What We’re Thankful for This Year: 2018

The  physicians, nurses, staff and patients that make up the CHOC Children’s healthcare community have much to be thankful for this year. In addition to opening our Mental Health Inpatient Center and expanding our Primary Care Network, we’re grateful to be able to offer best-in-class care to kids in Orange County and beyond. A few members of the CHOC community share what they are most thankful for this year.

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Kimberly Chavalas Cripe

Kimberly Chavalas Cripe, president & CEO, CHOC Children’s

“This Thanksgiving – and always – I am grateful for our mighty brigade of physicians, staff, volunteers, donors and community members who are committed to keeping childhood alive and well.  The holiday season is a time of wonderment for kids, and illness or injury shouldn’t dim the brightness of the holidays for our patients and their families.  Thank you to our team for working tirelessly to preserve the magic of childhood.”

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Chris Furman

Chris Furman, chairman, CHOC Children’s Board of Directors

“This year, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as the incoming chairman of CHOC’s board of directors. Our entire board is dedicated to furthering CHOC’s mission to nurture, advance and protect the health and well-being of children in Orange County and beyond. We are honored to support CHOC’s passionate team of physicians and staff and privileged to play a part in bringing world-class care to children and families.”

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Cynthia Neiman

Cynthia Neiman, chief marketing officer

“There are so many things that I am thankful for this year! I am so thankful to be working here at CHOC alongside a “mighty brigade” of passionate clinicians, associates, and my amazing team who are all dedicated to preserving the magic of childhood. I am thankful to wake up every morning and do something that I love with people who have a shared mission. This year, I am especially thankful for my family and that all of us will be together in the same city to enjoy the holiday together.”

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Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh

Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh, pediatric general and thoracic surgeon

“I am grateful for many blessings in my life. To name a few: I am thankful to be part of CHOC Children’s, one of the best children’s hospitals, and have the opportunity to do what I love the most, and that is to take care of children. Second, it is truly an honor and privilege to be a surgeon and have the trust of families with their most precious gifts on earth, their children. And finally, I am grateful for the support of my wonderful colleagues and all the staff at CHOC Children’s that allows me to do my job the best way I can.”

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Amanda Webb

Amanda Webb, emergency department charge nurse

“I am thankful to serve children and families who come to the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s. It’s my privilege to be a source of calm and care for our patients and families during a daunting and scary time. I’m also so grateful to work with a truly transformational leadership team, and alongside dedicated and compassionate staff who make up the best group I’ve collaborated with during my career.”

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Annette and Richard Symons

Annette and Richard Symons, CHOC Champions

“I am grateful that CHOC has given me the opportunity to build upon my parents’ legacy of giving. CHOC helped my husband and me realize our desire to establish a spiritual care endowment—walking alongside us throughout the entire process, putting our philanthropic goals first and working hard to make everything easy for us. As a long-time member of the Small World Guild, I’ve been fortunate to see the incredible healing and support that CHOC provides children and families. I’ve come to find that the more you get involved at CHOC, the more you learn just how amazing it is.”       -Annette Symons

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Dr. Charlie Golden

Dr. Charlie Golden, executive medical director, CHOC Children’s primary care network

“With each year that passes, all of us experience the many trials and blessings of life. As a father and a husband, I am truly thankful for my family, and am reminded every day by them of the true purpose of life. As a physician, I am thankful for my patients and staff, as they enlist me for advice, confide in me their most sacred concerns, and place their trust in me. As a physician executive, I am thankful for the skilled team of physicians and leaders that I work with who share a vision and work tirelessly to provide the highest quality healthcare to all children. Finally, I’m so very grateful for CHOC Children’s, and our vision to be a leading destination for children’s health.”

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Christian and his dad Bernabe

Christian, age 8, patient

“I’m thankful for my dad for making my favorite foods. I’m thankful for my mom because when I can’t sleep she climbs in my bed and lays with me until I fall asleep.”

Bernabe, Christian’s dad

“Thank you to every doctor and nurse for the special care they provide to Christian. I’m thankful for Jody, an oncology nurse practitioner because my son lights up whenever she comes into his room to check on him. Jody and Christian have a special bond.”

