What is your baby’s ‘sleep temperament?’

The Dr. Super Sleep Series is written in collaboration with KinderCare. KinderCare believes that early childhood education creates brighter futures. They are the largest provider of early childhood education in the nation and they are passionate about creating a world of learning, joy and adventure for more than 169,000 children every day. For more parenting resources, crafts, learning activities and family fun, visit their blog

From the moment he or she is born, a baby’s innate personality shines through in so many ways: how he eats (with zeal! selectively…), what makes her smile or how he plays. And yes, tired parents, how your baby snoozes (or doesn’t) is also due, in part, to the sleep personality that she was born with, also called her “sleep temperament.”

Doctors and sleep researchers have identified two types of sleep temperaments in infants as young as six months: self-soothers and signalers (babies who tend to call out during the night). Most babies fall somewhere in between the two temperaments.

We tend to assign values to these temperaments (for example, the notion that self-soothers are “great sleepers” while signalers are “not good sleepers”), but there really isn’t a hierarchy, says Dr. Elizabeth Super, pediatrician and children’s sleep specialist with the Pediatric Sleep Medicine program at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. “Babies aren’t good or bad sleepers,” she says, “they’re just different.”

Curious about which temperament your baby has?


All babies naturally wake up five to seven times per night – this cycle continues into adulthood, although it’s often imperceptible to adults. Babies with self-soothing sleep temperaments are more easily able to drift off to sleep when bedtime begins, as well as get back to sleep on their own when they wake. These sleepy-heads may also snooze for longer periods of time, or start sleeping through the night sooner than other babies.

Is your baby a self-soother? You may hear her wake up (perhaps babbling to herself) and then settle back to sleep. She might use a pacifier, suck her thumb, cuddle up with a favorite blankie or hum to herself as part of her soothing routine.


It takes these wide-eyed (and sometimes lusty-lunged) little ones longer to learn self-soothing skills that come more quickly to others. These babies may have more difficulty falling and staying asleep, and when they wake up during the night, they may cry or call out.

Is your baby a signaler? If your healthy baby has regular nighttime wake-ups, or if his cries stop and he lights up when he sees you enter the room, then you may have a signaler. Learning a new sleep routine, or settling back into his normal routine after an illness, vacation, illness or developmental milestone may take more time as he discovers and develops self-soothing skills.

Whatever her innate sleep temperament, you child’s sleep skills are a learned behavior. The self-soothers of the bunch may’ve caught on more quickly, but don’t worry, your signaler will get there in his own time.

“Developmentally, all children, whatever their sleep temperament, will learn to adapt and fall asleep independently as they grow,” Dr. Super says. Remember that sleep challenges will come and go and even the calmest of self-soothers may have difficult phases of sleep development. Whatever your child’s sleep temperament, supporting great sleep habits will help her build sleep skills that she needs to get good rest.

Other posts in the Dr. Super sleep series:
Six strategies to improve your baby’s sleep skills
Monsters under the bed: banishing bedtime fears
Battle bad dreams, night terrors and things that go bump in the dark
The real scoop on teething and sleep


Dr. Elizabeth SuperElizabeth Super, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Doernbecher Pediatric Sleep Medicine Program
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital


Healthy eyes: Six vision tips for kids and parents

Vision screeningWhen should kids receive their first vision screening? 

The first screening is actually done when a baby is born as part of their newborn check up. Additional vision and eye health assessments are done with each subsequent primary care evaluation throughout childhood. When a child is old enough to provide information about their eyesight at pediatric appointments, about age 3 to 5, a visual acuity assessment should be performed. Oregon passed a law last year mandating that all children receive a vision screening before they start preschool, kindergarten or first grade.

The beginning of the school year is a good opportunity to identify vision problems. What should parents look for?

Pay close attention to see if your kids are having trouble seeing anything at all – Can you see something your child cannot? Are they rubbing their eyes or having trouble while using an iPad or computer? If you have any concerns, you should have their vision examined, either at the pediatrician’s office or by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

What does a provider need to know about a child’s vision?

