Community Partners

Health Hero Awardees

Interview with Dr. Reed (May 2019 Recipient)

Dulce Alvarado, Hleath Hero Awardee March 2019 
Jennifer Eidsmore (left) and Dr. Eric Reed (right)

Tell us about yourself.
I am a general pediatrician with SHARP Rees-Stealy Medical Group at the La Mesa office.

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
My first career within the sphere of healthcare was as an acupuncturist. I went back to school, received my MD in 2010, and completed my pediatric residency at UCSD in 2013. I've been at this office ever since.

How long have you been working the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence's early developmental screening program?
I've been working with the program since 2013.

What is your opinion of the early developmental screening that our center implements in pediatric offices?
I am grateful to have the guidance and assistance of the UCSD ACE program to assist in screening and subsequent detailed evaluations of our infants and toddlers who are at risk of ASD.

Did this program raise awareness about developmental delays, such as autism spectrum disorder, at your office?
Yes, your continued involvement with our office and our medical group has increased our awareness of developmental concerns and the need for early identification and intervention.

What impact does this program have on the families at your office?
The triad of 12, 18, 24 month screenings help the families to understand the importance of developmental surveillance that we as pediatricians provide.

How has participating in this program changed your perception of Autism? What have you learned from this program?
In addition to the screening and comprehensive evals, the researchers of the UCSD ACE program have come out at least yearly to lecture our group, providing an expanded understanding and awareness of the current understanding of ASD.


Interview with Dulce Alvarado (March 2019 Recipient)

Dulce Alvarado, Hleath Hero Awardee March 2019

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
I have been a pediatric medical assistant for 15 years now, and I've always been in pediatrics. I've also been with the same company (NCHS) the whole time, so for the whole 15 years. 

How long have you been working the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence's early developmental screening program?
I've been working with the screening program since you started with the tablets! So, I think that's around 4 years now?

What is your opinion of the early developmental screening that our center implements in pediatric offices?
I think the program has been very helpful to our office. I like it because it allows us to be alerted at a young age if a child is showing any symptoms of delays or abnormalities. It also allows us to refer the children to a center for an evaluation at a young age, so that's great!

Did this program raise awareness about developmental delays, such as autism spectrum disorder, at your office?
This program has increase the awaerness of delays, especially at a young age. Instead of waiting until the children get to a certain age, we are now able to talk about delays a lot earlier.

What impact does this program have on the families at your office?
Families have been impacted because they now have more of an awareness of child development. The parents follow-up about the questions with the doctors/providers, asking them to explain things like specific questions or just discuss their child's development in general to see if there is anything going on.  

How has participating in this program changed your perception of Autism? What have you learned from this program?
It has taught me to look for signs of delays a lot younger than before, and it helps more define what to look for. 


Interview with Tony Ryan (February 2019 Recipient)

Tony Ryan, Health Hero Awardee Feb 2019

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
I’ve been working in healthcare since around 1982, so it's been over 30 years since I've started. I’ve been at CPCMG Chula Vista for 19 years. 

How long have you been working the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence's early developmental screening program?
I have been working with the early detection program since the program first piloted at this office. 

What is your opinion of the early developmental screening that our center implements in pediatric offices?
I think that the early developmental screening is wonderful. It helps to detect children who are at risk for delays and gets them the evaluation and treatment they need. It also provides parents with a sense of how their child is developing, and it is great to see the parents happy with the information and resources. 

Did this program raise awareness about developmental delays, such as autism spectrum disorder, at your office?
Yes, extremely so. 

What impact does this program have on the families at your office?
I believe this program has a huge impact on families. Parents are reassured if their children are not identified with any delays, and are grateful when delays are detected. 

How has participating in this program changed your perception of Autism? What have you learned from this program?
Participating in this program has made me more aware of developmental delays and autism, and has helped me to be more understanding about them. 


Interview with Krystina Markarian (January 2019 Recipient)

Krystina Markarian, Health Hero Awardee Jan 2019

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
I’ve been working in healthcare for 8 years. I've been with Scripps Clinic for the past 2 years, and in the Carlsbad location for 6 months.

How long have you been working the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence's early developmental screening program?
I've worked with the early detection program for the past year, both at the Carlsbad location and at the Encinitas location.

What is your opinion of the early developmental screening that our center implements in pediatric offices?
I think that it's awesome. It helps to catch children with delays at an early age, and also helps parents get the resources they need. 

Did this program raise awareness about developmental delays, such as autism spectrum disorder, at your office?
Yes, it definitely did. 

What impact does this program have on the families at your office?
I believe that this program has been very informative for parents. It helps them out by giving them a resource to answer all of the questions they may have about autism or developmental delays. 

How has participating in this program changed your perception of Autism? What have you learned from this program?
Through looking over the questionnaire and seeing the many kids that come into the office, I have become more aware of the early recognition of autism and am happy to see how kids have progressed after getting the services and resources they need.


Interview with Catherine Crouch (September 2018 Recipient)

Catherine Crouch (left), Health Hero Awardee Sept 2018
Catherine Crouch (left) with her team

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
I’ve been working in healthcare since 1979, so that’s 39 years now. I’ve been at Scripps Clinic Mission Valley for about 5 years. 

How long have you been working the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence's early developmental screening program?
I think I was here since you all started the program since our office was one of your pilot offices. We first used the paper form of the CSBS screener and then transitioned to the iPads, which has been really nice. So I think that’s almost 4 years now. 

