$$ Jaclyn Lewis Albin, MD Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center
UTSW Physician Practicing at Children's Health
Dr. Jaclyn Albin is a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics (Med-Peds) doctor at the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health℠. She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
After earning her medical degree at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., Dr. Albin completed a four-year residency in Med-Peds at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, followed by an additional year as chief resident at Texas Children’s Hospital.
During residency, Dr. Albin decided she wanted to work with patients who were underserved, struggling to get their medical needs addressed. “I wanted to bring healing to those with the greatest need,” she explains.
“During my training, I cared for children and adults to become both a pediatrician and an internist. I learned from my adult patients that many of their struggles could be traced back to childhood experiences, especially adverse experiences known as toxic stress or trauma,” she says. “Adverse childhood experiences, often called ACEs, can have a lifelong impact.”
She also wanted to return to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where she was raised. At the same time, Children’s Health was building its foster care program.
“The timing was serendipitous,” Dr. Albin says. “They were offering wrap-around care for children in foster care, taking a holistic approach. That’s exactly what I was looking for.”
Dr. Albin says many children in foster care experience something similar to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that is commonly seen in veterans, and their behavior is often misunderstood. “Trauma can affect children in every area of their lives, including sleep, nutrition and eating, toileting, and behavior. I teach families to recognize the symptoms of trauma and to take a different approach in parenting these children.”
Now, Dr. Albin spends about half her time seeing children in foster care in the Rees-Jones Center, and she prioritizes training residents and students to view traumatized patients through a new lens. Another priority for Dr. Albin centers on improving the transitions that occur within the foster care system, such as when children move between environments, and for those who age out of the system. The rest of her time is spent seeing patients of all ages at her combined Med-Peds practice at UT Southwestern.
She says the groundbreaking Rees-Jones Center can create conversations across the country about best practices in caring for children in foster care.
“A child who comes to a regular clinic with a cold might see a doctor for a few minutes. But at our clinic, we see an opportunity to provide additional layers of care,” she says. “A child’s experience of routine illness is different when they’ve experienced trauma. They need an increased level of security and reassurance.
“Even during routine visits, we spend more time with the patient, and it gives us a chance to check in with the child about more than their presenting symptoms,” she says. “We also use the opportunity to engage the caregiver, both to ensure they understand the child’s unique needs and that they feel equipped to handle it. Foster parents need more support than they typically get. Their job is a hard one.”
Outside of work, Dr. Albin has her hands full with her two preschool-age children. She and her husband enjoy cooking, nutrition, travel and being active with their family.