Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group


1650 Walnut Street Berkeley, CA 94709

  • Pediatricians at this practice:  James Cuthbertson, Annemary Franks, Lisa Kalar, Olivia Lang, Nikki Learned, Katrina Michel, Grace So

Parent Q&A

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  • Berkeley Pediatrics

    Aug 27, 2022

    Hello.  I'm looking for a new Pediatrician.  Do you recommend Berkeley Pediatrics?

    Thank You.

    I think there are 2 "Berkeley Pediatrics".  I recommend BPMG which is "Berkeley Pediatrics Medical Group" on Walnut.

    Love them! We just aged out after 20 happy years with the practice.

    We love our pediatrician at Berkeley Peds, Dr Michel. But we’ve seen a few others on same day appts when needed, and all of the providers have been good. They are also affiliated with UCSF, so while it’s a smaller practice in a remodeled North Berkeley house, you get all the benefits of a larger medical establishment (MyChart, etc.). 

    Yes,  BPMG on Walnut Street in Berkeley.  Our children and grandchildren went there.

    We’ve been taking our 19 month old daughter there and see Dr Kalar. We really trust her and I also have had good experiences with the other doctors we’ve seen when she’s been unavailable. Also, I especially like that they see sick kids, potentially with covid, outdoors. So when we were taking our baby for her well visits we knew they were minimizing risk of exposure. 

    We are happy with it, although it can be difficult to get appointments as they always seem to be overbooked and their office is a little shabby. I'm referring to the BPMG on Walnut.

    I've also heard great things about providers at Berkeley Pediatrics Medical Group on Walnut. I tried to join as a patient in February 2022 but was informed they were not taking any new patients. At the time they weren't sure when they would be taking new patients, but I believe there is a wait list to join. I would recommend contacting them to see if they've started taking new patients again.

    Yes, Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut and Virginia is fantastic. We’ve been seeing Dr Lang for 8+ years but have seen other doctors too. Top notch care.

    yes, very happy there: everyone there is wonderful from the nurses to the doctors. 

  • Hi all,

    We are moving the next month from London and will live in North Berkeley. We would like to have a pediatrician at the ready just in case it’s needed for my toddler son. Is there one you can recommend? Could you please help me understand the health system as well? We will have insurance. Thanks in advance!

    Berkeley Pediatrics is fabulous.

    Is your insurance through you or your partner’s employer? If so, I would set up a call with someone knowledgable in his HR to walk you through your specific plan and how to use it, especially if this is your first time dealing with US insurance.

    US insurance is very nuanced, can get complicated, and varies greatly across types of plans so getting generic responses on here might not be helpful - they may actually do damage if it turns out the advice doesn’t work for your plan. 

    We go to Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut St. and love Dr. Lang. We've seen a couple of other doctors there and really like them. It's a sweet, family-oriented practice in an old house in Berkeley. The only downside is sometimes they aren't running on time.

    We have Aetna insurance. If you know what insurance you have, you just call either your insurer or Berkeley Pediatrics to see if they take that insurance. (That'll be true with any practice)

    We highly recommend Berkeley Pediatrics in North Berkeley. I have Cigna insurance through work and they accept it. All the doctors are great and they are open for a few hours on Saturday as well. They are connected to the UCSF Benioff Children’s hospital in Oakland, which has worked out great for us for tests etc. 

    My baby goes to Kiwi Pediatric and I love them
    You can find all the information on their website

    I highly recommend Berkley Pediatric. They've been around for ages and really are wonderful. Our pediatrician is Kalar but she can be in high demand. We've seen several other doctors there though and all have been thoughtful, patient and helpful. It can be kind of a pain to get in with them at first, something about their phone system, I recall having a hard time getting anyone to pick up for new patients.... but it's very worth it to keep trying.

    Berkeley Pediatric in Berkeley has been great for us.  We have Dr. Katrina Michel, but have seen a few of the other doctors there as well.  We have been very happy with all the doctors so far.  

    I love Berkeley Pediatrics for my daughter. We see Dr. Michel, but I've heard nothing but good things about the entire practice. Do you know what kind of health insurance you're going to have? When you call them to set up an appointment, they will ask for your insurance info and let you know if they don't take it. This is a common practice, as they don't want their patients paying out of pocket.

    Can you say more about the questions you have about the health system? 

Parent Reviews

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We been going to Berkeley Pediatrics since the moment she was born. (We contacted them while I was pregnant and the doctor that was on rotation at Alta Bates Hospital was notified and did her first check up at the hospital.) They have a cute converted house looking building with parking and separate entrances for sick patients and patients coming in for check ups. Easy street parking if the lot is full, but no bike parking though as far as I can tell -- we lock our bike(s) to a sign. She likes her primary care doctor a lot (Dr. Learned) and as a toddler, she used to point toward the building and say there's my doctor whenever we walked or drove near that part of Shattuck Ave. But we've seen other doctors and nurse practitioners there too and we've been happy with all of them.

One thing that was important to me is that they only accept families who vaccinate their kids. I believe they're willing do a slightly alternate schedule but not no vaccines whatsoever. They run flu vaccine clinics and covid vaccine clinics in the parking lot at the height of the pandemic, which was nice. They will vaccinate adults with their kids for flu if you'd like -- this was super helpful for my daughter to see her dad get his shot no problem, then get her shot, then tell me it's my turn like it was all her idea. :) Then they give her a cartoony bandage (important?!) and an organic lollipop or something from the treasure box.

Cigna Pediatrician? (Jun 11, 2023)

Fellow Cigna subscriber here. We've been going to Berkeley Pediatrics since my daughter was born last September and have had a really positive experience. We chose them based on many consistent recommendations from others at BPN and similar fora, and have been seeing Dr. Nikki Learned. We really like her and have had a great experience with the other doctors we've met with periodically.


We are very happy with our doctor at Berkeley Pediatrics. She is great with our teenager who likes to be treated age appropriately. Her name is Madeleine Elia. 

Take Care


Hello! We moved from Brooklyn too. Our six year old has been seeing Dr Nicole Learned at Berkeley Pediatrics since birth and we couldn’t be happier. When we’ve had to see other doctors in the practice covering for Dr Learned they’ve all been wonderful. 

Our kids have been patients at Berkeley Pediatrics for the last 21 years, and we love them! Our pediatrician is Dr. Olivia Lang, but all the doctors there are excellent. There is nothing like a smaller practice for pediatric care. We've had excellent, personalized care and continuity, and the place is much cozier and less threatening than large medical settings. Well check appts. need to be scheduled far in advance, but for urgent care, they've always been able to fit us in quickly. We've emailed with follow-up questions without being charged. Fast turnaround for school forms. Yes, you do need to go elsewhere for xrays and labs - where to go depends on your particular insurance. There is an answering service if you have problems after hours.

I feel like Berkeley Pediatrics is the perfect happy medium.  We started at UCSF with a family practice doctor -- in hindsight we should have chosen a pediatrician, because he seemed more comfortable treating adults than babies.  However, it was not easy to get in touch with him, which definitely seems like the downside of a big practice.  Our pharmacy gave us the wrong medication formulation for thrush and when we called UCSF, the first person we spoke to said it was fine to give our baby the powder, when actually we should have received an oral suspension.  This was just incorrect and caused us unnecessary stress.  Next, we went to GetzWell, which was very small and personalized but extremely expensive.  Finally, we switched to Berkeley Pediatrics.  We've been able to get appointments and school forms as needed and have not been charged for emails.  In addition, Dr. Franks is super amazing and actually responds quickly to emails!

We go to Berkeley Pediatrics, and I've been really happy with Dr. Michel. We've seen other doctors too for one offs, and they are all very knowledgeable and warm. 

Berkeley Pediatrics is affiliated with UCSF Benioff -- the pediatricians at Berkeley Peds round on their patients when they are inpatient at UCSF, for example. Might be a good middle ground for you. We've been very happy there.

We have been patients at Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut St for over 20 years. I recommend any doctor there that is taking new patients.

Berkeley pediatrics medical group on Walnut!

Dr. Woods and Dr. Learned are both our favorites but everyone there is amazing!


I can't recommend Berkeley Pediatrics enough! All the doctors are amazing, the staff, nurses and medical assistants are all great. They are UCSF affiliated. The office is not remodeled but that doesn't matter; it's the care that's important.

The doctors take their time with you, your appointments are not rushed. They really care about their patients. With that being said, pre-pandemic, there were times we would wait a while to see the doctor during our appointment. However, that didn't bother me because during my appointment our doctor wasn't rushing to catch up. When with the doctor, the doctor's full attention is on your child and the care they need. I also greatly appreciate their take on all preventative care. If something is going on and while it's probably nothing, they refer you to a specialist/seek testing immediately vs. the it's probably nothing let's wait and see approach.

We personally have long term experience with Dr. Learned and Dr. Woods, but have seen the others on same-day sick appointments in the past. You can't go wrong with whichever doctor you choose.

We are very happy at Berkeley Pediatrics with Dr. Lang and did not have to wait at all last January. No experience with kids on the spectrum though. May make sense to get on a waitlist if that is possible!

We love the doctors and staff at Berkeley Pediatrics. Lisa Kalar is our primary pediatrician. My kids always felt comfortable with her and she took great care of them for going on 14 years!

We love Dr. Nicole Learned ("Dr. Nikki") at Berkeley Pediatrics. My son loves going there, and I always find her care knowledgeable and her input helpful. 


I highly recommend Berkeley Pediatrics in north Berkeley. We have been going there for seven years now and have had an excellent experience. We also know a lot of other families who take their kids there and all have had a great experience. We see Dr Olivia Lang, but I think all of the doctors (most are UCSF-trained) are excellent. 


We love Dr. Franks at Berkeley Pediatrics!

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Lisa Kalar at Berkeley Pediatrics.   She is patient, empathetic, and communicative.  One of my children has serious long-term medical issues and Dr. Kalar has been a godsend in helping us navigate the world of specialists and ever-evolving treatment protocols.  She always takes the time to make sure we understand what's happening, and helps us think through the options.  Both of my children love her and continue to see her even though they're over 18 now.  

We've had a great experience with Olivia Lang at Berkeley Pediatrics. We've only been seeing her for a few months with our baby but we are happy so far - the only issue is that sometimes we wait a bit to see her but we've liked Dr. Lang a lot as well as other doctors we've seen there.

Pediatrician (Jan 17, 2021)  1650 Walnut Street.  Agreeing with the posters above.  They have been there 45+ years, and they have good billing, front desk, procedures etc.  If you want a pediatrician who is male, they have a young doctor, Dr. Sam (don't know his last name).  We've seen Dr Franks for years and love her.  On-call we have seen Dr Kalar and Dr Learned and thought they were patient, explained things well, and had a warm bedside manner.

Pediatrician (Jan 17, 2021)

We've very happy with Dr. Nicole Learned at We take our 6-year-old there. Another bonus: Dr. Learned is affiliated with UCSF, so if there is ever something more serious, she can refer to the UCSF docs, including the UCSF Children's Hospital in Oakland, and they're both using the same integrated medical record system, MyChart, such that you don't have to carry paper from one office to another.

Pediatrician (Jan 17, 2021)

We love Berkeley Pediatrics and Olivia Lang in particular. They have a great practice and a 24/7 advice line. 

Pediatrician (Jan 17, 2021)

I highly recommend Dr. Lisa Kalar at Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut Street.  We've been with this practice for 25 years, through multiple children and multiple complicated medical issues, and I've always felt listened to and supported.  Probably the most convincing testimony is that as my kids have gotten older they have formed their own independent connections with Dr. Kalar, and now that they are over 18, they still want to keep seeing her as long as they can.   We've seen most of the other doctors in the office over the years as well, for urgent visits, and they've all been lovely.  Also the practice recently affiliated with UCSF, which is super helpful if you have a child who needs to see specialists -- the pediatricians and the specialists can all easily communicate and see each other's reports and results online (which has made my life as Mom/Medical-Coordinator so much easier!).  The Berkeley Pediatrics office number is (510) 848-2566.

I second the recommendation for Berkeley Pediatrics.  Lisa Kalar has been wonderful with my kids (both now young adults still in her care), and we've seen most of the other doctors over the years (inevitably the day a child has an urgent issue and needs to be seen right away, it's on Dr. Kalar's day out of the office) and they were all lovely too.  No one there is ever rushing us through an appointment or pushing unwanted antibiotics on us -- quite the opposite.  When we were agonizing about putting a child on the intense medication a specialist recommended, Dr. Kalar helped us think it through and supported our decision to try a strict diet regiment first.  I really can't recommend her highly enough.

For the administrative side of things, the office has joined the UCSF network so they now use UCSF's online interface through MyChart, which works similarly to what you're describing at Kaiser.  Everything is there and accessible, and if you're seeing specialists through UCSF (as we do for one of our children) it all shows up in the same place which is convenient.  But even before this change, the office was always responsive and in twenty four years I've never had trouble with records or billing or anything like that, and they only refer us to specialists in our insurance network.  

We are with Berkeley Pediatrics and really like them! They are connected with UCSF, and the my chart portal is easy to use. They have been very responsive with our health questions and convey between regular appointments.

My 5 mo sees Dr. Kalar at Berkeley Pediatrics. We are thrilled with the care she has provided our son and have had excellent experiences with other doctors at the practice as well.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Dec 2014

RE: Moving to Oakland, need a pediatrician

Annemary Franks.  BPMG, Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group.  I am not sure if she is accepting new patients.  She is a caring, competent, experienced doctor. Good rapport with kids.  Listens to kids and parents.  My 12 year old son and 7 year old daughter both love her.

Sept 2014

I'm looking for a pediatrician for my baby who is due in December. I've seen excellent reviews for the Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group (the one on Walnut) but haven't read very much about Dr. Michel because she's relatively new there. Does anyone have experience working with her w/ their newborn? It seems Drs. Franks and So are very popular. Mom to Be

We had our second baby at the end of December and use Dr. Michel as our pediatrician. We think she's great with our baby. She listens well, takes all your concerns seriously, returns calls promptly, and explains all the baby's transitions well. (Even though it's our second, you forget when some of those little milestones take place!) She's up on all the latest recommendations for infants--apparently some have changed from just a few years ago. We also moved our preschooler over to seeing her, and he took to her right away--she is very kid-friendly. She's a mother herself, and has a great deal of empathy for what new parents (especially moms) go through. Basically, I wish I could find a doctor for myself that's like Dr. Michel!! definitely a fan

March 2014

RE: Gay Friendly Pediatrician for upcoming adoption

Annemary Franks at Berkeley Pediatrics is fabulous in every way. Not super-young -- I'm guessing late 40's or early 50's -- youthful and experienced enough to be very wise. We've been totally happy with her. 2 mom family

Nov 2013

I am trying to find a new pediatrican in North Berkeley and past reviews have pretty much sold me on Berkeley Pediatrics but the names everyone says are great (Kalar and King) are no longer taking new patients. There is only one Dr. and one NP who are taking new people. They are Amy Famina and Katrina Michel. Does anybody have experience with either of them? Or is there someone else in N. Berkeley you love (except for Kiwi- which I am leaving.) Thanks! Anon

I've been only once to Berkeley Pediatrics, but I like it very much. We have seen Dr. Franks there though. I know a lot of people who likes the practice, so I would go for that even if there's only one dr. taking new patients. In any case, in a situation when your dr. is not available, other dr. will see your kid. The office is nice, clean, very kid-friendly. I switched pediatricians too, and that was the only place that seemed OK in North Berkeley or nearby. We've been to other pediatrician near telegraph and ashby and didn't like the practice at all. Good luck! Carolina R

Our usual pediatrician is Dr. Kalar, but my son recently developed a case of what we thought was asthma (presented suddenly with lots of wheezing, shortness of breath, no fever or other symptoms). Dr. Kalar was out of the office that day, so we saw Dr. Michel. She was extremely thoughtful and patient with us, saw my son nearly every day as we tried to get his ''asthma'' under control, and within the week diagnosed him correctly with an atypical case of walking pneumonia, which cleared up quickly with some antibiotics. She was extremely sweet with my son (who hated the way the albuterol made him feel), and very thorough in explaining all of the options we could try along the way; although I could have switched over to Dr. Kalar when she returned, I stayed with Dr. Michel through the course of treatment. I would definitely recommend her. Karen

Aug 2013

RE: Time to switch away from Kaiser pediatrics?

I can tell you that in our 10 years at Berkeley Pediatrics we've never waited more than 15 minutes to see a doc. So to be at Kaiser for 2 hours for 10 minutes with the doc seems ridiculous to me. Berkeley Peds is not perfect (hate the phone tree, for instance), but their appointments seem to run smoothly. Mom of 3

Jan 2013

Re: Fabulous pediatrician needed!
I would recommend Dr Annemary Franks (middle aged, really nice person and very good doctor) at Berkeley Pediatrics (my kids' doctor), as well as Dr. Cuthbertson (older man)or Dr Kalar (younger woman) at the same practice. My 2 kids go to Dr. Franks and she is great, and among the other docs whom we have seen multiple times as on-call docs, Dr. Cuthbertson and Dr. Kalar seem most open to talking and explaining and also seem like great doctors. There is a website with biographical info. Good Luck! anon

As you may know, its just as important to check out the practice as a whole, since when your kid is sick, you may not get in to see your doctor. Also, I found that frequently the specific doctor that people recommend on BPN might not be taking new patients. So I would really recommend the entire Berkeley Pediatrics practice (1650 Walnut Street). Our two children see Dr. Kalar at Berkeley Pediatrics. We absolute love both her and the practice. We have never felt rushed, she's always very considerate of different parenting strategies. I love that she really loves seeing the kids at each checkup and engaging them. We've seen a number of the other doctors there, and we like them all very much as well. I have never had any doctor make me feel 'silly' for coming in or rushed; they are always very understanding and thorough. They always ask that all important question -- ''Is there anything else?''. The staff is all quite good and everything has been run well. For well-baby checkups, we're always seen quite promptly. For sick visits, we do sometimes have a bit of a wait, but nothing bad. They are also open Saturday mornings for sick visits and for giving vaccinations. If you work, that can really help for things like flu shots when your kid gets older and only sees the doctor once a year (and not at flu season).

