47 years of pediatric cardiology services in Humboldt is thanks to UCSF specialists

Dr. Anita J. Moon-Grady at the Pediatric Cardiology Clinic in Providence St. Joseph's. | Photo by Karina Ramos Villalobos

Did you know for nearly five decades pediatric cardiology specialists have been taking care of children in our area? They come from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to make life easier for these young heart patients.

“If we didn’t do this all those patients that I’m seeing up here would have to make the trip down and disrupt their work life and family life,” said Dr. Anita J. Moon-Grady, the Director of the Fetal Cardiovascular program at UCSF. “It’s a service to the community to try to keep as much of their care here locally as possible.”

The pediatric cardiology clinic began 47 years ago when Dr. Paul Stenger began bringing fellows from UCSF for extra training. Dr. Moon-Grady was one of those fellows of the clinic in 2001. She took over the chief role five years ago.

“In the tradition of the clinic, I also bring a fellow with me every time,” Dr. Moon-Grady said. 

The team from UCSF comes to Providence St. Joseph’s six times a year for a two-day clinic.

“Humboldt County being so rural it keeps the families that have children born with congenital or heart abnormalities here in the area to be seen by these specialized physicians when they don’t have to travel, you know, six hours down to the bay area to be seen,” said Corinna Cooper, the Director of Cardiovascular and Cardiopulmonary services at Providence. 

The program coordinates with Humboldt County’s health department to ensure children have access to the highest quality care regardless of where they live and how much money their families make.

“With this partnership with Providence and UCSF, our role is kind of like the back office for the clinic,” said Meredith Wolfe, the DHHS Program Services Coordinator. “So we receive the referrals, we schedule the appointments, we answer phone calls. And then, if a family needs help with paying for the cost of the appointment, we can help them with that if they are eligible through the California Children’s Services program.”

Each year the clinic sees about 300 children who are between the ages of newborn and 25 years old. Those patients come from Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity and Siskiyou counties. For people to be considered for the program they need to be referred by their primary doctor.

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