CHOC Children’s wants its patients and families to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Esther Yang, a pediatric psychiatrist.
Q: What is your education and training?
A: I attended UCLA for my undergraduate studies, Loma Linda University for medical school, and University of California, Irvine for both my psychiatric residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship.
Q: How long have you been on staff at CHOC?
A: Two months.
Q: What are your special clinical interests?
A: I am interested in cultural psychiatry, the integration of mental health and spirituality, and implementing a holistic approach in treatment by working with therapists and other providers to integrate care. During fellowship training, I received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to work with minority communities in building awareness about mental health.
Q: What are your most common diagnoses?
A: Depression, anxiety and ADHD. It seems to be much harder today to be a teen than it was ten years ago with social media, bullying and increased responsibilities.
Q: What would you most like community/referring providers to know about you/your division at CHOC?
A: In the psychiatry clinic at CHOC, virtually every patient that we see is also seen by a therapist in the same clinic, making it possible to integrate care, and all of our doctors are fellowship trained in child and adolescent psychiatry. There are many resources and more on the horizon with the opening of the inpatient unit and the intensive outpatient program.
Q: What excites you most about CHOC’s mental health initiative?
A: It’s an exciting time at CHOC with the upcoming opening of the inpatient mental health unit, programs such as the intensive outpatient program and new clinics – all coming at a time when there continues to be a shortage in providers and services in psychiatric care. It inspires me to work at a place that is committed to the treatment of children and advancing mental health care.
Q: What inspires you most about the care being delivered at CHOC?
A: I love the concept of a hospital that is dedicated to the treatment of children and that every single person shares that dedication. I’ve had personal experiences with my children being patients at CHOC prior to working here and it was a very positive experience where we felt genuinely taken care of. I knew that if I ever had the opportunity to work here, it would be a privilege.
Q: Why did you decide to become a pediatric psychiatrist?
A: I decided to become a pediatric psychiatrist my senior year in high school after hearing a psychiatrist talk about mental health and the great stigma that exists in minority communities during a lecture at our church. I’ve never regretted this decision and it’s been an incredible journey. I enjoy listening to everyone’s unique stories and working to break stigmas and barriers to access to care, which continue to exist.
Q: If you weren’t a physician, what would you be and why?
A: Honestly, I would probably be a stay-at-home mom. I love spending time with my family, doing crafts with my kids and cooking. I also believe that the key to healthy kids starts in the home, and my skills as a psychiatrist are sometimes useful at home when it comes to training and discipline.
Q: What are your hobbies and interests outside of psychiatry?
A: I enjoy reading, baking, and crafting.
Q: What was the funniest thing a patient told you?
A: I told my therapy patient that I would have to transfer his care to another doctor because I was going on maternity leave. He replied, “Oh, I thought you were fat or something.” I was nine months pregnant.
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- The CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center will provide Orange County’s first psychiatric inpatient beds for children younger than 12.
- Meet Dr. Micaela Thordarson, lead psychologist, ASPIRE® (After School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education) Intensive Outpatient Program at CHOC Children’s.