You Are The Parent
Nothing brings out the advisor in people like a new baby, especially a new healthy baby, especially a new healthy baby born to novice parents. Prior to having a child, most of us are blissfully unaware of the volumes of wisdom our friends and families have about exactly what you should and shouldn’t do with the baby. For all of their differences, friends, family and would be advisors share a key attribute; they are not the parents. They will not be doing the breast-feeding or the formula feeding, the getting up with, the letting cry, the not letting cry, the swaddling, the not swaddling, letting them have a pacifier, not letting them have a pacifier, keeping their room warm or cold, hat or no hat, pierced ears, no pierced ears. However different new parents are, you share the important very recent earth shattering change of status; you are the parents.
To thrive, the baby has to eat, sleep and stay warm.
If you keep the baby with you most of the time and are holding the baby most of the awake time, the baby will stay warm. If it is a skinny baby, socks and a hat will help. Babies don’t need the thermostat at 80+. Their hands and feet should normally be slightly cooler than their bellies. If they are too cold their hands and feet will be clenched and blue and cold.
Whether the baby is big or small, bottle fed or breast-fed, Irish, African, Chinese, or Italian, there are almost no exceptions to the following rules: 1. If the baby is hungry, feed the baby; 2. If the baby is asleep, let the baby sleep; and 3. Enlarging upon these rules and looking for exceptions is more trouble than it’s worth.
Trust your heart. Your instincts have evolved over millions of years. You can probably trust your feelings. If a mistake is made as a result of following your feelings it’s unlikely to be a serious one and not nearly as dangerous as the mistakes we made ignoring our instincts. Babies are designed to withstand all sorts of bad advice and novice parents, so please try to enjoy being a new parent. These days won’t come again. Your child won’t remember them but you will and it’s an opportunity to learn and grow like no other.Mark Vonnegut, MD
A Few Thoughts From Dr. Vonnegut
The most useful things I know, I’ve learned from my patients. The most important thing a parent can do for their child is to enjoy being a parent. I started my own practice so I could focus more on the things I think are important, like being accessible, knowing the people I take care of, feeling free to be myself and caring less about the business considerations and what other people think, and having a place to hang my watercolors. I have three sons; two who are adults, with their own children, and my youngest son who is in middle school. It’s easier to be a doctor than to be a parent. I have no objectivity at all about my own children and do not expect parents to be logical and reasonable.Mark Vonnegut, MD
Our Clinician Team
Mark Vonnegut, MD
Dr. Mark Vonnegut grew up on the Cape in the 50’s and 60’s, and did a variety of things including writing, starting a commune in British Columbia, and teaching high school before going onto Harvard Medical School where he graduated in 1979. After graduation, Dr. Vonnegut completed a pediatric Internship and Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has practiced pediatrics for over 30 years but doesn’t feel that old. He has a son in middle school who keeps him on his toes. “Practicing pediatrics has been a joy and a privilege,” he says.
Dr. Vonnegut published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine’s Quality Improvement Improving Quality? A View from the Doctor’s Office, December 27, 2007 and has published several short pieces on pediatrics and other topics in The Boston Globe and The Patriot Ledger. He served on the National Institute for Health Consensus Conference on ADHD in November 1999.
Dr. Vonnegut wrote The Eden Express which was first published in 1975 and re-published in 2002. His new book, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So, was published October 5, 2010.
Dr. Vonnegut is not accepting new patients at this time.
Herbert Mathewson, MD
Dr. Hub Mathewson, an old friend of Dr. Vonnegut’s from Cape Cod, joined our practice in the spring of 2006. Dr. Mathewson practiced for 30 years with The Hyannis Pediatric Group and was the Medical Director of Cape Cod Hospital for 16 years. Dr. Mathewson works mostly on Fridays and covers some evenings on call.
Colleen Kelly, MD
Dr. Kelly attended The University of Vermont College of Medicine where she also completed her residency. During residency, Dr. Kelly was a Resident Coordinator of Spectrum Youth and Family Services Health Clinic in Burlington, Vermont where she provided free medical care to homeless and underprivileged children and adolescents. Following residency, Dr. Kelly worked as a primary care pediatrician in Middlebury, VT. Dr. Kelly and her husband, Dr. Stuart Braun, relocated to the South Shore in the fall of 2004. Dr. Braun is a Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. After spending two years at home with her children, Sam and Grace, in 2006 Dr. Kelly decided it was time to return to the job that she loves, primary care pediatrics. “Taking care of my own children has made me a better pediatrician,” says Dr. Kelly. When not juggling their work schedules, she and her family love to be outside biking, hiking, kayaking, and skiing.