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Mallorie Boeing

Mallorie Boeing, pediatric intensive care unit registered nurse, CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital

“This year and every year for the past four years since I became a member of the CHOC organization, I am thankful for my CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital family. From our unit assistants, electroencephalogram (EEG)  techs, child life specialists and volunteers, to our doctors and nurses both at CHOC Mission and Mission Hospital, I am thankful to be a part of such an amazing and passionate team of individuals. I am especially thankful this year for CHOC’s ability to provide tuition assistance while I obtain my master’s degree and for creating such a fun and positive work environment. I am also thankful for CHOC’s continued dedication to providing safe, high-quality, patient-and-family-centered care to all of Orange County’s smallest residents.”

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Dr. Kelly Davis

Dr. Kelly Davis, pediatric sports medicine specialist

“I was a resident at CHOC several years ago and am so thankful to be a part of the CHOC community again. I am thankful for all of my colleagues who help me continue to grow and learn as a physician. I am thankful for my patients who are the young budding athletes of the future. They entrust me with their pains and concerns and allow me to care for them and help them stay healthy while they achieve their sports dreams. Being at CHOC as a resident taught me so much and significantly shaped the doctor that I am today. I am most thankful to now be able to give back and pass on my love for teaching and our healthcare system to the next generation of doctors.”

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Dr. Joffre Olaya

Dr. Joffre Olaya, pediatric neurosurgeon

“I am so grateful for the privilege of working at CHOC Children’s and the chance to be part of a premiere clinical team within CHOC’s Neuroscience Institute. I take pride in working alongside such an incredible team of healthcare providers who understand that we care for the most vulnerable population. Shouldering this responsibility propels us to strive to deliver the best possible care to our patients facing neurological disorders. I’m humbled that parents entrust us every day with their children’s medical care.”

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Danielle Frausto with CHOC colleagues’ daughters

Danielle Frausto, registered nurse, neonatal intensive care unit

“CHOC has given me the opportunity to do what I love most. It is an honor to come to work every day and take care of our fragile patients.”

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Lisa Schneider

Lisa Schneider, nurse manager, mental health inpatient center

“I am very thankful for everyone who has warmly welcomed me into the CHOC family and also for CHOC’s dedication to pediatric mental healthcare. This is the first organization that I have encountered that is so passionate about de-stigmatizing mental illness and prioritizing mental health prevention, recognition and treatment in children. We are truly impacting the children in our area and are setting a higher standard for mental health care across the country.”

Support CHOC to show your gratitude this holiday season

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7 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

By Katherine Bennett, registered dietitian at CHOC Children’s

The holiday season is full of festive events, good food and cherished memories. However, it can also be a time for more stress, unhealthy eating and getting sick. Check out the seven tips for staying healthy during the holidays below.

  1. Keep moving! Although days are shorter and your schedule may be full, try to devote time to being active. Take a short walk while on break at work, do a free yoga video after your morning coffee, or ride your bike to grocery store to pick up that one forgotten item. Playing hide-and-go seek, building a fort, or having a jump rope contest are easy and fun ways to help the whole family stay active. Research shows being active can strengthen your immune system, decrease stress, and help keep unwanted weight off.
  2. Focus on fun, not food and drinks. Swap out the usual cookie baking tradition or gingerbread house decorating and establish a nonfood based holiday tradition like making homemade ornaments or volunteering.
  3. Get enough sleep. Being tired can lead to increased stress, low energy and making unhealthy eating and drinking decisions. Don’t overbook yourself with holiday events and try to stick to a regular bedtime every night.
  4. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Skipping meals can lead to you making unhealthy choices and overeating at a later meal. If your schedule is busy, plan ahead and pack a snack so you don’t have an excuse.
  5. Drink water. Colder weather and indulging in holiday party drinks can make us forget we still need to drink water. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go to help remind you to stay hydrated.
  6. Try healthier holiday favorites. Try to change recipes or ingredients for your favorite holiday dishes to make them healthier. Check out CHOC’s recipe box filled with healthy recipes.
  7. Don’t forget your fruits and vegetables. Just because there are more sweet treats, comfort foods and fun holiday drinks, don’t forget about the fruits and vegetables. They are low calorie and good sources of vitamins and minerals that can help keep your immune system strong.

