Dr. Hirsh's Interview


 

Dr. Hirsh

What is your favorite thing about working with children?

I became a pediatrician because it’s fun to work with children at every age, from birth through the teenage years. I love being around the innocence and honesty of children. I am lucky to form ongoing relationships with my patients over several years and have the opportunity to help them learn to be healthy and happy. Teenagers present new challenges, but exciting ones. I’m always learning something new from my families. And when I learn new things, I can pass on that knowledge to others in similar situations.

How do you make people more comfortable as new parents?

I focus on reassuring parents that there’s not just one way to raise a healthy, happy baby. I try to get a feel for the parents’ mindsets and find out what their concerns are. With some parents, I’m just reassuring them that they’re doing a great job, and with others I’m helping to solve specific problems. Raising a baby is extremely demanding often in unexpected ways. I just try to be there for parents, answer all of their questions, and offer resources or more specific guidance when it’s needed.

What is a typical first infant visit like?

Often when parents first bring their baby in, they feel a bit stressed and overwhelmed. I simply sit down with them and have a conversation. We talk about the birth and how things are going so far, and we start get to know each other. Then, I examine the baby and spend as much time as the parents need answering their questions. I see them again in about a week, and then at one month. By the two month appointment, I feel like we already know each other pretty well!

How do you identify developmental problems?

Children are predictably unpredictable, and a lot of times my biggest challenge as a pediatrician is trying to differentiate between a late bloomer and a real developmental problem. It really is a fine line, and I go case-by-case.

If a family is concerned, we discuss the possibilities of what could be going on with their child and what we want to do about it. Our action plan will be individualized based on both the parents and my level of concern. Sometimes we will decide to wait three months to see how things progress, and sometimes we opt for early intervention.

I do see a lot of patients with developmental challenges, and we’ve seen the rate of autism rise dramatically over the past decade. I have two nephews with autism, and my daughter was a late bloomer. So from a medical and a personal perspective, I understand their concerns.

How do you make toddlers feel at ease?

I play with them; that’s really the main thing. Or if they’re anxious and crying, I hold off on interacting with them at the beginning, so that they have time to calm down and get used to their surroundings. Usually, when they see me talking to their parents, and we’re enjoying the conversation, they feel better. Then I explain to them what I’m going to do, often by first doing it on a stuffed animal they likely have brought to the appointment.

What is your advice for picky eaters?

I used to be a very picky eater, so I have some personal experience. It’s a good idea to look at what children are eating over the course of a week rather than a day or a meal and to focus on what they do eat, not what they don’t eat. It’s a phase that a lot of children go through, and over time it will improve. You really don’t see a lot of adults who won’t eat any vegetables. If you’ve established a healthy household and your children see you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods, that’s a great start.

How do you approach visits with teenagers?

With teenagers, I just try to talk with them openly and honestly. I tell them in the beginning that our discussion is confidential, and I always try to be understanding and nonjudgmental.

I think it’s harder to be a teenager nowadays than it was when I was younger. It’s more stressful. So with my teenage patients, I try to assess self-confidence and mood as we talk. I think that if teens are confident in who they are, they’re less likely to have problems with drinking or drugs. With teenage patients I’ve known for years, I can often tell when something seems off, and if it is outside the range of typical teenage angst I will often refer to a therapist.

What do you like about Northwestern Children’s Practice?

I love the people with whom I work, both my colleagues and my patients. We’re a close-knit group here—the physicians and nurses—and this gives a real sense of community that makes families feel very comfortable. It’s nice that we can collaborate and bounce ideas off each other for optimal patient care. I think the practice is the perfect size; it’s big enough that we have appointments seven days a week, and plenty of availability, but small enough that families don’t feel like they’re just a number. They know who we are, and we know who they are. We can form close relationships.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have a four-year-old daughter who takes up a lot of my time, but I love it because I get to relive my childhood with her. We go on a lot of adventures together. When I do have time to myself, I like playing tennis, seeing friends and family, and trying different restaurants. I’m also a big reader, and I love going to the movies.

About the Practice

What is your practice philosophy?

Our goal is to educate parents to help them raise healthy and loving children. We care for families from infancy through young adulthood, and we develop ongoing relationships with our families to provide personalized service and comprehensive care. We advocate for our families’ health through outreach, education, and involvement in the community.

What resources does the practice offer?

  • New parents support group
  • Brown bag series of lunch chats about family health and wellness
  • Several lactation consultants available during routine well visits and for special consults
  • Educational materials (many of which we have authored ourselves)
  • Referrals to specialists at a variety of hospitals across Chicago

How do you handle sick visits and after-hour requests?

