(858) 966-4011 chadwickcenter@rchsd.org

Child Abuse Pediatrics

Our Mission: To provide comprehensive, specialized, trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate care to all children who have been affected by child maltreatment issues.

Child Abuse Pediatrics is a subspecialty certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP).  This specialty is exclusively focused on evaluation, treatment and prevention of all forms of child abuse and neglect.  Physicians are dedicated to addressing the unique physical, emotional, behavioral and psychosocial needs affecting maltreated children and their families. If not appropriately addressed, the physical and emotional sequellae of abuse, neglect and exposure to violence in childhood can result in chronic health problems later in life.  Our goal is to not only treat current health issues, but to ensure adequate wraparound services can be accessed to mitigate the effects of trauma on the youth that we serve.

Our Child Abuse Pediatric Clinic is a referral-only program providing services to potential victims up to age 18. Referrals can be made by physicians, advanced practice providers, Child Welfare Services (CWS) investigators and Law Enforcement officials. In addition to direct patient care we are committed to training the next generation of Child Abuse Pediatricians through our 3 year Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited fellowship program.  For more information, please visit our fellowship website.

Patient Services

The Chadwick Center is one of the nation’s largest hospital-based Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs).   It is housed in a free-standing facility near the main campus of Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego.  The building is equipped with a fully functional medical clinic where physicians perform outpatient medical evaluations for children who are suspected victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault, neglect, medical child abuse or exploitation.  These evaluations are referred to the Child Abuse Clinic by physicians, law enforcement agencies or Child Welfare Services (CWS).   All services are available during business hours.  Emergency sexual assault evaluations are provided after-hours as well and are coordinated with law enforcement officials.

Case Consultations

Child Abuse Pediatricians are available 24/7 for physicians and/or investigators who have questions regarding the possibility of abuse/neglect.  They can be reached via the Rady Children’s Hospital Operator System.

Inpatient Consultations

Inpatient consultations can be performed, by Attending request, at Rady Children’s Hospital and the UCSD Burn Center.  The on-call provider can be reached via the Rady Operator or the Intranet paging system.  It is preferable that the Child Abuse Pediatrician is contacted directly by the treating team to discuss the case specifics.

*Child Abuse Evaluations cannot be requested directly by parents or caregivers.  If you are a parent or caregiver who has concerns for abuse or neglect of your child, please report directly to Child Welfare Services or Law Enforcement.  If the investigators determine that a medical evaluation is warranted, they will refer your child for our services.

Our Team

Dr. Shalon Nienow

Dr. Shalon Nienow

MD, FAAP –  Division Director; Medical Director; Associate Program Director Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship; Assistant Clinical Professor, UC San Diego

Dr. Nicole Ayson

Dr. Nicole Ayson

MD, Child Abuse Pediatrician; Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics, UC San Diego
Dr. Natalie Laub

Dr. Natalie Laub

MD, Child Abuse Pediatrician, MSHP, FAAAP; Program Director Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship; Clinical Assistant Professor, UC San Diego

Dr. Sarah Vega

Dr. Sarah Vega

MD, Child Abuse Pediatrician

Dr. Cindy Kuelbs

Dr. Cindy Kuelbs

MD, Child Abuse Pediatrician; Chief Medical Informatics, Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, UC San Diego

Tiffany Paugh, ASW

Medical Team Social Worker

Denise Ortega

Medical Assistant

Child Abuse Fellows

Dr. Miguel Cano, Dr. Sara Kruczek and Dr. Mallory McPhee