We have been using Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut @ Virginia, and absolutely LOVE them! KC

Jan 2013

Re: Pediatrician for complicated medical problems
I highly recommend my pediatrician, Lisa Kalar with Berkeley Pediatrics. She has seen all three of my boys and has been calm, reassuring and just a fantastic part of our children's support network. My oldest is almost 10 and my youngest is 6 months. She has always listened to our questions, concerns and made suggestions that are on par with our values. Best of luck. Kelly

Dec 2012

Re: Intellectual Pediatrician near Berkeley?
I LOVE Dr Ben King at Berkeley Pediatrics . My son is 13 months old; I also have some health/medical knowledge but am not an MD; we have Blue Shield HMO. Dr King explains things and answers questions at my level (doesn't talk ''down'' or ''up'' to me, gives me the detail I want). Wanna be know-it-all

You might appreciate the pediatricians at Berkeley Pediatrics. I too am a non-clinical research health professional, and I have found all the MDs there to be extremely thoughtful and willing to take time to answer questions and discuss issues in a collegial way. My child sees Annemary Franks primarily, but I've also had great interactions with Dr. King and Dr. So.

Oct 2012

Re: Pediatrician who is smart and available
We really like Berkeley Pediatrics and my son especially likes Dr Ben King. He is smart and friendly and great with kids. We have been with the practice for 19 years and feel comfortable with every doctor there... gretchen

June 2012

I am a mom of a toddler and am expecting a second child. I am looking for a new pediatrician for my family. Does any one have any experience with Dr. Grace So of Berkeley Pediatrics?

Dr. So was assigned to my daughter, age 15, following the departure of her prior pediatrician. My daughter underwent some very intense surgery at Shriners Hospital in Sacramento and we found ourselves having some serious medical concerns that ordinarily we would need to have met at Shriners. Dr. So was ON it. She worked with the staff and Shriners, went completely out of her way to accommodate us (even on the weekend very late at night) and I was so impressed with her. At this point, we hadn't even met her. After my daughter's health improved, we made a follow up appointment with her that Shriners authorized because she was so familiar with my child's issues. She was kind, gentle, knowledgeable, open, and my daughter, who by then had her share of doctors, loved her. I'd say that she is a thumbs up all the way around. Hannah

April 2012

Re: Need recommendation for pediatrician
I use Dr. Olivia Lang at Berkeley Pediatrics. I went to her when my now 5 year old was a newborn. She's terrific. Incredible, awesome support for me with a newborn. Always calm and candid. My son has always loved her. She's tops! Happy Mom

Nov 2010

Hello, I am due at the end of January and I am looking for an excellent pediatrician for my daughter. I am looking for a patient, warm, very professional and accessible doctor. I would like a pediatrician who will return my calls in case of an emergency and who has an efficient administrative process. Based on the research I have done so far I have liked: Dr. Lisa Kalar from Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group and Sarah Handelsman from East Bay Pediatrics. I am interested in hearing opinions about these practices. Thank you very much for your advice. Andrea

Just want to say that we LOVE Dr. Kalar. She's incredibly warm and patient, and spends as much time with you as you need/want/like. She also has a good sense of humor and takes all concerns (no matter how silly) seriously. My 2 1/2 year old daughter actually asks to go see her regularly and named a puppet after her! The front desk staff is reasonably friendly, but the nurses are great - they remember my kids and are warm. I've never waited more than 15 minutes, and they have a good number of toys and books to entertain. Also, Dr. Kalar always responds to calls very promptly (within a few hours and frequently sooner), and immediately in an emergency. I also have been pleased with all the other doctors. Melanie

Both my children went to Lisa Kalar at Berkeley Peds until recently when we had to switch to Kaiser for financial reasons. It's a great practice and I really liked all the doctors there. We probably saw all but one or two when we came in for ''sick'' appointments. They are open for half the day on Saturdays for urgent appts. And they always have a doctor available on call after hours for urgent phone advice (after consulting w/ a nurse). This was particularly helpful when I had to call off-hours from abroad for advice w/ a medical emergency. Separate sick/well-check waiting areas & rooms. Fish tank, prizes for after immunizations, it's just a nice little office & practice. I had a few issues with their billing dept for awhile, but that seems to have been taken care of within the past few years. ''Dr. Lisa'' is very sweet with the kids and compassionate with parents. I'd highly recommend her and the practice. Wish we were still there...

April 2010

We've recently moved to Berkeley from SF and are looking to switch pediatricians. I am wondering if people could give me their impressions on Dr. Franks and Dr. Kalar at Berkeley Pediatrics - in particular about bedside manner with kids and parents, openness to alternate vaccination schedule, experience with twins, patience with questions, and thoroughness of exams (do they ask questions and take their time). We have 14mos. twins. Any feedback is appreciated! new to berkeley

I don't have twins, but I thought Dr. Franks was a wonderful pediatrician for my daughters (now 22 and 20). She was relaxed, and easygoing with all of us, while being attentive and kind. I highly recommend her as a doctor, and Berkeley Pediatrics was a wonderful practice for our family. anon

My children are patients at Berkeley Pediatrics and we could not be happier. The doctors you mention are very good and so are the others in the Practice.

However Berkeley Pediatrics is probably not the place for you if you are against vaccines or follow ''alternative'' schedules such as Bob Sears. They are very committed to vaccinations and just yesterday I was in there and while waiting I read several articles posted on the waiting room wals which thoroughly critiqued ''alternative schedules''. Best to look somewhere else. Happy with Berkeley Pediatrics

My son has been seeing Dr Kalar since birth and she is very warm and understanding. She takes her time and follows up on past difficulties. Also, she has been very tolerant of my strong desire to pursue an alternate vaccination schedule, although neither she nor Berkeley Ped. advises this approach. anon

My two boys are patients of Dr. Kalar and they absolutely love her, as do I. She is very laid back in the way she talks to kids and to parents and she is of the belief that parents know their kids better than anybody. She has always listened to what we thought would be good ways to approach any health concerns and have suggested alternatives for us to consider. She gets down to the level of the kids and really makes them comfortable. As a mother of two kids herself, she just has that gentle touch that you look for in a pediatrician. My kids are on a normal vaccination schedule and I believe Berkeley pediatrics as a whole requires that but that is something only the doctors can answer for you. We absolutely love Dr. Kalar and the kids look forward to their annual visits with her, even knowing that they may get shots.

Oddly enough, Dr. Franks circumcised my younger son when he was born because Dr. Kalar was out of town. She was fantastic then and was very easy to talk to and comforting in those first few days. We have not had any professional contact with her since but I don't think you can go wrong with any of the doctors at Berkeley Pediatrics. Good luck with your decision. Anon

We have been seeing all the Doctors at Berkeley Pediatrics since my 17 yr old daughter was born. Both Dr Kalar and Dr Franks are wonderful. (I don't know about the vaccination question as we vaccinated our kids on the recommended schedule.) However, they both have a great bedside manner and are calm, patient, and caring. Dr Franks has 3 children and Dr Kalar has 2 so they definitely 'get' the whole parenting gig. I don't think you could go wrong with either of them at all! and Remember that when your kids are older you might want them to have the same gender Doctor--so if they are boys I would recommend Dr Ben King (the father of 3, one set of twins) in the same practice. Long time Berkeley Pediatrics Family anon

Dr. Kalar is an extremely warm and knowledgeable pediatrician... a wonderful choice! Very patient, thorough with exams and a mom herself. She has experience with twins (and some of her Berkeley Peds colleagues are parents of twins.) I am sure she is willing to work with you regarding vaccine schedule. Overall, Berkeley Peds generally works with families who plan to do vaccines. Dr. Franks rounded on our new baby at Alta Bates and gave some excellent family friendly tips for helping our older child adjust to a new baby coming home. I feel very happy recommending these outstanding pediatricians and their smooth running practice! happy mommy (and pediatrician)

Dr. Franks is simply the BEST doctor I've ever seen, either for my twins who began life with a rocky start and had a lot of specialists for a few years (but are just fine now) or any other doctor I've met. She is fantastic with my twins, has a lovely sense of humor and is just very sensible and caring. Feel very lucky to have Dr. Franks

March 2010

Re: Gay-friendly Pediatrician near Berkeley
You should definitely check out Berkeley Pediatrics. They are a terrific practice in general, and seem not concerned one tiny bit about all kinds of family variations. All the doctors there seem great. Congratulations! === East Bay Parent

I would recommend our pediatrician, Annemary Franks. She is just fantastic in all kinds of situations that we've faced. We are a 2-mom family and she couldn't be more supportive. I would assume she'd be cool with gay dads and surrogacy, but you can talk to her about that to check. (If the receptionist says she's not accepting new patients, ask to talk to her, and maybe she'll slide you in.) She's at Berkeley Pediatrics (a wonderful practice reviewed on BPN a lot) at 848-2566. Also, I would suggest you join Our Family Coalition ( for LGBTQ-parented families. They have a listserve where you could also pose this question or future ones and get lots of feedback. Good luck and congratulations.

Oct 2009

Does anyone have recent experience with the doctors at Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut and Virginia in Berkeley? My son's (11 years old) doctor recently retired and am looking for someone who is kid friendly, competent, accessible, and gentle to transfer to. I'd appreciate positive and negative comments. Thanks anon

They fill in for each other so with the odd ear ache or fever over the years, I have seen everyone in action. They are all great. We have Elaine Davenport and I adore her. She has checked and tended both of my boys since birth and the oldest is almost 11 like yours. She is great about presenting information & options in a clear and un-biased way and lets you decide about vaccines etc. They always get you in quick if you need it and the on-call service is very good. All positive from a generally crabby person.

My kids have been Berkeley Pediatrics' patients for 16+ years now. My son seens Dr Ben King (he is GREAT, esp for a teenage boy) and my daughter sees Dr Lisa Kalar (who is ALSO great) We have seen every Dr in the practice at some time or another and have been very happy with each and every one of them. The office staff is helpful and responsive, too. happy mom

Hello, My now 27 months old toddler was born at Kaiser and was with Kaiser up until we needed to change our medical coverage/plan. We opted Berkeley Pediatrics when he was 8 months old. We were not excited about the change because we really liked his pediatrician at Kaiser, but after checking all the pediatricians' credentials there, we felt more comfortable. We chose Dr. Cuthbertson. I am so so happy we did! We are so happy with how he cares for my child. I had to make a couple of emergency calls at his office and he was responsive and diligent. He called me right away. I felt like he cared, he felt/knew my worries as mom....He was quick to tell you what to do, etc. His medical office is run very professionally, staff very friendly, never a long wait for appts, website seems to be updated all the time, etc. Because of our complete satisfaction with my son's doctor, we may not change back to Kaiser when open enrollment comes along! anon anon

Dr Davenport is sweet, calm, low-key takes her time. I actually enjoy seeing her. She has kids of her own, so she's ''been there.'' My daughter's never been hospitalized of gravely ill, so I don't know that end of stuff, but we've been super happy with her. There's zero of the ''hectic-HMO-5 minute-office-visit'' that's taken over medicine these days. I'm 100% satisfied.

I wanted to respond to your question about Berkeley Pediatrics on a personal and professional level. Personally, both my kids have been Berk.Ped. patients since birth, and they have had excellent care in sickness and in health. On a professional level, I am a psychotherapist in the community and have had many of the teens and parents I see in counseling who are or have been Berk.Ped. patients. Some have had serious illnesses, and the feedback about their experience with their BP doctor is always positive. Also as a therapist I sometimes get releases to talk to my client's doctors and the Berk.Pediatric staff and physicians have been very helpful.

My 8-year-old son's been with them since birth. We've been very happy. Dr. Kalar is our ped -- and she's very sweet and laid back, willing to listen, returns calls quickly -- in general, a good experience for us. Karen

April 2009

Re: Do you love your Pediatrician?
I recommend Dr. Ben King at Berkeley Pediatrics. 848-2566. He has 3 boys - two of them are twins. He's the doctor of my two young boys. Very happy. Mom

April 2009

Re: Pediatrician for 14 and 18 year old daughters
Our girls are 12 and 16 and see Annemary Franks of Berkeley Pediatrics. She has girls herself and has a great rapport with our kids. There are other female Pediatricians in the practice. They cover for each other. We think every doctor there even the men are very nice. They are on Virginia by Shattuck 510-848-2566 Denise

My daughter is nearly 18 and she's been seeing Dr. Annemary Franks at Berkeley Pediatrics since she was small. Dr. Franks is knowledgeable, comfortable with all ages and I think, young enough herself to be able to maintain a good camaraderie with teens. My son (nearly 20 now) and daughter both like and respect her. I'm a pediatric nurse and I have a great deal of confidence in her judgment. Marianne

Nov 2008

Re: looking for a good pediatrician
Olivia Lang at Berkeley Pediatrics. She is spectacular. She is very easy to talk to. She explains things thouroughly and is never condescending (unlike a previous pediatrican we had). She has helped us through several scary moments with my kids. She is always on top of things and doesn't over push the meds either which is great. Their # is 510-848-2566 Shannon

We have been seeing Dr Ben King for a few years now and he is GREAT. Good listener, caring, great with kids, good sense of humor, smart etc etc etc. Both of my kids have been patients at Berkeley Pediatrics since birth and they are now 13 and 15. I recommend that you choose a doctor who is the same gender of your child, so when they get older you don't have to switch. The only thing about Berkeley Pediatrics that I don't love is the office itself. It seems a bit low tech and old...not the cleanest office I have seen. mom of two

May 2008

Re: new to the area, looking for a pediatrician
Recommend Berkeley Pediatric Group -- all physicians excellent. We have been going there for 12 years, and given weekend emergencies, have seen them all. All the doctors are high-quality physicians and open communicators. Doesn't matter who you are assigned to, all are great!

Jan 2008

Re: Pediatrician near Montclair for twins
We love Dr. Benjamin King with Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group. He's been caring for our 3 year-old son since birth. He and his wife have 4 year-old twin boys and are expecting another baby. It's nice to have a doc. with recent parenting experience. He is equally great with new parents and tots - helping kids feel at ease in the office. He returns all his messgaes personally and promptly. We live in Oakland, but used to drive to his office from San Francisco. Worth it! King, Benjamin N MD - Berkeley Pediatric Medical Grp (510) 848-2566 - 1650 Walnut St, Berkeley, CA Oakland Mama

Jan 2008

Re: Pediatrician for our 8-year-old son
My children have been going to Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group for over 18 years. (She still sees them while in college if they wish.) Their primary is Dr. Annemary Franks. I don't know if she's taking new patients; however, another doctor in the group probably is. On occasion, we have had to see another doctor and they have exhibited the same caring attitude that Dr. Franks has. I feel that Dr. Franks' opinions on matters are very reasoned. I feel confident in her advice and the course of action chosen. BPMG is located at 1650 Walnut Street, Berkeley. The number there is 848-2566. rishida

November 2007

Does anyone have Dr Kalar from Berkeley Pediatrics as their children's pediatrician? She is fairly new to the practice and is taking on new patients while the other doctors are not. Thanks! Mother of 3.

Dr. Kalar is wonderful! She is not our regular pediatrician (we have Dr. King), but we have seen her twice during 'emergency' visits. She is so kind and was very gentle with our son. She also explained everything very clearly and thoroughly, and put us at ease. I know we've only seen her a couple of times, but our experience was so positive, I have no hesitation in recommending her to you. Anon

We were switched to Dr Kalar after Dr K left (whom we LOVED) earlier this year.

Our first interaction with Dr. Kalar was over the phone-- we were traveling & my daughter got this horrible skin infection. She did lots of phone check ins & prescribed some meds over the phone & made us promise to come in after we returned from our trip. So, I liked her immediately :)

Since then, we have had a few follow up appointments & she was quick to make referrals for an allergist & a dermatologist to get to the root of my daughter's skin issues. She calls on the weekends to follow up & even gives out her cell phone! She also insists on being called Lisa by parents & kids alike (I still call her Dr Kalar-- all that med school should have some payoff!)

I have VERY minor complaints\x97she has a bit of a potty mouth (my daughter thought it was cool that her Dr said \x91damn\x92) & she said something to the effect of \x91I am sure your mom will take you to get ice cream if you don\x92t cry when you get your shots\x92

Dr Kalar is personable, great with the kids, takes your concerns seriously, & takes lots of time during visits & on follow up outside of office hours. I recommend her wholeheartedly! -member of Dr Kalar's fan club

Dr. Kalar was in the NICU when my daughter was there. She was absolutely FANTASTIC. She was always willing to answer questions and she never gave the appearance of needing to get on to the next baby. In addition to my experience with her there I have seen her when my regular doctor Dr. Lang was out. Again she was great. I highly recommend her. She also is very intuitive about how to approach a child, she can be very playful with the kids who like that and a little more quiet and easy going with those who are a little more timid and shy. Go For It!!!

