ConnectOC Blog

Dr. James Doti dreams to live in a community where everyone has an equal opportunity – where we inspire the next generation to reach for the stars.

Fortunately for us, Doti has done more than simply wish for a better future for Orange County; he’s helped shaped it. Doti, president emeritus of Chapman University, led the Orange campus for more than 25 years before stepping down this year to return to his first love: teaching.

One out of five children suffers from a mental health condition. But despite this prevalence, the more than 150,000 children in Orange County who are affected often are stigmatized or shamed – and the lack of behavioral health options prevents them from accessing critical treatment. How could their lives be improved if their families could seek timely, appropriate help? CHOC Children’s is finding out by building Orange County’s first inpatient mental health program to accommodate children under the age of 12.


In 2009, Susan and Steve Giusto entered a world no parent ever expects when their daughter Cathryn was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, the second most-common form of solid tumor in childhood. Of the nearly 16,000 children diagnosed annually with pediatric cancers, 2,000 will not survive, and three of five survivors will develop health complications—some fatal-- as a result of the cancer treatment they are undergoing to save their lives. Through The Friends of Cathryn Fund, the Giustos are working to address this heartbreaking dilemma.

When is trust a prescription for good health? When it comes to serving the families of El Sol Science and Arts Academy in Santa Ana, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in May. Not only is the award-winning charter school’s English and Spanish dual-immersion model credited with enabling its nearly 1,000 preschool-through-eighth-grade students achieve high levels of academic success, the new SOS-El Sol Wellness Center also is providing El Sol families a wide range of on-site health, education and social services. “It’s really about serving the whole community,” says Vicki Booth, a member of OCCF’s board of governors and president of Ueberroth Family Foundation.

Dental disease is the No. 1 chronic disease of children, even more common than obesity and asthma. Although it’s almost entirely preventable, one out of three Orange County children has untreated tooth decay. Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County has been grappling with this epidemic since 2001, and now, with its new Smiles X-Press program, children living in some of Orange County’s most impoverished neighborhoods are getting a high-tech, high-touch way to access preventative dental care.

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