Meet the Doctors
We appreciate the opportunity to provide you health care. Our staff is made up of nurses, medical receptionists, and administrative staff who work as a team to bring you high-quality medical care.
Due to unexpected personal reasons, Dr. Sonia Arthungal has left the practice. We will miss her and wish her well. We are happy to let you know we have hired another pediatrician, Dr. Mariko Mui O'Byrne. She comes highly recommended and will start this winter.
Click on doctor's name or photo to read about her.
Leah Brasch, MDDownload Bio
Pediatrics fulfills my passion for both children and science. After being a pediatrician for years, I continue to find it gratifying. Growing up in Denver, Colorado, I always wanted to be a doctor. I attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Medical School.
I first moved to the DC area for a pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center, where I eventually rose to chief resident. I’d say I’ve been here ever since, but a detour took my husband and me to South Korea in the mid 1980's where I worked as a civilian pediatrician for the US Army. Working on a multi-disciplinary developmental team and volunteering at a Korean adoption agency were formative, educational, and rewarding experiences.
After a couple of years, I returned as an attending physician in General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, teaching in the outpatient clinic. In 1988, my friend, Linda Goldstein, and I decided to start our private practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland and we have been together ever since. It's been rewarding to watch the practice grow and develop over the years, just like the kids in the practice!
I love the variety of general practice, helping families with everything from routine questions to serious problems, from newborns to young adults. From my days in Korea, I have a particular interest in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, as well as foreign adoptions. With additional training and years of experience helping new mothers, I have developed some expertise with lactation problems as well.
I am a Clinical Associate Professor at George Washington Medical School, so you might see me training medical students or residents in the office. I’ve been a Board Certified Pediatrician since 1985, and voluntarily took and passed the Maintenance of Certification exam in 2010. I’m a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and active in the Montgomery-PG County Pediatric Society. Last but not least, I’ve gained lots of personal and practical experience raising my two great young adult sons.
Linda Goldstein, MDDownload Bio
I have been a pediatrician since 1980 and have never looked back. I grew up in New York City and went to medical school at NYU, where I fell in love with the field of pediatrics after my first clinical rotation. I came to Washington, DC for my residency at Children's National Medical Center, expecting to stay here for only 3 years, but I never left. Since our residency training, Leah Brasch and I have been close friends and colleagues.
After Chief Residency, I continued on the full time faculty at CNMC in general pediatrics and assisted in running the residency training program. Clinically, I had a special interest in pain management and caring for younger children with feeding problems. To this day I still enjoy the challenge of difficult eaters and have contributed to international academic presentations on the topic.
After three years in my position at Children's Hospital and starting a family, I decided to return to my true professional passion of outpatient pediatrics and joined a private practice. In 1988, Leah and I joined forces and started our practice together.
I continue to enjoy teaching medical students from GWU Medical School and residents from CNMC in our office and have a Clinical Associate Professor appointment at George Washington University. I have remained active in the Medical Staff at Children's National Medical Center and the Montgomery/Prince Georges County Pediatric Society. Although I have permanent certification from the American Board of Pediatrics since 1985, I voluntarily took and passed the Maintenance of Certification exam in 2010. I am a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Finally, my husband and I have loved the challenge of raising our three wonderful sons.
Shreelata Durbhakula, MDDownload Bio
I grew up in Colorado with my older brother and younger sister. I decided to pursue medicine early on in my educational career. I moved east and went to undergraduate and medical school at Brown University. I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician when I realized the lifelong impact I could have in this field. I moved to Cleveland, Ohio where I did my Pediatrics Residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Following residency I stayed on to do a year as Chief Resident and then joined the faculty as Assistant Residency Program Director. I moved to Maryland in 2008 to join Friendship Pediatrics. I live with my husband and 2 young girls.
Throughout my time in pediatrics I have taken a special interest in working with new parents and breastfeeding. As a vegetarian and the mother of a child with food allergies these have also become areas of interest for me. I am board certified through the American Academy of Pediatrics and am a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Mariko Mui O’Byrne, MDDownload Bio
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California with my parents and younger sister. As I was growing up, I alternated between wanting to become a doctor or a teacher, which is consistent with my choice of career in pediatrics. I graduated from UCLA, Magna cum laude in Physiology, then spent a year abroad in Japan teaching English at two middle schools. Upon my return, I decided to pursue my interest in nutrition and medicine. I completed a masters program in Nutrition at Columbia University, followed by medical school at The George Washington University, graduating with distinction and Alpha Omega Alpha honors. I completed my Pediatrics Residency at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and subsequently stayed on as an attending physician in one of CHOP’s urban primary care clinics.
During the five years as an attending at CHOP, in addition to seeing patients, I precepted residents and medical students, and coordinated the residency program’s primary care rotation. In addition, I spent one day a week developing obesity programming for primary care.
I am board certified through the American Board of Pediatrics and am a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Besides providing medical services, my job as a pediatrician allows me to provide education and support to children and their families. I find it very rewarding to care for newborns and watch them grow, while helping to establish healthy habits and promoting preventive care.
My family and I moved to Maryland the summer of 2015 and have enjoyed settling in to our new home and neighborhood. I live in Bethesda with my husband and two little boys. I had my second child in September and will start at Friendship Pediatrics this winter. I am thrilled to join Friendship Pediatrics and I look forward to caring for your children.