Sutter Health Pediatrics (formerly Pediatric Medical Group)


2500 Milvia Street Berkeley, California 94704

Also at this address: Sutter Health Ob/Gyns &  Sutter Health Primary Care

  • Pediatricians at this practice:  Ralph Berberich, Neelu Ghaderi, Steven Kowaleski, Margery Lackman, Petra Landman, Lisa Swearingen, Serena Way

This practice was formerly called Pediatric Medical Group

Parent Q&A

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  • Pediatricians at Sutter East Bay on Milvia

    (13 replies)

    I am trying to choose between several Pediatricians at Sutter East Bay, Milvia location (Berkeley). Does anyone have experience with any of the following Pediatricians?

    Drs. Petra Landman, Lisa Swearingen, Ralph Berberich, Steve Kowaleski, and Neelu Ghaderi

    Both Landman and Swearingen are great. Very responsive to questions in person and via the MyHealthOnline app. Unless you have an urgent medical issue, they tend to be booked about a month out for in person appointments.

    We have 4 kids and Swearingen is our primary ped doc but we have also seen everyone except Ghaderi for non-routine visits. We’ve never had any significant health issues but we love the practice overall and especially Dr. Swearingen! She’s very warm, gentle, speaks to the kids and the parents. She has listened to all of our concerns and never brushed them off, she’s willing to provide referrals if requested and has low ego. With our birth of our first kid Berberich was the ped making rounds at the hospital and when we were concerned about initial labs he gave us his cell phone number in case we had more questions. He personally followed up with results from repeat labs. We felt very personally cared for in a large system/hospital. 

    Dr. Berberich and Dr. Kowaleski are both really wonderful. We had to leave their practice about five years ago because of an insurance change--but they are both great with kids, very experienced, and will go the distance for their patients. I don't know the others, but have heard good things.

    We are with Lisa Swearingen and love her. She caught something in our son's bloodwork when he was a newborn, communicated with us immediately, got him in to see a specialist at Children's Oakland within a couple of hours, and consistently followed up. All was well, but it could have been bad if our pediatrician had been less conscientious, and we had be less lucky. Since then (just over a year), she's just been a pleasure to work with. She is professional but friendly, with a good bedside manner. She listens, answers questions and actually explains things without condescending. She's a good balance of no-nonsense science and relaxed openness, if that makes sense. Our son loves her too. I've had one appointment with Petra landman as well, and she was very pleasant, competent, etc. 

    Dr. Petra Landman was my daughters' pediatrician for 12 years before my husband's health insurance plan changed and we lost access to Sutter East Bay's pediatricians.  A year later, I still miss seeing her.  She's warm, responsive, and never made me feel rushed.  She has a great bedside manner with children.  I highly, highly recommend her!  We have also seen Dr. Berberich many times, and we like him very much too!   

    We have had a great experience with both Dr Landman and Dr Swearingen...Dr Berberich and Dr Koweski were good to see if we had to (sick visit, on call etc) and were thorough and professional but my kids didn’t take to either and I found them to just not be so warm and welcoming. Highly recommend the other two!

    We have loved the Pediatricians at Milvia location. We personally prefer Landman and Swearingen as they just seem more understanding and caring. One of our daughters tends to resist certain procedures and I didn’t find kowaleski or berberich to be as patient or kind with her (they seemed annoyed that she was scared in our experience) - but they still provided great medical advice and care. 

    We see Dr. Swearingen with our 4 month old and are very happy! Personable, good with my daughter, and very concise. Emails about things like stubborn diaper rash, etc, all answered quickly. 

    I've been seeing Dr. Lisa Swearingen for the past three years, love her approach and all of the nursing team as well. 


    Hello - We had Dr. Swearingen as our pediatrician before we left the Bay Area.  She was very personable and never felt rushed.  As a new mom, we had tons of questions in the beginning and she never hesitated to give you her time.  She would always give us an age appropriate book at the appointments, also, which I thought was a sweet gesture.  Honestly, I wish we could have taken her with us on our move.

    We've had some interactions w/Dr. Kowaleski and have found him kind and thoughtful. Our primary doctor for the last 2 years has been Dr. Berberich and we love him, though I'm also aware that his rather gruff, "no-nonsense" style isn't for everyone! We like him because he's pretty aligned with us in terms of childrearing approach (informed us when our child was old enough to night wean but didn't push the issue; gave us evidence-based information for treatment options he recommended; let us know when referrals were necessary and when they would be unlikely to yield additional information; etc.). Will stick with him until he retires :)

    I've really liked the relationship we have with Dr. Petra Landman. We have a four month old, so not a long relationship, but she's patiently answered questions, takes time with us and our baby, and seems to have similar values. I also like the office staff. 

    Dr. Landman was my twins doctor and all three of us were very happy with her. She's excellent. We also had very positive experiences and interaction with all of the other doctors you listed except for Dr. Ghaderi. It's an excellent group including staff and nurses.

Parent Reviews

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We've been very happy with Dr. Ghaderi at Sutter Health on Milvia.

We have had a good experience with all of the pediatricians at Sutter on Milvia. We have never felt rushed in any of our pediatrician appointments, and when I've had to email outside of office hours I have gotten a response pretty quickly. I also want to offer the advice to find someone close to home - there are a lot of good pediatricians in the East Bay, so there is no reason to go to SF or really more than a couple of miles from home. When you have an urgent situation with your kid, you do not want to have to go far. And even for well visits, there are so many in that first year, and life with a newborn is really hard, no need to add the stress of a long car trip with a baby who may or may not scream every time you put them in a car seat. We picked a pediatrician we can walk to and it is SO valuable. One time our kid hit his head at the playground and spent the whole drive to urgent care asking if he was going to die, and I was so thankful that it was a very short drive (he was fine, heads just bleed a lot so he was scared).

Our child has been seen by Dr. Lisa Swearingen since I was pregnant and the day he was born (Sutter East Bay on Milvia). She's great and is accessible via email as well, but also didn't rush our visits. She also is very practical in her stance, which we also appreciate since my partner and I have an extensive background in medical sciences.

When our child was about 2, we took him for his first dental visit with Dr. Nick (Nicholas Ching) located in Albany/El Cerrito, and it was a very warm place! He had one other visit prior to COVID and will be going back for his next visit next month. Something else I like about this office is that they bill insurance first and then send us a bill (sometimes) afterwards so we aren't paying like $500 upfront for a child's dental visit. We really love both of these providers and feel that they are very good at working with kids and their caregivers =) 

Are you looking for a general pediatrician? If so, we use Dr. Tracy Evans-Ramsey ( She has always been supportive of our son and never judgmental.

If you are talking about a development pediatrician, we've loved working with Dr. Brad Berman (

I really like Geri Landman at Sutter Health. I’m not sure about holistic/integrative leanings, but she fits the rest of your description. Our 3-month old son has seen her since birth, and she answers all our questions very quickly and thoroughly, both in person and on the online platform.

My two daughters (now 20 and 24) highly recommend Dr Petra Landman, Pediatric Medical Group, (510) 204-5600, at 2500 Milvia St, Berkeley. She’s fantastic. 

My twin daughters have been seeing Dr. Petra Landman since their premie days almost 20 years ago. One of my twins has ADHD. My girls have also seen the other female physician in that practice at 2500 Milvia in Berkeley. Unsure if they accept your insurance since mine’s different. Dr. Landman is excellent and I highly recommend her and her colleagues.

Best wishes. 

We have United Healthcare and we go to Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group (now called Sutter East Bay Medical foundation) at 2500 Milvia (Milvia and Dwight.)

I have teenaged twins who have been going there since birth, and we have liked the practice.  Our primary doctor is Dr. Petra Landman, but we have also seen many of the other doctors when she is unavailable.  We have been happy with Dr. Landman.  She is very down to earth, seems on top of the latest research, and is very willing to consult her fellow practitioners for additional expertise if needed.  We also like Dr. Kowaleski, and haven't had a bad experience with any of them.

