Published on April 18, 2024

Owensboro Health Grows Pediatric Services

Pediatric Physicians

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital is expanding its pediatric services to provide better care for our youngest patients. The hospital has pediatric hospitalists, child life specialists and pediatric-ready status. Those services, along with a level III neonatal intensive care unit and partnerships with other facilities for even higher levels of care, mean you can depend on Owensboro Health if your child needs care.

Pediatric Hospitalists 

Heather Johnson, MD (pictured on right) and Rayana Johnson, MD (on left), are pediatric hospitalists at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. These doctors see hospitalized patients under the age of 18. Both physicians manage the day-to-day care of these young patients and provide prompt and complete attention to all their care needs, including diagnosis and treatment. They treat conditions such as asthma, gastrointestinal conditions, respiratory disorders, wound infections and many other common pediatric conditions. The patients are also cared for by pediatric-trained registered nurses.

Child Life Specialists

The goal of a certified child life specialist is to reduce the stress and anxiety children and families experience in a healthcare setting. The specialists are experts in child development and help pediatric patients cope through education, preparation and play. They demonstrate items the child may see, hear and feel before a procedure. For example, they show them the sterile towels, let them feel the saline and that it does not burn, and let the child touch any of the items used. This is especially true for anxiety-inducing tests like a CT, when a specialist can show the patient a video of another child getting the test and explaining what to expect. This can also calm parents’ worries during the visit.

Owensboro Health has partnered with Brescia University’s workforce development program to train up to 10 team members simultaneously with these special child-centric skills. This innovation in training allows the emergency department to provide child life services around the clock, seven days per week.

Pediatric Readiness

The emergency department team at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has worked to become a Pediatric Ready Certified Facility. Pediatric Readiness systematically includes pediatric-specific needs in all aspects of emergency department care. This means that everyone in the care team, including transporters and EMS, has the right pediatric equipment and knowledge to care for pediatric patients. Owensboro Health Regional Hospital's emergency department is one of 10 facilities in Kentucky that have this unique certification and the only one in western Kentucky.

OHRH has also added a Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinator, Patience Naderian, to support interdisciplinary staff members in achieving optimal pediatric care and outcomes. Her extensive pediatric background is a monumental asset to Owensboro Health.


Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has a licensed level III neonatal intensive care unit that serves sick and/or preterm babies 27 weeks and older. In the NICU, babies have a single patient room with a home-like environment to help the family prepare for home. With the help and support from Owensboro Health Foundation, the NICU is supplied with state-of-the-art equipment to be able to provide high-quality patient care to the area. The NICU is staffed 24/7 with a neonatologist and a neonatal nurse practitioner.

Partnerships for Higher Care

OHRH partners with nearby pediatric hospitals should a patient need a higher level of care. Partnerships and collaboration mean better care for everyone.

Learn more about pediatrics at Owensboro Health.

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 350 providers at more than 30 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a weight management program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have more than 19,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 33,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 150 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 90,000 Emergency Department visits and more than 1.25 million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.