Moira Szilagyi MD, PhD is currently Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles, and a member of the Division of General Pediatrics. She was Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester until December 2014 where she developed and was director of a pediatric medical home (Starlight Pediatrics) for children in foster care for 27 years. Starlight Pediatrics offered integrated mental health and developmental care services, was co-located with a state-of-the-art Visitation Center, and offered life skills preparation for youth in foster care. Dr. Szilagyi also created the regional child abuse program, REACH, in 1992 at the University of Rochester.
In 2010, Dr. Szilagyi obtained a capital grant to build a 20,000 square foot center with co-located health and visitation services for children in foster care and those needing supervised visitation because of domestic violence in their families. A second grant from the CDC led by Dr. Szilagyi funded the integration of evidence-based mental health services, Coached Visitation, and Incredible Years training specifically for foster parents into the site. In addition, staff (child welfare, visitation and health) received education about positive parenting strategies and childhood trauma. At UCLA, under a contract with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Dr. Szilagyi is assisting with the development of a foster care pediatric medical home at one of the county’s seven foster care medical hubs. Dr. Szilagyi provides clinical services to children in foster care at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and is assisting with the transformation of this evaluation site into an integrated medical home model.
Dr. Szilagyi serves as Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care (COFCAKC) and edited the guidelines for health care for this population, Fostering Health. Under her leadership, the COFCAKC has implemented a publicly available website, Healthy Foster Care America, to disseminate best pediatric practices, and provide information and resources for the multi-disciplinary professionals serving children in foster care. The website also has a caregiver and youth site. COFCAKC has also partnered with multiple other advocacy organizations leading to the enactment of legislation and the implementation of major child welfare reform.
Dr. Szilagyi’s ongoing interests include: promoting positive parenting to prevent and ameliorate childhood trauma, integrating screening tools for childhood trauma into pediatric practice, tiered assessments in pediatric settings leading to tiered management protocols, educating primary care providers about childhood trauma and its diagnosis and management, developing health systems for children in foster/kinship care, and promoting child resilience in vulnerable populations through exposure to normalizing activities. Prior to her move to UCLA, she was PI of a 5 year NYS-funded project that provides after school and summer activities for inner city children at 13 sites in Rochester NY. Dr. Szilagyi is now participating in a Packard Foundation project regarding medical home care for children with complex medical needs.