David H. Beyda, MD


Member Spotlight
Robin Blitz, MD, FAAP
(Phoenix, AZ) 

Tell us a little about your background
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and lived in Ohio until residency, when I moved to DC.  After that, I completed a fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.  I got married to my late husband, Jon Blitz, during fellowship and lived in Bethesda, Maryland.  After fellowship, I started the developmental pediatric programs at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  I started our NICU-follow-up program, a program for drug-exposed children and their families (with the health department and the school system), and our ADHD / learning disabilities clinic.

We moved to Arizona in 1996.  I initially worked with Dr. Raun Melmed in private practice and started the PIMC Development Clinic with the help of a CATCH grant and then a grant from St. Luke’s Charitable Trust.  I also worked at the CRS clinic for 9 years.  In 1999, I joined Dr. Danny Kessler at St. Joseph’s Hospital in developmental pediatrics, for 10 years.  During that time, I directed the NICU-follow-up program, started a screening and health passport program for children entering foster care, saw children with developmental and behavioral disorders (autism, dev delays, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc.), taught residents and medical students, and we also had a foreign adoption clinic.  I moved to Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 2009. 

I am a big supporter of Universal healthcare for our country.  Every single career move that I have made has been due to the need for healthcare / health insurance for my family, initially my late husband’s brain tumor, then my eldest son’s Crohn’s disease. 

Why did I choose developmental pediatrics?  My oldest sister had intellectual disabilities and intractable epilepsy.  My parents were wonderful advocates for her, always ensuring that she was able to be part of our family and part of our community.  In the 1960's, there were not as many available recreational, educational, and support services that there are today.  So, my parents, along with other parents of children with special needs, founded an organization to provide recreational opportunities, a summer camp, and a sheltered workshop.  We spent every Saturday morning bowling - all of the kids with different special needs and all of the siblings.  Then, we had pizza and those who could, went roller skating.  I went to kindergarten thinking that everyone had a sister or brother with a "different ability".  My parents and my sister taught me that every person has something to contribute, that every person has different strengths and abilities, and that every person deserves the chance to be happy, healthy, and successful.  Being a developmental pediatrician gives me the chance, every day, to help other families make a difference for their children.  As a developmental pediatrician, not only do I get to take care of children and their families, but I also have the privilege of teaching residents, our future pediatricians, to identify, early, those children who may need more developmental and behavioral help.

What’s different about your practice when compared to others?
I have been at Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH) for over 7 years.  At PCH, Developmental Pediatrics is part of the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital along with Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Rehab.  We now have 4 great pediatric nurse practitioners and Dr. Mark Ruggiero works with us 2 days per week.  We are currently the only hospital-based, board-certified developmental pediatricians in Phoenix.  Phoenix Children's Hospital has a large pediatric residency program, training over 110 residents.  It is a requirement that the residents receive training in Developmental pediatrics.  Therefore, I get to work with all of the residents who train at PCH (pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics, and neurology fellows).  In order to improve and expand their training, I worked with a team of people to develop our Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics website:  www.phoenixchildrens.com/dbpeds.  We have expanded it to also provide information and resources regarding DBPeds topics for community physicians and other medical providers.  It has been very well received by the residents, faculty and community. 
Because one of my main missions is to train our future physicians to understand the importance of a child's development, behavior, and participation in the family, I developed 3 different clinics in which the residents play an active role - the ADHD Diagnostic Clinic, the Autism Diagnostic Clinic, and the Developmental Delay Diagnostic Clinic. These are 3 very common disorders seen in childhood and this way, our residents learn first-hand evidence-based diagnosis and treatment.  On the development rotation, they also visit a variety of community resources / service providers for children with special needs. 

In Developmental Pediatrics, we have 2 multidisciplinary clinics.  Fragile X Clinic is for children with Fragile X syndrome and their families.  We are part of the 29 clinics in the country that make up the National Fragile X Clinical and Research Consortium.  Our Pediatric Down Syndrome Clinic has been up and running for over 3 years.  Having these 2 programs means that families affected with these two genetic disorders no longer have to travel out of state to receive care in a coordinated, comprehensive program.  Our goal for both programs is to supplement what the busy primary pediatrician does in practice, provide the treating therapists and school programs with more information and recommendations and increased support to provide the child a medical home.  Because I am based at Phoenix Children's Hospital, all of my patients have access to all of the other medical subspecialties that may be necessary to provide comprehensive care.

In addition to my time at PCH, I work one day a week at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center.  I have continued this developmental pediatric clinic at PIMC for the past 19 years and see Native American children from all over the state of Arizona.  There are 21 registered tribes in Arizona and all of them can see me at PIMC.  

Diagnoses that we may evaluate and treat at DBPeds at PCH include: Autism, ADHD, learning differences, developmental delays, children with multiple disabilities, children who were born prematurely, children in foster care and in adoptive homes who have developmental and behavioral problems, children who were born exposed in utero to drugs and alcohol, children with Fetal  Alcohol Syndrome, children with genetic or neurological disorders that are associated with developmental and behavioral problems.

What are your challenges in caring for children?
Challenges include lack of access for diagnosis and treatment, due to insufficient numbers of developmental pediatricians in Arizona.  Because of this, in 2015, with a generous grant from the Board of Visitors, we started Early Access to Care-Arizona (EAC-AZ).   I have attached our Q and A and also a summary article for more information on this**.

How has AzAAP and other organizations helped you in overcoming challenges and improving care?
I received a CATCH grant in 1997 from the AAP to study and then start the Developmental Clinic at PIMC.  This clinic has significantly improved access to care for Native American children in Arizona.  Private organizations have provided funding for many of the other programs at PCH and previously at St. Joseph’s Hospital, including the Board of Visitors, St. Luke’s Charitable Trust, First Things First, Leadership Circle of PCH, Arizona Health Department, National Fragile X Foundation, and the National Down Syndrome Congress.

The AzAAP has worked tirelessly on behalf of children in Arizona, promoting developmental and autism screening, lobbying for AHCCCS and insurance payment to PCP’s for developmental screening, creating an Autism Consensus document, amongst many other projects and programs. 

What do you do for fun?
Now that my children are grown and are young adults, I am less likely to be going to the Arizona Science Center, the zoo, and Harry Potter movies.  I still have 2 little dogs at home who enjoy walks and jump up and down as soon as I put on my tennis shoes.  I love to travel and have had the privilege of visiting faraway places such as Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Spain, Italy, Malta, and France, as well as Alaska and the Caribbean in recent years.  When I grow up, I want to be a photographer, so I have been practicing that on my travels.  For healthy activities, I enjoy hiking and swimming.  For not so healthy, I enjoy dining out, chocolate and good wine!

**EAC-AZ Attachments:
http://www.azaap.org/resources/Documents/EAC-AZ_QA_Overview.pdf; http://www.azaap.org/resources/Documents/PR_Article.pdf


Tuesday, June 06, 2017 8:00 AM • HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center Brady Conference Center - 9003 E. Shea Boulevard Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Tuesday, June 06, 2017 8:00 AM • Abrams Center 3950 S Country Club Rd #100 Tucson, AZ 85714

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