A few weeks ago, my daughter took her first steps into formal education and entered kindergarten. I have been a little surprised to find this has involved a transition not only for her, but for me, too. Not only do her mother and I want her dressed comfortably and ready to learn, we have to plan or pack a meal that she will eat without us watching. Thus ...

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Dear Ms. Patient, I hope this letter finds you well. Let me begin by saying that it is such a privilege to care for your family. It has been a joy to watch your children grow and your family thrive. I'm sure you will agree that we have been through a lot together. As you know, I am devoted to help in keeping your family healthy, despite the many obstacles that have arisen. ...

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I was recently honored to attend a discussion at the White House, convened by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It was one of those rare "clear my schedule immediately" invitations; I thank my patients and family for allowing me to take this last minute trip. Physician leaders from around the country were invited to the White House for a dialogue with lead government health officials (specifically administrators from the ...

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While in residency, I took care of a toddler who was hospitalized following an anaphylactic reaction.  During a diaper change at home the child suddenly developed lip swelling and severe difficulty breathing for no apparent reason. The child was urgently brought to the hospital by ambulance and initially treated in the emergency room. By the time I met her on the inpatient floor her breathing and swelling had significantly improved. ...

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Far be it for me, a Bay Area pediatrician, to tell Floridians about how to keep their kids safe. But having spent half of my life in the south (and I don't mean LA), perhaps I am only partially carpetbagging. Florida's Governor Scott has signed a law that penalizes doctors for asking about guns in the home. It shockingly included a $5 million fine and a five year prison sentence if ...

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37 years ago, at the very tail of the civil rights movement, my community health center (CHC) was established in Oakland to fill an unmet and urgent need. A growing population of immigrants were settling in downtown Oakland and had few choices for health care. Community surveys conducted by local leaders confirmed that residents received significantly less health care than the rest of the population largely due to a ...

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What if I were to tell you that Washington is trying to balance the budget by making cuts to a program that covers 70% of the nation's nursing home costs and 43% of all births in California? Well they are. The rancorous debate over how to balance the federal budget includes drastic cuts to Medicaid. And while this program may seem distant to people in power and the general public, ...

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"I don't study because it gets in the way of my video game time" -15 year old patient. Sorry mom and dad, video games are here to stay. In my clinic, this is a topic of discussion every day:

"How many hours of screen time does Mikey get every day?" I ask. "Tell the truth", Mom says looking at Mikey. "brmfbr mbbrm," says Mikey looking away. Mother turns to me with the familiar look that ...

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Ok, I confess. I have contributed to the $2.3 trillion that our country spends on health care every year. As a patient I want the best possible care for my family and me. As a physician I am the gatekeeper to expensive procedures, medications, and diagnostic tests. However, by several indices including life expectancy, infant mortality rate, and satisfaction with the health care system, we are not getting our money's ...

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