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ESD PEDIATRIC GROUP strives to grow and change to meet the healthcare needs of our families. Behavioral health concerns (such as mood or behavior disturbances) often arise in childhood and can impact a child/teen’s functioning. To help with these common concerns, GRETCHEN DORMAN, LISW-S, a behavioral health specialist, will join the ESD team in AUGUST 2019. Gretchen will focus on your child’s psychosocial functioning and help problem-solve and reduce symptoms.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Gretchen has spent most of her professional career in Tennessee.  She earned her B.S. in Child and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  She attended graduate school at Erikson Institute and Loyola-University-Chicago graduating with a Masters Degree in Child and Development and School Work.  In 2017, she and her family relocated to Ohio.  She is excited to be joining the team at ESD to provide integrated behavioral health services.  She will be seeing patients at both the Milford and Smith Road offices.

ESD is excited to begin offering BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES.  Families need to be aware that BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES are different from MEDICAL HEALTH SERVICES. A SEPARATE bill will be submitted to your insurance for the BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES. Depending on your specific coverage, you will either be charged a SECOND CO-PAY or be billed for any balance not paid by your insurance (deductible and/or co-insurance). If you have OHIO MEDICAID (CARESOURCE) the services will be COVERED.

Because specific benefits differ among insurance plans, please contact your INSURANCE COMPANY and ask for COVERAGE INFORMATION. Please see one of the ESD billing team members with questions about behavioral health BILLING CODES.

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Just like your children, here at ESD Pediatric Group, we just keep growing and growing! Join us in welcoming DIANA FILTZ, M.D., FAAP to the ESD team!

Dr. Filtz grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2007, she graduated valedictorian from Penn Trafford High School. A decorated student-athlete, in 2011 she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in Biology. Her experience as an athlete sparked her interest in medicine.  She attended Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, where she met her husband Andrew.  After graduating from medical school in 2015, she and her husband matched to Cincinnati for residency training. Dr. Filtz completed her pediatric residency training at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in 2018.  Dr. Filtz joins ESD after completing a fellowship in Sports Medicine. Dr. Filtz will see patients at both the Milford and Hyde Park offices.

Dr. Filtz is board certified in pediatrics, and currently board eligible in sports medicine. Her interests include caring for the student athlete, sports-related injuries, concussions, and musculoskeletal issues.

Dr. Filtz is married to her husband Andrew, who is completing his training in orthopedic surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.  They have three adorable corgis, and reside in Walnut Hills. In her free time, Dr. Filtz is an avid runner. She has completed several marathons, including the 2019 Boston Marathon.

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Effective July 1, 2019, after 25 years of providing the families of ESD Pediatric Group with outstanding medical care it is time for Donald Rakel, M.D. to take a permanent vacation.

Dr. Rakel began his medical career 40 years ago in a multi-specialty practice in Gallipolis, Ohio. In 1994, after 10 years with Pediatric Offices, Inc. he began his journey with ESD.

While Dr. Rakel has cared for children of all ages, he has always had a passion for treating and caring for patients who suffer from various psychological issues with special focus on ADHD and ADD.

After hanging up his stethoscope, he and his wife, Joyce plan to travel and enjoy time with family. An avid sports fan, he plans to attend as many of the XU Musketeer basketball games as possible.

Dr. Rakel has provided 25 years of remarkable service to the families of ESD Pediatric Group, and his achievements will not be forgotten. Please join ESD in wishing him the best in the next steps of his journey.

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ESD Pediatric Group is outsourcing requests for outgoing medical records to ChartRequest.  All requests for outgoing medical records are being handled in accordance with HIPAA and state of Ohio regulations by ChartRequest.

Please go to and select Request A Record and Sign Up or Sign In to obtain your requested records OR to check the status of your requested records. After you place this request, your records will be available in seven – ten business days or sooner.


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Before you know it your child will be participating in school sports. The deadlines for submitting these sports forms varies with each school and sport.   It is important for your child’s health and well being to have the sports physical performed by your child’s pediatrician.

If you’re the parent of a young athlete, you’re likely familiar with sports physicals. You’ve seen the ads for them: short wait times, no appointment needed, open seven days a week. But are these quick medical check-ups the best way to monitor your child’s health? Not at all.

Sports physicals should be part of routine preventive care done by your child’s primary care provider. Here’s why:

  • Better care. Physicals performed during part of a yearly well care visit are more comprehensive than rushed clinic visits.
  • Better cost. Usually well care visits are fully covered by insurance at your pediatrician’s office. Why pay for a separate visit to a clinic?
  • Better access. Physicals are good for one year — or one year plus 30 days — from the date of a well care visit. If your child has already had a checkup within the past year, it’s likely a separate sports clinic visit isn’t needed at all. You’ll just need to fill out the paperwork, have it signed by the doctor, and turn it in to your child’s coach.

Sports physicals, also called pre-participation physicals, were developed by physicians and put in place to detect serious conditions and injuries before young athletes start playing a sport. They are typically needed for student athletes in grades 7-12, and they are required by all schools in Ohio and Kentucky.