If you’ve noticed any of the following, be sure to let your child’s provider know:

  • Your child’s eyes are not aligned or are red or irritated
  • Your child squints to read certain things
  • Your child appears to have more difficulty seeing compared with other children or yourself

The biggest concern is that alignment issues might be caught too late, causing permanent vision loss. Kids may not know that they have vision problems, making it even more important for parents to keep an eye out for them.

How can parents protect their kids’ eyes while playing sports?

Kids who are who are performing in athletic endeavors should use eye protection, especially with small ball sports – tennis, baseball, golf, etc. If a ball hits your child’s eye, it can rupture the globe.

What about eye safety and screen time?

I tell my patients to use the 20/20/20 rule when doing focused activities that involve screen time on iPads or computers: Take a break every 20 minutes and look beyond 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps the eyes to recover after prolonged near focusing effort.

What resources are available to parents to have their children’s eyes checked if they can’t afford an eye exam? 

Casey Eye Institute Elks Children’s Eye Clinic offers free vision screenings in partnership with the Oregon Elks Association and libraries around the state through their See to Read program (click here to view a schedule). Other charitable or civic organizations like the Elks and Lions Clubs offer free vision screenings. If a family doesn’t have insurance and has eye concerns, start with your pediatrician’s office or a school screening. Some nurses may also screen for vision problems.

Daniel Karr, M.D.
Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics
Casey Eye Institute
Oregon Health & Science University

Dietary treatments for epilepsy: Which diet is the right fit for your child?

Jane Riebold, M.S., R.D. ’15, is a newly-minted alumna of the Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition in the OHSU School of Medicine. Jane will be attending the prestigious Boston Children’s Hospital Pediatric Clinical Nutrition Fellowship to complete further training in nutritional treatments for childhood disease. Below, she shares a brief guide to the different types of dietary therapy for epilepsy.


There are about 750,000 children in the United States who are living with epilepsy, a brain disorder that causes seizures. While antiepileptic drugs exist, dietary treatments for epilepsy can effectively reduce seizure frequency and severity for some children. Dietary treatment may also give some children good seizure control with a reduced dosage or number of antiepileptic drugs. Dietary therapies for epilepsy are very high in fat and low in carbohydrate, and should only be followed under the supervision of a pediatric neurologist and dietitian. The low-glycemic index diet, the modified Atkins diet and the classic ketogenic diet are three different therapeutic diets that a pediatric neurologist and dietitian may discuss as options for your child.

The low-glycemic index diet is the least restrictive type of dietary therapy for epilepsy. Successful low-glycemic index diet therapy requires parents to be able to track the amount of carbohydrate (and what kinds of foods) their child eats each day. Parents must limit the grams of carbohydrate contained in their child’s food to about 40-60 grams per day, or as instructed by the dietitian. Foods with a low glycemic index (≤50) are preferred. Glycemic index measures the amount that a certain food raises a person’s blood sugar when compared to pure glucose, which has a glycemic index of 100. For example, a small apple has a glycemic index of 40 and contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate.

The modified Atkins diet is more restrictive than the low-glycemic index diet because fewer grams of carbohydrate are allowed per day. During modified Atkins therapy, parents will limit the grams of carbohydrate contained in their child’s food to about 10-20 grams per day as instructed by the dietitian. Any type of food containing carbohydrate is allowed if the grams of carbohydrate in the food fit within the daily allowance, and fats and protein are again encouraged. Modified Atkins is less restrictive than the classic ketogenic diet because parents must be able to track the amount of carbohydrate that their child eats each day but do not need to track their child’s intake of fat or protein.

The classic ketogenic diet is the strictest form of dietary therapy for epilepsy. The ketogenic diet is prescribed as a ratio of the grams of fat a child eats in a day compared to the total grams of protein and carbohydrate that a child eats in a day. The classic ketogenic diet typically provides 3-4 grams of fat for every 1 gram of protein and carbohydrate combined (for comparison, a modified Atkins diet could also be described as an approximate 1:1 ratio). While following the classic ketogenic diet, 87-90 percent of the energy that a child consumes from food each day is derived from fat. The classic ketogenic diet requires parents to track the amount of protein and fat, along with carbohydrate, that their child consumes each day. Accuracy is so important that all foods must be weighed on a gram scale before they are eaten so that the amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate they contain can be correctly calculated. This can be very challenging and time consuming for parents, particularly if their child is a picky eater. A dietitian works closely with every child on this diet to provide recipes, educate the family, and ensure that all of the child’s nutritional needs are being met.

