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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.

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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:

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