What is your opinion of the early developmental screening that our center implements in pediatric offices?
I think it’s good that it gives parents the opportunity to get an evaluation and have an early start on the intervention and education in the case where it’s needed. Overall I like the program and am happy with how its been going!

Did this program raise awareness about developmental delays, such as autism spectrum disorder, at your office?
I think it did help raise the awareness of the importance of screening because now whenever there is an appointment, the Pediatricians are always on top of asking for the iPads to do the screening or whether or not we had done the screening already.  

What impact does this program have on the families at your office?
Sometimes families do feel like it is a struggle to juggle filling out the screen while handling multiple kids and the fathers do tend to be more critical on whether or not their child has performed some of the tasks. But afterwards when the Pediatrician goes over the screen again and re-asks some of the questions it becomes more clear and they are able to answer the questions. 

How has participating in this program changed your perception of Autism? What have you learned from this program?
I think being a part of this program has made me more aware of the signs of autism and has made me more sensitive to it, especially for families in which there are multiple kids that have autism spectrum disorder. It definitely has helped me increase my patience and be more understanding of the difficulties parents may have.


Interview with Dr. Barkley (August 2018 Recipient)

Dr. Jennifer Barkley, Health Hero Awardee Aug 2018

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
I have been working in the field of healthcare for 15 years, including my time in medical school, and have been practicing in the Pediatrics department of Sharp Rees Stealy, Carmel Valley for 7 years. 

How long have you been working the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence's early developmental screening program?
I have been working with the ACE program for about 3 years now. 

What is your opinion of the early developmental screening that our center implements in pediatric offices?
I think it’s great because it is identifying kids that otherwise might have been missed and provides them with an opportunity to receive a full assessment. 

Did this program raise awareness about developmental delays, such as autism spectrum disorder, at your office?
I think the program is helpful in that it allows for more consistent autism screening and allows for us to pick up on delays earlier than we were assessing in the past. 

How has participating in this program changed your perception of Autism? What have you learned from this program?
The program has given me insight into local community services that I did not know about before and that is helpful because I am able to provide my patients with more resources for their benefit.


Interview with Nick Wright (July 2018 Recipient)

Nick Wright, Health Hero Awardee July 2018

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
Nick has been working in the field of healthcare for 5 years and has been working with Sharp Rees Stealy the entire time.  

What is your position?
Nick works as a patient service representative and has daily interactions with dealing with patients and managing the operation of the UCSD Study of Infant Development early developmental screening process using the tablet version of the CSBS. He also helps troubleshoot issues with nurses and keeps in contact with our center in order to maintain optimal performance. 

What is your opinion on early developmental screening programs?
Nick believes that early developmental screening programs are smart because it is important to catch delays early on in order to provide children with the proper services if necessary. 

How has participating in this program changed your perception of Autism? What have you learned from this program?
Though he does believe that it is an early age range (12-24 months) to be screening for delays, whether that be Autism or any other type of delay, Nick once again emphasizes that the benefits of catching a delay early on are significant. He believes these types of programs are necessary in the field of healthcare. 

Interview with Dr. Zaheer (June 2018 Recipient)

Dr. Zaheer, Health Hero Awardee Jun 2018
Photo of Dr. Zaheer and his medical team at SDFC

How long have you been working in healthcare? How about this specific office?
I have been working in healthcare for 20 years now; In this office, I have been working for 15 years. I fell in love with this patient population [recent immigrants - documented and undocumented, refugees, individuals and families with low socioeconomic status] during my residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a community health center dedicated to reaching underserved patient populations.

How long have you been working with the UCSD Autism Center’s Early Detection Program?
Five to seven years.

Do you know anyone who has ASD? Was there a particular reason you were interested in participating in our program?
The UCSD Early Detection Program falls in line with my overarching goal as a physician.That goal is to emphasize prevention by advancing literacy and identifying problems as early as possible. 

Did this program raise awareness about developmental  delays, such as autism, at your clinic?
Yes. Parents, especially those who already face cultural, economic, and linguistic barriers, might say “Oh, none of my kids were talking until age four,” brushing aside concerns of a language delay. The early screening tool is giving parents the opportunity to think about their child’s development relative to a broader population of children at the same stage of development. The population of infants and toddlers that I treat are not necessarily talking and learning to read at the same age and rate that we see in higher-SES communities. As such, a language delay may be seen as “normal” within the context of this community. I want to upgrade that normal so that it matches what you would see in more privileged communities. 

What impact does this program have on your patients and their families?
Referral to the UCSD Autism Center for evaluation allows me to put families on a direct path toward getting specialized treatment and school services for their child as early as possible. 

How has participating in this program changed your perception of autism? What have you learned from this program? 
Participating in the Early Detection Program has further solidified my understanding of autism as a dynamic condition. The evolution of ASD symptoms can vary dramatically as a function of the family’s level of access to treatment and support.  When I was starting out as a physician, autism was still thought of as a very static condition. Now we understand the degree to which early intervention can influence outcomes.


Community Partners

We work closely with professionals and organizations to share information, establish best practices, and gain research knowledge.

NFAR is a not-for-profit organization based in San Diego. The organization was started by Juan and Sharon Leon, parents of a child with autism. NFAR understands the impact autism has on children, families and their communities and dedicates its efforts to promoting the development of innovative treatment programs and options that improve the quality of life for children with autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Get NFAR's brochure: What You Need to Know about Autism (PDF): English  Spanish

 

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