We had Dr Kalar for our newborn and she is great. She takes the time to answer all my questions and even brings up the ones I forgot to ask. She has a great manner with children and knows her stuff. I had to switch to Kaiser because of work-insurance changes, and we are going to miss her. I hope our new doctor is as good. Aariel

My daughter was born in May and we have Dr. Kalar as our pediatrician. This is our first child, so I don't anything to compare to, but we have been really happy with her. She really seems to enjoy seeing her patients -- she oohs and ahhs over our daughter every time -- and most importantly spends a lot of time with us at our well baby visits. She's been pretty sensitive to whether we are okay with what she advises. She's also been pretty available -- when our daughter was sick in her early months on a Sunday night and we called the off hours help nurse, Dr. Kalar called us and gave us her pager number to call and let her know how things were going. And this probably doesn't matter so much to you, but she (and the practice in general) have been very easy for a new parent to ask stupid questions and haven't made us ever feel like we are overreacting. anon

We love Dr. Kalar. My daughters are 12 and 7 and have received good care from her. She is enthusiatic with the kids but thorough with the medical care. Berkeley Peds rocks! Jeanne

My daughters (6 and 9) have seen Dr. Kalar a few times since she joined Berkeley Pediatrics, and I have a very good impression so far. She is thorough, accessible, and relates well to kids. The times when I have called in with questions, she has really taken the time to explain things. She also seems really in tune with kids' social and emotional development. A few months ago when my 9yo daughter had her annual visit, she was very self-conscious about the beginnings of changes in her body. The answers Dr. Kalar gave seemed developmentally right on target (although I'm a little new to this pre-puberty thing myself...), and focused as much on self-image and social pressures as on biology. I haven't seen her deal with more serious situations, but I certainly feel like we're off to a good start. Jennifer M.

Sept 2007

I would like to recommend Doctor Robin Meezan at Berkeley Pediatrics on Wooster Street in Berkeley. She is amazingly intelligent, polite, kind and a great listener. Being a mother herself, she could give me advice on breastfeeding and other mothering issues from her first hand experience along with the vast knowledge she has as a pediatrician. She knew about every concern I had about my infant son (questions about vaccinations, growth and development milestones, etc.) If she didn't know about something (for example, the effect a certain medication would have on my breast milk) she would look it up immediately. She is really great and makes you feel at ease. My son adores her! I actually switched over to her since the doctor I first dealt with at Berkeley Pediatrics, Doctor Kowaleski, seemed very rude and dismissive of my maternal concerns. I did not feel comfortable with his manner at all. Rebecca

July 2007

We are moving to El Cerrito from SF and looking for a new pediatrician for our 9 month old. There were comments in the archives on the Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group (on Walnut St) and Kiwi Pediatrics on San Pablo, but the comments were from June 2006. I'd love to hear any more recent experiences. At the Berkeley group we could see Drs Cuthbertson, Davenport, Franks, King, Kulshrestha, or Lang; at the Kiwi group, we could see Drs Kittam, Salsburg, or Winokur. I would really like a doctor who will take the time to answer my questions and is not afraid to give advice (our current doctor is a fan of the Socratic method, it seems). Extended or weekend hours would be a plus. Thanks! Susan

Jim Cuthbertson has been our pediatrician for 14 years, and I kept him as our doc even though our plan changed and we moved across town. I find him to be patient, knowledgeable and available, and I really value the fact that he has known my kids from babyhood to adolescence. Now that my kids are older, he takes the time to talk to them directly about medical issues and makes sure that they understand him. I couldn't recommend him more highly. Carrie

I can't recommend Berkeley Pediatrics more highly! The practice has been wonderful and we have had very few issues in the five years we have been taking our two children there. Our doctor is Dr. Cutherbertson -- who is the most senior there and if you can have as your children's pediatrician you will be in great hands. We like almost all of the doctors in the practice -- as we've seen all of them at some point (our daughter was in very frequently unfortunately.) Dr. Davenport is probably my least favorite. But all of them are incredibly warm. We've been through a lot medically with our kids -- and we are always called back within hours if we have questions or concerns. They don't dawdle if you need to see a specialist, and I've observed a keen focus on the health of the whole child -- physical, emotional and cognitive health. They have Saturday sick hours -- and an oncall nurse program who screens you (or provides basic medical advice) before a doctor is paged during ! after hours.

Our original pediatrician was Dr. Winokur at Kiwi. We left the practice within the first month of our daughters life -- we really didn't like it. They didn't have separate sick/well waiting areas and their practice is split between two locations -- but you are only supposed to go to one as they like you to be at the location where your files are. As a result it was impossible to get an appointment with Dr. Winokur -- and in fact we never met her. The doctor we did see was extremeley checked out and blase about our concerns (at the time our new born daughter had jaundice). Anyway, my strong advice would be to go to Berkeley Peds! love berkeley peds!

Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group (BPMG) continues to offer great care, in my opinion. For more than 10 years, my children have seen Dr. Franks primarily, and they have been cared for by the other group members when health issues have arisen and Dr. Franks is not available. Of course, BPMG operates in the real world, and the current state of our medical care system has an impact. That said, whenever we need care, I feel like we get it, my questions are answered, the practitioners are not dogmatic, and at least Dr. Franks tends to be conservative in her approach to treatment when possible. We are quite content and satisfied with the care at BPMG, and love Dr. Franks. The staff and docs are kind and caring--that means a lot to me. It's a big, popular, busy practice, and they have improved on the administrative processing part of their operations, so it isn't that difficult or time consuming to get appointments, sign-in, deal with insurance, etc. I highly recommend BPMG. happy BPMG family

We picked Dr. Davenport at Berkeley Pediatrics for our now 4.5 mo old, and she has been so great! Both my husband and I really like her. She is extremely friendly and great with our daughter, and always takes her time to answer questions. I never feel rushed, and she doesn't make me feel silly when I ask first-time-mom-paranoid questions. I also really like the office there - it's a nice atmosphere. I've also interacted with both Dr. King and Dr. Lang from the group, first when I delivered and was in the hospital and they were on call one morning each for the daily check-up and then later when I made calls to the on-call doc for an eye infection. Both Dr. King and Dr. Lang were great too. Dr. Lang is younger and more bubbly. The only problem I would say it seems that they (or at least Dr. Davenport) doesn't have early morning or late afternoon appts, which would be helpful. happy w/ Berkeley Pediatrics

We have been going to Berkeley Pediatrics in N Berkeley for 7 years now, and have two kids. We love it and have no complaints. Our primary doctor is Dr Lang, who really spends a lot of time with us during our well-child visits, talking, asking questions and giving advice if necessary. She is a great combo of ''great with kids'' and a smart doctor. (She has three young children of her own so also has lots of personal experience). She is prompt about returning calls, and I've spoken with her numerous times on the phone about different issues. I've also seen various other staff members when Dr Lang is away, and liked them all. Christine

I really recommend Dr. King at Berkeley Pediatrics. I have been going for about 1 year now. I'm the original poster who asked for recent experience with Kiwi and Berkeley Peds last June. Both had their fair share of supporters. We did go to Kiwi a couple of times (insurance issue), but switched to Berkeley Pediatrics within about 1 or 2 months. I have to say, we are VERY HAPPY WITH BERKELEY PEDIATRICS. The staff at Berkeley Pediatrics is competent, and friendly (they actually smile at me when I arrive with my baby- rare these days).

Scheduling has been a breeze, in the last year, besides well-checks, only one ear infection and one false alarm, I read on the archive that one person said it was a fight to bring in a sick kid, I have never had this experience with Dr. King. He is very thorough, patient, offers advice, friendly, more or less our age (mid/late 30s I think, maybe v. early 40??) which was important to us, and has kids himself- also important to us. He has never resisted me wanting to bring in my baby ''just to be sure''. Every call I have made (probably about half dozen in past year maybe 10?) to Dr. King has been returned same day, within an hour or a few hours at most.

This may not matter to you, but we feel the facilities at Berkeley Peds are preferable to those we encountered at Kiwi. The office reminds us of a small-town docs office, with lots of toys in every waiting room, nice prints on the walls, not super fancy, but very clean- we like this. I was worried about parking in this area, but I usually get a spot right across the street, and have never parked more than 1/2 bock away.

Moises, one of the medical assistants is great, I have a son, and look forward to having a male presence besides the docs in the office, the other women medical assistants are also great, just don't remember any of their names. They all seem to actually like kids, which is very nice.

Dr. King gave us a free consultation before we became a patient, (interview) I think the other docs at Berkeley Peds do the same, at Kiwi we had to pay like $65 or $60, can't remember, out of pocket (insurance doesn't cover) to talk with Dr. Salzburg. I suggest going to talk to the docs and check out facilities for yourself. All the advice/opinions don't matter anywhere near as much as a first impression, your own impression. Compared for myself and love Berkeley Pediatrics

[Editor] reviews also received for Kiwi Pediatrics

April 2007

Does anyone have any feedback of Berkeley Pediatrics Medical Group on walnut st? Which of the doctors there would you recommend. I have a 9yr girl and 4 mo boy and i am thinking about joining the practice but would like to hear feedback. Thanks roxy

My husband and I are both pediatricians and we loved Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut St. Olivia Lang and Annmarie Franks are both outstanding. When I had a c-section at alta bates, we managed to meet almost all of the other pediatricians, too, and they all seemed great. I also have a close friend who takes both of her kids there who is also very happy. highly recommend Berkeley Pediatrics

I have been very happy with Berkeley Pediatrics over the year and a half that my toddler has been a patient of Dr. Ben King. The practice seems well run (on-time apointments, prompt calls back) and I love that the the office has seperate ''sick'' and ''well'' entrances! As for doctors, I would recommend Dr. King b/c I think he's genuinely interested in the total well-being of the child. He will spend as much time as you want discussing your child's sleep or eating habits, behavior, etc. I also appreciate that he takes time to play with my child to put her at ease during the visit. On the downside, Dr. King is fairly opinionated -- but he is upfront about that. I have also interacted with Dr. Cutherburtson and Dr. Franks, both of whom seem very competent and personable. Anon

Feb 2007

We are expecting in early March, and are looking for recommendations on Pediatricains. Berkeley Pediatrics has been highly recommended, however the Dr we wanted to sign up with is not taking new patients, however DR's Davenport, Lang and Franks are accepting new patients. Any recommendations re. these doctors is most appreciated. nicole

I take my 8-month old daughter to Dr. Olivia Lang at BPMG. She's great. Really good about telling you milestones to look for in the time until your next appointment. I've phoned in a question only once but was stunned how quickly she called back.

You'll see other docs in the practice in the hospital (whoever is on call) and if your child is unexpectedly ill and we have loved everyone we've seen from there. Also, the archives said that they put you on hold on the phone too long and general negatives about the office staff, but we haven't found that to be the case at all! jane

Our family adores Dr. Franks--she has been our pediatrician for 10 years. We find her open, knowledgeable and reassuring. She is a terrific doctor. Liz O'Brien

We go to Anne Mary Franks with our two little ones and LOVE her. She is very responsive to phone calls and is understanding about all our concerns. She's friendly, easy to talk to, knowledgeable, and caring. We also highly recommend the Berkeley Peds practice. When our baby was in the hospital we had contact with several of the physicians and they were all wonderful, including Dr. Davenport. Laura lgold [at]

I highly recommend Dr. AnneMary Franks of Berkeley Pediatrics. Both of my children (a 3 year old and a 5 month old) are patients of hers and I feel fortunate that they have such a great pediatrician. Dr. Franks has a terrific ''bedside manner'' with kids and their sometimes very anxious parents. She provides great advice, is very thorough, and (as a mother herself) is very knowledgeable and reassuring about parenting issues. She also returns phone calls promptly, and we have never had a problem getting in for an appointment when our kids needed one. We have seen several other doctors in the practice as well, including Dr. Davenport and Dr. Lang, and we have had good experiences with all of them. Good luck!

October 2006

We are expecting a baby and looking for a pediatrician. My OB recommended Berkeley Pediatric medical Group. Dr Davenport Elaine, Dr Frank Annemary, Dr King Benjamin and Dr Lang Olivia are accepting new patients. I only see recent recommendations for Dr King,I would like some advice on other doctors too? Dr Cuthbertson and Kulshrestha who were my first choices are not accepting new patients. Thanks in advance new mom

We interviewed Dr. Davenport prior to having our baby and she was just wonderful and we would have loved to have her as our pediatrician. Unfortunately, they didn't accept our insurance so we had to go elsewhere. However, a friend of mine sees Dr. Lang and also has seen Dr. Davenport and was impressed with both of them. The office is great and in a really great neigborhood. If you are looking for an alternative, we currently have Dr. Handlsman at East Bay Pediatrics Medical Group and we absolutely love her. She is the best. Lisa

I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Elaine Davenport. She has been our sons (ages 3 & 5)doctor since we moved to bay area two years ago. Our kids love her and so do we. We've never had to wait long in her office to see her, and she takes time to answer all of our questions without making us feel like she's rushing out the door. The staff at Berkeley Pediatrics is wonderful as well. When I brought my concerns about my 5 year old's learning disability to Dr. Davenport, she listened - and her staff worked hard to refer him to a specialist within our insurance plan, which took a lot of effort on their part and was greatly appreciated. Dr. Davenport is great; your family will be in excellent care. Crystal

Annmary Franks has been our twins' pediatrician for 13 years, from birth to teenhood. She is patient and easy to talk to. When my twins were quite young she talked at their level without ever talking down to them, and now that they're adolescents, she still manages to meet them on their own turf. She takes the time to answer my questions, is a pleasure to talk to, returns my calls unfailingly, and is just a lovely person overall. I recommend her wholeheartedly Ann

Hi, We have used Berk Pediatrics since my child was born, and he is now 17. Dr. Franks has been his doctor for most of that time, and we think she is wonderful. She is very knowledgeable and always returns calls promptly. I highly recommend her Jamie

I'm sure you'll hear from lots of people on this one. Sometimes I think Berkeley Pediatric serves most of Berkeley! The wonderful thing is that they do it so well. I wish my own doctor's office was run so well. I doubt there's any doctor you'd be unhappy with there. I've taken my two kids to Elaine Davenport for years. She's wonderful. Happy Berkeley Ped customer

In response to your question about Berkeley Pediatrics...I think you can't go wrong with any of the Dr.s there. We have been going there since my son was born. My Dr. is Elaine Davenport. Great bedside manner with my son, knows everything and always gets back to me quickly if I have a question mom of a 3 year old boy

I have been taking my kids to see Elaine Davenport since they have been born. We have had a great experience with her. She is very warm with the kids and seems to truly enjoy children (she has several of her own). Her advice and care has always been straightforward and clear. My kids have rarely been sick except for some eczema and the usual fevers here and there, so we see her mostly for well-check appointments but she responds very quickly to those occasional emergency phone calls and is very professional. I highly recommend her ANON

I have had good experiences with all the physicians at BPMG. My children see Dr AnneMary Franks and I think she is wonderful, as do my my children. She is warm and caring and really does listen to hysterical first-time parents. She is very prompt in returning calls and has been very level-headed even when faced with difficult situations. She has my highest recommendation. Her practice has been closed to new patients for a while so your timing is perfect anon

My daughters have both been patients of Dr. Annemary Franks at Berkeley Pediatrics. I think she's wonderful-- easygoing and matter of fact, and kind and knowledgeable. She has a good sense of humor, too. The whole practice is wonderful, and the only doctor I didn't like wasn't with the practice for long. anon

Our pediatrician is Elaine Davenport. She is great. We love her. When I had both babies, I had hospital visits from the other doctors in the group as well. It made me feel confident, all the second opinions, and they are all thorough and very nice.

Over the last 8 years of ear infections and fevers, etc... I have been in for several (in my mind) emergencies. If Davenport can see them, she does. If she is unavailable, one of the other doctors sees them. It all goes fast. The guy that gives shots is a sweetie. I have read complaints here over the years about the office staff and have had some of those experiences myself but no more than at the dentist etc... actually general, they are competent enough. They ALWAYS get you seen right away when you have a sick kid.

All in all, I heartily recommend Berkely Pediatrics annie

Dr. King is my children's pediatrician and we couldn't be happier! He is great with my 2 year old son and 7 month old daughter. He is very professional and very good about returning phone calls promptly, no matter what the question or concern may be. He is the father of twin two year olds, so it's very cool having him being able to relate to parenting young children. Very pleased parent

Although my daughter sees Dr K, we've had visits with all but one of the doctors at one time or another. The doctors we've seen seemed like good/great physicians. I trusted that they knew their stuff. The differences were style. We haven't seen Elaine Davenport. I thought Annemary Frank was straightforward and cheerful (a good thing when mom needs good information and baby need to feel comfortable). I was kind of annoyed by Benjamin King, who commented on my daughter's somewhat unusual name (''how'd you end up with a name like that?''). Olivia Lang wasn't particularly warm and my daughter didn't want to cooperate, with simple things like let me see your tongue, either time we saw her. I don't remember her smiling at all. Good luck CAL

We have been seeing Annemary Franks since January and have been very happy. (My children are 1 and 4.) She is thorough, attentive, answers all my questions and I never feel rushed. We haven't had any problems with long waits or difficult office staff (complaints previously posted on BPN). In fact our wait time has never been more than 10 minutes, in contrast to our previous Dr. (at another practice) where the waits could be VERY long. Once when my son came in with a rash, Dr. Franks brought in another doctor for a second opinion, which I appreciated. She's always returned my calls promptly and kept a cool head. When she doesn't know something she looks it up. When my 1 year old had a severe athsmatic attack (which he'd never had before) she took the situation seriously while staying calm, thereby keeping me calm. I think she's great, and highly recommend her and the practice. Happy with Dr. Franks

We have chosen Dr. Ben King as our pediatrician. I am impressed and thoroughly satisfied with the care that we receive. Dr. King is wonderful and takes time to answer any and all questions. We never feel rushed during our appointments. I especially like that all of the doctors in the practice leave time to see their own patients when they are sick. This is especially important because you want the doctor that has seen your child well (and knows you)to be able to assess your child when they are ill. It's a better deal overall. Also, all of my phone messages have been answered promptly by Dr. King. There are no nurses in the office, so during the day you always get a call from the MD. In the evening they utilize an RN call service- however, if they feel that you may need to go to the ER, you always get a call back from an MD. This eliminates unnecessary ER trips. A lot of pediatric practices do not do this.

