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140701 EPABlogImageThrive1A traditional pediatric practice helps lots of kids, but I am convinced it barely scratches the surface of what many children need. The physical health of a child is only a portion of wellness. The other key aspect is mental and behavioral/developmental health.

Eugene-Springfield has many wonderful mental and behavioral health caregivers and agencies for kids, but coordinating care with pediatricians is always a challenge. After nearly 15 years in practice here, I became frustrated with the limitations in my traditional practice to meet the needs of the children we serve.

So, one sunny autumn afternoon last year, I asked my favorite child psychologist, Dr. Jenny Mauro, to have coffee and talk about the exciting possibilities of pediatricians working side by side with child psychologists, developmental pediatricians and child psychiatrists.

If that happened, I could step out of my exam room and grab a specialist in child mental health and development to get a “curbside consult.” My families could meet a behavioral health care provider for a momentary “hello” and know whom they would meet during an upcoming visit. And scheduling the behavioral health visit at the same location would be a breeze.

Coordination of care would be so easy and even fun. Brown bag lunches with my doctors sitting around the same table with psychologists and other behavioral specialists would make it easy to discuss children in need of our team approach.


Posted by on in News

130826epa postpartum1Postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first, but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting. It’s not uncommon that new mothers are irritable, easily moved to tears and anxious, or have feelings of being overwhelmed.

But when the common symptoms and emotional upheaval of new motherhood stretch beyond the first weeks after giving birth, it’s time to take notice. They can eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and to handle other daily tasks.

Postpartum depression symptoms may include:

• Loss of appetite
• Insomnia
• Intense irritability and anger
• Overwhelming fatigue
• Loss of interest in sex
• Lack of joy in life
• Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
• Severe mood swings
• Difficulty bonding with your baby
• Withdrawal from family and friends
• Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Individually, any one sign may be insignificant, especially if it’s mild. Postpartum depression is marked by an acute sense of anger, agitation or anxiety. Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.


EPA-childpsychoEugene Pediatrics is the first pediatric office in Lane County to have an on-site psychiatrist working alongside pediatricians. With child psychiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Amato, a board-certified psychiatrist, at the same location as your child’s physicians, we better meet the medical needs of your children.

Studies show that as many as 70 percent of primary care visits in the United States are related to psychosocial issues. Integrating primary and mental health care can improve the overall health of patients through the coordination of care between psychiatrists and primary care physicians.

If you are concerned about the behavioral health of your child, talk first to your child’s pediatrician about a referral. Pediatricians can often diagnose and treat common behavioral issues. Our pediatricians work with parents to decide whether it's best or needed to refer their child to Dr. Amato, or a psychologist.

Parents most commonly request a referral when they observe in their children extreme depression, anxiety or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Parents often view evidence of these behavioral issues as a defeat, as an example of bad parenting, or as a terrifying prospect, and they desperately want to help their child. You should consider having your child see a psychiatrist if:


Posted by on in News
What is Fragile X SyndromeFragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common, currently known, single-gene cause of inherited intellectual disability and autism.

Caused by a defect in the DNA, this disorder is seen in both boys and girls. A variable pattern of physical, behavioral and cognitive problems can make diagnosis challenging. Parents can be on the lookout and help us identify affected kids.  

Physical findings may be none (especially in girls) or may include long face, very flexible joints, and prominent ears. In boys, large testicles may also be present. In babies, physical markers for Fragile X can be absent or subtle.

Fragile X behaviors can include poor eye contact, hand flapping, hand biting, attention problems, anxiety, and social avoidance. Thirty percent of kids with FXS are diagnosed with autism.  

Testing for FXS is available. Advantages of early detection include earlier recognition and training and education for developmental problems that may affect home or school life.  

Please contact us if your child suffers from cognitive or behavioral problems, or if you notice physical signs that may indicate Fragile X Syndrome.

We are here to help every step of the way.
Tagged in: Anxiety DNA Fragile X