Inpatient Medical Behavioral Unit

Rady Children's Hospital and UCSD have joined forces to open the only child and adolescent medical/psychiatric inpatient unit in San Diego. The primary purpose of this unit is to provide multidisciplinary treatment to children and adolescents with comorbid medical and psychiatric conditions. Psychiatric evaluation and treatment will be supervised and directed by Jeff Rowe, MD, who is board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry. The Nursing Director is Erin Costa, BSN, MAS. MBU is staffed by a combination of professionals with medical expertise and with mental health and behavioral experience, including specialized experience with eating disorders. Staff includes nurses, social workers, licensed psychiatric technicians, dietitians and physicians from the hospital, adolescent medicine and child psychiatry services.

Eating Disorders: Our Medical Stabilization Unit has dedicated inpatient beds for medical stabilization of patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. This includes those with abnormal cardiovascular function or those who are severely underweight and require nutritional restoration under expert care. These medical services are also available to young adults. Our understanding of the cause of eating disorders is changing. Considerable recent evidence shows that working in alliance with the family significantly improves outcome and reduces relapse. Thus, after medical stabilization we offer a transition to the UCSD Eating Disorders Family-Based (Maudsley) Treatment Program which is located at Rady Children’s Hospital.

The eating disorders program is led by world-renowned experts in eating disorders: Walter Kaye, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, and Kerri Boutelle, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine. Medical treatment for eating disorders is managed by UCSD adolescent medicine specialist Karen Loper, MD.

Once admitted, the eating disorders team provides:
  • Family assessment, family therapy and multi-family group interventions
  • Dietary assessment from a Registered Dietitian and an individualized meal plan to restore weight and physical health
  • Fully supervised meals
  • Behavioral interventions to restore weight in anorexia and stop the binge/purge cycle of bulimia
  • Therapy groups using evidence-based and best-practice treatments such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Following medical stabilization, the eating disorder patient’s care may be continued with family-based day treatment provided by the UCSD Eating Disorders Program. Other patients will be referred to Rady Children's Outpatient Psychiatry or other individualized outpatient care. In certain cases, patients will be referred to UCSD’s Inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (CAPS) for continued observation and treatment of acute psychiatric disorders. Our expert team will ensure a smooth transition to the appropriate outpatient services.

Our goal is to deliver the best medical, psychiatric and nutritional care to help the patient stabilize medically, followed by a strong outpatient plan to ensure a successful recovery.

Contact Us

Immediate Medical Admissions
Adolescent Medicine Specialist on call
(858) 576-1700
program information or general inquiries
Andi Fessler, MA, PCCI
Admissions Clinician for Adolescent & Pediatric Programs
(858) 822-5701