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For more than three decades, Kathryn “Kathi” Smith has cared for children with special health care needs and their families, especially those with neurodevelopmental disabilities. She works as a nurse care manager in the Boone Fetter Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), helping families of children with autism navigate the complex system of care. She carries out administrative duties in the Spina Bifida Program at CHLA, as well as the Rett Clinic and the Mental Health Program, working to ensure that clinical services meet the needs of children and families.

Kathi has a long-standing interest in access to services for children with special needs, especially those in publicly funded programs. She also spreads the word about the benefits of the medical home model for children with special needs.

Here’s how a CHLA newsletter described Kathi: “With each phone call and each potential treatment, she has one hope: that families ‘will come to understand their child’s condition, see the strengths in their child and learn the things that can help him or her grow.'”