To learn more about dietary therapies for epilepsy, contact the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Pediatric Epilepsy Center or visit the Charlie Foundation website.


The ketogenic diet team at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital currently includes Carter Wray, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine; Andrea Frank, MSN, CPNP, instructor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine; Audrey Easttum, RD, LD; and Megan Fuetterer, RDN, LDN, CPT.

A Q&A with Pediatric Hem/Onc nurse Lily

Lily and another wonderful Hem/Onc nurse, Patsy!

Lily, left and another wonderful Hem/Onc nurse, Patsy!

Happy Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Day! We appreciate our incredible nurses every day of the year, but wanted to show some extra love for the RNs who care for our Hem/Onc patients.

We snagged a few minutes with Registered Nurse Lily Doebler to ask why she chose this career, what inspires her and more!

What made you decide you wanted to be a Hem/Onc nurse?

After I finished my undergraduate degree, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew I loved kids, so I started volunteering here at Doernbecher in 2006 or 2007 as a “float” volunteer. I found that I loved volunteering on 10S with the Hem/Onc patients – I fell in love with the kids and their families. I love working with families in the long term, getting to know them and building relationships. That’s what I like best about Hem/Onc nursing.

What’s your favorite part about your job? The most challenging?

My favorite part is the kids! They constantly inspire me, crack me up and keep me on my toes. They are truly the  toughest people on the planet and my heroes. The toughest part is witnessing their suffering – treatment is hard.

A patient shaved Lily's head at a St. Balrick's Foundation event earlier this year.  Photo by Marie Sullivan

A patient shaved Lily’s head at a St. Balrick’s Foundation event earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Marie Sullivan

What do you wish people knew about Hem/Onc nursing? 

It’s not all doom and gloom! We have a playroom, and kids play. We do a good job, and a LOT of our kids get better. Another thing I wish more people knew is that childhood cancer research is so underfunded.

What words of encouragement would you like to share with Doernbecher families?

Kids are amazing and resilient and tough. And you’ve got us here with you always!

What advice would you give aspiring nurses?

Nurses have to love what they do to be great at it. Find the type of nursing that speaks to you and that you love with all of your heart, then do that.


Got a Doernbecher nurse you’d like us to thank? Leave a message in the comments below or email us at socialmedia@ohsu.edu. We’ll be sure to pass along your message! 

Beyond the shoes – Jordan Geller’s Doernbecher Freestyle quest

No one knows sneakers quite like Jordan Geller does. He holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of sneakers owned and is passionate about sharing his collection with others in the sneaker community by way of his “Shoezeum” and by sharing photos and videos on his social channels. Below, Jordan shares his quest to collect 13 highly sought-after Doernbecher Freestyle shoes and makes an exciting announcement about his next project, an auction that will help us help kids!

As soon as Nike and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital announced the release of the “What the Doernbecher” Dunk Highs, I knew I needed to have a pair. These shoes are made up of 13 previous Doernbecher Freestyle models, and all proceeds from the auction went directly to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation. The challenge with obtaining a pair was that only 11 pairs were going to be released – and only one pair in each size.

After a series of fortunate events, I ended up with the size 11 pair, which cost $11,100.00. I felt like the whole thing was meant to be and that I needed to do something with this opportunity.

When the shoes arrived a few weeks later, I was elated. I could hardly contain myself as I filmed the unboxing video. I even knocked the camera during filming because I was so excited (watch the video, below)!

YouTube Preview Image


As I was unboxing the shoes, an idea started to form. That was when my quest began. I decided to find and purchase each of the 13 models whose design elements were used in the What the Doernbechers, filming and sharing a YouTube video review on each pair and their patient-designer’s story along the way.

