In the Spotlight: Jacqueline Winkelmann, M.D.

CHOC Pediatrician Realizes Childhood Dream of Helping Kids

Jacqueline Winkelmann, M.D.
Jacqueline Winkelmann, M.D.

As a child growing up in Puerto Rico, Dr. Jacqueline Winkelmann was inspired to become a pediatrician by her mother’s uncle, who was one of the first pediatric surgeons in Puerto Rico. Young Jacqueline would accompany her great-uncle on his rounds as he visited farms to see patients after surgery. The families typically paid for their visits with chickens, eggs or other crops. Jacqueline saw first-hand how important it was to help children and how much her great-uncle loved his job.

Today, Dr. Winkelmann has realized her dream to follow in her great-uncle’s footsteps. She is a board-certified pediatrician with privileges at CHOC Children’s Hospital and CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital (CHOC Mission). She primarily works at CHOC Mission, where she is the current Chief of Staff-elect.

“My goals for my Chief of Staff years include creating awareness in our community of the presence and services offered at CHOC Mission for the population in South Orange County, as well as improving communication between hospital doctors and community pediatricians,” Dr. Winkelmann said. “Another goal and one that motivated me to take the job is optimizing food services for our patients, parents and visitors.”

During the past three years, Dr. Winkelmann has devoted much of her time to tackling the problem of prescription drug abuse among teens. She became involved after a group of CHOC Mission nurses began a successful program to educate physicians about prescription writing and to educate families about the dangers of over-the-counter medications, teen abuse of those medications, and the proper ways to dispose of excess medications. The nurses sought to reduce the availability of excess pain medications that sit in home medicine cabinets and developed a hospital form that tracks how many pain pills are actually taken during the 24 hours prior to discharge. This helps physicians better estimate the amount of pain medication young patients actually need later at home.

“Nationwide, the prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse problem is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country,” she explained. “Teens abusing over-the-counter drugs in South Orange County had reached epidemic proportions. We’ve managed to decrease the pill count of prescribed pills by over 50 percent.”

Dr. Winkelmann also has a special interest in pediatric nutrition and is an excellent cook. She sits on the Sapphire at School Nutrition Board as an advisor for healthy school lunch programs for public and private schools in Orange County. She also attends national conferences about nutrition and works with sports teams in Orange County to educate players, coaches and parents about the importance of sound nutrition on and off the field.

Over the summer, she launched a new initiative called Doctor Jacq: Nutrition Coach for Young Athletes, to share her expertise. Her website is

“I am passionate about this area of nutrition because I want to help kids understand the relationship between food and how they feel and how they perform. These are lessons they will carry way after they are done playing sports,” she said.

Dr. Winkelmann attended medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. She completed her residency training, including holding the position of Pediatric Chief Resident, at Hope Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Winkelmann speaks fluent English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. She was also recognized as a 2013 “Physician of Excellence” in Pediatrics by the Orange County Medical Association, in Orange Coast magazine.

Married, Dr. Winkelmann is the proud mom of a 12-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.