Overall, I feel that I am getting the best available care from Dr. King and BPMG. I would highly recommend Dr. King satisfied mom

You can't go wrong with this practice. Our doc is King who is wonderful. We've seen them all in one form another (phone or Saturday morning appts.) and have been impressed with every doc in the practice. The docs are very responsive to patient phone calls and spend a lot of time with patients. Anon

I would highly recommend Dr. Olivia Lang (and Berkeley Pediatic Medical Group in general). She's been our kids doctor since birth. We have a 3.5-yr old daughter & a 2-yr old son. Dr Lang, as a mother of 3 (I think), including twins, is great with kids as well as parents. She thoughtfully handled all my first-time mom worries & questions. Aside from routine check ups, she helped us through various baby related issues (circumcision) & illnesses (Croup, Roseola) as well as the treatment of a lump in our daughter\x92s beast & the treatment of my son's tongue-tie. Not only am I confident in her abilities as a doctor, she's kind, caring & very patient A Very Happy Dr. Lang Family

We love Dr. Olivia Lang. She's straightforward, knowledgeable, kind, patient, and adapts to the needs of the kid during the appointment. I am very happy and would never want to switch Nancy

My kids have been seeing Dr. Lang since they were babies - almost 7 years and we've been very happy. My kids like her and look forward to seeing her. She listens to all of our questions and ideas and answers thoughtfully. Even when I think I may be asking something a little crazy, she manages to answer in a way that takes the question seriously. We've also seen Drs Cuthbertson, Franks, and Davenport and liked all of them. Even though we don't see them regularly, I've found them to be pleasant and thorough. When I call with a question or concern, my call is returned within 1 or 2 hours (depending on the urgency of the call) Lisa

Our four year old daughter has been seeing Dr. Annemary Franks since she was born. Dr Franks is great with little ones. I have watched with amazement as she skillfully helps my nervous little one relax, draws her into conversation, and gets her to even laugh and enjoy the visit. She also has many years of experience (as well as three kids of her own) so she's seen it all and provides sound medical advice. She is very thorough and last year, sent us to a specialist for another opinion which allowed us to nip something in the bud that would have gotten very serious if left undetected. I would recommend Dr Franks very highly. I hope you can get her - my experience with BPMG is that they send new folks to the newer, less experienced doctors like Dr. King. I've also heard good things about Dr. Olivia Lang and do think the practice is a strong one overall and would highly recommend it Dr. Franks Fan

My kids (8 and 6) have been seeing Dr. Elaine Davenport since birth. We really like her: very smart, empathetic & listens well. My kids look forward to seeing her because she is interested in them. The office has gotten a lot better lately as far as shorter wait times. We've occasionally seen Dr Lange and some other drs whose names now escape me: all good or great happy at BPMG

August 2006

Re: Pediatrican near Montclair
I have been very happy with Berkeley Pediatric on Walnut since my oldest, now a teenager, was an infant. There are more than a couple of doctors in the practice, but we almost always see our primary physician, Dr. Jim Cuthbertson. The only exception is in an emergency when we need an appointment on Dr. Jim's day off (the other doctors are also excellent.) We have really developed a relationship with Dr. Jim, and I feel like he knows my kids and their health history well. We don't have to wait long to see a doctor when we arrive, and when my kids were small I appreciated the fact that they have both ''sick'' and ''well'' waiting areas, so that my babies would not get exposed to others' germs when I was bringing them in for a well check. Happy with Berkeley Pediatric

June 2006

We are expecting a baby very shortly, and we are still wondering about which pediatric group to go with. I checked the bpn archives, and all reviews are over a year old. How about Berkeley pediatrics, only Dr. King seems to be taking new patients, any advice on this doctor, or office in general? Haven't had a chance to visit them yet. Thanks in advance for your advice, we are hoping to find a pediatrician and location that suits our needs.

Our two young boys see Dr. King and we have been very happy with the practice. They are always prompt to return calls, make room to see the child when there's an illness or emergency and have a well-run office. Dr. King seems open to my involvement in medical decisions - and respects my ability to make good choices. All-in-all we are happy with Berkeley Pediatrics Berkeley Mom

I'd highly recommend Berkeley Pediatrics and especially Dr. Ben King. We've been there for a year now with our baby since he was a newborn. Every experience in the office has been very positive. The waiting time is relatively short. Everyone there (including the people who give the shots) really cares for the children, all are very kind and are really good at relating to the children of all ages. Whenever we've had questions, Dr. King returns our call the same day. Back when we were looking for a pediatrician, everyone I asked said to go there and Dr. King won us over on the first meeting. He is very efficient, he listens to our concerns, and he has a great bedside mannor. There is no off-street parking but we've always found street parking on the same block. Sandy

Both of my children (26 months and 9 months) have been seeing Dr. King at Berkeley Pediatrics, and we have been very pleased with him. He is very knowledgeable and really listens to all of our concerns, and is wonderful at talking about difficulties we're having (sleep problems, etc.) and giving advice. He always makes my children and I feel very comfortable; my toddler actually asks to ''go see Dr. King now!'' when she isn't feeling well. He is very quick at responding to phone questions, as well. I would highly recommend him! We have also seen 3-4 of the other pediatricians at Berkeley Pediatrics during weekends/on-call times, and have found them all to be very knowledgeable technically, and caring. The office staff has always been helpful to us, as well Jen

April 2006

Re: Preemie Specialist Pediatrician?
I don't know if she's taking new patients, but give Dr. Kulshtretha at Berkeley Pediatrics a try. We were one of her first patients in 2002, and we have enjoyed her young, enthusiastic approach. We didn't have a preemie, but the reason I recommend her for such is that she had a preemie herself in Summer 2004, and so I am sure she is very knowledgable from her own personal experiences. Good luck, Kris

She's not actually a preemie specialist, but pediatrician Anne Mary Franks at Berkeley Pediatrics was fantastic with our daughter (and still is). She was suggested to us by one of the neonatologists at Alta Bates NICU where our little one spend three months after being born 11 weeks early. We've been really happy with the care and attention we've received from Dr. Franks. Julie julie

April 2006

Re: Queer-Friendly Pediatrician
Try AnneMary Franks at Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group. 848- 2566, located on Walnut and Virginia Streets in Berkeley. Lots of postings on BPN archives. Lori

March 2006

Was wondering if anyone have any current experience with Dr.King at Berkeley Pediatrics (Walnut St). Good ? Bad? The info on the site dated back to 2004. Thanks. mom w new baby

We've been seeing Dr. King since he started with BPMG. I initially had some reservations about him because he was so young, so new, and had no kids of his own at the time. I even came close to switching doctors at one point, but stayed with Dr. King and am very happy with him. He is an excellent diagnostician, which, when it comes right down to it, is what you need from your pediatrician. Also he is very friendly, easy to talk to, prompt about returning phone calls, knows what's worth worrying about and what's not worth worrying about, and relates well to kids. When King has been unavailable for one reason or another, the other doctors in the practice have all been great. two kids with King

We have taken our two children Dr. King since Howard Gruber retired a few years ago. Dr. Gruber was a hard act to follow, but we have been very pleased with Dr. King. He's very well informed, his communications skills are great and the children adore him. He also has two young children of his own -- he knows what it's like to be a first-time parent. Ann

June 2005

We're switching to Berkeley Pediatrics for my two girls, ages 2 and 3. There are three doctors taking new patients: Dr. Cuthbertson (woman), Dr. Kulshrestha (woman), and Dr. King (man) . My initial preference is for a female doctor, though I'm flexible if there's a big difference in skills/experience/manner with kids. Does anyone have experience with these doctors? Patricia

We used to see Dr. Kulshthra and now we see Dr. Cuthbertson. We were reticent to change, but we were having our second baby while she was on maternity leave and we wanted to have consistency for their care during the first year and we wanted our children to see the same doctor. We love Dr. K -- she is very sweet with kids, very upbeat and positive and really kind. I would say the same thing about Dr. Cuthbertson. The difference between them is experience. When our older child was very sick we saw almost ever dr. in the practice because we were there almost daily. Of all the doctors we saw Dr. Cuthbertson gave us the best and most helpful advice. As a grandfather he has the range of experiences that really help. I've found anictdotal information as or more informative than the party medical line. And I really appreciate that he brings this to the examining room. I've only seen Dr. King once and he was great too.

That's been the nice thing for us about this practice... that when you are sick you don't always get to see your main doctor so the quality of all the doctors matters.

I'd pick Dr. Cuthbertson as my main doctor and be happy to see the others -- each doctor provides their own insight into a situation -- the more voices the better I think.

Good luck with your decision. anon

Every doctor I've met at Berkeley Pediatrics is good, but I think Dr. Cuthbertson (our doctor) is the very best --- If you choose him because he's a woman, though, you will be sorely disappointed (he's not). What he is is an amazingly competent, caring doctor who puts children at ease, can relate to them while carefully evaluating their medical issues and in a number of cases can ease your concerns just by promptly returning a phone call and telling you what to do over the phone, and under what circumstances to come in or call again. Heather Jacobsen

We love Berkeley Pediatrics, especially Dr. K. We cannot recommend her highly enough. She has a wonderful way of relating to my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I have called her offices fairly frequently to ask (probably typical) first parent worries and Dr. K has always gotten back to me quickly and treated me with respect. Please feel free to email me if you have further questions. -Ann Randomann1

We see Dr. King for our new baby and we love him. He is reassuring and respectful. He is confident but not arrogant, and relaxed without any hint of being patronizing or dismissive. I've had some bad experiences with medical professionals in the past and we feel lucky to have found him. anon

Dr. K (as we call her) is wonderful. After a pumpkin-carving accident that makes me cringe every time I think of it, she stitched up my daughter's fingers with such care and empathy. Beautiful work, the perfect bedside manner with young kids, warm, knowledgeable, easy to talk to. We love her. long-time BP family

Our son has been seeing Dr. Tracy Evans-Ramsey at East Bay Pediatrics for two years now since he was born. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about her and would highly recommend her. No matter how busy she is, she always takes the time to see how our son is doing and ask me if I have any questions. She is warm and attentive and genuinely cares about children. She is a parent of a toddler as well, so she understands many of the issues we face. Linda (June 2005)

First, Dr. Cuthbertson is a man. Now that we have that out of the way. He is absolutely wonderful. He has been the pediatrician in my family for over 23 years now (oldest 23, youngest 2). All girls. I cannot say enough about him. He is sensitive, responsive and extreemly competent for girls as far as I am concerned. Berkeley Pediatrics as a whole is wonderful. You are lucky if Dr. Cuthbertson is even accepting new patients, go for it! -Happy with BPMG.

Dr. Kulshrestha is great, responsive, caring, smart.

November 2004

I am thinking about signing my son up with Berkeley Pediatrics. Dr. King & Dr. Davenport are currently taking new patients. I am looking for a couple of recommendations. Also, I'd like to hear about the nurses in the office. We are looking to leave our current family practice due to the low quality of nursing care at the office. We have had problems due to unskilled or unpleasant nurses. (Being off by a pound when weighing our 2 month old, taking an incredibly long time between needles at innoculations, etc.) Thanks for any recommendations or words of assurance. Lori

I am due to have my first child in December and need to choose a pediatrician. Drs. Frank and Lang from Berkeley Pediatrics were both recommended to me, but neither are taking new patients. I am now trying to get an appt with Dr. Davenport, but don't know anything about her. I am looking for a younger doctor who is easy to talk to, up on the latest research, who is easy enough to get ahold of, and who obviously loves kids. For those of you who are parents of patients of Dr. Davenport's, would you say she fits this bill? Thanks so much expecting parent

My daughter's doctor is Elaine Davenport and I recommend her highly. She is great with kids and parents as well. She listens well and I trust her judgement. She is never condescending or impatient. She promptly calls back when we have a problem. We like the nursing staff as well. There is one male nurse who is the shot master and we always try to get him on shot day.

Dr. King is also great. I have spoken to him on the phone and my husband brought our daughter in one time when Dr. Davenport was out. He loved Dr. King and said he was really good with our daughter.

My only criticism of the practice is that the administrative staff could be better. They aren't rude, but they aren't friendly either. I feel anonymous when I come in to the office until I see Dr. Davenport. I would not use that as a reason not to choose Dr. Davenport though. She is an excellent doctor and no place is perfect.

I'm sure you'll get tons of responses to this post. We have gone to Dr. Davenport for almost six years now. She is terrific. She is a young mom herself, very easy to talk to, super smart and even keel. We really love all of the doctors in the office! Berkeley Ped Fan

We've been with BPMG for ~2 years now and have found them okay. We've generally been satisfied with the doctors (mostly Dr. Kulshrestha; during her maternity leave on an emergency call Drs. Lang and Davenport who were both quite friendly, quick to return calls, and seemed competent).

The staff there, however, has the occasional issues of being ''unskilled or unpleasant'' that you mention - in our case: not communicating clearly, letting child bleed into clothes a bit after immunizations, measuring length wrong (by 2 inches, without trying to measure again but just making an estimate! I was too baffled to demand better measurement, but swore later I will in the future) or letting us wait long to get our immunizations.

Some more observations: We never had to wait long in the waiting room before our appointment (only afterwards to get the shots). The phone line can be very busy during the day and we've often been asked to hold quite a seemingly long time. They also did not tell us that some insurances (e.g. ours) do not cover the well-child checkups after a certain number per time period, and if you just go with the BPMG schedule, you may end up with an unexpected bill for an uncovered visit. The one time we complained about an unfriendly nurse our doctor truly apologized to us and assured us of future improvements. Staff (and doctors) don't always wait for upset babies to calm down (or be calmed) before continuing with their routine, which I guess is often necessary to keep their business going, but can be quite stressful to new parents or when you want them to observe something in your kid's ''normal'' behavior.

So for what it's worth, I'd say remain a critical consumer and give them a try. I'd also recommend interviewing the doctors you are considering to see if their personal style works for you. Parent of a BPMG child

I highly recommend both Dr. Davenport and Berkeley Pediatrics. My children have been under her care since birth and we've been extremely satisfied with the care we've received over the past eight years. She's professional, calm, well informed and my family adores her. She has children of her own and her experience shines through in the way she talks to kids. I'm so happy a friend referred us to this practice when we looking for a pediatrician. mjp

I interviewed Dr. King over a year ago before my son was born in Dec. 2003 to be our pediatrician. We selected him because his approach to medicine was aligned with ours and we knew instantly that he is extremeley knowledgable, caring and gentle, loves kids and committed to his patients. The first few weeks after our son was born Dr. King called to check in many times and always calls us back to answer questions. Dr. King is fantastic, and so is the entire practices. When he is not available you know that you will the same quality and excellent care from his partners and nurses. Everyone at BPMG is A+. Tegan

We have seen Dr. King since our daughter was born. He was the only Dr. at Berkeley Pediatrics taking patients when we had our daughter. He has been great! He is very easy to talk to and spends a lot of time with you during appointments. He is also very good about returning calls and squeezing you in at the last minute with a sick kid. He is relatively fresh out of med school but is a very thorough and kind doctor. He doesn't always jump to medicating things right away which is nice. He will also listen to your concerns and input and take those into account when treating an illness. Overall our experience as Berkeley Pediatrics has been a good one. We have found the nurses to be very caring. Good luck with your decision. Anonymous

Dr. Davenport has been our pediatrician for almost eight years and I can highly recommend her. She is VERY easy to talk to, has a lovely, low- key manner with my two daughters (now 8 and 12), and brings her own experience as a mother to the job. She is kind and knowledgable, but also quick to bring in a more senior doctor on the staff if she feels she needs a second opinion.

I have generally found her easy to get hold of, and when she was not available, the other doctors at BP were also very nice. That said, as my kids are older, I rarely go to their offices anymore and don't have much familiarity with the current nursing staff. Certainly the office is very busy and you should expect to be put on hold when you call.

The only thing I find slightly disappointing about Dr. Davenport is her lack of interest and support for alternative health care (homeopathy for example, which has been amazingly helpful for me and my kids, and cranio-sacrial therapy -- ditto) although, to be fair, I have not discussed this with her for quite a few years and she may be more open to it now. But in terms of what she offers -- and it is considerable -- she is everything I could want in a pediatrician. Zoe

Our 8 year old son sees Dr. King. We were a little skeptical when we first started seeing him because he is young and pretty new out of medical school. However, we are quite happy with him a year later. He is accessible, easy to talk with for both child and parents, returns phone calls promptly, and is helpful. The nurses are good too. I hear barely a whimper when my 3 yr old daughter gets shots. They are good at administering hearing and sight exams as well. The front desk staff can sometimes be brusque, especially late in the day, but we're pretty happy with the medical care. naomi

Berkeley Pediatrics is a wonderful practice with a great staff.

