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New Directors for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and Epilepsy


Arrival of Deborah Holder, MD, and Cesar Ochoa, MD, Expands Pediatric Specialty Expertise

Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s has appointed Deborah Holder, MD, as program director of Pediatric Epilepsy and Cesar Ochoa, MD, as director of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. Both appointments broaden the comprehensive pediatric services and specialties offered at Cedars-Sinai.

“Drs. Holder and Ochoa bring years of expertise and knowledge in the treatment and management of pediatric care, with a commitment to offering personalized strategies for each patient and their family,” said Ophir Klein, MD, PhD, executive director of Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s and the David and Meredith Kaplan Distinguished Chair in Children’s Health. “We are confident both of these remarkable physicians will propel our pediatric capabilities.”

Holder is an expert in caring for children with pediatric epilepsy, the most common childhood brain disorder in the U.S. She joins Cedars-Sinai from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where she was director of the California Children’s Services Special Care Center for Epilepsy and director of the Epilepsy Fellowship Program.

She was also an associate professor of Neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Prior to those positions, Holder directed the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at CHLA and the epilepsy surgery programs at CHLA, Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Holder conducts medical research and has worked on studies investigating outcomes related to epilepsy surgery and vagus nerve stimulator placement, as well as potential new treatments for epilepsy.

A graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Holder completed an internship in pediatrics and residencies in child neurology and pediatrics with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. She also completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology and epilepsy with Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.

“I look forward to working with the team at Guerin Children’s to offer all available diagnostic and treatment options for newborns to adolescents,” Holder said. “This will allow for a seamless transition to the adult epilepsy program so people with epilepsy can receive state-of-the-art, comprehensive services at Cedars-Sinai throughout their lives.”

Ochoa is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician with expertise in assessing and managing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, learning and cognitive disabilities, speech-language disorders, and other developmental and behavioral challenges in children and teenagers.

“I’m excited to build a program that provides state-of-the-art medical care to children and adolescents with developmental and behavioral conditions,” Ochoa said. “The goal is to improve our patients’ trajectories and long-term outcomes.”

Previously, Ochoa was chief of the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and associate professor of Pediatrics at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. There, he established a multidisciplinary program for children with ADHD, autism and neurodevelopmental and neurogenetic conditions.

Ochoa has been the principal investigator in clinical trials studying treatments for conditions such as Angelman syndrome, Pitt Hopkins syndrome, Dup 15 syndrome, Down syndrome and autism.

After earning a medical degree from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, Ochoa completed a residency in pediatrics with the University of Illinois Chicago Medical Center. He also earned a master of public health degree from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health.

“We welcome Drs. Holder and Ochoa to our team and look forward to the compassionate and expert care they will offer families,” said Shervin Rabizadeh, MD, MBA, associate director of Guerin Children’s and chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Read more in Discoveries: Innovation and Collaboration in Pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s

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