Cigna Medical Group Spotlight

Dr. Mark Morales, pediatrician

What is the name of your hometown?
I grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended Stanford University for my undergraduate degree and received my medical degree from the University of Southern California (USC).

Why did you move to Arizona?
I had a three year commitment to Public Health, as they helped me pay for my medical school. Part of my commitment to give back to Public Health was to serve in the under privileged areas of Phoenix.

How did you choose your area of specialty?
I like the idea of treating someone that I can hold in my hand. I am able to examine my patients thoroughly from head to toe and know that I am able to help treat the whole person, versus just one area. I like the relationship that I am able to build with my patients over the years and know that I had an impact on nurturing happy and healthy children become adults.

What made you decide to practice at Cigna Medical Group?
When I started out, I was in a very busy practice. Working in a private practice, I had to cover everything in the office, staffing, deliveries, schedules and so on. I was not able to really focus on patient care as much as I would have liked to. While I was treating a patient at the Phoenix Children's Hospital I met a future Cigna Medical Group colleague.

Through this connection I was introduced to Cigna Medical Group, my public health commitment was ending and I was ready to make the change to a new practice. Cigna Medical Group made more sense to me, in the sense that I was able to practice the way I wanted to - focus on my patients and leave the administrative work to a support team. Here I am able to dedicate all my time at the office to my patients.

Do you have any unique interests within your specialty?
A general pediatrician is a specialty in itself. It ranges from newborn to college. My specialty deals with infancy issues, school problems, behavioral problems, troubled teens, teen parents, early adulthood.

My interests also take me to the study of the illness of poverty that is the dynamics of our economy and how it affects children.

In addition to my interests as a practicing pediatrician at Cigna Medical Group, I serve as the medical advisor for Head Start, and I am on the Phoenix Children's Hospital Medicine Committee serving as a community physician.

Do you have special tips for parents?
First, please make sure that all your children are immunized. Many serious child health problems can be avoided by making sure all your children's immunizations are up to date. Bring your child's immunization record with you to each appointment and if you have a question about which immunization your child needs and when, feel free to call our offices.

Also, take the time to be parents - don't be afraid to say no. Stick with your instinct - you are the parents, if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Remember to have fun with your kids - part of being a parent is spending special time with your children everyday to help bond a good relationship.