‘PANDA Children’s Neurological Center’ Opens at the University of Arizona Medical Center Children’s Multispecialty Clinic on Wilmot

The PANDAs raised $1 million to establish the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center, which will improve the lives of families in Arizona whose children experience neurological injuries and conditions.

Thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center women’s board in Phoenix, the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center now is open.

Known as PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers), the group raised about $1 million to establish the center and fund recruitment of neurological specialists and research in this area.

The PANDA Children’s Neurological Center is at the University of Arizona Medical Center Children’s Multi-Specialty Center at 535 N. Wilmot.

The center will improve the lives of Arizona families whose children suffer from such neurological conditions as:

• Autism
• Behavioral and developmental disorders
• Brain tumors
• Concussions
• Congenital and hereditary disorders (e.g. cerebral palsy)
• Inflammatory and infectious disorders (e.g. encephalitis)
• Seizures and epilepsy
• Traumatic brain injury

The PANDA Children’s Neurological Center is staffed with a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric sports medicine physician, pediatric neurologist, occupational, physical and speech therapists, special education specialist, developmental specialist, genetics nurse, pediatric nurse practitioner and other specialists.

“What’s unique about this center is that it allows us to provide an evaluation from multiple professional perspectives, guided by the family,” said developmental and behavioral pediatrician Sydney Rice, MD, associate professor in the UA Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Rice is the medical director for the new center.

“I think the team approach helps us get closer to the ‘truth’ of what a child may be experiencing or need medically,” she explained. “Working on large teams can be messy and intense, with lots of providers, many discussions and it is time consuming. Yet, it allows the child and family to communicate their concerns to a group of people who can all make recommendations from their specific expertise, while taking account of other team member’s perspectives. Each specialist can modify their recommendations based on the view of the other members to take into account the ‘whole child.’” 

The PANDA Children’s Neurological Center holds interdisciplinary clinics in autism, concussion, traumatic brain injury and newborn follow-up.

“We’re so grateful for the passion, dedication and hard work of the PANDAs,” said Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, director the UA Steele Center and professor and head of the UA Department of Pediatrics. “Their commitment to improve children’s health through cutting-edge research, translated into clinical care, has made this center a much-needed reality.”
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The UA Steele Children’s Research Center is one of the prestigious Centers of Excellence within the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. It is the only facility in Southern Arizona where researchers and physician-scientists are dedicated to advancing medical knowledge through research to improve children’s health. As researchers, they seek to discover answers to children’s medical mysteries. As physician-scientists, they provide compassionate care to hospitalized patients at the University of Arizona Medical Center –  Diamond Children’s and pediatric outpatient clinics throughout Tucson and the state. And, as faculty members with the UA Department of Pediatrics, they teach and train the next generation of pediatricians and researchers.