In 10 years I don't recall having any problems with them that weren't at least partly my own fault. (I now keep my co-pay receipts in case a payment isn't recorded and I get billed... the one time it happened they took my word that I'd paid and checked it off).

They are very busy and I'd suggest treating them with the same respect you expect to get back. For me that means:

NOT blaming them if I'm placed on hold, when calling at a busy time... my kids aren't the only ones who get sick on weekends, etc.

NOT assuming an appointment won't be delayed... the office has seen my kids in emergencies that probably delayed someone else. I don't make appointments without some flexibility.

NOT wasting their time unnecessarily, and NEVER being rude to anyone in the office. Having worked in offices I'm aware of how rude and condescending some people can be, and how much a little kindness means.

I trust my pediatrician implicitly. 90% of the time he can answer my concerns by return phone call instead of making an office visit.

By the same token -- several times my doctor has taken my opinion on treatment or referral into account (but only when I was right!). I hope that most of his patients are as impressed with him as am I (no, he's not taking patients right now).

Long story short, no reservations about Berkeley Pediatrics -- Like most group practices they are limited by the vagaries of medical insurance, and dealing with large numbers of patients, etc.. but they do an excellent job of providing good, consistent care, in a comfortable environment.

If you need additional information you can contact me. Heather

June 2004

We are former Kaiser members who just changed insurance plans, and are looking for a great pediatrician. Our neighbors have recommended Annemary Franks from Berkeley Pediatrics, but the archives do not have any recent recommendations about her specifically. Is there anyone who can give me a current information on Dr. Franks? How about the practice in general? Thanks! Margaret

Dr. Franks is our doctor for our 5 year old and our 6 month old and we are very, very happy. She is smart, easy to talk with, very reachable, and genuinely concerned over the health of our kids. Our daughter has been very healthy, so all has been pretty basic care, but our son has had some complications which she has been really good about helping us work through, escalating to specialists when needed, etc. I also really like the practice overall. nancy

This will be one of many posts you will probably read. Annemary has been our doctor for the past 9 years (2 children), and we have had a great experience with her and the Berk. Ped. practice. I was a long time Kaiser member (adult), and learned to use the system to my advantage, which is the same as Berk. Peds. - the best times to call, how to deal with referrals and insurance, which doctors we like when Annemary is unavailable, etc. Dr. Franks has always responded the same day to our calls, and we have had numerous complicated medical issues for both children. She has a vast network of specialists she works closely with and has usually been spot on with recommendations for our family. Her interactions with our children have always been patient and positive. Happy Annemary Patients

I interviewed four pediatricians before my daughter was born and was most impressed with Annemary Franks. She's been our pediatrician ever since, and we have been very happy with her. She's down-to-earth, warm, great with kids, and makes us feel comfortable bringing up whatever we need to discuss. She's extremely well-informed; but even more importantly, she is secure enough to acknowledge when she doesn't know something, and then she does the research and reports back. She's good about getting back to us by phone when we call in, too. We have been fortunate enough to have a very healthy child, so we haven't had much contact with the other docs in the practice, but the experiences we've had have been fine.

My only complaints are: 1) the front office staff has in the past been somewhat brusque and unresponsive, but I think that may have improved over the last couple of years, and 2) they no longer have a preferred provider contract with Blue Cross PPO -- our insurance carrier -- so we pay out-of-pocket for well checks and get a lower reimbursement rate for other visits. We value the care we've received and the continuity enough to justify making that choice rather than switching to another pediatrician. In good hands

Our son has seen Dr. Franks since he was born (one year ago). We love her. She is mellow and thorough. She is the mother of three young kids, which gives her great perspective. She is responsive to questions and returns calls very promptly. My husband, also a pediatrician, thinks she is great too. Heather

My children have been patients at Berkeley Pediatrics for 19 years, and I have been very satisfied with the practice. My daughter switched to Annemary Franks a few years ago, because she wanted to see a woman, and the switch went smoothly--her previous doctor (now retired) said that it was great that she wanted to begin taking charge of her health care. Dr. Franks has done very well with my daughter, who is not always an easy patient. She takes my concerns seriously, and also has built up a rapport with my daughter. She was very attentive when my daughter was hospitalized last month. I think it's a great practice, despite the fact that they, like every other practice, have to try to cope with all the changing rules imposed by different insurance plans. Almost 2 decades of Berkeley Pediatrics

I highly recommend Dr. Franks. We've been with her for three years and I feel she has been very responsive to my concerns. And my kids really like her. Sally

I have a 7- and a 5-year-old, a girl and a boy. Annemary has taken care of them since birth. We really like her--she has a very down-to-earth, calm manner and is responsive to phone messages and questions. I would put my kids in a ''reasonably healthy'' category: nothing major, but both of them are troubled by chronic problems related to upper respiratory/allergies. Annemary has always been helpful, and does not rush to prescribe antibiotics, which I am in agreement with. I sometimes feel that I need to push a little bit for referrals, but nothing that frustrates or upsets me--I just have to persist if I feel strongly. On the other hand, she has sometimes been right when she's advised me to wait and observe a problem a while longer before we move forward. She has always struck me as having the right balance of caution and action. I like the office generally, although I dislike their tendency to gatekeep, as in, ''Okay, I'll have the doctor call you'' for everything that's not fever for more than three days.

I also take my kids to see a homeopath, and while I don't think Annemary regards that person as her medical equal, she hasn't been disapproving or dismissive of that path at all. All in all, I'd say that I like working with Annemary because it feels like we are working as a team for the health of my child. She's a mom, and we relate well on that level. If you want a parent-type figure, though, she might not be right for you. She's not authoritarian in her style. happy

I am so happy to get an opportunity to recommend Annemary. She is the pediatrician for both my boys, (8 yrs and 2 yrs) and we all adore her. My 2 year old is very wary of unfamiliar people and, while generally sweet and sunny, has for the last 6-8 months not liked people outside the family to touch him. I warned Annemary before our last well-baby check-up that he was likely to fall apart, and she was incredibly patient and respectful with him. She took 10-15 minutes just to interact with him so that he would relax and, in the end, he was laughing and giggling with her, and blowing kisses as we left. Not a tear was shed.

When I gave birth to my 2 year old, I REALLY did not want to spend the night at the hospital. Staff wanted to keep me (after a very routine, straightforward birth that afternoon), but I finally wore them down, and they agreed to release us if I could get my pediatrician over to the hospital to check my baby. Although she has kids of her own to get home to at the end of the day, Annemary very graciously agreed to come to the hospital in the evening so that I could go home that night. I thanked her profusely months later, and she did not even remember having put herself out for us.

So, if Annemary is taking patients, I think you'll be in fantastic hands. We have had other good pediatricians that we were fond of before moving to the Bay Area, but Annemary is absolutely our favorite. Please email me if you have any questions. Alison

We have been going to Dr. Franks since we moved here four years ago; our daughters are now 5 and 2. I have been very pleased. She listens well to all our questions. As a mother herself she has good practical advice. I really like how as the kids get older she talks almost entirely to them during annual check- ups. Though she does make sure to ask if I have any questions. She's a calming presence with a good sense of humor. She returns calls promptly. The only downside to the practice is sometimes you have to wait a while. We have always been able to see someone that day (almost always Dr. Franks) for sick kid visits.

We've been with Berkeley pediatrics for 5 years now. Tried originally to sign up w/ Dr. Franks on several friend's recommendations, but she wasn't accepting new patients, so our pediatrician is Dr. Elaine Davenport whom we like just fine. But i would like to speak to our experiences with the practice overall. You can expect long waits, especially during appointments requiring shots. You wait for your visit with the doctor, then get in line again to wait, and wait, and wait for your shot appointment. For instance: last month I took both kids in for back-to back appointments with shots and we were there for 3 HOURS! Ridiculous. The other negative is that the office/support staff are generally unfriendly and cold (this was more pronounced in the past, but has improved lately). This stands in marked contrast to a pediatric group I was with briefly in Pinole, Rainbow Pediatrics - if my insurance had covered it, I would have stayed with them permanently - extremely friendly and helpful staff as well as great doctors. So, all the doctors we've seen at Berkeley pediatric have been great, but the way the office is run leaves much to be desired, I'd say. Christine

I second previous comments that indicate the Dr. Franks is a terrific pediatrician, but the overall ''experience'' at Berkeley Pediatrics can be frustrating.

Dr. Franks has been my two sons' doctor for many years, and I couldn't ask for a better pediatrician. She's knowledgeable, patient, and exudes a calm that promotes trust from her patients.

Berkeley Pediatrics is an excellent operation overall, but it's not uncommon to be put into an examination room for up to an hour before the doctor is able to see your child. I'm sure that sometimes there are good reasons for the delays, e.g., emergencies, but I also think that this office, like so many these days, engages in overbooking strategies to ensure a steady cash flow in case of unexpected cancellations or no- shows. So it goes. I wonder if any medical office these days is immune from this syndrome.

Overall, I give Dr. Franks a very solid endorsement. And since the medical staff at Berkeley Pediatrics is excellent overall, you can have confidence that if Dr. Franks is not present on a day when you need an appointment your child will still be well cared-for. Doug

I don't have experience with Dr. Frank but wanted to put my two cents in regarding the office, especially the billing office. My son was a patient of Dr. Gruber, whom we both loved, but he retired, so we were assigned to Dr. King, which we were not happy with at all but that's another story. On our first visit with Dr. King, we had to pay for our annual check-up because Dr. King's name was not on our insurance card, Dr. Gruber was. We had already informed our insurance prior to our visit but our new insurance card had not come in yet. The insurance said that the office could call for verificication, but BP refused and said that as long as Dr. King's name was not on the card, I had to pay for the visit and get re-imbursed later. It turned out that Dr. King was listed as a specialist, instead of a Primaray Care physician so the insurance did not pay for the visit until Dr. King was listed correctly. It took me months of phone calls to Berkeley Pediatrics' billing manager to finally get them to switch Dr. King to the correct title, to re-sumbit the invoice (they finally did two months ago), and finally send me back my re-imbursement check. My visit was in November, and I just received the check 2 weeks ago, so it took 7 months of relentless pursuing from my end to get it taken care off.

Even though my experience with Dr. Gruber, as well as the nurse practicioners on staff, has been very pleasant, the office staff leaves much to be desired. They are un-organized and inefficient in their follow up of financial matters. If it wasn't for my relentless follow up, I would have never received my check back. Needless to say, we will no longer go back to this office as a great office staff is as important to me as a great doctor. unhappy with Berkeley Pediatrics

We have been taking our daughter to Dr. Franks since her birth. We've found Dr. Franks to be down to earth and willing to answer any questions we may have. This is my first experience with a piediatrician though, so I can only compare her to my own primary care physician. Dr. Franks is also very supportive of moms and breastfeeding. I have to second the other person's comments though about the long waits at Berkeley Piediatrics. I have waited between 20 minutes to an hour to see the doctor every time we've been in for scheduled appointments, and then waited again for between 15 to 40 minutes for immunizations. I just assumed this was pretty common, but if other piediatric groups are better run it might be something to consider. anon

I just had to respond to some of the comments about Berkeley Pediatrics. We haven't ever seen Dr. Franks, but our daughter is almost one and Dr. K has been her doctor since birth. I know everyone has a different experience, so I just wanted to post our experience with the practice, which has been overwhelmingly positive. I've never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes (if that) for an appointment. We've called several times during nights and weekends (typically anxious parents of a little baby) and the office has responded very quickly and with a lot of kindness and patience. I find the office staff to be busy, but very friendly and helpful. It is true, it is difficult to get non-emergency appointments, so I try never to change my well baby visits. Overall, however, we feel grateful to have found a practice where we like everyone so much. We also think Dr. K is the greatest! Happy with Berkeley Pediatrics

Hi, We are very happy with Dr. Franks, she is no-nonsense, calm, and it is really important for me to know that her advice is coming from a parent as well as a doctor. Our little boy loves her and so do we. Berkeley pediatrics tends to run a little late but overall, the organization of the office is not nearly as important as the quality of the pediatrician. Loving Dr. Franks

I realize that this is getting off the subject, but I wanted to once again point out that there is a lot of confusion between the Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group and the Pediatric Medical Group. Dr. Franks is at the former (about which everyone wrote in to complain out the office staff, waits etc.). Dr K. (Kowaleski, I presume),about whom one person wrote in to say that the office is great, is at the latter. I've had experiences with both and I agree that the Pediatric Medical Group is much better run, much more concerned about the convenience of the parents, and just generally a more friendly place. berkekey parent

Dec 2003

i have read the past postings about Dr Davenport at Berkeley Pediatrics but am interested in reading something a little more current, perhaps someone who has recently started with her in the past year or two. Specifically, is she willing to take time to discuss/answer questions? What is she like in terms of ''bedside manner'', so to speak? I would like to hear any feedback on the subject. Interested in Dr. D

Dr. Davenport is my 8 month old daughter's doctor. She has always been kind, gentle and with a lovely bedside manner. Every time I have a question I call her and she calls back as soon as possible, within the hour or two. My daughter reacts very well to her, and any questions I may have she always clarifies for me. I would recommend her highly. She is not judgemental in any way, and any child rearing preferences you may have she goes along with. I hope this is helpful. anon

In response to the post about Dr. Elaine Davenport at Berkeley Pediatrics, we have had an excellent experience with her and my six month old child. Our daughter was very premature, so we had not interviewed pediatricians and needed one very quickly toward the end of her hospital stay. Our neonatalogist recommended her and the first day we called her, she left me four messages trying to reach me and schedule our newborn visit. She was very supportive and reassuring at a time when we needed that and has continued to be at every visit. I have never felt rushed with her during office visits and she makes sure to answer all of our questions and gives us ample time to discuss any concerns. She returns calls very promptly - the last time I called, she called me back on a Monday morning within 15 minutes. Also, when we had to go out of town when my daughter was only 3 months old and my mother was taking care of her, I spoke with Dr. Davenport and she said that she was on call for the weekend and that my mother could call her with any questions. Overall, I think she is a very caring, competent doctor and I highly recommend her. Lisa

I started taking my two daughters to Dr. Davenport (age 2 and 4) a year ago and think she's just great. She's very understanding, has a great manner with the children and is really good about returning phone calls to discuss the child's symptoms before scheduling an appointment. One time she even tried my phone a few times until she got a hold of me instead of just leaving a message. Another time when the girls had chicken pox she came out to the car to examine one of them and then gave the other one a chicken pox vaccine on the spot in the clinic. I really feel she goes the whole nine yards. Also I've had really good luck with Berkeley Pedriatrics if Dr. Davenport is not in. She's not in every day but this has never been an issue with us. monica

I think Dr. Davenport is great, and we've been very impressed with her bedside manner. However, I don't think she is taking any new patients right now. There are one or two doctors at Berkeley Peds who may be taking new patients, so you may want to call and ask about them instead. Karen

''Dr. Elaine'' is the doctor for our 2 and 5 year old daughters. I've found her to be warm and open and happy to take the time to talk with us. fine with dr. elaine

Let me just say, I LOVE Dr. Davenport. My 18 mos. old daughter started seeing her in February of this year. She had just started daycare and was chronically ill. She had been seeing other doctors at Oakland Family Practice but everyone kept telling me that she had a stubborn virus. Finally, in frustration I switched to Dr. Davenport based on the recommendation of another parent at her school. When we arrived at her appointment, I must have vented for at least 30 minutes and she listened patiently. She assured me that my daughter had gotten appropriate care at OFP, but just made me feel better about it. When she did her exam, she noticed that my daughter had wax build-up in her ears. After she cleaned them out, she concluded that she had raging ear infections in both ears that had gone undetected because of the wax! One round of antibiotics and my daughter was back to new. My daughter has had other problems and Dr. Davenport has always been very proactive without being overly intrusive. I can't give her a high enough recommendation. Alicia

I have both my children with Elaine (hopefully that will be a good sign for you that she goes by her first name, not Dr.). I have nothing but glowing praise for her as a doctor, and a person. I don't think we have ever had an appointment with her when she has not asked ''if we have any questions'', so in response to your question, yes, she will always discuss anything you would want to bring up with her. She only works part-time (has 2 kids of her own) so making appointments with her has less flexibility than with other doctors, but I feel lucky to have her as my kids doctor. She is a warm and thoughtful person, and has a great rapport with my kids. anon

My infant daughter is a patient of Dr. Davenports. When she was about two months, she got a bladder infection which was really scary. Dr. Davenport was wonderful in treating our daughter and in the way she handled our concerns, questions, etc. As new parents, we call frequently with questions and no matter what the topic, she always returns calls the same day and never makes you feel silly for calling. She has a great bedside manner and definately takes her time at appointments and on the phone. She is very gentle and playful with our daughter and I would highly recommend her. Liz

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Davenport. She is smart, personable, very throughough and just an all-around wonderful person to boot. I am glad I found her. Not only is she a top-notch pediatrician she is someone I would choose as a friend (had I met her elsewhere!. I respect her opinion and she respects mine. I personally don't feel like I have to have a doctor that believes exactly what I do about child rearing. I tend to be more conservative when it comes to meds and vaccines (though I've done most of them in my own time) and it hasn't affected our relationship. She speaks not only from experience as a pediatrician but also as a parent of two young children.

