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Physician Connection
A Communication Service for Physicians from CHOC and CHOC at Mission. Please Note: Physician Connection is no longer being printed and is now available electronically. Please visit our blog at http://docs.chocchildrens.org for the latest articles for our physician community. You can also receive our electronic Physician Connection newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe

CHOC physicians honored as “agents of change”

Joseph H. Donnelly, M.D.
Director, CHOC/UC Irvine
Neurodevelopmental Programs

The Children and Families Commission of Orange County is commemorating its 10th anniversary by paying tribute to 10 extraordinary Orange County residents whose compassion and dedication have profoundly changed children’s lives. One will be profiled each month between February and November 2010 in OC Family magazine.

Not surprisingly, the Commission found three of those extraordinary people at CHOC Children’s.

In 2002, pediatric neurologist Joseph H. Donnelly, M.D., joined one of the Commission’s first programs, For OC Kids Developmental Center. It is still the only center in Orange County dedicated to the earliest diagnosis and treatment of autism, ADHD and other developmental disorders. It focuses on comprehensive care, including family support and advocacy, and education for the public and professionals. Dr. Donnelly also oversees three related programs: CUIDAR, helping parents manage challenging behaviors; Help Me Grow, connecting children and families to developmental services to enhance outcomes; and the Early Developmental Assessment Center (EDAC), providing high-risk infant follow up with team assessments and case management to vulnerable NICU grads and premature infants.

“The Commission has made all the difference in Orange County with the creation of many early childhood developmental services. It has allowed us to help improve the health and school readiness of children and the lives of their families. I am honored to be recognized as the representative of our talented and dedicated team who make up the CHOC/UC Irvine Neurodevelopmental Programs.”

Richard Mungo, D.D.S.
Founding Board Member and Medical Director,
Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County

Pediatric dentist Richard Mungo, D.D.S., helped create a safety net of pediatric oral health care for Orange County’s neediest children. In 2003, he established the Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County dental facility in Garden Grove. Additionally, he developed and implemented a pediatric dental residency program in collaboration with the University of Southern California.

Resident training includes rotations through inpatient medical specialty groups, the CHOC outpatient dental clinic, emergency services and operating room surgeries. The number of pediatric dentists will now grow in Orange County to help meet the overwhelming need.

“We have graduated five residents. Three are still practicing in Orange County at Healthy Smiles and CHOC. Our goal has been not only to teach them how to do surgical and restorative procedures, but to develop within their hearts a desire to offer services to those in need. We hope to instill in them that, ‘To be a pediatric dentist, is to be a child advocate.’ The Commission has helped us make all of this possible, one smile at a time.”

Jose Abdenur, M.D.
Medical Director, CHOC Children’s
Metabolic Services

Internationally recognized metabolic expert Jose Abednur, M.D., arrived here in 2003 and built the CHOC Metabolic Program, including the state-of-the-art CHOC Metabolic Lab, completely from scratch. The program currently offers 11 metabolic clinics, including specialty care for lysosomal and neurometabolic disorders and phenylketonuria (PKU). His 16-member team has greatly increased timely access to care, minimizing developmental disability and significant health consequences. Additionally, this program is one of the designated centers for the State of California newborn screening program and part of the Cedars-Sinai/UCLA metabolic and genetics teaching programs. A new fellowship program for medical biochemical genetics and clinical biochemical genetics begins in July.

“I am honored to receive this recognition, which is really for the whole team that works on the Metabolic program. With the support of the Commission, CHOC, the Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty, and the California Department of Public Health, we have been able to meet the needs of children and families in Orange County. They no longer need to go to Los Angeles or San Diego for diagnostic workup and treatment of metabolic diseases.”


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Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

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