You can view all 12 videos I’ve made on my YouTube channel. These are links to the twelve videos that I have done. The thirteenth pair (designed by patient-designer Alice Heinz in 2007) is on its way!

In addition to collecting all of these shoes and making videos to raise awareness for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, I decided to go through my closet and storage unit and pull out a bunch of my shoes to auction off on eBay and donate the money to Doernbecher.

On September 1, I will be listing 53 pairs of my shoes and donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation. All of my shoes will include a Doernbecher wristband and pamphlet (pictured here). The next day, I’ll be listing 70 pairs of Nick Hogan’s shoes. Nick is donating 50 percent of the proceeds to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation. (Please note: his shoes will not include wristbands or pamphlets.) You can check out some of the shoes that I pulled out of my storage unit for the auctions here, and you can view some of Nick’s kicks that will be auctioned off here.

Here’s a link to my eBay store: ebay.com/ShoeZeum. Happy bidding!

The auctions will go live on September 1 and 2 and will run for 10 days each. Thank you, Doernbecher, for the opportunity. This is so much fun!

Love, Jordan


Save the date for the Doernbecher Freestyle 2015 collection reveal and auction on October 23 at the Portland Art Museum!

Doernbecher Freestyle: behind the scenes with Nike’s Carson Brown

Being nominated and selected to work on the Doernbecher Freestyle collection is a once-in-a-lifetime experience ­for our patient-designers, but it’s also special for the Nike employees who work with them. We sat down with Carson Brown, a graphic designer working with 8-year-old Isaiah (along with Celeste Rhoads, Aaron Reimer and Sara Cruthers), to learn why this program and this hospital are so meaningful to him.  

What was it like working with Isaiah? 

When our group first met Isaiah to go over his vision and direction, he had some pretty clear and creative ideas. It was a blast taking his sketches, notes and favorite things and merging them together into something special that ties the collection together. We had a few emails and meetings throughout this project to get Isaiah’s feedback to make sure our team was on track. The end result is something truly special and unique to Isaiah.

One of my favorite moments was when Isaiah came for his photo shoot and saw his products for the first time. His excitement was fulfilling. Another favorite moment was receiving a cool sketch Isaiah made (pictured here at right) that captured our first group meeting. 

What was your reaction to finding out you’d be working on this year’s Doernbecher Freestyle collection?

I was pretty emotional. This project means a lot to me and I know it means so much more to the families involved. When our son was born, he was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a disease that affects the bile ducts and liver. When he was 8 weeks old, Gibson had what’s known as the ‘Kasai Procedure’ to help repair his bile ducts. Over the next few months, we were in and out of Doernbecher many times and I’d always roam the hallways to get out of the room and get some air. Whenever I’d pass the Doernbecher/Nike display, I’d pause and read the amazing journeys of each child who participated in the project.

When Gibson was 6 months old, he was having some complications. My wife and Gibson were flown down to Stanford to be evaluated for a liver transplant. Within a few days of his arrival there, Gibson received a liver transplant. He’s now a healthy 2-1/2-year old, and we’re very thankful for that special gift of life.

Being a part of the Doernbecher Freestyle project is very special to my family and me. It’s one of the best projects I have been fortunate to be a part of, and I look forward to helping out whenever possible.


In the coming weeks, we’ll be touching base with others working on this year’s Doernbecher Freestyle collection to learn what it was like working with Emory, Jacob, John, Kian and Lizzy. In the meantime, you can learn more about all six patient-designers here. Save the date for the big collection reveal at our auction on October 23!

11 things your ‘well child’ wants you to know

Growing up with an autistic brother had its fair share of rises and falls. But the impact he has made on my character, virtues and spirit continues to surprise me every day.

When I was around 12, I was traveling with my brother on a plane between my mother and father’s house. We happened to sit next to a very talkative woman. This woman, however, didn’t talk much about herself. In fact, I did most of the talking, because she was asking me question after question about my brother and autism. What foods does he eat? What grade is he in? Does he have friends? After our short flight was over, she said goodbye, shook my brother’s hand, and left the plane.

