Hello and welcome!
Dunya Poltorak, PhD is a pediatric/ young adult medical psychologist. She achieved her Bachelor's degree (1993) in psychology through the honors program, with high distinction, from the University of Michigan, followed by her Master's (1995) and Doctorate (1998) in Clinical Psychology from the University of Detroit Mercy's American Psychological Association (APA) accredited doctoral program.
Dr Poltorak completed her predoctoral residency training at Dayton Children's Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, as part of the APA-accredited Wright State University Psychology Residency Training Program. She then completed subspecialty fellowship training in pediatric psychology/ behavioral medicine (the specific study of the interplay between physical disease and psychological factors from infancy through adolescence) at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.
After completing her training, she spent nearly a decade as a member of the medical staff at Cleveland Clinic, where she developed and directed the Pediatric Behavioral Medicine Hospital Consultation Service. This service primarily addressed the psychological needs and concerns of children, adolescents, and early young adults (and their families) during hospitalization for significant acute or chronic physical health problems and also provided patients with outpatient follow-up care. She was also an active member of the Cleveland Clinic's Pediatric Palliative Medicine Service, which cared for young patients with the most advanced and life-limiting physical diseases.
Dr. Poltorak is among very few outpatient providers in our region who have specialty expertise in evaluating and managing psychological concerns in medically complex children, adolescents, and young adults. Having long practiced at a major tertiary care medical center, she has been exposed to some of the most complex and complicated pediatric and young adult diseases in great breadth and depth. She also has tremendous interest and expertise in the management of physical symptoms (such as headache, abdominal pain, and pseudoseizures) which would suggest physical illness though appear to be largely impacted by psychological factors. Having long functioned as a member of a team of doctors of varying subspecialties, she believes strongly in the importance of collaboration and communication amongst medical providers for optimal patient management. She also has significant experience in the evaluation and management of developmental, behavioral, and emotional concerns outside the context of physical illness. Her practice style is evidence-based, and she has a strong history of excellent outcomes.
Dr. Poltorak has been actively involved in the training of medical and psychology residents and fellows. While at Cleveland Clinic, she was the co-coordinator of the developmental and behavioral pediatrics training module for pediatric medical residents. She also co-authored a module on physician-patient communication for a web-based curriculum for pediatric radiology residents. She was an invited guest co-editor of a special issue of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, which was dedicated to the topic of pediatric palliative medicine. She has authored numerous additional manuscripts which have appeared in professional medical journals. She has delivered lectures regionally and nationally to other medical professionals regarding various topics related to developmental and behavioral pediatrics.
Dr. Poltorak has been involved with various professional medical and psychology organizations. During her tenure at Cleveland Clinic, she was actively involved with various program development and leadership committees. Of additional note, while at Cleveland Clinic, she also spent several years as a leader of the Women's Professional Staff Association, which is an organization dedicated to the advancement, support, and continuing education of female attending doctors, fellows, and residents.
Dr. Poltorak's breadth and depth of knowledge and experience are coupled with strong personal and professional ethics. She has a naturally warm, engaging, energetic, and compassionate style that readily puts children and families at ease. She is incredibly passionate about her work and most definitely about being a mother! She and her husband have 4 sweet young children (her greatest joy!) and live in Birmingham, where she was also born and raised.