Jesse Barondeau, MD, leads new division of adolescent medicine

Ask Jesse Barondeau, MD, about “these kids today,” and even over a Zoom connection, you can see him roll his eyes.

“I hear all the time, ‘teenagers these days,'” said Dr. Barondeau, who has been named the director of the division of adolescent medicine at UNMC and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, a new division in the department of pediatrics. “People have been saying that for centuries, if not millennia. Adults often forget the challenges we and our peers went through during adolescence, in part because it was awkward and uncomfortable.”

Dr. Barondeau enjoys caring for teenagers, which he learned unexpectedly while doing his pediatric residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. He followed that up with a fellowship in adolescent medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, which cemented his calling.

“Adolescent medicine is one of the lesser-known specialties,” he said. “Honestly, I didn’t know there was such a thing until I was a pediatric resident.”

When he did the rotation and then the fellowship, however, he found that he likes listening to teens.

“Teenagers can be very pleasant to talk to,” he said. “During the adolescent rotation in residency, there were a couple of teens who had complicated troubles, and I found it rewarding when I was able to help them. When you dig deeper into the context of a teen’s life and surroundings, you understand that many of their medical illnesses or risky behaviors are rooted in life situations that they haven’t learned to address in a healthy manner.”

He enjoys helping teens articulate and solve their health problems. He understands that they can be embarrassed to discuss changes in their bodies or afraid to talk about stressors that may be leading them to substance use disorders or mental health issues. He’s aware of the pitfalls of social media, a new challenge, he said, that “teenagers these days” – unlike previous generations — have to learn to navigate safely.

Dr. Barondeau arrives in Omaha as the first board-certified adolescent medicine specialist in the state of Nebraska, said Kari Simonsen, MD, chair of the UNMC Department of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s.

“He will be working to build new programs to support adolescents with unique health care needs in an environment that helps foster their growing independence and autonomy,” Dr. Simonsen said. “We anticipate he’ll work closely with our primary care colleagues as a resource and consultant for them, and closely with our specialty colleagues in complimentary disciplines including psychiatry, dermatology and gynecology to improve comprehensive care for adolescents.”

Dr. Barondeau, who spent 11 years in the U.S. Army and left with the rank of major, said he was excited to come to Omaha and start a new division at UNMC and Children’s “from the ground floor.”

“I hope to offer services to many of the communities in Nebraska with different needs, including medically underserved communities,” he said, adding that teenagers in general are an underserved population. “Teens have certain needs that are awkward to take care of; it can be hard to get them to the doctor; and it can be hard for them to address certain things that they may be uncomfortable talking with their parents about.”

Dr. Barondeau plans to get an adolescent medicine clinic established at Children’s and looks forward to collaborating with his fellow pediatricians, primary care practitioners and specialists at UNMC and Children’s, as well as exploring collaborations with school systems and using telemedicine to extend the new division’s impact across the state.

He’s also looking forward to teaching, as he will hold an associate professor position at UNMC.

“I enjoy teaching residents and medical students, which was not something I got to do at my last position,” he said

A native South Dakotan, he didn’t know much about Omaha apart from “College World Series” and “zoo,” but he was excited to create this new division in the Midwest. A farm kid himself, he feels an affinity for the rural/urban mix that Nebraska offers. He’s looking forward to making an impact, in Omaha and in the state.

“This is a field I enjoy,” he said. “It is the last chance to help kids out, before they turn into adults — and then they can do and say what they want, and whatever bad habits they have, they have them. It’s the last chance to teach them good behaviors, to catch them before they get into bad habits, to teach them how to make healthy lifestyle choices.

“It’s a good time to make a difference.”


  1. Lisa Runco says:

    The Department of Pediatrics is excited to welcome Dr. Barondeau! He will offer much needed expertise in our community, he is another wonderful addition to the Pediatrics team.

  2. Jessica Tschirren says:

    What a great new resource for Nebraska! Welcome Dr. Barondeau!

  3. Adam R Karpf says:

    This is an important specialty and UNMC is fortunate to now have a practitioner in this area. Welcome to UNMC.

  4. Jerrie Dayton says:

    I love this and the resource that Dr. Barondeau will provide for "our" future by working with the needs of adolescents. Critically important focus and chance to improve the lives of many, many people.

  5. Dr. Sheritta Strong says:

    Congratulations and welcome to UNMC!

  6. Jesse Barondeau says:

    Thanks everyone. Great to be here.

  7. John Walburn, M.D. says:

    The "ground floor" of adolescent medicine at UNMC has been well furnished by Dr. Amy Lacroix, a general pediatrician on the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics who has developed a comprehensive adolescent program and educational curriculum that has resulted in our residents consistently scoring in the top three of the twenty-five subspecialty sections of the American Board of Pediatrics certifying examination. Dr. Lacroix has held both regional and national positions in the Society for Adolescent Medicine and should be recognized and credited for the quality program she has pioneered in our medical center.
    John Walburn, MD

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