I will just add a caveat that our kids have overall been pretty healthy, so we haven't had to use the practice for any serious health issues.  Mostly annual checkups and the occasional bump, bruise or fever.

RE: Seeking a female pediatrician ()

We absolutely love Lisa Swearingen in Berkeley. She is incredibly responsive but not alarmist (I’m a first time mom and occasionally anxious) and takes a lot of time with us. She’s very sweet toward our daughter and takes a lot of time to explain EVERYTHING to us. Happy to give you more details if you want 

RE: Seeking a female pediatrician ()

We love Lisa Swearingen at Alta Bates in Berkeley. She has been our daughter’s pediatrician since birth. As first-time parents, it was important for us to find someone who was not only highly competent, but also caring and a good listener. Dr. Swearingen met all of our criteria and more.

Her bio page:

We love Dr. Petra Landman at Alta Bates. Very respectful, takes time for any questions / concerns, sweet with kids. We also have Blue Shield PPO.

Another vote for Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation on Milvia in Berkeley. My OB is Dr. Ahsan, but Dr. Kadri delivered my baby two months ago. I also saw two other OBs three when Dr. Ahsan was out, everyone was fantastic! For Pediatrician, I go to the same office on Milvia and see Dr. Swearingen. I love the location because there is plenty of free parking and the building is new and clean. 

I just had my first in June and we went with Dr Swearingen. She has been great at answering emails (or her team) and takes time to explain everything and answer all our (ok my) first time parent crazy questions. Since it is a big practice we have seen a couple other peds but we like her the best so far. 

We have been seeing Dr. Petra Landman since 2004. My kids, now 15 and 17, still go to her and Dr. Landman has been perfect at adjusting and meeting them "where they are" developmentally since they started at 3 and 5. Both kids, boy and a girl, are comfortable. She gives us all the information we need and in a clear fashion. Her office, with Sutter East Bay is on Milvia, just south of Dwight. She asks about diet and health habits, school, developmentally appropriate questions about friends, school, and now - drugs and sexuality. We have a good experiece throughout their childhood. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

East Bay Pediatrics or Pediatric Medical Group?

April 2014

I am delivering at Alta Bates, and my OB and most friends have referred me to either East Bay Pediatrics or Pediatric Medical Group. I've heard Dr. Petra Landman is great, but that PMG was recently bought out by Sutter and the experience has changed dramatically. On the other hand, I've heard Dr. Sarah Handelsman and Dr Julie Damon at EBP are great, but that they are not accepting new patients. It would be great to hear if you have had positive or negative experiences and which pediatrician in these practices you recommend. Has anyone switched between these practices or been to/interviewed Drs at both groups? I would love it if you could share your thoughts on overall experience, specific doctors, availability/accessibility after hours, drop in visits, nurses, administrative staff, office environment, parking, etc, - whatever could be helpful in making a decision. Thanks! --

Hello! We have been working with Dr. Petra Landman since our children were born, and we love her!! That being said, when PMG recently joined Summit, we found ourselves very disappointed with the change. The office staff changed, for the worse. We could no longer simply call and connect easily with Dr. Landman. The PMG lost it's small group feel and became part of the Summit behemoth. Bummer. Dr. Landman is indeed awesome though! -Mercedes

We see Dr. Landman at the Pediatric Medical Group- or whatever it is called now that they switched to Sutter. I love Dr. Landman. She has been great at dealing with my 4-year-old's asthma and has been wonderful helping with my 1-year-old's ezcema and food allergy issues. I feel like she really cares for my children. She follows up with me after seeing specialists and returns calls promptly- even on Christmas Eve.

However- I am absolutely fed up with the Sutter system. I hate dealing with the initial recording and then being put on hold. I dislike the extra step they've put in to speak with an advice nurse before they will page the on- call doctor. We have been able to speak to the on-call doctor when we've needed to but only after first going through the advice nurse. The office is just as pleasant now as it was before- it is the phone system that is driving me nuts. You can make appointments online and if I could get that system down we'd be in good shape. Good luck. Love Dr. Landman, Fed Up with Sutter.

[Editor note: reviews were also received for East Bay Pediatrics

Dec 2012

Re: Intellectual Pediatrician near Berkeley?
I know just what you mean--I have a PhD in molecular biology and like to have a high-level explanation of the situation when I go to the doctor. I have seen Dr. Kowaleski on Woolsey at Telegraph for about 8 yrs. with my two kids. He is great--always willing to answer questions and provide more detail, listens to ideas/preferences I have regarding treatment. Plus, he's so friendly that even my super-shy child has no trouble with visits. I like the practice, too. Very family-friendly and well-run. 510-849-1744 Love ''Dr. K''

Aug 2011

Re: Recommendations for Pediatrician
Dr. Petra Landman at Pediatric Medical Group on Woolsey at Telegraph. The entire office is wonderfully run and Dr. Landman is a fantastic pediatrician.

July 2011

Re: Lactation Services at Pediatric Practices
We started going to the Pediatric Medical Group in Berkeley after the recent birth of our baby. Dr. Robin Meezan is great as are the other doctors in the practice (of the ones that we have met so far). They have a lactation consultant that you can make appts with after any of your child's dr. appointments. So helpful and timesaving! KT

Pediatric Medical Group on Telegraph in South Berkeley has an excellent lactation consultant, Joanne Rucker. She's on staff and has always been available to me when I've needed her, setting aside time at the end of a pediatric visits or responding to my calls promptly. I had a lot of fears/challenges when nursing my first child, who was premature so there were latching issues. Joanne took a real interest in me and my daughter and spent considerable time advising me and guiding me as I nursed. PMG generally is excellent. I've always been able to get same-day appointments with our doctor, Ralph Berberich. On occasion Robin Meezan has treated my kids. She's awesome too. Anon

Nov 2010

Re: Pediatrician for needle-phobic 6-year-old
Ralph Berberich at the pediatric medical group in Berkeley has done extensive work in preparing children for immunizations with hypnosis. I have worked with him professionally and think highly of him Medical professional

You should consider Ralph Berberich MD. He is a leader in techniques to help children with shots. I have personally seen him make a tremendous difference for children and their families about phobias such as this... Anon

July 2010

Re: Looking for a hassle free pediatrician's office
Pediatric Medical Group not only has great doctors (Landman, Kowaleski, Berberich, and Meezan), but the office is incredibly well-run. They've got an advice nurse, a separate waiting room for sick kids, and fantastic front office staff. I wish every doctor's office were so efficient and friendly. It's in Berkeley, but near the Oakland border. happy mom of two PMG patients

I love The pediatric Medical Group in Berkeley. It is a group of five knowledgeable pediatricians and nurses, and wonderful staff. You always feel treated with respect, every single question is answered, there is always a pediatrician on call. (510)849-1744.Good Luck. L

When my now 10 y.o.son was 1 he had a pediatricians office that drove me crazy. Their billing was all screwed up and they were always over charging me. In the end they ended up owing me over $300 and they didn't pay until I threatened to take them to small claims court. I switched over to Dr. Berberich at Pediatric Medical Group on Woolsey Street in Berkeley (off Telegraph). The doctor's there are fabulous and the office staff is great. Bonnie, the billing manager is not only very helpful, but also has a great sense of humor. I trust all the doctor's and staff and am very happy to be one of their clients. Proud Client of Pediatric Medical Group

March 2010

Re: Pediatrician Open to Alternative Vaccine Schedule?
hi. i'm not sure how alternative you are looking for - spreading out most vaccines, or skipping many. if you are referring to spreading out vaccines i can recommend Dr. Meezan at The Pediatric Medical Group on Woolsey in Berkeley. we have taken our 20 month old daughter to her since birth. she always gives us her full time and attention, handles our daughter well, we like the nurses, she offers good advice, and has been open to us following Dr. Sears alternative schedule of spreading out vaccines. they also have separate healthy and sick kids waiting rooms, which we like. we have never given our daughter more than two shots at a time and we skipped the Hep B shot and the Rotovirus, since she stays home with me. they do not support anti-vaccination parenting, if that's what you were looking for. and a few months ago they told us that all their new patients had to get Varicella and MMR by age two. we are OK with this. she got Varicella yesterday and will get an MMR a month before she's 2. if you are OK with this too, then call them. if not, then i hope you get the help you were looking for. vicki

