Jim Varga, MD

Dr. Jim Varga is a pediatrician in southern California who has been in private practice for nearly forty years specializing in developmental disabilities. In addition to his pediatric training he completed a fellowship at UCLA Medical Center where he was mentored by Dr. Denny Cantwell in the Department of Child Psychiatry who was a nationally known expert in Attention Deficit Disorder which was just beginning to emerge as a recognized DSM diagnosis. Prior to that he had the good fortune to spend time in Toronto with Marcel Kinsbourne and James Swanson who have both been well known figures in the professional world of ADD. He has a long career of working closely with families, schools and testing professionals and has supervised medical trainees in the learning disorder clinics at UCLA and at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. Because he is a hybrid pediatrician and mental health professional he brings a different perspective to the field of ADD that places a greater emphasis on appropriate monitoring of psychotropic medications and skeptical of the trend to maximize stimulant dosing than some of his colleagues in the psychiatric community. This is particularly important for parents who are understandably focused on safety. He recognizes the profound benefit that medications can provide for those with ADD but also encourages families to explore other interventions such as mindfulness training, cognitive behavioral training, and counseling where indicated. Above all else he believes in an appropriate educational placement and parental expectations.

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by Jim Varga, MD