Dr. Kelly is accepting new patients.
Natalya Davis, MD
Dr. Natalya Davis joined MVPediatrics in 2010, after two years spent at the South Shore Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department where she gained invaluable skills in urgent and emergent care. She has also practiced primary care pediatrics for years in upstate New York. Dr. Davis feels at home practicing outpatient pediatrics and forming long-lasting relationships with her patients. She enjoys working with patients and families to promote breastfeeding, good nutrition, and general health.
Whitney Kirchoff, MD
We are excited to announce that Dr. Whitney Kirchoff will be joining our practice April 2!
Dr. Whitney Kirchoff was born in Juneau, Alaska. She studied biomedical engineering at Duke University and then went to Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Kirchoff completed her internship and residency in pediatrics at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.. She has been board certified in Pediatrics since 2016. She practiced pediatrics in southern Oregon and is moving to Massachusetts to be closer to family. Her areas of clinical interest include common issues of modern parenting, attention deficit disorder, discipline, and managing screen time. As the oldest of four kids, Dr. Kirchoff has always had an interest in children and says she feels so blessed to be a pediatrician.
She enjoys traveling, snowboarding, hiking, reading and playing board games with her family. We are thrilled that Dr. Kirchoff is joining the team here at MVPediatrics!
Shannon Torres, NP
Shannon (Rice) Torres received her B.S. at Stonehill College and completed her BSN and MSN at Regis College. Before joining MVPediatrics, Shannon worked as a staff nurse on the pediatric unit of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. She has also worked as a camp nurse at Franklin Country Day Camp where she treated everything from bumps and bruises to more involved injuries and illnesses.
Annette Radzevich, NP
Annette Radzevich is a graduate of Northeastern University and is certified by the AANP. She has worked as a nurse practitioner, nurse manager, and student preceptor for over 20 years. Annette is a native of Boston and resident of the South Shore for many years. She has four grown children and six grandchildren, all living on the South Shore. In her free time, Annette enjoys music, gardening, and yoga.
Barbara Healey, NP
Barbara grew up in this area and has a love for the beauty, history and diversity of Boston. She decided to become a nurse when she was in high school and attended nursing school at Boston College. After eight years at MGH including general pediatrics, neonatal and pediatric intensive care and being a clinical educator, she attended Northeastern University and received her Master’s Degree in Nursing. After passing the National Nurse Practitioner Boards, she was certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She worked at Harvard Pilgrim for 14 years in the pediatric urgent care department. Barbara says, “Dr. Vonnegut was the senior resident of the pediatric service while I was at MGH. I felt that we shared a formative professional experience and had a similar approach to care. In June of 2006 I came to MVPediatrics. I love our personalized practice with its emphasis on individualized care. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of MVPediatrics. I am always available to talk with families about growth and development issues and any health concerns. I nursed my two children and am committed to supporting breast feeding. At this point in my professional and personal life, there isn’t much I haven’t heard or seen. My goal is to empower parents with the knowledge they need to support their child’s health and development and have some fun along the way.”
In addition to working as a nurse practitioner, Barbara teaches pediatric nursing clinical classes at Boston College, Quincy College, and Laboure College. She has two wonderful children, Austin and Anna.
Our Behavioral Health Team
Sonia Erlich, LMHC
Sonia is a Behavioral Health Clinician who is deeply committed to the well being of youth, families, and communities. Her field experience has included wilderness therapy in Utah, case management in Boston, and group leadership in community centers and residential treatment facilities. As a Clinical Therapist, she has provided counseling to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Her therapeutic approach draws upon mind-body techniques, creative expression and trauma sensitivity. She has had more than a decade of working with people of various ages, identities, cultures, and life circumstances.
Sonia earned her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She is glad to contribute to the holistic care offered at MVPediatrics. She also works part-time at a health center in Dorchester.
Sonia is proficient in Spanish.
Kristen Cowles, LICSW
Kristen Cowles, LICSW, comes to MVPediatrics with over 10 years experience working in maternity, pediatrics and the NICU at South Shore Hospital. She has also worked as a clinician in the Boston Public School System and an adolescent psychiatric day program. Her areas of expertise include adolescent health, depression, anxiety, school and family adjustment issues. Kristen earned her BA in Psychology and her MSW from Boston College. She is married with two teenagers. Kristen enjoys yoga, running, and reading. She is in the office every Tuesday.
Liz Disterhoft, LICSW
Liz attended Bard College in New York and worked in New York City, designing costumes and selling art. She also spent time teaching art classes to children and teens in Boston and Mexico. She received her Masters in Social Work at Simmons College and has worked in community health centers in Boston for the last eight years doing therapy with children, families and adults who have immigrated to the United States. ” I use a heartfelt and creative approach in my work, utilizing a combination of mindfulness techniques, trauma informed methods, and art.”
