Dr. Todd Harris

Hurricane Florence and RCAM

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

September 10, 2018 – Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine will be following the advice of our Governor and other emergency agencies as North Carolina prepares for Hurricane Florence.

As with winter storms, we will update here if we have to close or otherwise alter normal office operations at one or both of our offices.

Some potential scenarios:

  1. If we have to close our BRIER CREEK office, we may reschedule patients or we may try to route them to our DURALEIGH office
  2. If we have to close our DURALEIGH office, we may reschedule patients or we may try to route them to our BRIER CREEK office
  3. If we have to close BOTH OFFICES, we will do our best to manage urgent concerns by phone and then recommending those who need it to the local emergency departments.

A note about the phones: If there is a problem with our main phone line and you have an urgent concern about a sick child, you can call our backup answering service number at 919-831-5526.

Please keep in mind that if that situation occurs, the number of people answering the phone will be limited, so only call with urgent concerns. Save routine calls for when things settle down.


Dr. Todd Harris

September 6, 2018 – As more information about children and automobile safety is gathered and analyzed, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is becoming more convinced that rear-facing is the safest seating position for a child riding in a car.

Prior to 2011, the recommended age to transition from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat was 12 months old. The AAP in 2011 moved that recommendation to 24 months.

That same group – in an effort to make recommendations based on the best and most up-to-date information available – continues to monitor crash safety data and now is recommending that children ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible – up to the limits of their car safety seat.

Most rear-facing car seats have a maximum rear-facing weight in the 30 pound range – the average weight of a 3-year old. Convertible car seats – seats that can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing – have a maximum rear-facing weight in the 40+ pound range – the average weight of a 5 year old. This new information will therefore include virtually all children under 2 years of age and most children up to age 4.

Important links:

Discuss this with your pediatrician at your child's next well visit


Dr. Todd Harris

Welcome Back to School 2018-2019

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

August 27, 2018 – There has been lots of first days of school so far for 2018 since Tracks 1, 2 and 3 got started on July 9th.

This morning, 160,000 Wake County, traditional-calendar students get started and we at RCAM would like to say to all our student-patients a heart-felt,

Good Luck Today. Have a Great Year!”

Of course, many of our year-rounders have been in school for weeks to months. To you we add to the above, “Keep up the good work!”

One Reminder, Two Potentially Useful Links and a Video about a Fish’s First Day of Kindergarten:

  • Reminder: If your child suddenly tells you that they wish to play a sport and need a form completed, if they’ve been in our office in the last year for a well visit, we can fill out that form based on that visit. If they haven’t, give us a call and let’s get that scheduled. More information about getting forms completed here.
  • Useful Link #1: Last Monday, local affiliate ABC-11 compiled a county-by-county list of places offering FREE school supplies here.
  • Useful Link #2: Our friends at the American Academy of Pediatrics website HealthyChildren.org have compiled MANY back-to-school tips here.

On to the Video…

[NOTE: information that could be considered practical or useful ended above]

There are lots of great first day of school videos out there (and by “video” I am talking about a scene from a movie the depicts the first day of school).

I first thought of “Welcome Back Kotter” – which on further thought is more of a song than a scene so I’ve gone off theme here – also, RCAM parents are likely too young to get that reference. Those that did get it – they would know that song is about a former student returning as a teacher which is definitely not applicable to any current RCAM patients so… we keep moving.

Most movies that include the first day of school typically present the outsider / new student awkwardly arriving for their first day. That can be a lot of fun on a movie screen but not in real life. We see that theme in scenes from some all-time favorites like Footloose, Mean Girls, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and – my personal favorite – Grease featuring the awkward Aussie, Sandy.

For our purposes here, I’d like to feature this scene from Finding Nemo.

You will find no cynicism whatsoever in this depiction of a Kindergartner’s unbridled enthusiasm.

And – how bout Marlin (Nemo’s Dad)? Who among us can’t identify with a parent’s unflinching anxiety when faced with the appropriate parental duties of letting go.

Been there myselfprobably still am but we’ll keep in the past tense; don’t want to overthink…

But wait… On second thought – Marlin was kinda right, wasn’t he? His out-of-this-world fears were actually founded. The decision to start school was almost tragic for Nemo.