Oct 2009

Re: Best MediCal Doctor in Berkeley
Welcome to California. I don't know the ''best'' doctor because I don't believe that one single doctor is the best for everyone. Heck, we can't even agree on who makes the best sourdough baguette! So if no one steps forward to reveal who the best doctor is for you 15 year old, then I suggest you try Pediatric Medical group (PMG) on Woolsey (near Telegraph Avenue and Whole Foods) or Berkeley Pediatrics on Virginia St in Berkeley. Your son may prefer a male doc. I think both these practices have at least one. Dr. Steven Kowaleski at PMG is a very good doctor. The Best Mom

Aug 2009

Re: Pediatrician shopping

I recommend Dr. Landman very highly. She's an astute, caring, pro-active doctor who deals equally well with regular check ups and more complex issues. We've had good experiences with the other pediatricians in the practice too. The whole staff is very responsive and kind. It's the best run doctor's office I've encountered. Also, we park on the street, which is free. satisfied parent

Pediatric Medical Group is well organized, etc. My kids see Dr. Kowaleski in that office, and I have been satisfied. When considering both options, consider the whole practice, not just the one doctor. If your child is sick, you'll deal with whoever is on call. My kids have had some medical issues, so we've had many phone calls, appointments, and even a few hospital visits from all of them. I am happy with the group as a whole. For what it's worth, my daughter's favorite is Dr. Meezan... anon

Dr. Landman has been our pediatrician since my first son was born 6 years ago, and we love her. All of the doctors in the practice are excellent, the staff is friendly and efficient, and I am always able to get a same day appointment for a sick kid. Parking was a concern for me too, but I have always been able to find a spot on the street within a block of the office. The other big benefit as a new mother was their weekly mothers' group which they offer for free. Fan of Dr. Landman

Our 2-year-old's pediatrician is Dr. Berberich at Pediatric Medical Group, but we have also seen Dr. Landman a couple of times for urgent appointments. I had a great impression of her - she is caring and responsive, and didn't seem rushed. The other medical staff are great, and we've never had to wait long in the waiting room or examining room. Usually you can find street parking within a block or two, but when we've parked in the lot, the cost hasn't been too bad (because our waiting time isn't so long). Jean

May 2009

Re: Pediatrician w sep. sick well wait room
Pediatric Medical Group in Berkeley has separate well/sick rooms. You do need to immunize your child to see the doctors there, but there is some ability to have a delayed schedule. (510) 849-1744. Fan of Ped Med Group

April 2009

Re: Do you love your Pediatrician?
Hi, We really like our pediatrician - Robin Meezan at Pediatric Medical Group in Berkeley. Telegraph & Woolsey. Kim

March 2008

Re: Recommendations for Pediatricians
The Pediatric Medical Group has worked fine for us over the last 12 years. We have seen each of the doctors over those years. Our primary is Kowaleski and he's great. He is glad to talk over options and choices. The office staff has been fine, as has the financial/billing person. We park on the street when we go. Thier former advice nurse (now retired) was very helpful. I assume the new one is the same, but we used that service much more when the kids were small. Anon

November 2007

We're considering switching pediatricians and our choices are Pediatric Medical Group (Ralph Berberich, Jane Hunter) or Bayside Medical Group (Katya Gerwein, Janet Perlman). We'd appreciate any current reviews of these doctors/practices, as the ones online are a few years old. We're especially interested in how they are with same-day appointments for sick kids and how they deal with kids on delayed vaccination schedules. Keri

We switched from another Peditric Group to Pediatric Medical Group 2 years ago. I was tired of wait time on phone, the 5 minute well checks, having to call 4 months ahead to make well check appontments and general chaos at our last doctors office.

At Pediatric Medical group we see Doctors Hunter and Kowelski, have never seen other Doctors so cannot pass comment. I have a son and Daughter and chose doctors of same sex for each child.

Appointments are calm and doctor spends ample time going over things and answering questions. Very good bedside manner with the kids.

Have made same day appointments for a sick child. One day there was confusion on my end about a well check and phoned to say I could be there what would have been an hour late. Doctor Kowelski waited for us, it was after hours. The office was not closed to staff but to patients at that time. Everyone was so nice about it. Happy at PMG

HI, I just switched from Dr. Perlman at Bayside to Dr. Hunter at Pediatric Med Group. Dr Perlman was wonderful, but the Bayside office was not so great. Everytime I arrived for my daughter's appts, they ran at least 30 mins behind schedule. I was also bothered that they only have 1 waiting room where sick children and healthy kids all wait together and play with the same toys. And, the waiting room just does not seem very clean. Nonetheless, Dr. Perlman and the staff at Bayside were very kind and completely competent. It was the facilities and the time management that bothered me. At Pediatric Medical Group, Dr. Hunter is also very wonderful and the office is great. There is a healthy child waiting room and a separate sick child waiting room. I am always called in on time, almost as soon as I arrive. Dr. Hunter spends plenty of time with my daughter and I (she does not seem rushed and she is very thorough). I would go with Hunter. Lastly, I was a patient at Pediatric Medical Group throughout my own childhood and I have very fond memories of the doctor and of playing in the waiting room! Kate

I saw your post on BPN and here is my take on Pediatric medical group: We use the Pediatric Medical Group, on Telegraph/Woolsey. There are 5 paeds there. My son's doc is Dr. Berberich - sort of old school, a bit conservative, but an excellent paediatrician and was there for my son each time we landed at Children's because of bronchiolitis. We've also had visits with Dr Jane Hunter, Dr Petra Landman (both of whom were the docs on-call when he was born and came to see him while I was at Alta Bates after the birth) and their newest addition Dr. Mezlan, a woman, with a toddler. And Dr. Steve Kowalesky. All the docs have children of their own.

The office has a new advice nurse and new-mothers groups that meet weekly. I prefer the support group at Alta Bates myself. But this supprot group also comes recommended.

The group came highly recommended to us by colleagues of my husband (one of them a resident in med school), my OB, and of course we've recently found out that the chief of Emergency at Children's has all his children there as well. Dr. Berberich used to be the chief of Paediatrics at Alta Bates - when they still had a paediatrics dept a few years ago. They've opened the office on 12/24 for us two years running and they are very good at calling back when you call the doc on call. Their front desks staff is great, and their accounting office has always made a special effort to contact us if there were any issues. In particular, when United Healthcare went through a change in their list of phisicians they contacted us and let us know the issues and worked with us so that we cound maintain continuity of care. If you're looking for someone with a bit more of a touchy feely attitude I'd go with Dr. Landman, the Dr. Mezlan or Dr. Steve Kowalesky. We love our pediatricians and are very satisfied.

Lastly, this may be a consideration - as put forth to me from a colleague with older boys - when you first have the child (if it'a a boy) you may want to go with a pediatrician that is a woman for your comfort. However, as they grow older there will come a time when they'll not be comfortable with a woman doc, and you'll need to switch to a male pediatrician. I didn't feel the need to have to go through that, but it was nice to know that this happens all the time and that had I chosen a female paediatrician, I could stay within the practice and switch to another doc that my son would be familiar with. Very happy Pediatric Medical Group parent

[Editor] Reviews were also received for Bayside Pediatrics .