I remember waiting a few seconds, long enough for her to be just out of hearing range, and saying the one thing that I wanted to matter to her as much as my brother’s TV, food and social habits did: “My name is Antwon.” And as I watched my name, my identity, fade off into the space between us, I began my challenging journey to find my worth and identity in the monster known as Adolescence. I knew autism defined my brother, but I didn’t know it defined me, too.

‘Well-Sibling Syndrome’ not only encompasses the feeling of being “forgotten” because you’re lucky enough to be healthy, but also the guilt you feel because you’re lucky enough to be healthy, the burden of becoming an adult before your time, and the struggle to identify as more than “the other child.” As someone who has been blessed beyond measure to have a special needs sibling, and also the medium to discuss my experience, I’d like to offer up the following as things your well child may feel. These things may often go unsaid because of the guilt that accompanies the feeling of worsening your parents’ burden.

  1. Your well child has a very special relationship with your special needs child. I was building couch cushion forts with my brother while others could barely get him to reluctantly shake hands. And they were GOOD forts, too!
  1. Your well child will, at one point or another, harbor even a small amount of bitterness regarding double standards. “Why do I have to eat all my food? He didn’t!” “I always have to clean our room; she never helps!”
  1. Your well child will wonder if all of their activities and interests are placing an unfair burden on you. They want to protect you as much as you want to protect them, and they know you have a lot going on.
  1. Your well child worries that they will be responsible for your special needs child in the future. This didn’t hit me until I was much older, and to this day I plan my life and finances with it in mind.
  1. Your well child will wish the health and “cure” of your special needs child on at least one birthday cake. But they’ll lie if you ask so you don’t feel they wasted their wish.
  1. Your well child will need an “Elevator Speech” regarding his sibling’s condition. When one kid at school innocently asked me why my brother was so loud sometimes, I told him “It’s because he’s artistic.” “So am I,” he retorted, leaving me both confused and embarrassed.
  1. Even though they aren’t special needs, your well child needs reminders that he is special, too.
  1. Your well child has a lot of responsibilities – more than you know, and more than you impose onto them. We take our jobs very seriously!
  1. Your well child will learn that life is not fair long before other children do. And they can use your help remaining innocent and optimistic.
  1. Your well child will be picked on by a mean and probably compensating bully, and will use your special needs child as ammunition. But your well child will stand up for themselves, as well as their sibling. Be understanding, and use it as an opportunity to empower your child to stand up for what is right.
  1. And perhaps the most troublesome for my parents to learn years later: Your well child will feel pressure to be perfect, if only for a moment. It’s inevitable.

Studies have shown that there is monumental positive effect of being the sibling of a special needs child. These things include developing a level of maturity that is by far greater than our same-aged peers, increased “pro-social” (helpful/empathetic) behaviors, increased patience and tolerance of diversity and an increased sense of pride, loyalty and caring for our sibling (see #10 above). But it is important to realize that these virtues don’t come without a price.

I have to clarify that my parents did an amazing job raising us. I was cloaked in love and support, and I got to enjoy a carefree childhood, as circumstances would allow. But the struggles we face don’t always come from outside. They are often from within, existing as a subconscious reminder of who you are and what’s important to you.

I entered adulthood without regrets, a unique outlook on life, and the fort building skills of a king. I’d say that makes it all worth it.

Antwon Chavis, M.D.
Resident in Pediatrics
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Dr. Chavis has a wide array of interests, including working with teenagers, children with mental health concerns and children/adolescents with behavioral or developmental issues. He enjoys working with older children and their families because he gets the opportunity to educate the patient directly, as well as the family that cares for them.

Like this post? Check out Dr. Antwon Chavis’ second blog post, “A letter from one ‘well child’ to another.” 

Get smart, stay safe: a back-to-school checklist

Lunchbox? Check.

School supplies purchased? Check.

Perfect first-day-of-school outfit planned? Check.

Back-to-school season is, once again, upon us. Below, we share a few important health and safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Dr. Ben Hoffman, director of our Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Center. Add these to your back-to-school list!

