Wondering where to take your teen to the doctor?
You’ve taken your kids to their pediatrician since they were newborns, but is that physician still the right choice for your tween or teen? Or maybe you’ve recently moved to East Central Illinois and you’re wondering how to select new primary health-care providers for your teens. Or your beloved pediatrician retired (NOOOOOO!) or your insurance has changed before your kids are ready for adult medicine. Well, we’re here to help.
Finding a good physician who clicks with your child and family is a magical, magical thing. Minimizing provider change is one reason to choose a doctor in Family Medicine for your baby, since in theory this department can provide continuity of care throughout your child’s lifetime as well as for other members of your family. However, even this plan can fall through, since your baby will one day grow into a teen who might insist on having a different doctor from Mom or Dad.
With pediatricians, their office — or your insurance plan — may have an arbitrary age cut-off (18? 21?) for when they transition their patients to adult medicine providers. Some kids may want to stay with their pediatrician as long as possible: if they are going away to college and don’t want to find a new provider for just 4 years; if they have a chronic condition that is well understood by their pediatrician; if they prefer an office and staff that is better equipped to help them deal with wait times or upsetting procedures. Some kids may want to switch sooner than this age cut-off — perhaps they are no longer comfortable with the butterflies on the office carpet, or perhaps they have been diagnosed with a condition that is more common in adults.
A particularly common time for kids to switch medical providers arrives along with puberty. Many tweens or teens will suddenly express a strong preference for a doctor of a particular gender. Or you may find that the doctor who related so well to your angelic toddler may not have a bedside manner that puts your gangly, sullen adolescent at ease.
A note about teens who are or will be menstruating: families have different approaches when it comes to taking their teen to a gynecologist. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the first Pap test to screen for cervical cancer at age 21, with or without sexual activity. Whether a family takes their teen to a gynecologist soon after the onset of menstruation — in order to establish a positive care relationship — or waits until later (perhaps when the teen moves out at 18 for college or a first apartment) is up to them and their primary care provider. Many primary care providers are able to answer questions about reproductive health or prescribe birth control (or “hormonal regulation,” as one provider calls it). All providers emphasize that seeing a gynecologist as a teen of any age is NOT synonymous with an internal pelvic exam, birth control, or sexual activity.
(This post does not list any gynecologists; go to our OB/GYN post instead.)
A few local tips:
- In the Champaign-Urbana area, most physicians are affiliated with either Christie Clinic or Carle.
- Please note that not all physicians accept all insurances or have admitting privileges at all hospitals, so doing your own research is a must.
- Some of the most popular physicians in our area may have a full practice and therefore not be accepting new patients. This status may change, so it is not indicated here. (Another question for you to research.)
- Want to do an informational interview with a provider? Just call their office to see if it’s possible to set one up.
We asked our readers to recommend their favorite Champaign-Urbana area physicians for teenagers, and we appreciate every response we received.
Chambanamoms.com does not endorse or recommend medical professionals; all opinions expressed below are those of chambanamoms.com readers. This list is intended as a community resource and was generated from individual mentions on the chambanamoms.com Facebook page.
This recommended provider list is organized by office location.
Carle on Curtis, Champaign
Sean Fullan, MD, Pediatrics
- “I really like him. He listens to parents and kids.”
Steven Gentry, MD, Family Medicine
- “He is a great doc. Very personable and professional.” “My boys see Dr Gentry too.”
Dawn McCoy, MD, Family Medicine
- “I really like her bedside manner. She was great when our kids were little and very respectful to our preteen. Because she sees us as adults too she has a comprehensive understanding of our family history without having to look at the notes in the chart.” “She’s awesome.”
Carle on Windsor, Urbana
Christine Chu, MD, Pediatrics
- “Both my boys (ages 13 and 16) really like her, which was a wonderful surprise… I thought for sure they would want a male. Highly recommend Dr. Chu!” “We love her too!”
Dionne Smith, MD, Pediatrics
- “My 12 year old daughter see Dr. Smith and we love her.” “She is an amazing doctor…very knowledgeable and down to earth.” “She is excellent and her genuine caring and love of her job is evident.” “We switched to Dr. Smith when my 12-year-old wanted a female doctor with an approachable manner and we are thrilled.”
Christie Clinic on Windsor, Champaign
Myisha Porter, MD, Pediatrics
- “An outstanding pediatrician that my kids (ages 15, 12, and 8) really like and respect.” “My daughter saw Dr. Porter for her pre-college physical. She’s absolutely fantastic.” “I have an 11 & 16 year old. She is simply amazing. Bedside manner, personality, compassion. So is her nurse!” “She takes things seriously without being over-reactive, something I so appreciate. And the kids feel so comfortable with her.”
Louisa Maranon, MD, Pediatrics
- “My girls love her.”
Christie Clinic, Mahomet
Michael Palazzolo, MD, Pediatrics
- “I have a 15 y/o boy and we both like him quite a bit.” “My 12 yo son really likes Dr. Palazzolo. I don’t foresee that changing over the next few years. Despite moving further south, I choose to drive the extra distance to keep Dr. P as our pediatrician as long as possible.”
Carl Sather, MD, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine
Christie Clinic, Monticello
Mitch Hammel, MD, Family Medicine
- “Great with my boys (ages 15, 21). Younger and relatable.”
And one local doctor even took the time to comment on our Facebook post herself:
Frances Nelson Health Center, Champaign
Corinne Kohler, MD
- “I do the whole family but especially love my teens and adolescent health.”