Remember- your child's doctor is one of many professionals in your child' life. Their job is to guide and advise. Some people get bent out of shape when a professional offers a different view. Rarely is it simply a relection of their peronalilty or style. Rather, I think it's a sypmtom of unrealistic parent expectations. Happy fan of Dr. D

My son will be 1 on December 26th, and Dr. Davenport has been his caregiver since he was born. My experience with her has been wonderful. She is very gentle, caring and patient with the baby, which was particularly important from about 3 to 9 months because he was experiencing extreme stranger anxiety during that period. She also takes the time to hear out and thoughtfully respond to my myriad of questions, concerns and, sometimes, paranoia (neither I nor my partner had any experience with babies prior to actually having one, so there were a lot of all 3). She has returned every phone call I have made to her office in a very timely manner. She also has a good sense of humor. I have the utmost confidence in her. And I like her as a person. Suzanne

Dr. Davenport has been our pediatrician for the last three years, and we are very happy with her. She answers questions without rushing and has a very good ''bedside manner.'' When our daughter was a little bit shy during one office visit about a year ago, Dr. Davenport first examined her stuffed toy to put her at ease. She also returns phone calls very quickly, usually within a couple of hours. The best reference for her is that our three year-old daughter loves to go to the office visits with her. Heike

We have been seeing Dr. Davenport for the past 16 months since my daughter was born and she is wonderful! She is so patient with all of the questions I ask, and I ask a lot of questions. This is our first child so I call her frequently. She always responds the same day and never makes me feel stupid but at the same time she is very firm and reassuring when I am being paranoid. Other feedback has made her seem negative or inflexible and I would disagree with that. She is more conservative but she always listens to what I have to say even when I disagree and she has never pulled the ''I am the doctor I know best'' attitude. We co-sleep, still night nurse and she respects our parenting decisions. I think she is a good doctor and excellent with first time parents. Julie

We are very happy with Dr. Davenport. She has been my 6- and 3- year-olds' pediatrician since they were born. She has seemed glad to answer my questions during check-ups, and I find her straightforward and easy to talk to. She also seems to relate well to children. She is gentle with little ones. During his 3-year-old check-up she had my younger child sit on my lap and let him touch the instruments before she used them. Jennifer N.

We have been patients of Dr. Davenport's at Berkeley Pediatrics for more than 4 years and I think she is really great. Both our 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter are fairly healthy, but we have had our share of ear infections, croup, etc..When sick, we have always been seen on the same day and I have found Dr. Davenport caring and attentive during both sick and well visits. While the office can get very busy, I never feel rushed by her, her bedside manner is wonderful. When our son had a problem with persistent bloody noses, she referred us accordingly. When our daughter was badly bitten by a baby unknown to us in a park, Dr. Davenport's assurances and recommendations were most appreciated. She always phones back (once within 3 minutes)Once I even came to the office in an emergency, without an appointment, 7 months pregnant in a bathing suit,skirt, and rubber flip flops(yes, not a pretty sight, panic-stricken) when our son fell off a bench and slammed his head on the rocky asphalt at the pool. She is very good with hysterical pregnant mothers. My children really like her too. The only trouble I have ever had at the practice was when Dr. Davenport went on maternity leave. The office staff had me call and change my insurance card to the doctor replacing her. I wasn't informed that she had returned and was left in a very awkward position seeing the new doctor during the overlap and passing her in the hall. Never mind being concerned that our good relationship was being compromised, when I tried to make future appointments with Dr. Davenport, I was told her practice was full!! Sandy, the receptionist, thankfully sorted everything out and we remain very satisfied patients of Dr. Davenport. kelly

I've read those old posts about Dr. Davenport and wonder if it could possibly be the same doctor we've used for nearly seven years. My youngest is almost four so I guess she's not a newer patient, but I'll share our experience anyway. I find Elaine to be very competent professionally and my kids both enjoy her personally. She shows a sincere interest in them and seems to really like them. I like that she's willing to ''watch'' a (mild) ear infection rather than prescribe antibiotics. I've been most satisfied with the way we can discuss medical issues. She's never been condescending. I've found her advice helpful on breastfeeding, childcare options, eating difficulties, behavior challenges, Kindergarten etc. I've also worked with many of the other doctors in the practice for sick calls and phone advice when Elaine is not on call. I've got to say that I've been happy with all of them. We recently switched my older son to Dr. Cuthbertsen because he wanted a male doctor and they had a real chemistry, but we still get to see her for my daughter. By the way, she has two young children (a girl and a boy) and a great perspective on it all. I hope you like her as much as we do. Becky

Sept 2003

Has anyone had any experience with Dr. Ben King at Berkeley Pediatrics? He is a newer member of the group now that Dr. Gruber has retired. We're a two-mom family and are having twins and want someone who is comfortable with both. (Unfortunately Olivia Lang who has twins isn't accepting new patients.) Rachel

I know Ben King from medical school and can tell you that he is very bright, very kind and believe he would be a great doc for your little ones! anon

I've taken my son to see Dr. King for a sick visit, and was thoroughly impressed. He spent plenty of time with us, seemed quite knowledgable (trained at Stanford), and my son took to him almost instantly. I also found out that he grew up in Berkeley, and went to Berkeley High. He seems to be very open minded, and I doubt that he, or any of the doctors at BPMG would have trouble with a two mom family. I know of many lesbian families in the area who take their kids to BPMG. A happy BPMG parent

I love my doctor at East Bay Pediatric but if I was looking for someone new, I would definately go with Dr. King. He and his wife were my old landlords and he is terrific. He came to visit when my son was born and I was just amazed at how wonderful he was with him. He has such a great disposition and is really friendly. I highly reccommend him. Rachel

I have not used Ben King as a pediatrician, but know him personally (he is married to one of my oldest friends). He is a very nice guy, and I am sure that he would be comfortable with both issues (twins and a two-mom family). Good luck with your new family. Melissa T

I've only seen Dr. King once and my husband talked to him on the phone once, but FWIW, I like him, even though he's ''wet behind the ears''. His exam of my child was very thorough, and he consulted with the other drs. on something he noticed to get confirmation of his opinion (I definitely like someone who can do that). He was warm, energetic, open to discussion, promptly returned my call the next day when I had some follow-up questions. Also, Dr. Gruber gave him the thumbs up, so that weighs in with me too. amica

My 9-month-old daughter and I saw Dr. King for the first time earlier this month. He listened to her heart for a very long time and in different positions. I was surprised when he said he ''heard something else'' and mentioned a heart murmur. We'd never encountered that before (Dr. Gruber had never mentioned it before). Dr. King was really reassuring, saying that most heart murmurs tend to work themselves out and that it was probably nothing to worry about, but he said he'd just keep an eye (or ear) on it. I appreciated his conscientiousness, his thorough explanation, and his reassuring manner. A few days later, when recounting the story to my mother-in-law, she told me she had gone through the exact same thing when my husband was a baby--he had a heart murmur that eventually went away. She, too, was impressed by Dr. King's conscientiousness. Patty

Sept 2003

My teen daughter has been a patient of Dr. Boynton at Berkeley Pediatric all her life. Now, just as Dr. B. is leaving, I have some concern that my daughter is developing an eating disorder. We have been assigned to Dr. ''Kay'' Kaulshrestha who seems quite pleasant over the phone. Does anyone have positive or negative experiences to share regarding seeking treatment for anorexia with any of the Berkeley Pediatric doctors? concerned mom

We, too, were bummed when Dr. Boynton told us about her retirement. At our last appointment, she introduced me to Dr. K. who is taking most of her patients. She even told me her own grandchildren will be Dr. K.'s patients. After a few appointments with Dr. K., we are happy with her. She is very different from Dr. Boynton--much younger, for starters, but also very sweet. I think this might help your daughter relate to her perhaps better than she would have with Dr. Boynton. My girls are WAY younger than yours, so I'm not sure about her experience or approach to eating disorders. Good luck to you and your family. Elizabeth

I don't know her record with anorexia, but we have taken our 16 year old in for some ''very sensitive'' problems, and were absolutely taken with Dr. K, who is sensitive, direct, competent, knowledgeable and communicative. I'd certainly consult with her! Ilene

August 2003

Almost 27 1/2 years ago I was lucky enough to be assigned to Berkeley Pediatric office. I had heard about them though my midwife, who unfortunately left a couple of hours before my first child was born. I arrived at Alta Bates ER and they asked who my pediatricican was. My get acquainted appointement was still off in the future but because my child was in danger (and even though Berk Ped was no longer accepting patients) Ragna Boynton showed up. From the moment I met her in the recovery room I knew I couldn't find a better pediatrician. My youngest doughter still has one more visit ( a college physical) before we retire from Berkeley Ped. Though sometimes we had to wait, we ALWAYS recieved EXCELLENT care from Dr. Boynton and who ever filled in for her. THANK YOU BERKELEY PEDIATRIC!!! May you continue to provide loving care. Susan

April 2003

We are in the process of selecting a pediatrician for our first child (due in mid-April), and we really liked the pediatrician we met at Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group. However, after reading up on the practice on the Berkeley Parents web site, I'm somewhat concerned about all the negative comments regarding the BPMG office, receptionists, and other staff. These comments are from May 2002, and I'm wondering whether anyone has seen improvement since then, or whether people are still experiencing similar frustrations with the office. Thanks, Alison

We have been with BPMG for over 2 years now. We had an initial bad experience in which a communication glitch resulted in the office staff telling me about a week before our baby was due that Dr. Gruber could not be our pediatrician. The office manager resolved the problem quickly, and since that time I have nothing but good things to say about the staff. There is a newer guy there - not sure of his position - maybe a nurse? - whom I do not connect with well. But other than that, it's truly a great practice and I would recommend it without hesitation. I have complete confidence in them. Amy

We've been seeing Dr. Lang at Berkeley Pediatrics for almost 3 years now--with a brief period with the now-departed Dr. Messinger--and I've had none of the problems mentioned by others. I've found Dr. Lang to be caring and committed, relatively easy to get hold of for telephone questions/discussions, and up on latest medical research/protocols. I'm puzzled by others problems with the office staff and receptionists, since I've found them to be very nice and helpful. When minor glitches occur here and there--such as when they didn't return my pharmacy's call--they've worked quickly to rectify the situation. All in all, I like the practice. christine

It is my impression that the grumpy front office woman who used to be there is no longer. We've been going there for 8 years and are quite satisfied with the care and responsiveness. The spacial accommodation for sick kids and their parent(s) is not very good, but at least there is some separation of the sick from the well. We see Ann Mary Franks, and we like her. Same goes for the other docs in the group, all of whom we've seen at least once. mother of two

Hi, We've been going to BPMG for almost 3 years, and the only problem I've had with the office is some really slow billing - which they seem to have taken care of. It's probably been about a year since we've had a billing issue. (It was pretty frequent before that - they always seemed to be behind in crediting payments, meaning you'd get a bill for a copay you'd already paid.)

As far as staff goes, most have been very nice every time we've been there. There have been a few times when one may have been a bit more brusque than would be ideal, but on the assumption that everyone has bad days once in a while, I've never been too bothered by it. I would never NOT go there for staff/office reasons - the doctors are great, and the office issues minimal now that billing isn't a problem. There are some very nice nurses, too, and my kids are quite comfortable going there - a biggie for me.

The only other ''complaint'' I can think of is that waits are sometimes a bit long, which can be frustrating. But sometimes they aren't - you never know. I try and make appointments for early in the day, bring a drink and a snack for the kid(s), and keep in mind that if one of my kids was sick, I'd want the doctor to fit me in and give us that extra time. Which they have in the past, so I consider it worth it. Heather

Both of my children are patients of Dr. Ragna Boynton at BPMG. She is an excellent doctor and I feel is very much in tune with my philosophy of medical treatment. There was one nurse at BPMG who I thought was very abrupt with me when my infant son needed to get his vaccinations (raising her voice when I wasn't holding him the correct way), but I try to give people a break since BPMG is a very busy office and the nurses and doctors and front desk staff are very busy (perhaps she was having a bad day). However, I feel that my children have received a lot of personal attention there, more than I would have expected given the busy office.

For example, my insurance company billed me for a respiratory chamber that my son needed to take his medication. After going back and forth with the insurance company, and them telling me this device was not covered, they told me to talk with my doctor's office to clear it up. Melinda at the front desk at BPMG battled Blue Cross for me for 3 days, being put on hold for hours, etc. I never expected that kind of service, and my problem was solved. When I need copies of medical records, they usually have them ready the next day for pick up, and will also mail out health records forms for daycare and school usually within one week. They have even written a special letter for my daughter, noting when she would receive her next vaccinations, so that she could register for kindergarten before the deadline.

Regarding waiting time, early morning appointments are best if you can make them - less likely to have to wait since they are not behind schedule yet. I feel that as parents we have to be somewhat flexible since there are other parents with sick kids that need to be seen. I have never had a problem getting an appt. when my children are sick. Usually, I leave a message for Dr. Boynton, who promptly returns my calls (even after regular office hours!) and then we assess what should be done and when my children need to actually be seen in the office.

All in all, I am very happy with BPMG. We moved to Hercules (10 miles away from Berkeley) and I still bring my children there. However, I am heartbroken because our dear Dr. Boynton will be retiring this summer. I believe Dr. ''K'' (only an abbreviation b/c she has a lengthy surname) is taking over most of her patients. I have interacted with Dr. K and she is quite pleasant. Happy BPMG Mom

My son has been with Berkeley Pediatric since he was born (he's now 2), and we've never had a bit of trouble with any of the things you mention. In fact, I really like the office staff. And I've liked all of the pediatricians my son has seen (not just ours). Karen

We have been going to Berkeley Pediatrics since we moved to Berkeley in 1998. I love our pediatrician (Cuthbertson) and my kids adore him, too. I have seen the other posts about issues with the office staff, but have never experienced any problems myself. There is one male nurse who I don't click with, but the I have had good experiences with the rest of the nursing staff. I have never had a problem getting same day appointments with our own doctor if one of the kids is sick. The only times we have seen other doctors is if ours is not in on a particular day, which seems to happen pretty rarely (this is quite different than our prior pediatric practice experience in San Francisco where sick appointments were with whoever was on call that day and we only seemed to see ''our'' pediatrician for well-child check-ups). We have seen most of the other doctors at Berkeley Peds at one time or another and liked them all. We have never had to wait more than 10 minutes to see a doctor, even when we are in for same day/sick appointments. I think it's a great practice and would recommend it without reservation. Karen

My daughter has been a BPMG patient since 9-01. She has been very healthy (no sick visits), so I can only comment on what it is like to get well-baby care there. We have been very satisfied. We have never had any problems with staff or receptionists. I can't say they are especially cheerful, but they are always friendly and competent. I think the space the practice is in is great. Large, clean rooms and separate rooms and waiting areas for well and sick children. And Judy, their advice nurse/lacation consultant is an absolute angel. My only complaint is that about 1/3 the time I wait a long time to be seen. That is pretty irritating, but certainly not problematic enough to warrant switching practices. Liz O.

We have been going to BPMG for almost 8 years with our two children and have never had any trouble with the office staff/receptionists. I know that people have complained in the past, but honestly, we have had MANY appointments and never experienced any of these problems. We really like the practice, but are VERY sad that Dr. Boynton (our pediatrician) is retiring because we love her. Good luck

We have been going to Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group for 7 months now. Our daughter is nine months. We think it is fantastic. We see Dr. K and think she is marvelous with our daughter. I have never had a problem with the staff. The people who do the immunizations (let's face it they have a rough job) have a nice sense of humor and have let us try everything under the sun in terms of trying to make it less painful for our baby. (it's an ongoing experiment.)

The office is clean. They separate the sick from the well. And we never wait very long to see Dr. K. And she spends lots of time with us.

I think you have to accept that no place is perfect and you're bound to have rough moments. We're all human. I highly recommend BPMG. anon

I have been a member of BPMG for 25 years, as a patient and then a parent of a patient. They have had their moments, but the quality of doctor care is consistently excellent. On an occasion or two, the staff have been less than friendly, but for the most part they have been helpful, understanding of my anguish, patient on the phone, careful in getting my information, etc. The doctors, whether it has been my own or an on-call doctor have all been amazing - caring, informed, patient, soothing the baby. They all seem to care so much for teh children -- seeking to put them at ease, and get as much out of the children directly before poking, prodding, or asking me questions.

The waits have varied. I tend to schedule my appointments first thing in the morning so my wait time is less. However, I have waited extraordinarily long times for vaccinations - that has been consistent. But because I feel that the care I receive, and the time the doctors are willing to spend with me to answer my questions, concerns, etc. I think it is worthwhile, and I recommend them heartily. happy at BPMG

We have been seeing Dr. Howard Gruber at Berkeley Pediatrics for more than 7 years, and couldn't be happier with him or the practice. Perhaps because we have simple HMO's, I have never had a problem with the office. I have always had an easy time scheduling appointments, and can call any time with a concern and get a quick response from Dr. Gruber by phone. It is a large practice, so it is entirely possible others have had problems, but our family has not, and I warmly recommend their practice. Sima

Jan 2003

Hi, We've ben going to BPMG for almost 14 years, and we couldn't be happier. Dr. Franks is our doctor and I feel she has taken the time to know me and my son well. She always returns calls, listens patiently to him ( and me), and is always willing to work through a problem. She was particularly helpful when my son was diagnosed with asthma, working with the pulmonary specialist to work out a treatment plan that would be doable for my son. She also went to bat with Blue Cross to get his flu shots covered. Jamie

I have been seeing Dr. Franks at BPMG since my daughter was born 5 years ago, as well as with my youngest who is almost 1. In fact, I will have my 3rd child there as well come July. I have always had a great experiences with all the doctors, nurses and staff there. They are kind to my children and some of them even remember their names without having to look at their charts. I have never once had a chart that was not there for appointments, nor have any of the staff been curt or rude when I address them about different issues. The waiting time for getting calls returned by Dr. Franks has never been excessive, and even when I have called the nurse advice line late at night, they relay the message to BPMG and I have always gotten a call back the next morning. I find the rooms to be sufficiently clean and safe, and love the fact that there are some books and toys in every room to entertain your child while the doctor comes in, which has rarely exceeded 15 mins. Even in the waiting room, the wait has never been very long. I moved to Richmond 2 years ago, but didn't want to switch from BPMG, because I really like the practice.