October 2007

I am wondering if anyone has had Dr. Robin Meezan or Dr. Karin Schiffman as a pediatrician. Dr. Meezan is new to the Pediatric Medical Group on Woolsey in Berkeley (she's been there about a year). Dr. Schiffman has been written about in the archives BUT there is a big change in her practice - she's gone into private practice and moved to Berkeley, so I'm wondering if anyone has experience with that. I am torn between having a kind of old world experience with one doctor...but am wondering if it's wiser and more practical to go with a group of doctors, as is the case with Dr. Meezan. Plus, I'd like to know if anyone has feedback on Dr. Meezan in general. She seems youthful and kind, ... but this is my first child and I would like to be reassured that people have trusted their children with her, medically! Thanks! --Didn't even know you had to ''interview'' pediatricians

I take our 10 mth old to Dr. Meezan. She is wonderful, patient, listens well, explains well and is easy going. She also has a young toddler so she is walking her talk. As for the rest of the practice, I'm a big fan of Dr. Hunter, however, do not like Dr. Berberich or Dr. Kowaleski; the are probably good Docs but their bedside manner needs imrpovement and they dont seem very open to hearing your ideas about what is going on. I usually just time our appts on days when either Dr. Meezan or Dr. Hunter are in. The front desk staff is very nice. Another Berkeley Mom

We have been going to PMG since our youngest (now 5) was born. I really like Dr. Meezan's manner with my kids (she isn't our primary pediatrician), and her reasoning behind treatments, etc. As a parent of 2 very accident prone kids, I also really appreciate their advice nurse (office hours only) as well as their after hours MD ''on call'' service so that you can page the pediatrician who can answer urgent questions/decide if you have to go to the ER, etc. Dr. Meezan was on call when my then 1 year old had to go to the ER and she called ahead to alert the triage nurse/ER staff (Dr. Meezan I think did her residency or internship at Children's) who were waiting for us. I like the stability of the MD group, too, as all of the other MD's have been there for years. Satisfied Parent

I chose Dr. Meezan from the group of doctors at Pediatric Medical Group and have been extremely happy with her so far. I'm a first time parent of a baby born on Oct. 1. I chose Dr. Meezan based on the fact that she's young, has a baby of her own and is affiliated with a group of very experienced and older doctors. Because she's young (I'd guess no older than 33) and new to the practice, it's easier to get an appt. with Dr. Meezan. Plus, I think she's more enthusiastic about serving her patients. She loves email and phone messages and will return your message within 24 hours (usually less). Since I'm about the same age as Dr. Meezan, I feel very comfortable with her.

On the Subject of Dr. Robin Meezan, Dr. Meezan was recomended to me by a nurse at Alta Bates. I have been seeing her for almost a year with my one year old little boy. She is very nice and listens to my ''new parent'' concerns. My son is my fist. I call constantly with any little questions and concerns and they have an on call nurse to answer any questions when Dr. Meezan is not around. She came from the Children's hospital in Oakland and has a son of her own as well. She is very interested in my son and family and I feel well cared for when I do visit. We have mostly visited on well baby visits but there have been two times where I took my son in when he was not well and he recovered well after seeing Dr. Meezan. She is great with my son and he feels comfortable with her as well. I hope this helps. take care Jeanne

I can highly recommend Dr. Robin Meezan as a trusted and responsive Pediatrician. As a new mom, I had lots of questions about all the different stages my daughter was going through and all the articles I had read about ear infections, sleep issues, colds, medicines, flying with children etc. I really appreciated that Dr. Meezan never made me feel that my questions were not valid. Once, we were schedule to fly to the East Coast and our 13 month old had been sick with a bad cold. I was really nervous to fly because I didn't want to make our daughter more sick or her have a miserable flight due to the pressure from flying. She chatted with me on the phone, listened to my concerns and then gave me a list of some ideas to help me make my decision to travel or not. I think I also appreciate that she's a mom too so she understands those sleepless nights, first time illnesses and adjustments to each stage of development. My husband and I trust her medical advice and feel very! comfortable discussing our questions and challenges in raising our first daughter. Plus, she loves kids and our daughter responds really well to her! bfsally

[Editor] Reviews were also received for Karin Schiffman

October 2007

I would like to recommend our daughter's pediatrician, Dr. Meezan, at the Pediatric Medical Group. We are first time parents of a 5 month old and have really enjoyed working with her. She encourages us to come with a list of questions for each visit. She takes time at the start to ask how things are going or if there are any special concerns. She takes all the time we need to answer any questions that we have about raising our child. She is very caring and warm with our daughter. She always tells us to call between appointments if we have any quesitons or concerns. When we have asked her opinion about things such as childcare and co-sleeping we have never felt that she is judging us about the choices we make. She helps us to very thoroughly explore all our options. We like that she is a new parent herself and she often shares with us the choices that she made with her son.

The office itself has well and sick child waiting rooms. They have an advice nurse that you can call with questions (which we have on many occasions.) We have never waited for more than 5 minutes in the waiting room for any appointment (well or sick.)The office is located at 2320 Woolsey Street. Phone is (510)849-1744. Tracee

My son is also a patient of Dr. Meezan... I like her but not the staff at her office. I don't recommend going there for that reason. Here is one example that happened to me recently. We were in her office for an emergency visit and my son was in pain and crying. I had to pay my co-payment and did so with a credit card. The receptionist was short with me because I sat down while it processed to comfort my son. She spoke loudly over the wail of my child ordering me to sign the slip. I told her that it was more important to comfort my son than to sign the slip at that moment. Once my son quieted down (I was still holding him), I heard her talking to someone else in a flippant tone saying that I could not see a doctor until it was signed and that I had been rude to her. Don't children come first at a pediatrician's office? This is only one example. I have a few others and we are now switching doctores because of the support staff there. anon

July 2007

I would like to recommend Doctor Robin Meezan at Berkeley Pediatric Group on Woolsey Street in Berkeley. She is very intelligent, kind and patient. She is very knowledgable about every concern a new mother could possibly have (she answered all of my questions about breast feeding and supplementing with formula, what effects various medications would have on my breast feeding and assuaged my fears/anxieties about my infant son's vaccinations and how safe they are. She assured me that her clinic's vaccinations did not contain thimerasol (the mercury that used to be in vaccines until the year 2000)). She is great with children! Rebecca

April 2007

Re: In need of a pediatrician in Albany or east bay.
We've been seeing Jane Hunter at the Pediatric Medical Group (849-1744) for over 5 years and are very happy with her. We've seen all of the doctors in the practice and all but one (but I won't name names) are very good. Liz O.

Feb 2007

Re: Looking for a Wise and Supportive Pediatrician
You will find what you're looking for at the Pediatric Medical Group. I see Dr. Kowaleski, but all the other Dr.s in the group are awesome as well, plus they have a super helpful NP who is a lactation consultant and a fantastic resourse. They are at 2320 Woolsey St # 301 Berkeley, CA 94705 (510) 849-1744 love our pediatrician

Nov 2006

I'm looking for current reviews in regards to the Pediatric Medical Group on Woolsey St. We're thinking of sending our child to Dr. Jane Hunter and would like to know what other's experiences have been in regards to her, other dr.'s in the practice, the office staff, billing, etc. Looking for a Ped

Your child will be in excellent hands at the Pediatric Medical Group. Both my children have seen Dr. Berberich (and just about every doctor there) and our experience has been beyond excellent. I cried when our insurance carrier advised us that PMG was no longer a provider. The thought of leaving was too much for me, so my husband and I decided that we would stay with PMG and pay the extra out of pocket expense. That's how good they are!! The staff is courteous and friendly. The Business Manager (who handles the billing) is wonderful. You honestly can't go wrong Happy PMG client

We have been seeing Dr. Hunter since my second child was born 2 1/2 years ago. We like her and value her medical advice. All of the doctors at the Pedicatric Medical Group have been practicing for some time. It's a plus because if your child becomes seriously ill you will have a lot of experience to help guide you. On the downside I sense a high degree of burnout. Some of the routine visits are rushed and the docs seem disinterested. One visit for an ear ache was especially disheartening. The nurses are hit and miss. Some are nice and others are gruff. The billing office has been great and we have had no problems. Overall, I would consider it a very good professional practice but not a very touchy-feely sort of environment. - anon