  • Update your child’s vaccinations: Oregon state law requires immunization records for children attending public and private schools, preschools, childcare facilities and Head Start programs. Check with your child’s school district and healthcare provider to determine required vaccinations and ensure records are up to date.
  • Establish healthcare needs at school: If your child takes any medication, or experiences common health problems like severe allergies, asthma or physical restrictions, it’s a good idea to prepare your school nurse or administrator for potential health issues prior to the first day of school. Provide proper medicine and dosage information, as well as emergency and physician contact information. This will help ensure your child is properly and efficiently cared for in the case of emergency.
  • Prepare for an emergency: If your child receives afterschool care or attends a daycare center, the caretaker needs to be allowed to provide consent for your child’s emergency care if you’re unavailable. You can download and print our emergency consent form here.
  • Re-set the sleep clock: Defend yourself against difficult early morning wake-up calls by following these easy steps for resetting your ‘night-owl’s’ internal body clock.
  • Get the right fit (and we don’t mean OUTFIT!): Backpacks are an essential part of the school day, but carrying one shouldn’t hurt or cause long-term health issues. Make sure the straps of your child’s backpack are wide enough that they don’t cut into the shoulders. Further, the contents of the pack should not exceed 15 percent of the child’s weight. See more of Dr. Hoffman’s backpack tips here.
  • Confirm drop-off and pick-up procedures:If your child takes the bus or gets a ride to school, your family should establish safe, well-lit and visible pick-up/drop-off locations to ensure safety.
  • Brush up on bike safety: No matter how long or short their journey, kids should always wear bicycle helmets. Quiz your child on the ‘rules of the road’ to make sure they know to ride in the same direction as auto traffic, to use appropriate hand signals and to respect traffic lights and stop signs. Your child should wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility – white or light-colored clothing and reflective gear are especially important after dark.
  • Talk the walk – and walk it, too: Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection. Walk with them the first week until you’re sure they know the route and are comfortable with their pedestrian skills. Consider organizing a “walking school bus” (an adult accompanying a group of neighborhood children to school) or finding other neighborhood kids who will walk together. Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

Interested in learning more? The American Academy of Pediatrics compiled a list of additional back-to-school health and safety tips.

An alliterative journey: on mental health, multidisciplinary management, medications, mindfulness and more

M3 LogoIn this week’s entry, I am proud to introduce readers to a novel research project here at OHSU called Meals, Mindfulness and Moving Forward (M3). Before doing so, however, it’s important to talk about mental health, psychosis, and Oregon’s Early Assessment and Support Alliance – an essential partner in the M3 Pilot Study.

Mental health, the capacity to meet emotional and intellectual challenges at different developmental stages, is among parents’ greatest concerns. Thus, when a child, or more often an adolescent or young adult’s developmental path suddenly becomes fraught with obstacles – personality changes, memory problems, even hallucinations or unusual, frightening ideas – families are often alarmed and at a loss for what to do.

What I just described is what happens when young people are showing signs of psychosis. Psychosis is a generic term that sometimes refers to mania (characterized by an episode of extremely heightened emotion, diminished need for sleep, reckless behavior, rapid speech, thoughts that seem to dance from one idea to another) or schizophrenia (which may involve hallucinations, delusions, or a loss of functioning).

When a young person demonstrates these signs, families often wonder:

  • Will my child always struggle with this?
  • What can make this better?
  • What will make it worse?
  • Can my child achieve his or her dreams?

To this last question, a decade ago some brave Oregonians answered with an emphatic: “Yes!” This group, centered in Salem, Oregon, formed the Early Assessment and Support Team (EAST). EAST’s mandate was to research and implement best practices when it came to supporting young people impacted by psychosis.

Two of the central tenets of EAST were that the earlier we intervene with adequate treatment, the better, and that families, friends, and those surrounding a young person are not a barrier to recovery but are instead essential to recovery – no more treating individuals in isolation! Engaging families and providing good service coordination and nursing and psychiatric care, along with school, employment, and housing support helped young people get out of the hospital and stay out. They were working, learning, and growing. Well, word spread of EAST’s success and eventually EAST became EASA — the Early Assessment and Support Alliance, now active in nearly every county in Oregon. You can learn more about this unique, multi-disciplinary approach to mental health treatment at easacommunity.org.