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Keeping Little Ones Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season can be one of the busiest times of year for families. Keeping these safety tips from CHOC’s community educators in mind can help ensure your family stays safe while partaking in all the fun and festive experiences the season has to offer.

holiday safety tips for kids

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Dealing with Food Allergies Around the Holidays

The holiday season is a festive time, but can present unique challenges for children with food allergies and their parents. We spoke to Vanessa Chrisman, a clinical pediatric dietitian at CHOC Children’s, who has advice for parents on navigating a season often filled with parties and treats while managing their child’s dietary restrictions.

What are some of the most common food allergies/dietary restrictions that children face?

The most common food allergies that children face include: wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish. They are known as the top eight, as these foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions to food. The severity of an allergic reaction really varies from one child to the next. An example of a mild reaction would be a small rash on one hand that goes away in a couple hours. A more severe reaction could involve swelling of the face, vomiting and diarrhea, and/or coughing or wheezing. Severe reactions can be life-threatening.

How does suffering from food allergies complicate festive occasions such as holiday celebrations?

Children with food allergies often are restricted from eating the foods that are offered at holiday parties. As a result, these children may feel like they are missing out or being punished for having food allergies. To help ease this problem, parents need to be proactive and plan ahead when it comes to approaching holiday parties and meals. Bringing allergen-safe food along to parties or preparing special baked good for the child with food allergies are two examples of how to deal with this.

What can parents do in their own home to accommodate dietary restrictions that one child faces, when there are other children in the home without that allergy or restriction?

Depending on the food allergen, parents can decide whether or not they will keep food allergens out of the home or not. Labeling areas as safe zones (allergen-free) both in the pantry and the refrigerator is helpful. Keeping unsafe foods tucked away and stored in air-tight containers is also advised. Everyone in the family should learn how to read food labels and ingredient lists. To prevent the transfer of food allergens, all family members should wash their hands before and after eating. Practicing safe food preparation is important for avoiding cross-contamination. Counters and tables should be scrubbed down before and after meals. When eating or serving food use separate utensils that have not come into contact with allergens. Parents can educate their children on food allergies, as well as the importance of keeping food allergens away from the child who is allergic.

How can parents accommodate their child’s allergies when partaking in festive events outside the home?

Parents should talk to their child’s teacher and school nurse at the beginning of each school year so they can be prepared for any celebrations at school where food is involved. When their child is going to a birthday party or to a friend’s house, parents need to talk with the parents who will be watching over their child. Explain your child’s food allergy, what foods to avoid, what symptoms to look for, what specific foods are safe to give and how to practice safe food handling. Parents can also send their child with special “safe foods” to be consumed when outside the home. For those with a prescription for an epinephrine injection for anaphylaxis, ensure your child has it with them at all times and that other care providers know how to administer it.

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CHOC Toy Drive December 17

Community members wishing to spread holiday cheer to CHOC Children’s patients and families are invited to participate in CHOC’s annual toy drive. The event will be held Saturday, Dec. 17 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. outside our employee parking structure, located at 557 S. Main St. in Orange.

Due to limited storage space, gift cards are encouraged, to places such as: Target, Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Michael’s and Amazon.  Visa gift cards are also appreciated, as are grocery store or gas station gift cards that can be distributed to families in need. Gift cards allow trained child life specialists to hand-select toys, games and activities that best meet the needs of our patients.

Those wishing to donate toys are encouraged to view our wish list prior to the toy drive and choose from items our child life specialists find most appropriate and popular among our diverse family and patient population. Donors are encouraged to sort and box their gifts before delivery.

“We do everything we can to make this time of year very special and festive for our patients who have to spend the holidays in the hospital,” says Stephanie Chami, manager of CHOC’s child life department. “Every day of the year, child life specialists strive to normalize the hospital experience for kids and teens, and these gifts are just one way we keep patients encouraged and engaged.”

Community members unable to participate in the toy drive can view the hospital’s wish list via our Amazon registry by searching Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Donations will be shipped directly to CHOC. During the month of December we are unable to accept donations in the main hospital lobby.

Due to infection control guidelines, all donated items must be new. We are unfortunately not able to accept used toys, handmade items or stuffed animals.

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