I’m going to rethink my decision to drop my kids off at school today. In the meantime, try to enjoy (don’t let me start a panic – keep in mind – everything does turn out just fine for young Nemo):


Dr. Todd Harris

August 8, 2018 – This month the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published reports that bring up safety concerns about a group of chemicals commonly referred to as food additives.

These are chemicals that are very commonly used with processed foods

Chemicals of Concern

There are two types of food additives.

  1. Direct food additives – chemicals added during the processing of foods
  2. Indirect food additives – these chemicals may contact food as part of packaging or processing

Many of these chemicals have a designation known as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). This GRAS designation allows many chemicals to be used without FDA approval or notification. They are designated as safe by company employees or hired consultants. In its policy statement, the AAP is recommending a reassessment of this process.

Attempting to Clarify the Concern:

The AAP has produced two documents to add some clarity and direction toward reducing possible risks:

  1. AAP Policy statement:
    • Describes the chemicals of concern
    • Regulatory framework
    • Recommends practical steps for reducing exposure to these substances
    • Recommendations for policy makers and government
  2. AAP Technical report (from the AAP Council on Environmental Health):
    • More specifics regarding the chemicals of concern

Practical Steps: Reduce Exposure to Chemicals of Concern

Frankly, it is difficult to avoid some of these chemicals completely. Here are known practical steps to reduce exposure (as published in the above AAP Policy Statement):

  1. Prioritize consumption of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables when possible, and support that effort by developing a list of low-cost sources for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  2. Avoid processed meats, especially maternal consumption during pregnancy.
  3. Avoid microwaving food or beverages (including infant formula and pumped human milk) in plastic, if possible.
  4. Avoid placing plastics in the dishwasher.
  5. Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.
  6. Look at the recycling code on the bottom of products to find the plastic type, and avoid plastics with recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) unless plastics are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating that they are made from corn and do not contain bisphenols.
  7. Encourage hand-washing before handling foods and/or drinks, and wash all fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled.

Dr. Todd Harris

RCAM Newest Edition: Atta Girl!

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

August 7, 2018 – Many of our patient’s families have been following the pregnancy of our very own Sarah Owrey, MD.

[Editor’s Note: Don’t confuse Dr. Owrey’s pregnancy with those of the 2 other RCAM pediatricians also set to deliver over the next 7 weeks. That little period of time is something RCAM likes to call “Operation: Brace Yourself”]

We happily pass along that this past Sunday Sarah gave birth to a 7 lbs 15 oz baby girl. Sarah, husband Ryan and big brother Hudson have named her Harper.

The website Spinditty compiled 84 Songs About Victory, Celebration, Success and Winning and I find it to be a good compilation when you want just the right mood for moments like this.

When the list came to Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time”, they wrote the following:

Proudly play this 1988 song when you’ve labored intensively towards one illustrious achievement and you’re approaching the pinnacle of success. Breathe deeply, then bask in the glory and enjoy your moment

That description begs the question, “Were they referring to childbirth or competing in a decathlon?”

For those of you who have given birth you may ask, “What’s the difference?”

Let’s all bask with this happy family and welcome little Harper to her ‘Moment In Time.’


Dr. Todd Harris

Wednesday Day: Happy 4th of July Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

Today is Tuesday, July 4, 2017

  • Both offices are closed for regular business today but keep in mind – like other holidays – we will offer a limited clinic at the Duraleigh Office
  • Patients will be seen today by appointment only – there are no walk-in appointments
  • If you think your child may need to be seen, call 919-781-7490
  • If possible, call in the morning (best time is between 9am and 11am) and speak to the nurse working with the On Call Pediatrician
  • 4th of July Holiday clinic begins at 10 am
  • After clinic, we are available to speak by phone about any urgent concerns you may have.

The Holiday Lineup:

After Hours Care

  • Urgent calls outside regular hours: 919-781-7490
  • After hours backup number: 919-831-5526
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

Dr. Todd Harris

Banner Change: Summer 2018 Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

July 3, 2018 – Welcome to the banner change where, at Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine (RCAM), we officially move past spring and welcome the summer. This is a little late but – c’mon mana legend retired 11 days agocut us a little slack.

