Her arrival comes at a critical juncture as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and others have issued warnings about the state of pediatric mental health. Poor mental health among U.S. children, teens and young adults has been a problem for years, made worse by the pandemic. Now it’s affecting children at younger and younger ages.
“Children are the future and our biggest societal asset,” said Dr. Szigethy. “They will be the ones who save the earth and help turn around the negative trends in society. And they are resilient. It’s critical to give them every opportunity to reach their full developmental potential – cognitively, emotionally and socially.
Experience to take behavioral health program to the next level
Dr. Szigethy came to Akron Children’s from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), where she served as director of behavioral health and is a consulting faculty member at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
A Cleveland native, Dr. Szigethy studied neuropsychology as an undergraduate at Princeton University and then earned her doctorate in neuroanatomy at McGill University. She earned a medical degree from the University of Rochester, followed by a Master of Science at Harvard University. She also completed a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Szigethy,” said Chris Gessner, president and CEO of Akron Children’s. “Behavioral and mental health care is a top priority for Akron Children’s, and we’re committed to investing in our behavioral health services, staff and programs. Dr. Szigethy will be instrumental in leading our efforts.”
Enhancing and expanding efforts with donor support
In recent years, Akron Children’s began to address this challenge by integrating behavioral health into our primary care network, expanding access through telehealth and opening freestanding behavioral health centers in our service region. Dr. Szigethy plans to enhance this work and look at ways to standardize care, focus on root causes of behavioral health challenges and pursue early
And donors will play an important role in these efforts.
“Philanthropy will be the backbone to transform behavioral care delivery to children and adolescents,” said Dr. Szigethy. “We have a lot of change that needs to happen. Donor support will help us study and track our efforts. It will help us address social determinants of health and care equity. It will help us have focused strategies in building programs in specific areas like trauma, autism, eating disorders and addictions, to name a few.”
As she begins her work, Dr. Szigethy is hopeful for the future and the outcomes that Akron Children’s behavioral health care team can achieve with the support of our families, communities and donors.
“What’s beautiful about kids is their brains are very pliable,” she said. “They aren’t set in stone developmentally. What’s done can be undone, but we have to put in the time, attention and resources to redirect their course.”
To learn how you can support Dr. Szigethy and the team at The Lois and John Orr Family Behavioral Health Center, contact: email@example.com or call 330-543-8340