There was a time when I did switch doctors, because we had no insurace coverage and could only qualify for Medi-Cal. I only did that for a couple of months, because the one visit I did have to this new doctor was horrible. I had to wait 3 hours to be seen, even though we did have a scheduled appointment time. The doctor was great and very patient though some of his advice I thought was a little wrong, but I refused to sit in a waiting room for 3 hours or more for a check-up. As soon as could I switced back to BPMG, and they accepted my Medi-cal, which I don't think they do anymore. Just thought I would let you know of my one bad experince outside of BPMG. Good luck in you choice. a happy mom of 2 BPMG patients. Soon to be 3 patients

May 2002

My daughter's doctor is Dr. Elaine Davenport at Berkeley Pediatrics. While I have been happy with the care she has received from her doctor, I have been brought to tears 4 of my last 5 dealings with the rest of the nurses, doctors and administration at BP. Messages aren't delivered; I am on hold for up to 20 minutes at a time when I call; the receptionists seem put-out by my requests for appointments; my daughter's records haven't always been on hand for an appointment and the time in the waiting room is always way too long. Has anyone managed to find a way around all this unpleasantness at BP? I hate to switch doctors but at this point, I feel like dealing with the emergency room at Oakland's Children's Hospital is easier than BP. Please send me any advice you have about how to be treated better by BP. Thank you.

While we do not go to BP, I do think that you should inform Dr. Davenport of what you feel is going on at the front desk, or with the nurses, and so on. Often, the doctors do not know these things, because this information is never passed on to them; their interactions with patients is limited to the examining room. When I have informed my child's doctor of issues such as the ones raised in your message, he has been surprised and has also acted on the information I gave him. So, no matter what you decide to do, I do think that you should share your feelings with Dr. Davenport, just in case she does not know what is happening with her staff. another mom

It sounds like you have already made up your mind about switching doctors, so I certainly won't try to persuade you otherwise. I think the other docs are great too -- good luck in finding one more consistent with your approaches. I do, however, want to add to the record that my two children (4.5 and 9 months) go to Dr. Davenport and I've had a pretty different response regarding sleep and eating. She seems to listen well to what I'm trying and then offers suggestions if I want them. I have had only positive experiences with her. P.S. I had one child at home, we use homepathic remedies, have refused certain vaccinations, etc -- and I've received nothing but support for my less than conservative approaches.

We have been with Berkeley Pediatrics since my 9 year old son was 18 months old and I have always been very satisfied with the care we receive there, BUT, as with anything, you have to have a strong hand in your treatment. My number one advice is to just print out what you put in the recommendations wanted section and make a ''Talk'' appointment with Dr. Davenport. I would simply give her the printout and let that open up the discussion. You are very clear that you wish to remain with BP, and that you are satisfied with her as a Pediatrician, but that you don't feel that you are being treated with care by the office/nursing/pediatric staff otherwise. My second recommendation is that you ''chat up'' the staff while you're there. Nearly all of the regular staff there know me and my kids because I am a very talkative and friendly person and make an effort to be known. When they know you, you automatically have an edge because they will go the extra mile to please someone they know and like. (I know, everyone should get this kind of treatment, but the staff are just human like all of us, and little 'nudges' are sometimes necessary). Also remember that BP is a tremendously busy office, and not everyone is nice to the staff, so they are often a bit harried. As you know, we moms are like angry lionesses when our ''cubs'' are threatened, and sometimes this spills out toward anyone and everyone when our little ones are sick. Karin

We have experienced long waits, too. I have learned that you get seen sooner if you have a first-thing-in-the-morning appointment. I am also very assertive about getting an appointment when my son is sick. My sister has called to get an appointment and let the person answering the phone know that if her child can't be seen she'll just go straight to Children's and that usually gets her in. I'm sure they get a lot of unneccessary appointments and the doctors try to get the staff to weed those out -- but if you suggest the severity of the symptoms, we've never had a problem getting in. For same-day appointments I also recommend calling first think in the morning, because if you don't it seems like they over-book the 4:45 p.m. slot! Good luck and I hope these suggestions are helpful. Been there, done that

I would try to talk to Elaine Davenport directly before you leave BP. I have always found her receptive and easy to talk with. Since you are happy with the care she is providing your child, I would hate to see you switch physicians. Gail

Like you, I thought our pediatrican, AnneMary Franks, at Berkeley Pediatrics was wonerful, but grew to dislike the office more each time we went there. It sounds like you had it worse that we did--files not there at appointments?--but still the staff seemed overworked and uncaring, the rooms were small, old and stuffy, and the waits were totally unprofessional--upwards of an hour on average. Beyond that, BPMG dropped our insurance, so we had to pay up front and file on our own for minimal reimbursement. Still, I liked Dr. Franks and didn't want to change during my son's first year.

But we finally cried uncle and switched practices. We now see Jane Hunter at Pediatric Medical Group, and I am very happy with the change. I like Dr. Hunter as much as Dr Franks, and the office is so much more pleasant. I have yet to wait more than fifteen or twenty minutes, and usually we're with the doctor much, much faster. The staff seems less harried, and the rooms are clean enough for both my son and me to play on the floor. It's not perfect, and the drive to the office is long for us. But I don't dread going to the pediatrican's the way I grew to with BPMG. Deciding to change doctors was not easy . Now I am very glad we did. Carolyn

Your posting sounded strangely familiar. I too had a pretty traumatic experience with the staff at Berkeley Pediatrics. One time in particular, after handing in my daughter's insurance card at the counter, I was told in a very abrupt way that we did not have a valid insurance and that we would have to pay. I was in shock, knowing that my boyfriend and I spend a large share of our grad-students income on our daughter's health insurance, I asked her what the exact nature of the problem was, and she just kept repeating: you don't have insurance, as if I had been caught trying to cheat them. I insisted that the woman check again or call the insurance company to verify the information, and she refused, also refusing to let me call my boyfriend to ask him if he knew what the problem was. I ended up leaving, almost in tears, and once I got home, Jim called the insurance company that confirmed that we had valid coverage. He called BP back, talked to the woman who also argued with him, and when he told her she was behaving in a very unprofessional matter, she hung up on him. I ended up writing a personal letter to our pediatrician, Dr. Boynton, and someone from their staff called us a few days later to apologize, saying that the problem person had been taken care of... But after that, I dreaded taking my daughter back to Dr. Boynton, because I personally don't need the extra stress and worry when taking a sick child to see a doctor. But subsequent visits have been uneventful.

I strongly recommend Dr. Ann Mary Franks at Berkeley Peds. When we first met with her, we were concerned that she was too young to be an effective (seasoned) caregiver to our daughter. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Dr. Franks is wise, wise, wise beyond her years. She is very even in her advice, not overly conservative, not overly radical. She is empathetic and respects our daughter without talking down to her. She returns phone calls almost immediately. I can't recommend her strongly enough. Linda

For the most part, my experiences with Berkeley Pediatrics have been very good, mostly because our pediatrician Dr. Gruber is extremely responsive, respectful, and sensitive. I did find when I called last time with something I felt was urgent, the receptionist responded negatively and it was obvious she didn't think my daughter's issue was a problem. I persisted with her, she did get the message to Dr. Gruber and he called back that morning. I do know that they are using a new computer system after having had a serious computer crash that brought down their system for what seemed like several months. Whether or not that is contributing to your experiences of them being disorganized, I don't know. I think it would be very worthwhile for your pediatrician to hear about your concerns and experiences dealing with their office. They may not be aware of some of the problems people are experiencing and would probably want to address it otherwise. Good luck. Hannah

My experience with BP has been the antithesis of what you have described. We have been bringing my son of 3 years to Ragna Boynton since he was born. For these three years I have always found the front office staff to be cheerful and helpful, both on the phone and in person. We've also never waited for any inordinate amount of time to be seen, and my son's records always on hand. My phone messages must be delivered because we always get a quick response. One time I had to leave the house unexpectedly after leaving a message for Dr. Boynton to call me. When I came home Dr. Boynton had left five messages on my machine! Five! She tried to get in touch with me all day. With my M.D., I'm lucky if he tries returning my calling once at the end of the day after he is finished with all of his appointments! In lieu of switching doctors why not try communicating you complaints to Dr. Davenport via a letter. marianne

April 2002

We are looking for a pediatrician and have generally heard good things about the doctors at Berkeley Pediatrics. Right now, 2 doctors are accepting new patients, Dr Lang and a new doctor whose last name (I think) is Kulshrestha. Apparently Dr Kulshrestha has been filling in for other doctors on leave for some time. Has anyone had any experiences with her? Thanks! Kathleen

We have been going to BP since my son was born. He is now 13. Dr. Franks is our pediatrician and we have always had excellent care. She returns phone calls promptly, never dismisses my concerns, and takes as much time as we need. Also, I've never been kept waiting a long time. Jamie

My son is a patient of Dr. Elaine Davenport at Berkeley Pediatrics. We saw Dr Kulshrestha once for a stuffy nose/allergy issue. I don't know if it because she is so young, or if this is what the really great docs are like at her age--but she interacted with my 4 year old in a very relaxed and non-threatening way. She could have been giving him a shot and he would have trusted her. She seemed more like a teenage cousin than a doctor--with him. That said--her interaction with me was informative and professional. When we started with Dr. Davenport she was new to the practice, fresh out of a chief residency. I was worried that inexperience might be an issue. It wasn't. I think Dr. K falls into that category. Tomas' Mom

Dr. Lang is our regular pediatrician and we have been very happy with her for the past almost 3 years. We also saw Dr. Kulshrethsa during Dr. Lang's maternity leave for a wellness visit and were very comfortable with her manner and advice. We have also witnessed the younger doctors conferring regularly with the senior doctors, so that adds to our comfort level. Knock on wood, we've never had a serious incident but all my phone calls for fevers and rashes have been returned promptly. I would sign up with either doctor with confidence. Lori

We see Dr. Lang at Berkeley Peds and are very happy with her. She's new to the practice, started there in late August I think just around the time our son was born. I did mention that we would be sleeping with our son when I interviewed her and if she has a problem with that, she certainly hasn't mentioned it to me. She always take her time with us and offers clear answers to all my questions. She's never been condescending or patronizing or put me off in any way. I like the fact that she has a two year old and can relate to all my worries. I sometimes preface my questions with I know this seems neurotic, but... and she says, Oh, I just got over worrying about that myself. We've only been with her for 8 months now and haven't had any health problems so I can't vouch for her in a crisis, but so far she's been great.

I believe the new doctor you mention is the same ''Dr. K'' who saw my son at his one-year appointment. (His regular pediatrician, Dr. Lang, was on maternity leave at the time.) Our experience with her was overwhelmingly positive: She was personable, thorough, and open to our questions, taking the time to answer them all without seeming rushed. Most importantly, she got down on the floor with our son and just played with him, trying to engage him instead of just talking over his head to us. We got the impression that not only is she a good clinician, but that she truly enjoys children. Lynn K.

I have seen both Dr. Lang and Dr. Kulshretha and like them both. Dr. Lang had twins recently so is very empathetic with new parents. Ann


I was wondering if anyone has ever had a physician from Berkeley Pediatrics perform a circumcision? Specifically, I am interested if Dr. Davenport has performed this surgery on any of your children, and if so, how was the experience/outcome. I am considering using a urologist, but I would love some feedback from people who have used Dr. Davenport. Thank you.

We do not have experience with Dr. Davenport, but Dr Cuthbertson of Berkeley Pediatrics did our second son's circumcision. We have no problems or conerns with the result. Also, he did it when our child was about a week old, in the office, rather than on day one at the hospital. To help develop a comfort level with Dr. Davenport, ask her how many she has performed. You should ask the same of any urologist you talk to. It is my understanding that in Berkeley and the surrounding area it is usual practice for pediatricians to perform circumcisions, so they have a lot of experience with the procedure. (This is not always the case. Our first son was born in San Francisco and there the custom and practice is that the OBs do the circ before you leave the hospital). Karen

We are patients of Dr. Boynton's at Berkeley Pediatrics. When my son was born, I had his circumcision done there by Dr. Gruber. It is my understanding that Dr. Gruber performs all the circumcisions for Berkeley Pediatrics, and he is very experienced and talks you through the entire procedure. We brought my son in at 10 days old and he was very comfortable throughout the procedure. Dr. Gruber injected a local anesthetic and my son was also given sugar-water to suck on during the procedure (Dr. Gruber explained this is supposed to reduce pain as well somehow). It took about 10 minutes to finish, and you just apply neosporin ointment to the penis until it heals (which only took about 5 days for my son). I was very happy that I elected to have his circumcision done in the pediatrician's office, as I was not confident of the care my son got afterdelivery at the hospital. Sean's mom

My son was circumcised by Dr. Davenport a day after he was born at Alta Bates Hospital. She assured me that that it would be quick and relatively painless. And though I didn't really witness it being done, my son didn't have any problems and recovered quickly. Alice

I can't speak specifically about Dr. Davenport, but my son is a patient of Dr. Franks at Berkeley Pediatrics. We had her do his circumcision at Alta Bates the day after he was born. She explained the entire process to us, was very experienced, used a local anesthetic, and reccomended (as someone else mentioned) that we let him suck on something with sugar water (pacifier-like thing? don't remember) during the procedure. We did, and both my husband and I were there with him holding his hands through the entire (very short) procedure. The combination seemed to help tremendously - he fussed only minimally, and then mostly when getting the anesthetic. I would have her do it again, at Alta Bates, if we were to have another boy. hgowdy

Older recommendations:

  • Ragna Boynton
  • James Cuthbertson
  • Elaine Davenport
  • AnneMary Franks
  • Howard Gruber
  • Olivia Lang
  • Jeffrey Messenger

    Ragna Boynton

    From: Nina (4/98)

    My husband and 2 children (10 and 7) are devoted fans of Ragna (aka Ronnie) Boynton of Berkeley Pediatrics on Walnut St. She's taken us through some tough times and has been thorough, caring, patient, and very attentive. I have no idea whether she's taking new patients. Berkeley Pediatrics has closed at times to new patients from particular health plans; you'd have to check with them. Phone # is 848-2566.

    James Cuthbertson

    Rebecca 8/99

    I highly recommend Dr. James Cuthbertson. He has excellent rapport with children and parents alike, always returns phone-calls promptly (generally within an hour) and is extremely knowledgeable and caring. Although he is busy (one must book well-baby appointments several months ahead of time), he gives great advice and takes time to get to know his patients. We had started with Dr. Howard Gruber -- but found Cuthbertson to be much better so switched after about 9 months with Gruber (I wish I had changed doctors earlier).

    From: Margo (12/96)
    Re: M.D. Recommendation for 16 yr old

    I have a recommendation on a doctor for the person with a 16 year old son. I have 3 sons, ages 19, 14, and 5. They all have Dr. Cuthbertson at the Berkeley Pediatric Clinic, 1650 Walnut St., Berkeley. He's always bouncy and so positive whenever they see him. He doesn't talk down to my 19 or 14 year old and seems to know exactly what they are thinking about if they just look at him and don't know the words to express their concern. He's very down to earth and doesn't talk too much, just enough. He's always open to questions and won't belittle any concern. They've been going to him since they were born. I don't know if he's accepting patients but it won't hurt to ask.

    From: Betsy (12/96) Subject: male pediatrician

    We love our son's pediatrician, James Cuthbertson. His office is in North Berkeley on Virginia near Shattuck (just down the hill from campus). He has a great deal of experience and identified a rather rare problem at our son's birth when several other doctors, including a specialist, could not. He explains things to parents without talking down. He has two kids of his own, now in college, is brisk and commonsensical and he is one of my son's absolute favorite people. (perhaps I should add that my son is 2)

    From: Alexis (12/96) Subject: M.D. recommendation for 16-yr-old boy?

    Let me add my voice to those recommending Jim Cuthbertson, of the Berkeley Pediatric group. He has been our son Brandt's pediatrician since Brandt was moments old (Brandt will be two in March) and has been a caring, cheerful, non-judgmental care-giver, ever since.

    Elaine Davenport

    From: Dee (1/97)

    I switched over from Kaiser last year to Dr. Elaine Davenport at Berkeley Pediatrics. I asked my obstetrician for a recommendation and she highly recommended this group of young doctors.

    Some things that have impressed me are:
    1) they do home visits for newborns
    2) your doctor examines your baby the day they are born and before they are released
    3) Dr. Davenport is very personable, always returns my calls the same day, and my children like her a lot too! (very important)
    4) they are affiliated with Children's Hospital and use them for emergency care and after hour services

    My daughter Erin got whooping cough at 5 weeks old and was in ICU at Children's Hospital for over 2 weeks. Dr. Davenport stopped by to examine Erin, talk to their doctors, and relay information to me just about every day.

    Dr. Davenport is fairly new to this medical group and is a recent graduate of UC Davis. She also completed her graduate work as a top intern. I thought initially that I wanted a more experienced doctor, but Dr. Davenport being a recent graduate has proved her knowledge of the most recent studies in Pediatrics. She also has a child under a year old.