One dilemma in EASA programming, which is shared with “early intervention” programs around the world, is that, while some young people achieve recovery without use of antipsychotic medicine, many individuals find antipsychotics key to overcoming challenges. Unfortunately antipsychotics usually promote weight gain and this side-effect, combined with decreased motivation or fear of leaving one’s home, can cause many young people significant, lifelong health problems. To meet this challenge, generous donors brought together Dr. Lynne Shinto, a naturopathic researcher in the Department of Neurology and me, a child and adolescent psychiatrist here at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Together with research coordinator Andie Thompson, MsCN, we built a lifestyles’ intervention program aimed at promoting resilience and fitness in young people impacted by psychosis.

In our study, we have partnered with the Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County EASA Programs to recruit 20 participants ages 15-25 and 20 study partners (individuals who may help the work continue outside of sessions) to come to OHSU’s Center for Health and Healing for a 6-week lifestyles training program that involves mindfulness meditation, yoga and other light activities, as well as hands-on cooking/grocery shopping instruction.

The primary aims of our multi-modal study are to find out if people show up and enjoy the sorts of activities we’ve planned. Meanwhile, we are also collecting data on weight and cholesterol, on psychiatric symptoms, as well as a self-report measure of resilience—one’s internal sense of being able to meet a challenging thought or interactions—which research suggests is enhanced by mindfulness meditation.

We hope that qualitative and quantitative data from this pilot project helps EASA and other early intervention programs develop creative means of engaging young people in healthier eating, activity and mindfulness practices. Click here to learn more about the M3 Study and our valued collaborators (including Street Yoga and local chefs Sonny DiMartini and Arielle Clark). Stay tuned for an update on our outcome measures!

Craigan Usher, M.D.
Clinical Associate Professor
Oregon Health & Science University
Consultant, EASA Center for Excellence at Portland State University

Doernbecher Freestyle: A physician’s point of view

Ten-year-old Emory was diagnosed with advanced chronic kidney disease last year. Her pediatric nephrologists, Dr. Sandra Iragorri and Dr. David Rozansky, were so impressed by Emory’s positive attitude, they nominated her for the Doernbecher Freestyle program.

We sat down with Dr. Iragorri to learn more about Emory.


How does the Doernbecher Freestyle program benefit our patients?

Working with world-class sports apparel designers is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Being selected for the program – and then seeing your work of art exhibited for everyone to see – is an amazing way to recognize the strength of what our children have to go through, and what we ask the families to go through. I think it’s a very nice way to recognize how much we value them as people and as families.

It’s also a wonderful way for Nike to give back to their community and to recognize the true spirit of the Northwest, of Portland, of children in general. It’s a very beautiful way to give back.

Why did you nominate Emory to become a Doernbecher Freestyle patient-designer?

Emory is a very lovely and articulate young lady, and she’s very obviously artistic and creative (just look at the kidney-themed drawing she made for Dr. Iragorri, below!). She has a very, very supportive and lovely family. I thought this was a nice opportunity to acknowledge and recognize Emory as a person who’s had to really learn to live with her recent diagnosis – It was like a bomb dropped in her lap, but she’s been extremely brave. She’s been very good about blood tests and daily injections and coming to see us. She just seems to fit the bill!

What do you like about working with kids like Emory?

I like to see them feel better and I like the connections I make with children and their families. This connection is from the heart, and it’s what keeps me going. Plus, kids are fun! You can be silly, and that’s always good.

Will you be at the Doernbecher Freestyle auction on October 23 to see Emory’s designs and cheer her on?

Yes! It will be my first time.


Meet Emory and the rest of this year’s incredible Doernbecher Freestyle patient-designers here – and save the date for the big collection reveal at our auction on October 23!

Additional coverage: “Salem 10-year-old designs shoe with help from Nike” via the Statesman Journal

Doernbecher Best in the Country U.S. News & World Report


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