I am Dr. O, TheTeenDoc. I was raised on the east coast and first came to California for my undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. Later, I was trained in pediatrics at what is now Drexel University and then did a fellowship in adolescent medicine at Stanford University. I enjoyed the snow, but I stayed for the sun in California where I raise my own two teens.
Teen medicine wasn’t a hard choice for me once I knew it existed. I saw this amazing physician guest lecture at a class at Cal and she was so normal. She was funny and dynamic and those were two things I haven’t really seen in medicine. I hadn’t seen “approachable” in medicine. Listening to her, broadened my idea of how you could practice medicine. It turned out this was a lot of permission that I would need because the most common phrase uttered to me throughout my career has been you march to the beat of your own drum.
This beat has led me to understand that the reason teens have a high preventable death rate is not just because their brains aren’t fully developed until 26-28 years old, it is because when you don’t know you matter, you behave differently. You carry yourself differently and you take risks that can be deadly. It turns out that was why teens were known for sex, drugs and hip hop. This was not an innate calling, it was out of low self-worth. But, how do you do that in a 15-30 min visit? You really can’t. This is really why I am TheTeenDoc. I can plant seeds in the medical clinic room, but in the context of one’s home, video chat, text or call I am able to coach insight about behavior, develop self-worth and transform developing humans from whom they think they’re supposed to be to having the courage to be their greatest selves. This never gets old for me. It is a privilege for which I am so grateful each time someone lets me be part of their journey.