Our pediatrician is Petra Landman though we have often seen Dr. Hunter and I think she is fabulous. She listens well to parents and also pays terrific attention to the kids. We LOVE Dr. Landman but our second choice if she is not available is always Dr. Hunter. I tend not to see the men in this practice on routine visits (I have experienced them as brusque and sometimes dismissive), though they are incredibly knowledgeable and were phenomenal when our baby was critically ill. The nursing staff and business office staff are great; Judy, the Nurse Practitioner is a life saver - she staffs what they call a ''warm line'' to give advice on less serious illnesses or help you decide if you should come in. If you are starting with a newborn, she also runs a once/week moms group in the office and is a lactation specialist (this was great for me because I had a community of other moms going through the same things with the added benefit of a medical professional to answer my many questions). In all, our family loves this group Happy mom

My 3year-old and one-year old sons are patients of Dr. Kowaleski but we've had occassion to interact with every doctor in the practice. Dr. Kowaleski, Dr. Hunter, and every doctor in the group is excellent. They're accessible after hours, quick to respond, caring, and thorough. My one-year old was in the hospital for 3 weeks as a newborn and we were visited by a doctor in that group every day. I highly recommend the Pediatric Medical Group Beth

Yes, I'd recommend her. Dr. Hunter is my 12 month old son's pediatrician. We've found her to be kind, patient, and helpful. As new parents, my husband and I had a few concerns about my son's health when he was an infant. Dr. Hunter was reassuring that the symptoms we described were not alarming, but she still followed up with referrals for neurology when he had some episodes of what might have been minor seizures. In other words, she took our concerns seriously, while still reminding us he was probably fine (he was fine, turns out). As for the rest of the office, we've never had a problem with billing, and the nurses have been competent and sweet Anonymous

Dr. Hunter has been our son\x92s pediatrician since birth (he\x92s now 6 months). She\x92s great. She listens well, answers all our questions. We never feel rushed. She\x92s very gentle and interacts very nicely with our baby. We like her style, gentle but firm is how I would describe it. As first time parents we have a lot of questions and she never made us feel like we\x92re asking anything stupid or obvious.

When our son was born we had some problems in the first few weeks as my milk came in late and he was not gaining back his birth weight as fast as expected. We saw Dr. Kovaleski, who was the on-call doctor several times, and we liked him a lot as well. They also have a very nice nurse on staff, Judy, who can help with breastfeeding and is super sweet. In the first few weeks/months I had to supplement with formula. She was very helpful in checking that my son was latching properly, that I had good body position and also she made me feel better as I was stressing about him getting enough to eat.

You can make an appointment to \x93interview\x94 Dr. Hunter (we did that) and make sure your comfortable with her. It cost $40 out of pocket but I think it\x92s well worth it if she\x92s going to be your child\x92s pediatrician for many years Francoise francoise [at]

We've been seeing Dr. Hunter for 5 years (I have a 5- and a 2-year-old) and we are very pleased both with the care we receive from her and from the practice in general. The office is well run and comfortable and we rarely wait too long. Dr. Hunter is gentle and kind, very thorough, and very experienced. She also seems very balanced to me: neither overly concerned and reactionary about minor medical issues or disregarding of issues about which we are concerned. Fortunately, neither of my children has been ill or has had any serious problems (beyond ear infections, etc.) so I can't speak to how she would handle any clinically serious issues, but at least for routine care I can recommend her very highly. (Incidentally, we've seen 3 of the other doctors in the practice and like 2 of them very much! Sometimes when your children are ill you'll have to see the other doctors instead of Dr. Hunter, but she should be able to do all of your well child visits) Liz O.

I have been taking my two girls, now ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 to Dr. Hunter since having to switch from their old pediatrician because of new insurance about a year and a half ago. Needless to say, I was not happy about having to switch from the doctor who had known them since birth, but we couldn't be happier with Dr. Hunter or with the Pediatric Medical Group. Dr. Hunter is warm, caring and very professional. My girls really like her and feel comfortable with her. They are never anxious about their doctor visits. On the few times we have had to see other doctors because of short notice, they have all been good. The only doctor who seemed a little too business-like in his manner, is the older male doctor, whose name escapes me. He was fine, just not as warm as the others in his demeanor. The office staff is friendly and Bonnie, the office manager has always been extremely responsive and helpful with insurance issues. You may have seen this already, but Dr. Hunter was voted Best Pediatrician in the East Bay by Oakland Magazine a few months ago. I would definitely recommend the Pediatric Med. Group and Dr. Hunter in particular. Good luck in your search.

In general, we love the Pediatric Medical Group. Both my 4 year old and 18 mo old have been there since birth. One of the best things about this group is that they have a wonderful advice person, Judy Alley, who is invaluable in helping with all kinds of issues about raising kids and also who can help you decide whether you need to make a visit to the MD. We also love that when the office is closed, there is always an on-call MD who you can page and will return the call very quickly. They have a new, young MD (I can't remember her name but her info. looked impressive). Our MD is Stephen Kowaleski, but we have seen all the other MD's. Dr. Berberich (sp?) can come across as a little gruff, but he knows his stuff and is very efficient and matter of fact. Their billing office has been helpful with insurance issues satisfied parent

We have been with Pediatric Med. group for 19yrs and it has been wonderful for us. All of the physicians are good and Judy, the advice nurse is a wonderful resource. We have been with Dr. Kowaleski who is great, caring, patient and very knowledgeable. Through the years we have seen all of them (if he is off or weekend needs) and the MDs are all good. The office is helpful and professional. Here's to good health!

Dr. Hunter has been our pediatrician for almost 3 years now -- we have an almost 3 yr old and an almost 1 yr old. We really think that she is great. Very experienced, nice, careful, thoughtful. A couple of times, she has sent us for further testing just to rule out problems. The office staff is also very nice. Sometimes we have to wait a bit, but i don't think unusually so. We always get to see her (as opposed to other doc's in the practice or an assistant). It would be cheaper to switch our kids over to my kaiser plan but we don't because of how highly we value dr. hunter. Our friends who use her are also happy.

Dr. Jane Hunter has been our daughter's ped. since she was born 2 years ago. I've nothing but positive experiences both with Dr. Hunter and the other members of the practice. When our daughter was first born she had a tear duct cyst that required immediate care. The office was so helpful with referals and called on our behalf to make sure we could see a specialist immediately. Dr. Hunter is very measured and calming in demeanor and has been taking care of babies/children for many, many years anon

A number of responders on this thread mentioned that the East Bay Pediatric Medical Group (Dr. Hunter's group) may have dropped certain insurance companies. This was true for a short period in my case, but they have since renegotiated the contract and we are now back as a covered provider. The office was exceptional in keeping us informed about the status of the pending drop and the successful renegotiation. You may want to check back with the office if you switched providers but want to go back.

That said, we see both Drs. Berberich and Hunter, with some occasional contact with the other physicians on staff. I've never had an issue with the care provided, feel that I'm listened to and that my children are listened to and am very happy with the quality of care, the professionalism and friendliness of the office staff, and the thoroughness of the business office staff Deborah

We have been with the Pediatric Medical Group since our son's birth in 2005. Although our primary physician is Dr. Berberich, we have seen Dr. Hunter on numerous occasions, including one of the first visits my son had at Alta Bates post birth. In general the entire practice is very ''down to earth, tell it like it is'' epecially with parents, and very good listeners when it comes to children. They have taken extremely good care of our son and were particularly supportive when we landed at Children's during a bout of Bronchiolitis late in 2005 and he was less than 1 year old. The front desk is very friendly and helpful, and the nurses are great. As previous posts may have stated they did have some issues with United Healthcare, but that has since been resolved, but they were very prompt in the notification and helpful in suggesting means to deal with the situation with my HR dept at work Very satisfied mom

Aug 2006

Re: Pediatrican Rockridge/Berkeley - young and male
I really like Dr, Kowaleski at the Pediatric Medical Group near Telegraph and Woolsey. 849-1744. He seems pretty youthful but I know he's been practicing for quite awhile already. The whole practice is great--they are skilled and knowledgeable but also listen, spend unhurried time with you, are attentive to your concerns and can offer flexible options for treatments. They also a super helpful advice nurse and the doctors are on call after hours where normally you would just have to go to a hospital good luck!