Liz also practices Reiki, a hands-on system of relaxation that originated in Japan. She is married and has a young daughter. Liz enjoys painting, organic gardening, bird watching and hiking.
Services provided in both English and Spanish.
Lauren Godes, LICSW
Lauren has 15 years of experience working with diverse populations in the areas of addiction and child welfare, as well as with the Department of Youth Services and the Department of Mental Health. She has also worked as a Hospice Social Worker, providing support and guidance to individuals and their families through their end of life journey. Lauren has facilitated individual and group therapy in a variety of settings including residential, office and home-based. Her approach in treatment is eclectic and strengths-based, creating a supportive therapeutic experience for individuals and families. Lauren earned her MSW from Simmons College. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Our Nurse Team
Joan Lewis, RN
Jenny O'Neill, RN
Joan has been a nurse at MVPediatrics for over 14 years. She is the Medical Home Care Coordinator at MVPediatrics and a Level 2 Reiki practitioner. She graduated with honors from Boston College School of Nursing and worked at St. Margaret’s Hospital for many years. She has also taught childbirth classes. Joan has been happily married for over 40 years and she and her husband have three children and four grandchildren. Joan enjoys Tai Chi, needlework, and gardening.
Jenny received her BSN from Curry College and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Jenny recently became a Certified Lactation Counselor and has a passion for teaching. She worked in family medicine for 5 years while attending nursing school. Jenny is married and in her spare time she keeps busy with her 2 year old and 7 month old sons.
Jenny is fluent in American Sign Language.
Our Medical Assistant Team
Dilema has been a medical assistant at MVPediatrics since 2014. Her kind manner and patience is appreciated by patients, parents, and her fellow co-workers.
Jennifer has been a medical assistant at MVPediatrics since 2016.
Our Administrative Team
Marissa has been with MVPediatrics since December 2007. Started as a receptionist, she now is the Billing Supervisor for the practice. Marissa is a Certified Professional Coder, as well as a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist. In her spare time she enjoys being outdoors, and spending time with her husband and children.
Yasmari Tapia supervises the reception area at MVPediatrics. She has a wonderful manner with children that places them at ease. When she is not busy at work, then she is busy with her son, who is in elementary school, and her teenage daughter.
Stacey joined the administrative team at MVP in October 2016 with an extensive background in management and human resources. Her previous roles include Office Manager at South Shore Mental Health as well as Human Resources at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In addition, Stacey has been a certified Childbirth Educator and Birth Doula since 2004.
Stacey is a resident of the South Shore, with her husband and three sons and rescue dog. She loves knitting, reading, and baking when the weather is cool. She is thrilled to be a part of the MVP team, helping to support families as they journey through parenthood.
What We Do
What Is a Nurse Practitioner?
Our Nurse Practitioners (N.P.) are licensed registered nurses (R.N.) with additional clinical training and education. Nurse Practitioners are required to become licensed as R.N.’s before pursuing their Master’s Degree in Nursing (M.S.N.) that enables them to become N.P.’s, and thus benefit from the years of experience they develop as an R.N. Similar to a physician, N.P.’s treat illnesses as well as advise patients on creating and sustaining a healthy lifestyle, providing a wide range of services.
What is a Registered Nurse?
Our Registered Nurses not only provide specific types of care, but also give advice and help coordinate health services for patients. R.N.’s are integral to phone triage duties providing clinical advice to parents helping them to care for their child at home. They also may advise them when it may be necessary to bring them in for an office visit or send them to seek emergency care.
What is a Medical Assistant?
Our Medical Assistants maintain both clinical as well as administrative duties. Clinically, Medical Assistants take patient histories, obtain vital signs, administer vaccinations, and perform laboratory tests within the facility as well as send out samples for further diagnostics. In the administrative sense, Medical Assistants schedule appointments and provide support to the front desk staff.
We are on staff at the following:
- Children’s Hospital Boston 617-355-6000
Visit Children’s Hospital Boston Website http://www.childrenshospital.org/
- Massachusetts General Hospital 617-726-2000
Visit MGH Website http://www.massgeneral.org/
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital 617-732-5500
Visit Brigham and Women’s Hospital Website http://www.brighamandwomens.org/
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 617-667-7000
Visit Beth Israel Deaconess Website http://www.bidmc.org/
- South Shore Hospital 781-340-8000
Visit South Shore Hospital Website http://www.southshorehospital.org/index.html
We also teach and are on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.