Caring For Children During a Pandemic

During a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic placed immense pressure on healthcare systems and put school districts in difficult positions, many healthcare workers and parents have helped their communities navigate the rough new terrain.

That’s why Park Cities People has chosen them as our 2020 Persons of the Year.

Dr. Christy Turer and her husband are both. They have five children.

“I wear a mask…when I pick my son up after school,” she said. “I have to act as if I’m living with someone who is immunocompromised all the time because I see patients.”

As an associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, she researches how primary-care providers can support patients in weight and lifestyle management to improve overweight/obesity-related comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes. Her work has become all the more critical during the pandemic.

While not much is normal this year, she seeks to provide guidance and structure for her family and patients.

“I think structure is critical, especially if you have young children,” Turer said. “If you plan your day, you can create a habit for healthy computer/TV/screen use, healthy sleep, physical exercise, time to talk, and family meals.”

This is especially true in a year in which she’s seen a rise in depression and anxiety among patients.

“It’s so critical right now that we come together for the collective good and uplift each other,” Turer said. “This [pandemic] has put us in touch with our humanity and the extent to which we are connected to one another.”

Dr. Patricia Hicks, a pediatrics professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center and attending physician in the complex care clinic at Children’s Health, understands the pressures healthcare workers, parents, and educators face.

Hicks’ husband is a pediatric surgeon, and one of her children is an elementary educator with Highland Park ISD. Both of her adult children were educated in the district.

“We’ve been just really, really excited about the community and about the school system and obviously huge advocates for kids in this community in particular,” Hicks said.

She said she’s found children to be adaptable during this time of change.

“As a pediatrician for a very long time, I can tell you the people that have the most trouble with any restrictions – whether it’s a brace that they have to wear for their back or a medication that they have to take or a treatment that they have to undergo – . . . are not the kids,” Hicks said. “The kids adapt very quickly.”

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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