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Akron Children’s taps Dr. Eva Szigethy to direct pediatric behavioral health

10-28-2022 (Akron, Mahoning Valley, Ohio)

Eva M. Szigethy, M.D., Ph.D., has been named the Lois C. Orr Endowed Chair in Pediatric Psychiatry and director of Pediatric Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Akron Children’s.

Dr. Szigethy comes to Akron Children’s from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), where she has served as Director of Behavioral Health, and is a consulting faculty member at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She is also a professor of psychiatry, pediatrics and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Szigethy to Akron Children’s and excited to see her undertake such as critical role in our community,” said Dr. Robert McGregor, chief medical officer “It is no secret that mental and behavioral health is a top concern in pediatrics today. Dr. Szigethy brings a stellar record of achievement and innovation in this area and will help take our program to the next level. We are grateful for the leadership of Dr. Steven Jewell as the head of this department these past five years and are grateful he will help with the transition to Dr. Szigethy’s arrival in early March.”

Dr. Szigethy has been leading a multi-center research project, a phone app called RxWell, that shows great promise in reducing depression and anxiety in young people.

The study, published in Psychiatric Services and funded by the kids’ mental health nonprofit, YourMomCares, looked at the effects of the app on patients 16 to 22. The app provides coping techniques to users in real time, such as relaxation, meditation and how to tolerate stress, with the option to speak to a mental health coach.

She will continue to support this work as she transitions to her leadership role at Akron Children’s.

A Cleveland native, Dr. Szigethy studied neuropsychology as an undergraduate at Princeton University and then went on to earn her doctorate in neuroanatomy at McGill University. She earned a medical degree from the University of Rochester, following by a Master of Science at Harvard University. She also completed a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Poor mental health among U.S. children, teens and young adults has been a problem for years, exacerbated by the pandemic. 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 dire warnings about the state of pediatric mental health.

Akron Children’s has been addressing the challenges by integrating behavioral health into his primary care network, expanding access through telehealth and opening free-standing behavioral health centers in the region.

“Dr. Szigethy comes at a critical time, a time of special need,” said Dr. McGregor. “We have made a commitment to expanding our behavioral health services and she arrives at a crucial time to lead those efforts and improve access on every level of the care continuum.”    

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