April 2006

Re: Queer-Friendly Pediatrician
Our 16-month-old daughter (with two moms) has had Jane Hunter as her pediatrician since birth. I have been open about our family since I met her in late pregnancy, and she is easy and friendly about it all. Queer-''savvy''? I don't know, but certainly friendly and judgment-free. I'm happy with her and her relaxed, respectful style with little ones. I've heard great stuff about Janet Perlman, too, but have no direct experience of her. Kate

Re: Pediatrician for baby exposed to drugs in utero (March 2005)
Dr. Petra Landman with the Pediatric Medical Group is wonderful. I do not know if she has any specific knowledge of drug exposed babies but I find her approachable, caring and willing to research whatever she needs to give your children the BEST CARE. Good luck.

Re: Pediatrician after SIDS Loss (Nov 2004)
I would recommend Dr. Petra Landman at the Pediatric Medical Group at 2320 Woolsey Street. The phone number is 849-1744. Dr. Landman is a very sweet, caring person. She is extra sensitive because she has a daughter with health issues. She's especially good with babies and she always takes her time while answering any question. The practice has an oncall nurse, Judy, who will call you back very quickly if you leave a message with a concern or question. And she always airs on the safe side when recommending that you come in. She's never told us to wait it out first before coming in. And they always seem to fit you in. There are two other doctors in the practice that you may get if you have to come in for a same day appointment (if you child is sick). One is Dr. Hunter whom I really like as well and the other is a male doctor.

April 2003

Re: the front office at another pediatric office
We have been going here since our daughter was born and have received excellent care. I like the front office staff a lot and have never had any problems. They are friendly, efficient, all the things you want, no problems with billing either (hmm, actually, the last check-up didn't appear in the books but they just squeezed us in and I wouldn't have noticed had they not said something). I guess it might help that I try to remember their names so I can great them in person when I come in. Having been a receptionist myself, I know how it feels when people treat you as though you're invisible. Things I like a lot about the practice: the advice line, as long as you call before 3PM, you will get a call back right away from Judy. She's really helped me as a first time mom to figure out when I need to bring my daughter in for a check up and when everything is fine. Judy is also great with breastfeeding and she helped me tremendously when it took my daughter 4 weeks to get the hang of it and I was about to give up. I also like the responsiveness of the doctors to my concerns (there was a post recently that hinted that the practioners are not eager to give antibiotics, this is not my experience). I have had to go in for a colds that turned out to be ear infections etc and we have had to call twice now after my daughter developed an eye infection over the weekend. Every time we call, we get a call back within an hour. Dr. Berberich is our primary physician, but we have seen everybody in the practice for emergency appointments etc. (By the way, Dr. Berberich is a real mensch and amazing in a crisis, don't want to go into the details here but I have a lot of respect for him as a person, not only as a doctor). So, if you liked the physician you spoke with, I'd say go with them. Anna, mother of almost 10 month old daughter

Jan. 2003

We have recently moved to the Rockridge and are 3.5 months pregnant with our first child. As we prepare for the next step - - finding a pediatrician - our fabulous OB has recommended three pediatricians who are covered by our insurance plan. I am interested in having a pediatrician who is smart, on top of the field, caring, has the ability and patience to listen, is open to alternative therapies where helpful for healing. Thanks so much for your thoughts!! Kelly

While Petra Landman is not our primary pediatrician, we do go to that practice and have used Dr. Landeman on numerous occasions. She is an excellent Doctor., very thorough and has a nice bedside manner. There are 4 doctors in the practice and you will surely see all of them at some time as Murphy's Law dictates that your child will only get sick when your doctor is not on call. We use Dr. Kowaleski as our primary doctor and I think he is great and my kids love him. Dr. Berberich and Dr. Hunter are the other two doctors in the practice, we've seen them both and received excellent care, but personally I prefer the bedside manner of Landeman or Kowaleski. It's a great practice and I'm sure you'd be quite happy there. You can always set up an interview with one of the Doctors prior to the birth of your child to see if you connect with the doctor. We did that with Dr. Kowaleski and really liked him. kristi

We like the Pediatric Medical Group, and have been going there since our children were very small. Our girls see Dr. Jane Hunter, but have seen all the other docs for urgent-care appointments at one time or another. The docs are conscientious, friendly, attentive, thoughtful, willing to answer questions, and respectful of the children as well as the adults. They don't push antibiotics, and are relatively open to my alternative medicine concerns. The office staff is sweet, concerned and pays attention. You may get a brisk response from the busy front desk, but they do take care of getting you an appointment (quickly, if you need it). They also have on-call doctors 24 hours (I think), and they call right back with thoughtful responses. Good luck in your choices. merry

We have been going to the Pediatric Medical Group on Woolsey (where Dr. Landman practices) since the birth of our son 11 months ago and have had great experiences with them. Our primary doctor is Elizabeth Moffitt, but we have also seen Petra Landman for illnesses. They are extremely responsive and thorough. In fact, all the doctors in the practice are very good. Our son just recently was ill and we ended up bringing him in on a Sunday morning to see Dr. Landman. I highly recommend them. marylinda

My daughters have been patients of Dr. Petra Landman at the Pediatric Medical Group since they were babies. We chose her because she did her residency at Johns Hopkins and they have an excellent training program. We have been very pleased with the care we've gotten, which has included late night calls, Sunday visits for ear infections and even having our youngest daughter re-admitted to the hospital when she was 3 days old. Dr. Landman is very caring and attentive, has a great manner with the girls and is very thorough. We've seem all the docs in the practice at one time or another and they are all excellent physicians, though their particularly styles differ. The advice nurse, Judy Alley, was a lifesaver when the girls were babies and I needed advice on breastfeeding (she's a lactation consultant), whether I needed to bring them in to see the doctor for a fever or earache, and even some behavior questions.

I cannot speak to the question of openness to alternative therapies, as I have never had the cause or inclination to inquire into that. I believe, however, that Dr. Landman would only recommend treatments and therapies that have some scientific support behind them. Alice

I am very happy with the group and especially with our physician, Dr. Landman, who is terrific with my kids and has very perceptively diagnosed some tricky ailments. Elizabeth

We think one doctor in the group, Petra Landman, is exceptional. We haven't experienced any out of the ordinary difficulties with staff or billing. Anon

We've been with the Pediatric Medical Group (Jane Hunter for my now 17 year old daughter and Ralph Berberich for my now 19 year old son) for 19 years! We've been very pleased with the care we've received. I do think that the practice of medicine, like life in general, is a two way street. I always try to be respectful of everyone in the office and always feel respected in return. (I don't expect perfection since I am not perfect either.) I find that both Dr. Hunter and Dr. Berberich are willing to listen to my concerns and take my children very seriously. I trust their diagnostic skills and appreciate that they do not rush to prescribe antibiotics. And, I very much appreciate the advice (and reassurance!) that Judy Alley is able to give. I have no complaints and would wholeheartedly recommend the practice. Sally

May 2002

We are expecting in July and are looking both for a moyel and a pediatrician. We had a couple people tell us positive things about Dr. Berberich. I know that there have been some previous postings about him as a pediatrician, but they're all a few years old. We couldn't find any postings about people's opinions of him as a moyel. If you have had or have friends who have had experiences with him in either capacity, please write and share them. Thank you! Julie

Dr. Berberich has been my two children's pediatrician since birth. I'm pleased with him as their doctor. At some point I needed to ask him to be more supportive of my 'attachment parenting' approach, and he was fine with doing that. He is mostly cheerful and warm at visits.

The office is very busy, but during our well visits he takes his time with each child. Sick visits are usually rushed because the office is usually full of sick babies needing to be seen. I've never had a problem getting a last minute visit when needed, and the advice person always calls back within a few hours or less. Dr. Berb as we like to call him in our home, has been doing this for a very long time and I get the impression that nothing really surprises him, as he's probably seen it all. He was highly recommended to us by a parent who had him as a pediatrician for his son for 10 years. A.M.

