Dr. Cynthya Campbell, Pediatric Psychologist at La Rabida Children’s Hospital, discusses keeping children mentally healthy

Dr. Cynthya Campbell Palomar

Please describe how you made the decision to work in the health field as a career choice.

I have always had a passion for working with underserved individuals who were experiencing emotional difficulties. Through my various training experiences, I was exposed to pediatric populations and became very interested in the impact of medical illnesses on the mental health of youth.

What are three challenges that health professionals face from managed care?

There is one main challenge that health care professionals may face from managed care, that is making sure that the quality of services and care provided to patients under the guidelines of managed care is not reduced in any way.

What three attributes aid health professional who want to serve the community?

  1. To have a passion for serving the community.

  2. To be dedicated to providing essential care to all patients no matter their circumstance or situation.

  3. To enjoy the work you do.

Describe your specialty and why you chose to focus on this area of health.

I am currently a pediatric psychologist. I work with children and adolescents and their families, many who experience difficulties adjusting to having chronic medical illnesses. I chose to become a pediatric psychologist because throughout my trainings, I observed youth experience significant emotional and behavioral difficulties (e.g., depression, anxiety, academic problems) as a result of their medical conditions. I wanted to help children and adolescents learn to develop coping skills that would help them adjust to their medical illness, positively manage stressors that go along with having a chronic disease, and improve their quality of life.

What three things people should give up in order to live a healthier life?

  1. Negative thinking

  2. Extreme sedentary behavior

  3. A poor self-image

Stress has what effect on your health and what are some ways to reduce stress?

Stress can have a harmful effect on one’s life. It can not only cause medical problems, but it can develop into significant mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety. Some ways to reduce stress include regular exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep and, if struggling with emotional difficulties, seeking professional psychotherapy services.

Sleep plays what role in your health?

Sleep is a very important part of health. Restful sleep is restorative and helps individuals increase their energy level and can assist with boosting mental health and overall well-being.

What is seen as harmless that has an unhealthy impact on our lives?

Letting our mental health needs go unaddressed. Emotions are a normal part of an individual’s life; however if difficulties began to impact your daily functioning personal and/or professional and overall health, then it may be time to seek professional psychological treatment.

Why is obesity a major concern for health professionals?

Obesity may potential lead to many health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and other serious medical conditions. Obesity may also exacerbate existing emotional difficulties or may serve as a trigger for mental health difficulties. Some mental health problems may include depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

How do diet and exercise play a role in good health?

Diet and exercise play a significant role in good health. They may help to prevent serious medical conditions. It can also help to manage mood.

What behavior changes do you suggest to your patients.

I encourage every patient to increase their amount of positive thinking and as much as possible, reduce their stress.

How does the environment of a patient play a role in their health?

Environment is very important to a patient’s help. Regarding mental health, it is important for individuals to surround themselves with positive individuals they can rely on for emotional support.

How has technology help you patients?

Through technology, patients have more access to information about their chronic illnesses and mental health problems. It is always important to check the information they receive with their doctor or therapist.

What role do regular checkups play in a healthy lifestyle?

It is very important to obtain regular check-ups to maintain a healthy lifestyle and for early detection of potential health problems.

Finish the sentences

I am committed to providing … beneficial psychological services to help individuals live life to the fullest.

I work to make a difference by … in the quality of life for youth.

In order to remain healthy you must … eat healthy, exercise and try to maintain a positive attitude.

The best way to health life style changes are … to start small and build in changes slowly. This will help the changes remain.

Annual checkups … are important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A great day for me at work results in … helping a child or teenager feel they can cope with their daily stressors.

Medical school attended?

I attended Loyola University Chicago and was in the Ph.D. clinical psychology program. It is not a medical school.


Salsa dancing, reading and cooking.

Favorite vacation spots?

Anywhere with my family.

Favorite authors?

Maya Angelou

Favorite human beings?

My mother. She is a true inspiration to me. She has always encouraged me to strive for my highest potential.

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