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Dana Gerstbacher, MD



Work and Education

Professional Education

Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, 05/23/2004


Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, CA, 06/30/2007


Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, CA, 06/30/2010

Board Certifications

Pediatric Rheumatology, American Board of Pediatrics

Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics

All Publications

Gaps in Mental Health Care for Youth with Rheumatologic Conditions: A Mixed Methods Study of Perspectives from Behavioral Health Providers. Arthritis care & research Knight, A., Vickery, M., Faust, L., Muscal, E., Davis, A., Harris, J., Hersh, A. O., Rodriguez, M., Onel, K., Rubinstein, T., Washington, N., Weitzman, E. R., Conlon, H., Woo, J. M., Gerstbacher, D., von Scheven, E., CARRA Investigators 2018


OBJECTIVE: To identify behavioral health provider perspectives on gaps in mental health care for youth with rheumatologic conditions.METHODS: Social workers (n=34) and psychologists (n=8) at pediatric rheumatology centers in the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) completed an online survey assessing current practices and mental health care needs of youth with rheumatologic conditions. Responses were compared to a published survey of CARRA rheumatologists (n=119). Thematic analysis of 20 semi-structured interviews with behavioral health providers was performed.RESULTS: One third of CARRA centers (n=100) had no affiliated social worker or psychologist. Only one behavioral health provider reported current universal mental health screening at their rheumatology clinic, yet routine depression screening was supported by >85% of behavioral health providers and rheumatologists. Support for anxiety screening was higher among behavioral health providers (90% vs 65%, p<0.01). Interviews illustrated a need for interventions addressing illness-related anxiety, adjustment/coping/distress, transition, parent/caregiver mental health, and peer support. Limited resources, lack of protocols, and patient cost/time burden were the most frequent barriers to intervention. Inadequate follow-up of mental health referrals was indicated by 52%. More behavioral health providers than rheumatologists favored mental health services in rheumatology settings (55% vs 19%, p<0.01). Only 7 social workers (21%) provided counseling/therapy, and interviews indicated their perceived under-utilization for these services.CONCLUSION: Behavioral health providers indicate an unmet need for mental health interventions addressing illness-related issues affecting youth with rheumatologic conditions. Implementation of mental health protocols and optimizing utilization of social workers may improve mental health care for these youth. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

View details for PubMedID 29953741

Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency Program: Relationship between Lifestyle Behaviors and Burnout and Wellbeing Measures in First-Year Residents CHILDREN-BASEL McClafferty, H., Brooks, A. J., Chen, M., Brenner, M., Brown, M., Esparham, A., Gerstbacher, D., Golianu, B., Mark, J., Weydert, J., Yeh, A., Maizes, V. 2018; 5 (4)


It is widely recognized that burnout is prevalent in medical culture and begins early in training. Studies show pediatricians and pediatric trainees experience burnout rates comparable to other specialties. Newly developed Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competencies in professionalism and personal development recognize the unacceptably high resident burnout rates and present an important opportunity for programs to improve residents experience throughout training. These competencies encourage healthy lifestyle practices and cultivation of self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, mindfulness, and compassion—a paradigm shift from traditional medical training underpinned by a culture of unrealistic endurance and self-sacrifice. To date, few successful and sustainable programs in resident burnout prevention and wellness promotion have been described. The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency (PIMR) curriculum, developed in 2011, was designed in part to help pediatric programs meet new resident wellbeing requirements. The purpose of this paper is to detail levels of lifestyle behaviors, burnout, and wellbeing for the PIMR program’s first-year residents (N = 203), and to examine the impact of lifestyle behaviors on burnout and wellbeing. The potential of the PIMR to provide interventions addressing gaps in lifestyle behaviors with recognized association to burnout is discussed.

View details for PubMedID 29690631

Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Academia: Stanford Children's Experience. Children (Basel, Switzerland) Ramesh, G., Gerstbacher, D., Arruda, J., Golianu, B., Mark, J., Yeh, A. M. 2018; 5 (12)


Pediatric integrative medicine is an emerging field which, to date, has not been described in detail in academic medical centers in the United States. Early research of pediatric integrative medicine modalities shows promise for the treatment of common pediatric conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, acute and chronic pain, headache, and allergy, among others. In light of the growing prevalence of pediatric illnesses and patient complexity, it is crucial to emphasize the patient's overall well-being. As academic centers around the world start to develop pediatric integrative medicine programs, the aim of this manuscript is to briefly highlight evidence of effective integrative treatments in pediatric subspecialties, to describe the establishment of our integrative medicine program, to summarize its early efforts, and to discuss potential barriers and keys to success.

View details for PubMedID 30545081

Determinants of Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Drug Use in Juvenile Spondyloarthropathy and Impact on Clinical Disease Outcomes Oliver, M., Simard, J. F., Gerstbacher, D., Lee, T., Sandborg, C. WILEY. 2017
Pediatric Integrative Medicine PEDIATRICS McClafferty, H., Vohra, S., Bailey, M., Brown, M., Esparham, A., Gerstbacher, D., Golianu, B., Niemi, A., Sibinga, E., Weydert, J., Yeh, A., Sect Integrative Med 2017; 140 (3)
Underutilization of Social Workers for Mental Health Care of Adolescents in Pediatric Rheumatology: A Mixed Methods Study Knight, A., Vickery, M., Faust, L., Muscal, E., Davis, A. M., Harris, J., Hersh, A. O., Rodriguez, M., Onel, K., Schanberg, L. E., Rubinstein, T., Washington, N., Weitzman, E., Conlon, H., Gerstbacher, D., Woo, J., Von Scheven, E. WILEY. 2017: 18587