Meet CHOC’s Newest Patient & Family Centered Care Coordinator

CHOC Children’s has long been committed to providing patient- and family-centered care. This includes letting patients define their own family, inviting family members to be active members of the patient’s care team, and fostering open communication and information sharing between physicians, nurses and families.

CHOC’s newest Patient & Family Centered Care Coordinator Marla Dorsey will allow CHOC’s customer service team to further deliver on the hospital’s commitment to provide this high level model of care and service to patients and families. Marla’s service will be based upon the four guiding principles to patient- and family-centered care: dignity and respect, information sharing, participation, and collaboration.

Marla Dorsey

“I want patients to remember that CHOC is a family too,” says Marla. “No matter what role you play at CHOC, every member of the CHOC family is committed to supporting every member of your family.”

Marla’s role includes making rounds to different units in the hospital to check in on parents and families. “Sometimes families just need someone to talk to, a break from medical conversations. Maybe their child is nonverbal and they just want to share about their own needs, so for a little while they can forget they’re in a hospital,” she explains.

Marla will also oversee the Family Resource Center, which features a library for patients and families as well as multimedia stations for entertainment or to research pediatric illnesses. She’ll also coordinate parent education opportunities with CHOC’s Family Advisory Council, a group that meets regularly to provide input, from a family’s perspective, on decisions and initiatives at CHOC.

Although Marla is new to CHOC’s customer service department, her journey at CHOC started many years ago. She visited regularly as a young child when a family member was a patient. Later, when her daughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, she found herself back at CHOC. “I had this sense of familiarity when my daughter was referred to the endocrinology team here,” Marla says. “Choco’s been in my life for such a long time, and CHOC has grown so much in what they do to support patients and families since I began my health journey here with my daughter over 15 years ago.”

After her daughter’s diagnosis, Marla began volunteering with the PADRE Foundation (Pediatric-Adolescent Diabetes Research Education), of which CHOC is a partner. She then moved into a full-time position in CHOC’s clinical education department, before moving to her new role in customer service.

“I keep moving closer and closer to the heart of the hospital, where the kids are,” says Marla. “These are the kids who are going to be the most amazing leaders in our community. Look at what they’re accomplishing every day by fighting for their health when they’re here at CHOC!”

What We’re Thankful for This Year: 2015

The community of physicians, staff, patients and special visitors at CHOC Children’s has much to be thankful for this year. In addition to launching our Trauma Center and our Mental Health Initiative, we’re thankful to be able to offer best-in-class care to kids in Orange County and the greater community. A few members of our CHOC family share what they are most thankful for this year.

Berkeley, Pet Therapy Dog 

Pet therapy dog“I am so grateful for the privilege of visiting patients and families at CHOC Children’s. No bone, dog park visit, or belly scratch brings me as much happiness as seeing a smile stretch across a patient’s face when I visit. Thanksgiving especially reminds me that the CHOC canine crew is one lucky pack!”

Kimberly Chavalas CripeKim Cripe
President & CEO

“I am grateful for the privilege of working alongside the most compassionate, dedicated and brilliant team of clinicians and staff. I have the honor of witnessing our physicians, researchers and nurses advance innovative and life-saving care, securing bright futures for our community’s children. And I am humbled by the courage of our patients, who inspire me each and every day to push the limits of what is possible for them and their families.”

David DukesDavid Dukes
Chair, CHOC Children’s
Board of Directors

“I am thankful to reside in a county that is home to an excellent children’s healthcare system, and honored for the opportunity to help guide CHOC towards its vision to be a leading destination for children’s health by providing exceptional and innovative care.”


Melanie PattersonMelanie.PattersonIMG_0292_2
Vice President, Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer

“I am thankful for the amazing patient care staff we have at CHOC.  All are committed to every patient and family that walks in the campus.”



Lindsey Clark
Child Life Specialist

“I am thankful for a wonderful team of child life specialists. I could not do my job without each one of them. Thank you for your support, encouragement, wisdom and laughter each and every day. Each of you are making CHOC a place where kids feel safe and would want to visit again.”

Choco Bear, Beloved Mascotchoco bear

“I am thankful for weak tree branches. Yes, really! If I hadn’t fallen out of that tree so many years ago and hurt my arm, I never would have met the wonderful people at CHOC Children’s. Not only did they fix me up, but they started my longtime friendships with CHOC doctors, staff, patients and families. These relationships continue to grow and deepen every day, and I am one grateful bear.”