We have a walk-in clinic seven days a week. Parents can also call for a same day sick appointment. We refer parents to affiliated hospital-based clinics after hours. We also have an after-hours system, so parents know that someone will be available around the clock. In that way, we are available 24/7.

What is your practice policy on vaccines?

We understand that parents often have questions on vaccines, and as pediatricians we are here as a resource to provide education and outreach to families on the topic of vaccines. We strongly support the vaccine schedule of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC. Ultimately, we do not allow alternative vaccination schedules in our practice.

Northwestern Children's Practice

Pediatricians located in Gold Coast, Chicago, IL

The Northwestern Children’s Practice team educates parents to help them raise healthy and loving children and educates children to help them develop healthy habits. As one of the best pediatrician offices in Chicago, our health care providers are dedicated to providing anticipatory guidance to help families navigate from one visit to the next. Founded by Dr. Marc Weissbluth in 1973, the Northwestern Children’s Practice continues to thrive in Chicago’s Gold Coast, a few blocks away from Lurie Children’s Hospital. This welcoming team of experienced child health advocates cares for families in the Chicago-land area and beyond. The Northwestern Children’s Practice offers annual check-ups, lactation support, adolescent visits, sports physicals, vaccines, and more. Besides providing health care for children from infancy through young adulthood, the practice has doctors and nurse practitioners that specialize in sleep consultations, nutrition, and weight management counseling, treatment and prevention of childhood obesity and safe immunization practices. Several of our nurses are trained as lactation consultants to provide support during newborn well-visits. Our lactation consultants and doctors also lead a weekly support group for new parents. Topics often discussed are newborn feeding, including breastfeeding, sleep, development, and safety. 

The Northwestern Children’s Practice has continued to grow throughout the years and now includes a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and office staff who work together to provide comprehensive care with individualized attention. The office is located several blocks from Lurie Children’s Hospital, Prentice Women’s Hospital, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Patients can be seen at Northwestern Children’s Practice’s convenient walk-in clinic at 8-11 am, Monday through Friday and at 10 am on Saturday and Sunday. No appointments are necessary for the walk-in clinic. Scheduled visits are available Monday through Friday as well as a limited number of well-visits on both Saturday and Sunday. 

 

  • We offer complimentary prenatal visits to expecting parents as a forum for the concerns of new parents. We have an exchange of information to discuss any prenatal issues, family history of medical issues, what to expect in the hospital, what to expect from your doctor visits in the hospital and what to expect during the transition to home. We will discuss important things to think about including newborn feeding, circumcision, vaccines and newborn screening tests.

    We also offer similar visits to adoptive families and to families who are considering changing pediatricians.

  • Come in for your school physical!

    Make sure your child is up to date with vaccines. At the 11 year old visit we recommend the 3 adolescent vaccines including Tdap, Meningitis and HPV.

    At the 16 year old visit we give a booster for meningitis, and we initiate the Meningitis Type B vaccine series.

    To learn more about the HPV vaccine, please click here.

    To learn more about the Meningitis Type B vaccine, Please click here.

    American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthychildren.org 

     

  • We have walk-in clinic hours 7 days/week. Patients can be seen at 8 am by physicians and pediatric nurse practitioners on Monday through Friday. Later walk-in hours with a nurse practitioner are available until 11 am also on Monday through Friday.

    Patients can be seen during our weekend walk-in clinic hours on Saturday and Sunday at 10 am.  

    No appointment is necessary

 


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Accepted Insurance Plans

Listed are the major insurance providers we accept. Contact your insurance company or Human Resources to verify if we are in network with your specific plan. Please note, currently, we are out of network for all Marketplace Health Insurances.

Aetna
BCBS
Cigna
Coventry Health Care
HFN
Humana
Interplan
Land of Lincoln Health
Multiplan PHCS
PHCS
United Healthcare
Testimonials

Words from our patients

  • Yelp

    "I have been taking my 6 month old son to NCP since he was born and I have only encountered top level service and medical advice from the doctors and nurses."

    Don J.
  • Yelp

    "We've been going to NCP for almost ten years...I am more than ecstatic to say that they've been very dedicated and have always been there for our family health issues."

    Sylvia O.
  • Yelp

    "They are in tune with our girls, proactive about health care and give honest, practical advice. We moved out to the suburbs but will not stop going to this practice..."

    Pam B.
  • Google+

    "Very happy with my experience with NCP for my three children! Our primary is Dr. Hirsh but had great experiences with Drs. Unger, Li, King and Goldstein as well!"

    Sanna B.
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Northwestern Children's Practice
680 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1050
Chicago, IL 60611