For almost 30 years, Dr. Marius Kesler has worked with the Child Protection Team at the Howard Phillips Center (HPC), who’s mission it is to safeguard the children of central Florida from abuse and neglect. Originally joining the team part-time while still in private practice at Physician Associates, Dr. Kesler decided to pursue his work at HPC full time about 10 years ago.
“My favorite part of the job is working with the people here,” said Dr. Kesler. “We offer a variety of unique programs at the Howard Phillips Center. If I have a unique case where I am concerned about a child's mental health, I can just go down the hallway to the Healing Tree and get a counselor to consult with me. Most organizations don’t have that capability.”
On any given day, Dr. Kesler can be found performing a wide-assortment of duties that keep him working at a non-stop pace. Two days are never the same, something that Dr. Kesler prefers, and can include responsibilities ranging from onsite consultations, attending depositions, performing medical exams on children where there are allegations that they are victims of abuse or neglect, testifying on his cases, reading stacks of medical records and reviewing the 100-200 cases reported each day on the Child Abuse Hotline.
In addition to being the only full-time Pediatrician on staff at HPC, Dr. Kesler also serves as the Medical Director for the Orange and Osceola County Child Protection Teams. The state of Florida has a distinct way of operating, in which several county-based child protection Medical Directors all report to a State Child Protection Team Medical Director.
“None of us are doing this work to get rich,” explained Dr. Kesler. “There are easier ways to make a living and there can be a lot of turn-over and burn out, but we are all doing it for the same reason – to help kids.”
Chances are you’ve driven by a brightly colored building on Michigan Street many times. But do you know about the impactful work that takes place inside? Join us on a tour of The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families to learn more about how we are healing families and strengthening our community.