We've been seeing Dr. Berberich for the past 4.5 years. He was the moyel for my son, and did a fine job. We like him a lot. We've had no problems with baby #1 or #2. I should add that one of the reasons I'm so happy with our choice of pediatrician is that we like the rest of the doctors in his group, who we occassionally see when he's not available. In addition, the practice's on-call service is invaluable. They have a doctor on call evenings (not sure to what time, but late enough), and on weekends and holidays, which means that you don't have to call the advice line at Children's Hospital, or worse, take your child in, when they get sick after hours (and they always do!). On many occasions I have gotten wonderful advice and support from the dcotors and the advice nurse, thus preventing unnecessary trips to the office accross town (so many problems can be solved over the phone). And when I have felt that I needed someone to see one my kids *urgently*, I have never been turned away or told to wait for the next day. The advice nurse is also a certified lactatio consultant; while she can't replace an l.c. if you're having major problems, she can help with those initial getting it going stage and other issues along the way. Good luck. anon

Ralph Berberich is in the same practice as our pediatrician, and we have seen him often over the years. I consider him an excellent diagnostician. He correctly identified & aggressively treated several conditions that had been misdiagnosed & undertreated by others. He can be a bit abrupt, he's not a hand- holder, and I don't go to him for advice on parenting/behavioral issues, but for regular medical care I think he's great. Melinda

While Dr. Berberich is not our primary pediatrician, my son has seen him a few times and he did perform his circumcision. He was wonderful with the circusmcision, my son didn't even cry and it healed quickly. As far as his bedside manner - I think he runs hot and cold. I never have felt that our care was compromised, but at times his manner is a little abrupt for my taste. That being said - he is part of a very good practice and perhaps you could select DR. Kowaleski or Dr. Landaman as you pediatrician and have Dr. Berberich serve as the Moyel and perform the circumcision. anonymous

Dr Ralph's competence as a Mohel is one of the reasons he's not our Pediatrician! We interviewed him as we were chosing. Our desire (as practitioners of Judaism) NOT to circumcize our son was a key factor in chosing another doc (in the same practice) as our regular ped.

Having said that, I now will swing to his defense: his position on circumcision comes from both his religious, and his medical practice, both of which he takes seriously. I don't think, if you're chosing to observe this covenant, that you're likely to find anyone better at it, from a spiritual and a technical perspective.

We've ended up seeing him as a doc - that happens in an busy Ped practice. I've warmed up to him quite a bit. He's kinda old-school Jewish Doctor, but he's also warmer and a bit less paternal than that stereotype. A Patient

Dr. Berberich was our moyel and is our pediatrician. He is a wonderful doctor in the professional/clinical sense, but he is not the warm and fuzzy spiritual type. Meaning, the circumcisions were excellent, but in terms of ceremony or personal warmth, we were, frankly, a little disappointed for our first son (we knew what to expect the second time around so we invited a rabbi). Dr. Berberich has, nevertheless, been a great doctor for our family over the years and I would recommend him. anonymous please

We see Ralph Berberich when our regular doctor is not available at the same pratice. I have found Dr. Berberich to be skilled technically and pleasant enough for our needs. He has a sense of humor, although this may not always be evident. He has been a cancer patient himself, and has written a book on his experience. I really love the administrative staff at the Pediatric Medical Group and am especially grateful for the advice nurse, Judy. Parking at the office sometimes requires a bit of extra time. We always find a place on the street within one block, as I can't stand the parking lot. anonymous

We think Dr. Berberich is EXCELLENT! He came highly recommended, and after a lot of research and interviewing, we chose him for our child, who turned out to be a girl. If we had given birth to a boy, I would not have hesitated to use him as our mohel (just as our friends did a few years back). We're very choosy about our health care, after some scares with HMO stuff...

He returns calls promptly, has a great staff (Judy, the advice nurse, runs a great group on Wednesdays for new parents), and Dr. Berberich really takes the time to explain things, get to know our child, etc.

If I were you, I'd set up a time to meet with him. There is a small charge (like most other offices), but the charge can be applied to future office visits, if you decide to go with his practice. a contented parent

Dr. Berberich has been the pediatrician of our now 17-month old boy since birth, and we like him so much that we will go to him with our (soon to be born) second baby as well. What you get is a very experienced clinician who checks for conditions that a less experienced doctor might miss. He is of German extraction and pretty straightforward, maybe less touchy-feely than doctors of a different cultural background, but this suits us just fine. I would rather have a doctor whose medical knowledge I trust than a touchy-feely one with less experience, but your mileage may vary. I don't know what he is like regarding circumcisions because my husband and I decided not circumcise our son.

We also like Dr. Berberich's office in general. There is an advice nurse whom you can call with questions and who gets back to you very quickly. The office also organizes groups for new mothers (free) which was extremely helpful during the first months. The folks in the billing department were very patient when our insurance messed up and sent us one incorrect card after the other. So, we have had only good experiences there and would recommend Dr. Berberich as a pediatrician. Angelika

Ralph Berberich MD was the mohel we used. He did an excellent job on the circumcision--fast, healed well, little crying one done. Our Rabbi did the ceremony however, so I couldn't say what he would have been like for that. anon

Christine 8/99

The incredible Ralph Berberich is the main man for peds in my book & I am a nurse who has worked a lot with babies & kids. Ralph wrote a book called The Available Pediatrician, and he likes early music. I always think its important for doctors to like the ballet, theatre, dance, books, opera & such, it makes 'em much better docs. Ralph is smart & kind, & if he doesn't have any openings, he could probably tell you who is second. Children's Hospital is a good hospital, by the way.

From: Janette (1/97)

I have a 20 month old and we have had him at the Pediatric Medical Group (behind Alta Bates) since he was born. The phone # is 849-1744) His doctor is Ralph Berberich who we like a lot. We have also seen the other doctors in the group and have been very happy. It is easy to get in and there is a social worker named Judy who you can call for advise (i.e. to see if you should come in, support, etc) who is wonderful.

From: Linda (1/97)

I'd like to second Janette's recommendation of the Pediatric Medical Group(849-1744). We also take our 15 mo. old daughter to Dr. Berberich and have found him to be just great. He's got a quiet, sweet demeanor that works well with kids of all ages. We have also seen Jane Hunter and Steve Kowalevski there and found them good too. Judy, the on-staff social worker was extremely helpful when Rebecca was first born. I don't think I would have made it thru the first few weeks of breastfeeding without her. She's great to call when you have some piddly medical question that doesn't really require a doctor's expertise. I also find that they conduct a number of lunchtime classes and research studies involving parents that are of real interest to me. They are also great about seeing your kid on the weekend should there be a real emergency or your child is in real pain (ie. ear infection, etc.). The only other Southside Berkeley Pediatric Group I know about is the large one in the Huntmont Building across from Alta Bates (is that the East Bay Medical Group???). I know my friends didn't like the size and the fact that they had trouble getting to talk to a real doctor (not the Children's Hospital advice nurse) after hours.

From: Jane (3/98)

Re the Pediatric Medical Group: Dr. Steve Kowaleski has been our pediatrician for over ten years, and I have nothing but the highest praise for him and all the physicians in the group. In defense of Dr. Berberich, he really won me over once when I showed up in his office just back from months in malaria country with a mosquito-bitten three-year-old sporting a fever of 105-something. The blood test was negative, but he didn't stop there; he got on the phone with various experts he knew far and wide and checked on the reliability of blood tests for diagnosing malaria and all kinds of other information to put us all at ease. I knew he was smart himself, but I gave him lots of points for knowing when and where to seek additional help, and for being matter-of-fact and calm. It was only the flu, in the end, but I was very grateful to be in the hands of someone so thorough and resourceful.

See also: Pediatrician for Adopted Child


Re the recommendation request about Dr. Kowaleski at Ped. Med. Group: He is the pediatrician I have for both my boys (2 and 5 now) and we all think he is great. He is very patient, and always takes time to talk about how the child is doing -- he cares about how they are feeling, how they are learning and playing, etc, not just about their medical condition. He also listens to any questions and has good advice. Also, he's so far always been on time!

