place that is committed to the treatment of children and advancing mental health care.

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

A: I love the concept of a hospital that is dedicated to the treatment of children and that every single person shares that dedication.  I’ve had personal experiences with my children being patients at CHOC prior to working here and it was a very positive experience where we felt genuinely taken care of.  I knew that if I ever had the opportunity to work here, it would be a privilege.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pediatric psychiatrist? 

A: I decided to become a pediatric psychiatrist my senior year in high school after hearing a psychiatrist talk about mental health and the great stigma that exists in the minority communities during a lecture at our church. I’ve never regretted this decision and it’s been an incredible journey. I enjoy listening to everyone’s unique stories and working to break stigmas and barriers to access to care, which continue to exist.

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

A: Honestly, I would probably be a stay-at-home mom. I love spending time with my family, doing crafts with my kids and cooking. I also believe that the key to healthy kids starts in the home, and my skills as a psychiatrist are sometimes useful at home when it comes to training and discipline.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests outside of psychiatry? 

A: I enjoy reading, baking, and crafting.

Q: What was the funniest thing a patient told you?

A: I told my therapy patient that I would have to transfer his care to another doctor because I was going on maternity leave.  He replied, “Oh, I thought you were fat or something.” I was nine months pregnant.

Meet Dr. Saeed Awan

CHOC Children’s wants its referring physicians to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Saeed Awan, a pediatric general and thoracic surgeon.

 Q: What is your education and training?

A: I attended medical school at Khyber Medical College, in Pakistan. I completed my surgery residency at Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador, in Canada. I also completed two surgery fellowships, one at Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Edinburgh, in United Kingdom, and another at Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, in Canada.

Q: What are your special clinical interests?

A: All aspects of pediatric and neonatal surgery, especially minimal invasive surgery. I also have expertise in liver and bile duct surgery and special interest in gastroschisis sutureless closure.

Q: How many years have you been on staff at CHOC?

A: Three and a half years.

Q: What are your most common diagnoses?

A: Inguinal and umbilical hernias, hydroceles, undescended testis, appendicitis, lumps and bumps, as well as complex congenital pediatric and neonatal conditions.

Q: Are there any new programs or developments within your specialty (at CHOC or in the broader field)?

A: I am leading the pediatric surgery outreach office at CHOC Children’s Health Center, Corona. We have seen gradual increase in referrals.

In the broader field, there has been remarkable advancement in minimally-invasive surgical procedures with similar or better results than open surgical procedures.

Q: What would you most like community/referring providers to know about you/your division at CHOC?

A: We are group of dedicated and highly-trained pediatric surgeons who strive to provide excellent care to our patients. We make sure both parents and the patients are involved in the decision making. Being a father of four children, I treat my patients as I would like to have my own children treated.

In addition to our common surgical conditions, I treat complex neonatal and gastrointestinal conditions.

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

A: I’m inspired by our CHOC physicians, our excellent nursing and support staff, our wide range of subspecialists, as well as our state-of-the-art facility.

In our specialty, we meet a lot of children and the smile on their and their parents’ faces  after they have recovered from surgery, makes me very happy.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pediatric surgeon?  

A: I decided to become a pediatric surgeon when I was a third-year medical student. Pediatric general surgery is a field where you are able to take care of sick kids with a wide variety of surgical diseases. Although pediatric surgery is very challenging, it is very rewarding.

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

A: I might have been a pilot as I like travel.

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

A: Travel, soccer and spending time with my children.

Provide Your Feedback in CHOC’s Physician Engagement Survey by May 15

The 2017 Physician Engagement Survey for CHOC Children’s Hospital and CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital concludes on May 15. Don’t miss this opportunity to provide us with your valuable input, which will allow us to further strengthen and improve CHOC’s programs and services to better meet your needs and the needs of our patients and families.

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 out for an invitation to complete the survey from Press Ganey, who is conducting the survey on behalf of CHOC. For questions, please contact Leslie Castelo, director of business development at CHOC, at 714-509-4329 or lcastelo@choc.org.

CHOC Children’s to Participate in Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Consortium

The opportunity to collaborate on research and quality improvement initiatives with neonatal intensive care programs at the nation’s top children’s hospitals is a key benefit of CHOC Children’s membership in the Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Consortium (CHNC).  Dedicated to optimizing neonatal care, the CHNC is led by neonatologists, fellows, nurses, respiratory therapists and other NICU champions for quality and patient safety.  In addition to being pediatric tertiary referral centers, members must have level IV NICUs with a minimum of 25 beds and annual admissions greater than 400, of which at least half come from out-born deliveries.

The Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Database (CHND) serves as the platform for the consortium’s quality improvement efforts and benchmarking research.  As of July 2016, the database covered more than:

  • 108,000 patients
  • 120,000 admissions
  • 6 million patient days
  • 78,000 surgical procedures
Dr. Michel Mikhael, CHOC neonatologist

“CHND is not your typical NICU database,” explains Dr. Michel Mikhael, a neonatologist who will serve as the consortium’s physician sponsor on behalf of CHOC.  “NICU patients at children’s hospitals are different from those treated at perinatal NICUs.  Many of our patients have pre-existing diagnoses or complications and are at a higher risk of poor outcomes.  Even though our patient population has the highest resource utilization, we – as a collective group – do not have much shared data.”

The database will help members

  • identify variations in diagnoses and outcomes
  • improve care in specialized populations
  • provide better information for families
  • provide guidance for local, state and national mandates
  • ensure appropriate reimbursement by improved, detailed documentation

CHOC will begin submitting data in April 2017, says Dr. Mikhael, who is already preparing for a strong CHOC presence at CHNC’s annual meeting in October, with small baby unit, surgical NICU and other quality improvement and research projects presented. The ultimate goal will be for CHOC’s neonatology team to contribute and participate in multicenter research projects and publications.

For more information about CHOC’s role in CHNC and its participation in the consortium’s database, contact Dr. Michel Mikhael at mmikhael@choc.org.

Patients Say the Darndest Things – Happy Doctor’s Day!

In celebration of Doctor’s Day, we asked a few of our physicians what’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

Dr. Mary Jane Piroutek

Dr. Mary Jane Piroutek, emergency medicine specialist

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A:  Kids say funny things all the time. One of my favorites was a little 4 -year-old girl who had ingested coins and they were stuck in her esophagus. When I asked her what happened she shrugged her shoulder and with a mischievous look in her eyes said, “I ate the money, I’m not supposed to eat the money.”  Also recently a patient told me I looked like Snow White (which I don’t) and she called me Dr. Snow White the whole time I took care of her.

 

Dr. Gary Goodman

Dr. Gary Goodman, medical director, pediatric intensive care unit, CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: Just recently, I had a patient, who has a mild developmental delay, call me “the boy.”  I would stop in the patient’s room each morning, at which point I’d get asked, “What do YOU want?”

 

Dr. Kenneth Kwon

Dr. Kenneth Kwon, emergency medicine specialist

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: An adage in pediatric emergency care is when a child comes in with a nosebleed, you don’t ask if he picks his nose, you ask him which finger he uses. When I asked this question to one of my pint-sized patients, he answered that he used all of them, and then proceeded to demonstrate by sticking each of his 10 fingers in his nose individually. It was priceless.

 

Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh

Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh, general and thoracic surgeon

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: There was a young child around 8-9 years old and we were going to remove his appendix with laparoscopy. I was standing on his left side because with laparoscopy we make our incision on the left side. Just before he went to sleep he looked up at me and said, “Why are you standing on my left? My appendix is on the right.” I was amazed at how knowledgeable this kid was!

 

Dr. Jennifer Ho

Dr. Jennifer Ho, hospitalist

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: “I want to be a doctor like you … but only for unicorns and fairies.”

 

Dr. Andrew Mower

Dr. Andrew Mower, neurologist

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: “I don’t eat apples, doctor.”

“Why?”

“Because they keep the doctor away, and I like you, Dr. Mower.”

 

Dr. Laura Totaro

Dr. Laura Totaro, hospitalist

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: I was examining the mouth of my patient when he proudly showed me his loose tooth and whispered to me that his family had a secret. He then excitedly admitted that his mom was the tooth fairy!  His mother looked at me quizzically and then burst out laughing when she realized what had taken place. Earlier she had admitted to him that she played the role of tooth fairy at home but her son took this quite literally and believed it to actually be her secret full time job for all children.

 

Dr. Mustafa Kabeer

Dr. Mustafa Kabeer, general and thoracic surgeon

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: A patient asked me what my first name was, and I told him it was Mustafa. He then promptly told me that was the name of his pet lizard!

 

Dr. Sharief Taraman

Dr. Sharief Taraman, neurology

Q: What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?

A: One of my patients told me that I look like the character Flint Lockwood from Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and another one thinks I look like the character Linguini from the movie Ratatouille, both of which I found very funny.  Apparently, I give off the nerdy guy vibe.