Dr. Nick Anas
Pediatrician-in-Chief and Medical Director, PICU

Nick Anas

“As I reflect upon the last year, I am most thankful for the incredible support and confidence provided to me by both CHOC administration and the pediatric intensive care unit team of physicians, nurses, and specialty staff with whom I have worked for so many years. It’s awe-inspiring to witness and to be part of a collaboration that is committed to excellence in the care of our patients and their families. As we approach this holiday season, I am so proud that CHOC is here to protect the health of our children.”

mom of Jordin, age 8

“I am thankful for all the employees and volunteers at CHOC, and their commitment to keeping Jordin healthy, safe and happy. This year has been one of her most challenging years with sickle cell disease. CHOC Children’s Hospital and CHOC Children’s Foundation was there for Jordin and our family to help us see through some of our darkest moments. Without CHOC we would not be able to raise Jordin to be a strong healthy young lady.”

Bill Holmes, Donor

Bill Holmes

“I am thankful for my success in business because it has given me the opportunity to support wonderful organizations, like CHOC.”

Alan Ramirez
CHOC Patient, age 10

“I’m grateful for my nurses because they help me with my medicines.”




Marion Van Eeden - CCMH GP of the YearMarion Van Eeden
Clinical Nurse, Pediatrics,
CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital

“I’m so thankful for the privilege to work at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital and for being a part of such a wonderful team that provides excellent family-centered care for our pediatric patients. “

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Navy Veteran Now Serves CHOC Patients

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we spoke to Navy Veteran Danny Rodriguez, a clinical associate in CHOC Children’s recovery room (PACU). After a near-drowning accident when he was 4 years old, Danny was hospitalized at CHOC. Years later, he returned to the hospital as an employee to help other patients the way he’d been cared for. CHOC is proud to have numerous veterans on staff taking care of our patients.

Q: What role do you play in caring for patients at CHOC?

A: As a clinical associate, I assist nurses by taking patients’ vital signs in the pre-operative unit, and by helping patients be discharged from the recovery room. Before transferring to this department, I worked in central transport for two years, helping ensure all departments, including surgical services, had the medical supplies and equipment they needed, when they needed it. We also worked hard to ensure special patient care needs were met promptly and efficiently.

Q: What aspect of your role as a clinical associate are you most passionate about?

A: I’m the first one to see kids when they come in for surgery. I get to find out what they like and talk to them about it, to make sure they’re comfortable. Sometimes I’m able to see them before and after their surgery. Everyone does such a great job here at CHOC, but parents and kids like it when they see familiar faces.

Q: How have your experiences in the military prepared you for your healthcare career at CHOC?

A: My experiences in combat have taught me to expect the unexpected. I’ve been deployed three times, and I’m the first line of care for my artillery unit. Going back to the Spanish War, every generation in my family has had someone in the military. But I’ve always wanted to work with kids, and during my deployment to Iraq, I had some experience treating kids. When I got off active duty and joined the Navy Reserve, I had the chance to come to CHOC and give back to the organization that helped me as a child.

Q: What advice would you offer someone considering a career in healthcare?

A: Come to work always ready to have fun and keep a smile on your face!

Q: How do you cope with juggling two roles, in the Navy Reserves and at CHOC?

A: I love to be on the go, but I couldn’t do it without my wife. She’s my rock. When I’m not at work, I coach football, and play competitive rugby and softball.

Thank You, Community Physicians!

Frank_Kellogg_CHOCCommunity physicians play an integral role in CHOC Children’s mission to nurture, advance and protect the health and well being of children. These important people are the doctors who work in the community and send patients to CHOC when specialized care or hospitalization is needed.

In my 50 years hanging around CHOC, I’m lucky to have met many awesome community docs. I wanted to introduce you today to to one who was a familiar face at CHOC when I first visited in 1964: Dr. Frank Kellogg.

An early role at CHOC

He may have officially retired in 2013, but Dr. Kellogg is still a practicing pediatrician. He works one day a week at Strong Families Medical Group in Anaheim, where he cares for an underserved medical population. It is the latest stage of a long medical career marked by service.

Dr. Kellogg was an original member of CHOC’s medical staff and served on the hospital’s executive committee and board of directors. Since that time, he has seen a complete shift in the way hospitals care for their youngest patients.

When he was an intern, parents could only visit one afternoon a week. After they left, there would be complete pandemonium because the children knew their parents wouldn’t be back for a week.

“They sobbed all night long,” Dr. Kellogg said. “Child life? It didn’t exist because it wasn’t seen as important.”

And today, Dr. Kellogg marvels at the highly sophisticated patient care that CHOC provides, especially the 24-hour access to expert pediatric specialists.

50 years of changes

At the beginning of his career, pediatricians sat with seriously ill patients in the middle of the night to start and restart IVs. To this day, Dr. Kellogg still gets a little nervous if he sees a low IV bottle.

“CHOC Children’s is really quite something,” he said. “Whoever thought we’d have a place like this.”