Therefore, without further ado, “Goodbye” totwo girls in field of marigolds‘ and “Hello” tochild peering over poolside‘.

Hot Weather Means: Time to Schedule Your Child / Teen’s Well Check

On Tuesday the WRAL thermometer got up to 97º. Have you scheduled your child’s well visit / complete physical yet?

  • Here is the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended schedule of well visits as endorsed by the pediatricians at RCAM.
  • Among those recommendations: every child 3 years old and above should have a well visit / complete physical every year.
  • If your child might play sports in middle school or high school, keep in mind their school will require them to have had a well visit / complete physical in the last year. The summer is a perfect time to take care of that. Call us and schedule a visit.

School Sports Participation Forms

Be ready when you hear at the last minute that your child wants to try out for their school’s quidditch team. Instead,

  1. Schedule an appointment (919-781-7490).
  2. Download the appropriate form your school requires.
  3. Bring the form to your appointment and we will complete it at your child’s well visit / physical.
  4. Avoid a crisis and have a completed form ready to go before school even begins.

Here are some of the local school athletic participation forms:

Happy 4th of July!

It is a holiday week. Here is the next 3 days’ schedule at RCAM:

  • Tuesday, July 3rd – Duraleigh and Brier Creek Offices both open regular weekday hours
  • Wednesday, July 4th – Duraleigh and Brier Creek Offices both closed for the Independence Day holiday; holiday coverage described here (in short, a limited clinic starting at 10am at the Duraleigh office)
  • Thursday, July 5th – Duraleigh and Brier Creek Offices back to being open regular weekday hours

Dr. Todd Harris

Dr. Lehan Retiring After 33 Years at RCAM

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

June 19, 2018 – How do you say “Goodbye” to an icon?

This week at Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine, we are trying to figure that out.

After 33 years, Friday, June the 22nd will be the last official workday for Leigh Lehan, MD.

Below is a token of what her peers had to say about those 33 years:

Leigh S. Lehan, MD Day Week

If you make it into the office, be aware that RCAM is celebrating her career for the entire week.

  • Monday, June 18th – ALLITERATION DAY – as we say goodbye to “LL”, we attempted to add our own alliteration to the day and all the while maintaining a pleasant, soothing demeanor – sorry you missed it.
  • Tuesday, June 19th – DIET SUNKIST DAY – Dr. Lehan is known for a ‘Sunny’ presence – she is also known to enjoy a Diet Sunkist from time to time, and – while that seems to be something none of the rest of us enjoys – on Tuesday we will take time to enjoy some of the small things that make the day more enjoyable
  • Wednesday, June 20th – NOTE CARD DAY – we will all do our best Dr. Lehan impersonation by writing thoughtful words on a piece of paper and sharing them with someone else in the office [NOTE about NOTE CARD DAY: if you are still reading this, you must be a big Dr. Lehan Fan like the rest of us; if so, please take a moment to write some words for her and we would be happy to sure that she gets them; send them to: RCAM / Dr. Lehan Retirement, 3100 Duraleigh Road, Suite 300, Raleigh, NC 27612]
  • Thursday, June 21st – BAKED GOODS & CRAFTS DAY – no explanation necessary
  • Friday, June 22nd – LEIGH S. LEHAN, MD DAY – Dr. Lehan began her career at RCAM in 1984 and we will try to recreate some of the themes of that era for her last day

Dr. Jen Long

Weekend Notes: Memorial Day Edition

Written by Dr. Jen Long

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, May 26, 27 and 28, 2018

  1. IMPORTANT NOTE: Our office will be closed for routine business on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday
  2. We will offer a morning clinic for urgent needs on Saturday, Sunday and Monday

 All patients seen at our Duraleigh office by appointment only

  • No walk-in appointments; be sure to call ahead
  • Try to call soon after 9am if you think your child may need to be seen to talk to the on call phone nurse
  • As always, we will be available for phone advice all day and every day

Your Memorial Day Weekend Lineup

After Hours Care

  • Urgent calls outside regular hours: 919-781-7490
  • After hours backup number: 919-831-5526
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222