From: Bob (9/98)

We have been with Pediatric Medical Group since our kids were born; now 10 and 12. We're in Walnut Creek now and still go there. Dr. Kowaleski is great. So is Dr. Berberich and the whole group. Their phone advice nurse has been a great help also. Go for it!

March 2002

Has anyone had any experience, good or bad, with Dr. Hunter (pediatrician in Berkeley)? We are considering taking our 6-month old daughter to her. Thanks! Ioana

After a long search we found Dr. Jane Hunter and could not be happier. She is the perfect balance of conservative medicine with listening to the ''gut'' feeling of the parents. We have 3 boys, ages 7 months to almost 6 years, and she is great with all of them. She is non-judgenmental of our individual wishes but also is extremely practical with her advice. Besides basic pediatric medicine, she has been invaluable to us with developmental issues like school, arrival of new siblings and eating/food issues. If you want more details, email me broccoli

Dr. Jane Hunter is thoughtful, straightforward, non-alarmist, and down-to-earth. She answers your questions and (when your child is old enough) answers your child's questions. She's relatively traditional, in terms of medical recommendations, but doesn't push antibiotics and doesn't poo-poo alternative medical approaches. She's been our girls' doctor for 5 years, and we recommend her. The office staff is nice too. Anonymous

We recently switched pediatricians and chose Dr. Jane Hunter. Although we did not want to switch (we liked our former pediatrician, but her practice did not take our insurance) working with Dr. Hunter has been a good experience. We haven't worked with her during a problem or serious illness, but I have heard good things from other parents about her approach to doctoring and child development. Also, I really like the practice she's in. They have an advice nurse who is wonderful; the rooms are pleasant and clean; and so far, we have not had to wait more than 20 minutes from sign in to seeing a doctor, and usually it's a much shorter wait. So much better than the other peds, where a wait averaged 45 minutes. Carolyn

I would strongly recommend Dr. Jane Hunter and the entire Pediatric Medical Group. My two daughters (now 12 & 15) have been going to Dr. Hunter quite literally all their lives. She has a gentle and very caring way with children and a nuturing manner with parents. What I also appreciate is that Dr. Hunter is part a true team of doctors and staff. Kids, of course, don't always get sick or have accidents during regular office hours. Weekend and evening calls get returned & the staff works with you to wiggle in unplanned appointments even for non-emergency but important reasons. For unplanned appointments (from the peanut up the nose to the first asthma attack late at night) my daughers have often seen one of the other great doctors and we are very comfortable with all of them. Nancy

We've had Dr. Hunter for almost two years (since our daughter was born) and I've had good experience with her. She is patient and she listens, explains well. I think that she is very good. However, Dr. Hunter and I disagree on certain issues and I sometimes wish I had another doctor in the same practice, whom I like better. It may be a good idea to ''interview'' pediatricians before choosing one (someone suggested that to me, but I never took the time to do it). a mom

My son, who just turned three, just visited Dr. Jane Hunter. I was very happy with the way she dealt with my son. My son has been a patient of her for about 2 years now.

My son has strong fear to doctor visits, due to his recurrent ear infections last year. He had to go see Dr. Hunter to have his ear checked almost every two weeks during winter. It was not a confortable experience. That made him have a fearful memory of her.

For this recent visit, he still remembered it and started to cry as we walked into a room. However, after Dr. Hunter came in and started talking to him, he calmed down, and eventually enjoying his time with her. I think this is because of her gentle atitude, and also her soft tone of voice. Although she is very busy, she never shows it during the visit. She always takes time with us. She listens to my questions/concerns throughly, and gives realistic answers.

I think she cares about her patients. One time my son got sick during the weekend, and she was a on-call doctor. Although I did not think my son's condition is too bad, she still suggested me to bring him in to a clinic just to make sure that he was OK. I felt very happy to have found a doctor who really care. (I was prepared to hear the popular phrase, '' Just give Tylenol.'', but she was different!) I think overall the clinic is run well. Kai's mom

From: Laura (3/98)

Our primary care doctor at Pediatric Medical Group is Dr. Hunter, who is wonderful (in July '95, Dr. Hunter was the unanimous choice for pediatrician among all consulted), and I did ask specific, harsh questions about the original treatment received. Dr. Landman was very warm and professional when we have had opportunity to consult her, and the group as a whole has been good to us. Pediatric Medical group is right next to the Huntmont Building on Webster near Regent. It is not the same as Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group on Walnut, which is where I went when I was a child. It is terrible that they no longer treat HMO patients. My dr. there, Dr. Grossman, since retired, has written a wonderful book called Everyday Pediatrics for Parents -- I highly recommend it. Thanks to everyone who answered. Any further thoughts about HMOs and how parents can work to get better care?

From: Stefanie (12/98)

I highly recommend Steve Kowaleski, who is my five year old's pediatrician. She saw him in the parking lot the other day and said, He's such a nice doctor! All the doctors have been kind. One of the best features of the practice is Judy the warm line nurse. She is an incredible resource and even came to our house after my daughter was born because we were such nervous parents! The doctors aren't very interested in holistic medicine, but I have taken it upon myself to look into that aspect, and I'm very happy with Pediatric Medical Group.

From: Oscar (3/98)

In response to the comments on Pediatric Medical Group. My daughter was an off and on patient of Dr. Kowaleski's since her birth in 1994. I have nothing but praise for Dr. Kowaleski who is very attentive,

From: Tavie (1/97)

We also use the Pediatric Medical Group- Dr Petra Landman- who we really like. We have seen several other doctors there as well and have never been disappointed---their # is 849-1744.

Tavie and Maddie(3.5 years)

From: Debbie (3/98)

My daughter has been a patient at Pediatric Medical Group since she was born. Our original doctor, Ann Parker, who we adored is no longer with the group, but is in private practice locally dealing with children with developmental and mental handicaps. She was wonderful. When she left we chose Dr. Landman. She has been great. She has always been very good natured with us. She was particularly helpful when my daughter had a hospital stay due to severe asthma. My child is now 13 and still likes her and I think feels respected and cared for by Dr. Landman. Dr. Berberich can be kind of brusk and dismissive, though the last couple of times we've had to go in when Dr. Landman wasn't available I've noticed he's been a bit nicer and willing than in the past. The other doctor in the practice whom I also like is Dr. Kowaleski, who was as patient with me and calming when I frantically woke him up at 3:00am when my daughter was a toddler. First time parent jitters. He just seems like a very sweet man.

Just wanted to put my two cents in because my experience with the doctors in PMG has been good. Their practice is located on WEbster across from Alta Bates, not the Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group which is over on Walnut Street and is a totally different group.

From: a mom (4/98)

I'd like to second the positive opinions expressed about Dr. Petra Landman at Pediatric Medical Group. Dr. Landman has been very sensitive and caring with my two young daughters and very thorough and patient in explaining things to me. I'd recommend her to anyone. As for the rest of the group, I have found them pleasant enough when they are on call after hours, even when you push the emergency call-back option on the voicemail.

From: Dianne (3/98)

Re: Dr. Petra Landman of the Pediatric Medical Group

Both of our kids were preemies with all sorts of problems. Dr. Landman was like an angel to us during this time. She was responsive, thorough, extremely competent and empathetic. She was responsible in large part for pulling them through very serious complications, while at the same time seeing them thru the more mundane, simple problems (e.g. ear infections, colds, etc.). She always spends a long time with us at appointments to answer all our questions, and she has always been very polite and responsive when we have called her at home, on call or whenever (and we have done that a number of times!).

My family and kids are so pleased with Dr. Landman and the other marvelous doctors in the Pediatric Medical Group that we have, in the past, paid out of our pocket personally for care when former employers did not have medical plans which included the PMG or Dr. Landman. Fortunately, our plan thru UCOP now allows us to use them.

By the way, when our first child was born and we were looking for a pediatrician, we followed the advice in our parenting books to ask the nurses at the local hospitals their opinions. We asked two very good friends of ours who were both nurses at Alta Bates for recommendations, and they both told us separately without hesitation that we should use the PMG and Dr. Landman in particular.