Dr. Kellogg graduated from Anaheim High School on D-Day. Two days later, he and the rest of the boys from his senior class reported for active duty.

The U.S. Navy sent him to begin pre-medical training at UCLA, which he finished in two years. Next, he went to Stanford Medical School, followed by an internship at San Francisco City and County Hospital. The Korean War interrupted his pediatric training for two years, while he served as a physician on the aircraft carrier USS Antietam.

After returning, Dr. Kellogg completed his residency at Stanford. In 1955, he became the first chief resident of pediatrics at the new UCLA Medical Center. And in 1956, Dr. Kellogg returned to Orange County to open a private practice in Garden Grove.

Thank you to Dr. Kellogg and all other community physicians for your years of service to Orange County’s children!

More stories about CHOC physicians and staff:

  • One nurse’s thank you letter to a former patient
    By Amanda Paragas, registered nurse, CHOC Children’s cardiovascular intensive care unit The CHOC Children’s RN Residency Program is a 17-week program that is specifically customized to meet the requirements of the ...
  • How one surgery inspired a career in nursing
    By Lisa Turni, surgical unit nurse manager, CHOC Children’s I’ve been a nurse for 18 years, but the seeds of my career were planted long before I put on my first ...
  • A day in the life of a pediatric pharmacy technician
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All Patients are Family for CHOC’s Mother, Daughter Physicians

Dr. Neda Zadeh has a special nickname for her mentor at CHOC Children’s: Mom.

She and her mother, Dr. Touran Zadeh, are among CHOC’s medical geneticists, working together to treat children with developmental disabilities, congenital abnormalities, birth defects and genetic disorders.

“She has been my hero for so long,” the younger Zadeh says. “I probably don’t tell her enough. I have so much admiration for her.”

Drs. Touran Zadeh and Neda Zadeh


A long CHOC connection

The mother-daughter duo has worked alongside each other since 2010, when the younger Zadeh joined the CHOC genetics team full-time after completing her clinical genetics and molecular genetics fellowships at Stanford University and UCLA.

And in a way, she was coming home: As a young girl, Zadeh, who declared her dream of becoming a doctor when just in preschool, frequently accompanied her mother when she’d be called into work at CHOC on evenings and weekends.

“I always knew that I’d go and do genetics training and come back and join her practice,” the younger Zadeh says. “I grew up at CHOC. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”

Mother and daughter, circa 1980

Early work challenges dissolve

Though both women acknowledge that learning to work together was challenging at first, the pair today easily functions as professionals first, and mother and daughter second.

But that doesn’t stop the younger Zadeh from marveling at her mother’s expertise, and bragging that mom can often make a correct diagnosis just by looking at a patient.

And the elder Zadeh, who has been at CHOC for about 30 years, says she also learns much from her daughter, especially when it comes to technology.

“I learned a lot of new stuff from Neda because her generation is more Internet- and computer- savvy,” she says. “Also, a lot of time I consult with her, just like anybody else in our profession would.”

A common care philosophy

The two also share a patient care philosophy: “My mother told me to always treat patients as though they were your family,” the younger Zadeh recalls. “That has really stuck with me. Every time I see a patient, I think of that. I think that’s the only way it can be.”

Though families are sometimes confused by seeing physicians with a resemblance and the same name, both women believe patients benefit from being under the care of a mother-daughter duo.

“When she’s with a patient who she thinks may have something that I’ve seen before, she gets me involved,” says the elder Zadeh. “In that respect, it’s good for patients.”

The next generation

Though they work side by side, the women try to see each other socially at least once a week – especially since the younger Zadeh’s first son was born almost two years ago.

The toddler has not yet declared an interest in becoming a physician, but the younger Zadeh admits she’d be thrilled if that desire ever materialized.

“Any parent would have to be happy if their child told them they wanted to follow in their footsteps,” she says.

It’s true: Just ask her mother.

“I am so proud,” the elder Zadeh says. “When Neda got the call that she got into medical school, she was really very happy. That was her longtime goal, and it was a dream come true.”

More articles about CHOC physicians and staff:

  • One nurse’s thank you letter to a former patient
    By Amanda Paragas, registered nurse, CHOC Children’s cardiovascular intensive care unit The CHOC Children’s RN Residency Program is a 17-week program that is specifically customized to meet the requirements of the ...
  • How one surgery inspired a career in nursing
    By Lisa Turni, surgical unit nurse manager, CHOC Children’s I’ve been a nurse for 18 years, but the seeds of my career were planted long before I put on my first ...
  • A day in the life of a pediatric pharmacy technician
    By Harumi Hope, emergency department pharmacy technician at CHOC Children’s A pharmacy technician works under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist and perform many pharmacy-related functions. At CHOC Children’s Hospital, pharmacy ...