    Berkeley Pediatrics is at 1650 Walnut St. and their phone # is (510) 848-2566.

    Good luck!

    Anne Mary Franks

    Our 5 year old and 8 month old see Dr. Annemary Franks, who has been VERY supportive of extended breast-feeding and our other concerns (though I tend not to bring up our alternative ideas very much). And she did say we should just wait and see if our then-6 month old would stretch out his sleep hours on his own, as opposed to trying to change anything. (I can't remember what she said about our 5 year old over the years!) I do think the party-line about sleep is fairly consistent at their practice, from what I've heard from my other friends, but again, Annemary has been pretty hands-off about it with us. Good luck!
    Karen 8/99

    Our pediatrician is Anne Marie Franks, and we think she's been wonderful. She is warm, patient and gentle with our child (who's now almost 2 1/2) and she has a great style for us in that she's low key and relaxed, and very reassuring to new parents. We haven't had any major medical problems (knock on wood) but she's been great with all the little things and very good at returning calls.

    Mary 8/99

    My daughter has been with Berkeley Pediatrics since birth which is now over 3 years ago. Anne Mary Franks is her pediatrician. I really like it there. I have rarely had a long wait to see a doctor. I find Anne Mary to be wonderfully competent, gracious, sympathetic, so caring, and very sweet with children. I can see in her face just how much she loves interacting with kids while she talks to my daughter. The nurses and staff have also been really pleasant --- I like seeing them joke around with each other, you can see the friendships there. And to back up a little, Anne Mary was there the morning after my daughter's birth to examine her. I was exhausted and Anne Mary's happiness and congratulatory mood was infectious. It felt wonderful. Within the first week or two, Anne Mary made a house call one evening just to check up on the baby and see how things were going. I'm not sure if this just came with my insurance coverage or whether she visits all her new babies at home, but it was delightful. And on the occasions when we've seen the other partners, I was very pleased with them, too.

    andrea 8/99

    We've been using Berkeley Pediatrics for 8 years. Dr. Annemary Franks is our doctor and I like her very much. She is friendly, knowledgable, practical and has a sense of humor. My step daughter saw Dr. Boynton for many years and liked her very much

    From: Hilary (4/98)

    Dr. AnneMary Franks at Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group, 1650 Walnut St., Berkeley tel. 848-2566 is young, on top of latest research, loving, full of common sense and everything else you want a pediatrician to be.

    \tI'm also have very positive impressions of Dr. Anne Mary Franks, at the same practice. She was the pediatrician on call when my twins were born, and we have seen her a couple of times since, times when Dr. Gruber has been away. She's also great, and my kids particularly like the Elmo she wears on her stethoscope.

    Kim (12/96)

    Howard Gruber

    Sima 8/99

    Dr. Howard Gruber is an *excellent* pediatrician, in my opinion. He is very experienced (he started there 30 years ago), very reassuring, very excellent as a doctor (he is listed in the database of the finest doctors in the Bay Area, highlighted yearly in the San Francisco Focus magazine as doctors that are recommended by other doctors as people they would choose for their own families), and not at all condescending. He has seen both of my sons, and when the eldest needed surgery, he referred him to an excellent specialist who did marvelous work; when the younger had an irregular heart beat at birth, he arranged for a cardiologist at Children's to do an EKG on our way home from the hospital. I cannot say enough good things about this doctor! I especially like the way he can explain things. When you are a worried parent, it is so great to have a doctor who you feel will take your concerns seriously but will not be an alarmist. My friends who have Dr. Gruber have said similar things.

    Kiren 8/99

    I recommend Dr. Gruber with great enthusiasm. He has been my three year old's ped. since before she was born and I have the most unqualified confidence in his skills and his judgement. Dr Gruber isn't the kind of person who has his whole philosophy of medicine up for grabs and he won't have endless discussions with you, but he has well reasoned positions on

    Berkeley Peds. is incredibly good -- they are the only place that will open up for your child if she gets sick in the wee hours of the night; the only ones that make HOME visits after babies are born; and much more. There may be new entrants in the baby health biz. but when I did a thorough research job four years ago Berkeley Peds. was by far the best.

    Anne 8/99

    We have a 10 year old and an 8 year old who have been patients of Dr. Gruber for the past 5 years. We have all been very happy to have Dr. Gruber as our family's pediatrician. In our experience, he connects well with the children in a warm, gentle, soft-spoken way. He has consistently treated us with cordial respect. Dr. Gruber has conscientiously returned every phone call we've ever made to him in a timely fashion. He is one of the more experienced pediatricians in the practice, and according to other physicians we know, he is highly regarded in the medical community for his knowledge and sound judgement. Dr. Gruber has often discussed with us up-to-date research findings of relevance to our children's health. We have been impressed that while he seems to be well read and stays abreast of current medical information, he combines this knowledge with the wisdom of experience in making medical recommendations and decisions. One of our children recently underwent evaluation with a specialist for what might have been (and fortunately was NOT) a serious medical condition. Even in a highly stressful situation, we were pleased with Dr. Gruber's handling of the matter. He was reassuring to all of us. He spent considerable time and put out the effort to give us a thorough explanation and to answer all of our questions. All in all, we recommend Dr. Gruber without reservation.

    Dominic 8/99

    I had been meaning to write when the discussions about Berkeley Pediatrics were going on a week or two ago and didn't get around to it. We've been taking our son to Dr. Gruber since we got to Berkeley a year ago. He has been wonderful throughout, and I would recommend him wholeheartedly. On our first visit he sat and talked to us for quite a while before examining our son to be sure that Dylan, who was then 18 months, would have time to get comfortable with him first. We've been to see Dr. Gruber a number of times since then, most recently two times a week because of a thumb slammed in a door, and he has always been extremely caring and thoughtful. When we have called with questions about vaccinations or coughs he has spent a lot of time, once twenty minutes or more, talking us through the worries and issues over the phone and discussing whether it made sense to come in. I point this out because of course there is no reimbursement for long phone consultations and that is clearly not part of what motivates Dr. Gruber. In our experience he has been a great, calm and caring, pediatric doctor.

    Judy 8/99

    Howard Gruber has been my pediatrician for 13 years and I think he's terrific. He's wonderful with my children, answers phone calls promptly, is respectful of my anxieties, generous with his time and most important seems to be first rate medically (this last opinion has been confirmed by conversations with a number of area physicians who have worked with him).

    Mary 8/99

    I would like to add my family's endorsement of Berkeley Pediatrics physicians, Dr. Howard Gruberin particular, and the BP nurses. I have had many of the same experiences others report and would like to add an example of the quality of treatment they routinely provide. A little over a year ago, Henry, our soon-to-be 3 yr. old, fell and hit his head on a brick on our back patio, receiving a serious cut on his forehead. when I called Berkeley Pediatrics, I was all ready to be told to rush to the emergency room but instead was told by Dr. Gruber - who returned my call immediately - to bring Henry right into the office. Between he and the amazingly patient and talented nurse, Gordon, they were able to get three stitches in -- aligning them so Henry now has no scar on his forehead. And, while it makes me want to cry now to repeat the story, at the time, the confident, swift and caring skills of Dr. Gruber and nurse Gordon provided me with great assurance. I feel we are extraordinarily fortunate to have Howard Gruber and Berkeley Pediatrics for the care of our child's health.

    Leah 8/99

    I only just got caught up with the newsletter for the first time since coming back from vacation. Please let me add my recommendation for Dr. Gruber (apparently it's not at all necessary, but I would really feel just terrible if I missed out on my turn!). Dr. Gruber was pediatrician for both my younger brothers beginning in 1971 (wow - 28 years ago!). One of my brothers was his generation's grand champion of ear infections & allergies, so my dad & stepmother got to know Dr. Gruber rather well. They liked & appreciated him so much (& I remember liking the waiting room so much, compared with my pediatrician, who was somewhere else) that before our son was born I of course called Dr. Gruber first, & was mighty thrilled that I didn't have to look any further! Our son is a lot healthier than my brother was, so we don't get to see Dr. Gruber very often. And though I always like to see him, I really appreciate the fact that he calls (almost immediately) & takes care of minor things over the phone when possible. However, when our son was born he was really unwell for a short time, and Dr. Gruber's competence, patience and kindness were our saving grace. I will never forget when, after several days of dragging our infant son everywhere for testing (ask me about HMOs sometime - very different story) and had basically gone completely out of our minds, Dr. Gruber sat us down in his office & said very seriously Now your job is to calm down, and get used to having a healthy child. Without that reminder it would've been a lot harder to let go of the stress, I'm sure. Maybe the best thing about Dr. Gruber is that my brothers & my son respect & admire him an awful lot. They would all do just about anything if Dr. Gruber says so. (Thanks for including me on the bandwagon!)

    lynn 8/99

    I have two children, a boy and a girl, and Dr. Gruber has been our pediatrician for the past 14 years. I think he's wonderful. He is very conservative in his approach to medicine and I like that. He is very warm and caring individual, but also soft-spoken. Some of the other doctors in the practise are more animated, but Dr. Gruber suits us just fine.

    The main referrals we received on Dr. Gruber prior to our choosing him as our daughter's pediatrician (4 years ago) were from his former patients. My two cousins who are now in their late twenties LOVED him as they were growing up. The recommendations from their parents and the interview my husband and I had with him while I was pregnant also played a part but I particularly loved hearing from these adult women who still had so much affection for Dr. Gruber and Berkeley Pediatrics. We also know another woman who was one of Gruber's patients who recently became a pediatrician and she says her fondest wish is to someday work at Berkeley Ped. As my daughter's doctor, we have found him to be terrifically responsive and helpful to us and wonderfully gently and respectful to her. He exhibits all of the wisdom and experience one would expect from a doc who has been practicing for 30+ years but he also inspires confidence that he is wholly up to date on current issues. What I have been most impressed with (and comforted by) is the fact that he ALWAYS returns phone calls within a very short period of time and if, for some reason, we see another doc who is on call or in the er, we receive a phone call from Dr. Gruber the next business day checking up to see how our daughter is. We have been very pleased with our choice and we recommend Dr. Gruber- and Berkeley Pediatrics wholeheartedly.
    Kim 8/99

    Dr. Gruber is the pediatrician for my 6-year old twins and he is fantastic: caring, interested, knowledgeable. He's been our pediatrician from the beginning and was especially wonderful when the twins were only a few months old and there was a question about whether one of them had had a seizure. Seizures are very difficult to diagnose in babies. Howard Gruber was helpful and supportive without giving us false hope and he negotiated with our health insurance to get us the best specialists. Fortunately, our son turned out to be fine; what we thought was a seizure was only normal, if erratic baby behavior!

    Since then, he's been great, too. He sees us whenever we need medical attention -- once, even on Christmas Day!. And my kids adore him -- they never mind going for a visit. I'd jump at the opportunity to have him for your pediatrician.

    Lee 8/99

    Both my kids have been with Howard Gruber since birth. I think everyone in the group is very good. What we like about Gruber is that his years of experience really tell. His mild manner and expert touch alleviate any fear or anxiety my kids have over going to the doctor. He is always frank and open with us, and has a very down-to-earth philosophy. He is very thoughtful in his diagnosis. A couple of times he has told me that he wanted to think about (a particular problem) for a day or two, then call me (not in an emergency situation, of course!). He has handled our emergencies calmly and skillfully (and is pretty good at calming me down in those circumstances, as well!). He patiently answers all of my 4-year-old's questions (like how much blood do I have?) in terms he can understand, and treats kids as little human beings.

    From: Kim (12/96)

    I have another recommendation for a pediatrician. I have twin boys, aged 3, and Dr. Howard Gruber at Berkeley Pediatrics has been their pediatrician since birth. He is gentle, knowledgeable, and very caring. In addition, he deals with crises with a great deal of grace: in our case, the crises have included everything from diagnosing whether my weeks-old son had suffered a seizure to removing a small rubber ball (from the espresso machine) from my son's nose ...

    Olivia Lang

    I would like to hear from people who have any advice or comments about the new pediatrician, Dr. Lang, in the Berkeley Pediatrician Medical Group. Any relevant information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Grace (8/4/00)

    Veronica 8/99
    Our doctor at Berkeley Pediatrics is Dr. Boynton, but this past Saturday my son developed a very painful ear infection and was seen Sunday morning at the office by Dr. Lang. It was just one visit, but she was great, she gave us all the time we needed, put my son at ease, explained things to us and was just all around professional and sympathetic at the same time.
    We have had a very positive experience with Dr. Lang so far. Our daughter is thirteen months, and we switched from another Dr. to Dr. Lang when she was about five months. Dr. Lang has a very good rapport with our daughter, is always gentle, takes time to make her feel comfortable by playing with her and showing her books, and is very comforting. I like very much that Dr. Lang asks us a lot of questions at each visit and is very thorough, so I don't ever leave feeling that my appointment was a waste of her time (some Dr.s act so rushed due to over-booking that you feel like you should leave as quickly as possible), and she will always take time to answer my questions to my satisfaction during our visit or over the phone. As parents, we don't always do things the most traditional way (we do the family bed and I am still breastfeeding our daughter), but I never feel judged. Dr. Lang has been very supportive, and I feel confident so far in her knowledge and expertise. I know two other couples who bring their babies to Dr. Lang, and they too have said very good things about her. Hope that helps. Anne (8/00)
    My 13 month-old-son has been Dr. Lang's ( Olivia Lang ) patient since he was born. She is a very nice and open pediatrician, a person to whom we can ask everything about children's issues, so I would recommend her to anyone. Sandra (8/00)
    Dr. Lang is out son's doctor and has been since his birth in September. We love her. She has been very thorough and responsive to all of needs. He has never be seriously ill so I don't know how she would be in that situation. I feel like she would handle it well, however. She is low key and open to different parenting styles. I would recommend her. Hope this helps. Anna (8/00)
    I can highly recommend Dr. Lang at the Berkeley Pediatric Group. My daughter was premature and has had an extensive amount of digestive problems, including wearing an ileostomy bag for six months. We moved here last year (when she was 3) and Dr. Lang has spent quite a bit of time making sure that she knew my daughter's situation. She is very attentive and a good listener. Last spring my daughter was very ill and I called to get an emergency appointment. Dr. Lang diagnosed her with Scarlet Fever and immediately called in a prescription. M.C. (8/00)
    We have had Dr. Lang as our pediatrician since our daughter was born (she's now 10 months) for all the well baby visits. We have never had any health issues other than the normal colds. I would highly recommend her -- she is very professional and at the same time never rushed and always willing to talk about her personal experiences with her own daughter who I think is around 2 years old. She returns our calls for advice within a few hours and often gives us a follow-up call. Michele (8/00)

    Jeffrey Messenger

    Sept 2001

    Regarding Dr. Messenger at Berkeley Pediatrics: my two-year-old was treated by Dr. Messenger, the on-call physician for our regular doctor, Ragna Boynton. I found him warm, helpful, very gentle with my sick child and reassuring to me. He offered sound advice and alternatives to rote, perscribed treatment. Dr. Messenger dealt with us in a thoughtful and professional manner.

    My wife and I are taking our two children (2 years 9 months; 8 months) to Dr. Messenger while Dr. Davenport is on leave. We have had two visits with him and have felt quite satisfied both times. We felt that Dr. Messenger's youth was a non-issue as he gave thorough exams, asked and answered many questions and established a good rapport with us and our children. We are all very happy with the quality of care and professional demeanor exhibited by Dr. Messenger. And Dr. Davenport, as well, for that matter! Bruce
    I just wanted to add my support for Jeff Messenger at Berkeley Peds. While we have a close connection with Olivia Lang (our regular ped) and are looking forward to her coming back from maternity leave, Jeff has done a perfectly fine job at our daughter's well-baby visits, as well as at one visit where he looked at a rash that concerned us (and he followed up on the phone as well). Donna
    I also had a very GOOD experience with Dr. Messenger when he was on-call for Dr. Franks. I had to call him when I had food poisoning a couple of months ago. I was concerned that it might transfer to my son through my milk. I also wanted to find out if there was something I could take for the symptoms that would not transfer to my son. I was somewhat embarrassed in asking these questions. However, Dr. Messenger called me back within 5 minutes of leaving the initial message. His bedside manner put me at ease immediately and he took the time to look up the common medications to make sure there was something available I could take. I found him extremely helpful and encouraging. Felicia
    I just wanted to chime in with two more positive experiences with Dr. Messenger, who has been standing in for Dr. Lang during her maternity leave. I had a lengthy telephone consultation with him when my son had a nasty virus, and we have also seen him for a 2-year-old checkup. Both times I was impressed with his warmth, empathy, and knowledge. My son really took to him as well -- I have never seen Austin so well-behaved and friendly during a checkup! Obviously Dr. Messenger is younger and therefore less experienced than the other doctors in the practice, but personally I wouldn't hold it against him. If Dr. Lang were to leave the practice, I would have no concerns about switching to Dr. Messenger Sara
    I'd like to add another vote of confidence for Dr. Messenger at Berkeley Peds. Our regular Dr., Olivia Lang, is out on maternity leave, and while she's been gone we've been in twice (once for my son's 2 1/2 year check up and once for an ear infection check), and both times were assigned to Dr. Messenger. While I agree that he seems a little young and inexperienced (and I wondered if he has kids of his own, which is probably the best source of information for a pediatrician in the long run), both times we visited he was warm and friendly, helpful, answered all of our questions, was very patient with my not-very-cooperative 2 1/2 year old who doesn't like doctors poking at him, and responded professionally in every way. I prefer our regular doctor, but I'd be comfortable having Dr. Messenger look at my son again. Elaine