Meet Dr. Charles Golden

CHOC Children’s wants its patients and families to get to know its physicians. Today, meet Dr. Charles Golden, a board-certified pediatrician who serves as executive medical director of the CHOC Children’s Primary Care Network.

dr-charles-golden-choc-childrens
Dr. Charles Golden, a board-certified pediatrician who serves as executive medical director of the CHOC Children’s Primary Care Network

Education and training

I earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at University of California, Riverside. After completing my undergraduate studies, I attended Western University of Health Sciences College of Allied Health and earned a certificate as a physician assistant. I worked at Southern Orange County Pediatric Associates (SOCPA) as a physician assistant until I started medical school at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, in Pomona. I completed my internship and residency, including a year as chief resident, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Special clinical interests

I love all aspects of clinical medicine, but get energized when I have the opportunity to teach. I believe that every encounter with a patient is an opportunity to teach them something about the body and explain why we make the decisions that we do in medicine. I’m also passionate about teaching medical students and residents, as they continually challenge me to stay up to date with new research. I love the feeling I get from contributing to the development of their careers as physicians.

New programs and developments within CHOC’s Primary Care Network

In the near future, we plan to open an after-hours clinic for the entire community. By the end of this summer, we’re planning on implementing a single electronic health record (EHR) for all of our primary care offices so that all of our providers chart on patients in the same record, and a patient’s medical information can securely be available to whoever they see in our group. This will continue to improve communications within the practices.

We’re also growing our comprehensive adolescent medicine services. We will be hiring another adolescent medicine specialist to address this unique, complex patient population

We’re also working on the use of digital vision screening devices to look for problems with vision in children younger than 4 years old, who are often too young to read a visual acuity chart.

As a component of CHOC’s mental health initiative, we’re working closely with CHOC’s chief psychologist, Dr. Heather Huszti and her team to provide a mental health professional in each of our primary care offices to help the medical team screen for and address mental health issues.

What I want patients and families to know about CHOC’s Primary Care Network

For many people, bringing your child to seek medical care can be a stressful event. There are many sources of information out there regarding children’s health, and in some cases those sources may contribute to more confusion and anxiety. I would like patients and families to know that when they choose a CHOC pediatric provider, they can trust that the care being delivered is state of the art, up to date and based on clinical and scientific evidence, combined with years of expertise. They will be greeted by empathic staff who are skilled in making children feel comfortable, and providers who are not only skilled at diagnostics, but bring a warm and compassionate touch to the visit. Further, our pediatricians are partners with our specialists, and through this partnership they share knowledge, collaborate in patient care, and help to create a sense of calm for patients and their families.

What inspires me about the care being delivered at CHOC

Every day pediatricians, pediatric specialists, nursing staff, technicians and so many other professionals come to CHOC to make a difference in the lives of children in need. It’s a calling, and they’re passionate about it. You can feel it when you walk through the door, whether it’s from the smiles and greetings from the folks at the information desk, or when you see a security guard assist a family. Perhaps it’s when you see an associate go out of their way to offer hospitality to a random person in an elevator, or the cutting edge surgical and medical treatments that are happening every day. To try to answer what inspires me most about the care being delivered by CHOC would do a disservice to every little thing that occurs on our campus that makes CHOC a special place. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it!

Why I decided to become a doctor

I fell in love with science as a teenager. Around the same time, my father had a heart attack. I remember going to the hospital and learning about his heart and how the medicine was working to provide care for him. I was fascinated by it all and never looked back.  If I wasn’t a doctor, I would probably be a general contractor. I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands.

Learn more about CHOC’s Primary Care Network

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Minimizing Health Effects of Wildfires

During a wildfire, the biggest health risks to children are fire and smoke. Health effects can include any or all of the following symptoms, per the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Burning or stinging of the nose, throat and eyes
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
How can parents protect kids from the harmful health effects of fire and smoke?
  • Evacuate the area if recommended by authorities.
  • Stay indoors and minimize smoke exposure. Close all windows and doors.
  • When driving, keep windows and vents closed. Turn the air-conditioning to re-circulate.
  • Avoid sports practices, games or extreme exertion if the air quality is poor.
  • Do NOT give your child a mask to filter contaminants, since masks do not work when not fitted correctly. Smaller sized masks may appear to fit a child’s face, but no manufacturers recommend their use for children.
  • Increase water intake to avoid dehydration, which can happen quicker when breathing is compromised.
  • Continue to minimize exposure to other sources of air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, smoke from wood or coal-burning furnaces, or smoke from a barbecue, as the combined effect of these smoke sources can have a greater impact on your child and family than the fire alone.
  • Children with chronic respiratory problems, such as asthma, are at increased risk. Children at increased risk should remain in a clean-air environment, and be kept indoors until air quality improves. Administer any protective medications to your child as directed by your provider. They should be monitored closely for signs or symptoms of harmful health effects. If they are showing these symptoms and their usual medications cannot bring them under control, they should be taken to a nearby medical facility, despite the risks of traveling.

wildfires

Parents should be mindful of the signs and symptoms of respiratory distress, says Dr. Charles Golden, executive medical director of the CHOC Children’s Primary Care Network.

What are the warning signs of respiratory distress?
  • Rapid breathing
  • Use of accessory muscles (the muscles in the chest, rib cage and neck) become noticeable with each breath
  • Fatigue, lack of energy, and increase in sleepiness in addition to the above symptoms
  • Flaring of the nostrils or grunting with each breath
  • Bluish/purplish discoloration of the lips, tongue and inner mouth in combination with the above symptoms

If your child has these symptoms, seek urgent medical attention despite the risks of travel and outdoor air exposure. If these symptoms are severe, call 911.