Here are the top things you need to know regarding sports physicals and annual well care visits for your child:

  • Continuity of care is important. Your child has a continuous relationship with his or her primary care provider. When a physician knows your child’s health history, habits, and personality, he or she can more easily recognize signs that might signal a change in your child’s health.
  • A well care visit covers so much more. When your child’s pediatrician performs a routine preventive well care visit, it encompasses screening for behavioral and mental health problems; learning difficulties; tobacco, alcohol, and substance use; social problems; and sexual activity. Pediatricians also monitor growth and development, conduct a comprehensive physical examination, address previous and current medical problems, update immunizations, perform recommended screening tests, and give anticipatory guidance. These are all critical pieces of a child’s full health history.
  • Clinic visits are often cursory. Some schools and coaches recommend sports physicals at a clinic in a school gym or at a retail-based health center. This type of exam is often performed without the child’s complete medical history and often without a parent. The preventive care issues mentioned above are rarely addressed. There is little to no communication back to the primary care doctor. In short, this exam doesn’t address the whole scope of your child’s health.

As a pediatrician, I encourage physical activity for all children. I believe that playing sports fosters physical fitness, improves self-esteem, and promotes teamwork. Pediatricians also believe that children deserve quality health care. Do not allow anyone else — schools and coaches included — to pressure you into the notion that speed is more important than quality when it comes to your child’s health.

Sports physicals don’t have to be difficult. Use these tips to make them easier for your family:

  • Prep ahead. Check with your child’s primary care provider to see if they have extended hours on certain evenings or weekends. Many of them offer this, especially during the summer months before fall sports start.
  • Know the rules. Both Ohio and Kentucky require a sports physical form to be on file with the school before the first practice. But physical exams are valid for one year or one year plus 30 days — so a well care visit in March will cover a child’s fall sports physical exam requirement. Bylaws with complete rules can be found here:
  • Ask for help. Most pediatricians are willing to work with you on scheduling an appointment if you’re in a rush to get the pre-participation form filled out prior to your child’s first practice.

When you ensure your child continues to have annual well care check-ups throughout their teen years, you’re doing more than just fulfilling their sports physical requirement. You’re also helping to develop a healthy habit that will hopefully last a lifetime

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Exciting News! Pre-visit check in is now available! Simply click the link in the appointment reminder message and complete the forms necessary for your child’s visit.

Your time is valuable; don’t waste it in the waiting room. Take a few minutes to complete the check in process BEFORE arriving at the office.  Pre visit check in can be completed from your smart phone, computer or tablet device.

If for some reason, you are unable to complete the check in process BEFORE arriving at the office, plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to complete the necessary paperwork.

ESD is evolving to provide your family with the best possible health care.

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Milestones matter! Track your child’s milestones from age 2 months to 5 years with CDC’s easy-to-use illustrated checklists; get tips from CDC for encouraging your child’s development; and find out what to do if you are ever concerned about how your child is developing.

From birth to age 5, your child should reach milestones in how he or she plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves. Photos and videos in this app illustrate each milestone and make tracking them for your child easy and fun!


  • Add a Child – enter personalized information about your child or multiple children
  • Milestone Tracker – track your child’s developmental progress by looking for important milestones using an interactive, illustrated checklist
  • Milestone Photos and Videos – know what each milestone looks like so that you can better identify them in your own child
  • Tips and Activities – support your child’s development at every age
  • When to Act Early – know when it’s time to “act early” and talk with your child’s doctor about developmental concerns
  • Appointments – keep track of your child’s doctors’ appointments and get reminders about recommended developmental screenings
  • Milestone Summary – get a summary of your child’s milestones to view, and share with or email to your child’s doctor and other important care providers

Learn more at 

The use of this app is not a substitute for the use of validated, standardized developmental screening tools as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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The Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics is launching a new immunization advocacy group that is led by parents called Ohio Parents Advocating for Vaccines (PA4V).

Who we are: Ohio PA4V is a group of Ohio parents advocating for vaccines and spreading accurate information about the disease burden, safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Some of us are vaccine-preventable disease survivors, parents of immuno-compromised children, or parents of healthy children because of immunizations. All of us are fierce advocates for combatting misinformation on vaccines!

Why we care: We vaccinate our children (if medically possible) for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of our community. Ohio’s immunization rates for children and adolescents are NOT where they need to be for all of our children to be protected from potentially dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases. The misinformation has scared parents, and it is time to set the record straight.

What we do: We share factual information and stories about vaccines! Here is how to get involved:

Join PA4V! There is no membership fee, and we don’t ask anything from you expect to occasionally share our social media posts to get the word out about the truth around vaccines. You can sign up here

Share the facts! Go to to get access to resources you can share with your friends, family and on social media.

Share your story! Go to and share your story about why immunizations are so import to you and your family. You can do this with a sentence or two or a video you upload.

Participate in our upcoming #iVAX campaign! Publicly share that you understand the importance of vaccinating yourself and your family against vaccine preventable diseases.

Find us on Twitter and Facebook! Twitter:


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Online Check In – Save Time! Be Seen Quicker!

ESD Pediatric Group is very excited to introduce online check in. All you need is your patient portal account. Reduce the time you spend in the waiting room by updating demographics, insurance information and form completion from your mobile device or comfort of your own home.

We realize your time is valuable. With online check in, many of the forms required for your child’s appointment can be completed on the patient portal in the comfort of your home prior to arriving at the office.

If you prefer to complete the forms in the office, it is still recommended that you arrive 15 minutes early to complete the necessary digital forms.

ESD Pediatric Group….embracing technology to improve patient health care and outcomes!

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