Little People, Big Needs

January 01, 2014

From their child’s first wobbly steps to that straight-A report card, parents dream of life’s big moments for their little ones.

But what if serious injury or illness strikes? Where should you turn to ensure your child receives the very best attention and treatment?

Providence Tarzana Medical Center is positioned within the Providence network and within the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities as the premier pediatric specialty provider in the region. “The Sisters of Providence have a soft spot in their hearts for children. Providence has given us the support we need to become the best pediatric program in the Valley,” says Cesar Chavarria, MD, FAAP, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Providence Tarzana. “What we do here, we do very well. Patients come here to receive specialized pediatric care.”

In fact, since early 2013, Providence Tarzana has been affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, ensuring that the youngest patients are cared for with world-class treatments close to home. It’s one of the reasons to turn to Providence when your child needs excellent, compassionate care.

Unparalleled Services

With an 18-bed pediatric unit and a seven-bed PICU for critically ill children, Providence Tarzana is one of a few hospitals in the Valley equipped to handle pediatric surgery, cardiology and a wide range of other subspecialties. These include pediatric pulmonology, neurology, orthopedics, urology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and ear, nose and throat care. “We have the latest, most sophisticated equipment in sizes suited for babies as little as 1 pound and teenagers up to 18 years old who are sometimes much bigger than I am,” Dr. Chavarria says.

Specifically, more than 100 staff pediatricians treat a range of conditions, including heart conditions, seizures, pneumonia, mononucleosis, meningitis, skin infections, bone infections and severe ear infections, as well as poisoning, snake bites and infectious diseases.

Providence Tarzana—along with Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance and Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center—has also received Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics (EDAP) certification, meaning that 911 paramedics take sick or injured children to these hospitals first because they have the highest levels of training and equipment needed for emergency pediatric care. Providence Tarzana has a pediatric transport outfitted for children and infants who require transport from hospitals that do not have pediatric departments.

A Personal Touch

A third-generation physician, Dr. Chavarria devotes a great deal of time to balancing the science of medicine with the art of comforting children. “Pediatrics is a beautiful field. It takes experience, focus and the memory of how it felt to be a child,” he says. Every detail—from tone of voice to warmth of instruments to the words caregivers choose—plays a huge part in the healing of children. “We are very careful when we go to the bedside,” Dr. Chavarria says. “It takes time to develop a healing presence.”


This healing presence comes into play daily in the PICU. “If a child cannot go home from the ER or needs more one-on-one care and intensive therapy, we have the great privilege of having a PICU, which many hospitals do not have,” Dr. Chavarria says, adding that the PICU at Providence Tarzana is being reconfigured from seven beds to eight beds as part of the expansion funded in part by the Mozilo Family Foundation.

Children admitted to the PICU may need more intensive therapies, such as ventilators, central lines, chest tubes or heavy sedation. “There are many complicated or severe conditions that are really best cared for in a PICU,” he says, noting that specially trained physicians oversee the treatment of these young patients.


When starting your family, it’s also important to consider your hospital’s ability to care for babies who are born too early or need specialized care. Four Providence medical centers in the Valley and South Bay offer highly specialized neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance was the first hospital in the Los Angeles area to offer private, single-family NICU rooms. “Studies show that infants do better in this environment. The rooms are quieter, and they offer moms much more privacy in terms of breastfeeding,” says Torrance NICU Medical Director Jon Yamamoto, MD.

NICUs at Providence Saint Joseph, Providence Holy Cross, Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance and Providence Tarzana Medical Centers embrace a family-centered care model in which caring for baby and family is a priority.

In fact, it’s this family-centered, compassionate care, delivered by a staff of trained specialists using the most advanced pediatric treatments and technologies,that sets Providence apart in the field. When your infant, child or young adult needs specialized care, Providence is your trusted place to turn.