In 1991, Dr. Zeltzer created the UCLA Pediatric Pain Clinic to treat children and adolescents who had chronic pain. Given her longtime interest in mind-body medicine, she began the clinic with a psychologist, physical therapist, and acupuncturist. Gradually the clinic’s interdisciplinary program grew to its current team (see WCLA clinical team). While the clinic gained a reputation over time with patients coming from all parts of the country as well as throughout California, the clinic was limited in having a site where all the team could see patients in one place and where a day treatment program could be established. Clinic space at UCLA was tight and only patients whose insurance included a contract with UCLA could be seen. It was necessary to limit the clinic to one day per week because the costs of running the clinic at UCLA were significantly higher than the income produced by the pain clinic. While the Department of Pediatrics and the medical school in general were very supportive of the pain clinic, it was not possible to continue in a very limited way (one day per week with one physician, Dr Zeltzer, whose salary was derived from research and other sources rather than from clinic revenues). However, for ten years Dr. Zeltzer worked with various community individuals to try to relocate the pain clinic into the community as Whole Child LA and link it with a non-profit that she formed with community leader Eva Ho, a business executive who created the business plan and business leadership for the non-profit, Whole Child Foundation, to support the creation of Whole Child LA.
The year 2009 was an important one for launching of Whole Child LA. First, the Pediatric Pain Program at UCLA was awarded the American Pain Society’s Clinical Centers of Excellence in Pain Management award, the only pediatric pain program of the five national awardees. Also this is the year that the medical corporation, Whole Child LA, became official with the California Secretary of State and the Medical Board. In 2009, the name change became official for the 501c3 non-profit that Dr. Zeltzer began in 2005 as the National Children’s Pain Center to the Whole Child Foundation.
As Dr. Zeltzer is a Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Director of the Pediatric Pain Program at UCLA and has continued in this academic role, she wanted her program at UCLA to link closely with Whole Child LA. Dr Zeltzer’s pediatric pain research program has been studying why some children have more problems with pain than do others, the relationship between parents’ and children’s pain, sex difference and the role of puberty in pain, genetics and pain, and various treatments for children’s pain. The close link with her pediatric pain clinic at UCLA allowed her patients to benefit from this array of research studies that were ongoing. It seemed only logical to move her entire pediatric pain research team and studies to the same off-campus site as the Whole Child LA so that patients could not only see pain clinicians in one site but also take part in research as they wished in the same site. While the research program is still part of UCLA, it links with the independent Whole Child LA and Whole Child Foundation through Dr. Zeltzer’s role in both. Her entire interdisciplinary clinical pain team moved to Whole Child LA and team meetings take place at this site now, and her entire research team likewise moved to the same off-campus site so that the two programs could be linked in this way. Many of the pain clinicians are also involved in Dr. Zeltzer’s UCLA pediatric pain research studies, such as a previous one on acupuncture with Mike Waterhouse and Dr. Samantha Levy. Current research involves the study of Iyengar yoga with Beth Sternlieb. Many others likewise involve the Whole Child LA pain care clinicians. This teaming of Whole Child LA with the UCLA Pediatric Pain Research Program creates more than each alone and also allows medical students, pediatric residents, and even community physicians, psychologists, physical therapy students, and others to learn our mind-body integrative model of pediatric pain care.
Click here to donate to WCLA & the Daniel Kaplan Fund for Freedom from PainSupport Whole Child Foundation
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News and Events
- WCLA selected as a semi-finalist in the Social Innovation Fast Pitch.
- Recipient of the American Pain Society’s Award.
- Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer has been named among top 1% of doctors by US News and World Report [Sept. 2012]
- WCLA will host a daylong workshop for patients with Fabry's Disease on November 11th. Contact our office for more details.