Training Future Child Psychiatrists

A renewed alliance between DePelchin Children's Center and the Baylor College of Medicine is helping to strengthen the number of child psychiatrists in Texas. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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The residency program is a kind of homecoming for Doctor Alice Mao.ξ She trained at DePelchin in the early 1990's.

"It was a valuable education experience because we saw kids who had undergone multiple traumas, lived in multiple foster homes."

Mao is now an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and the associate medical director at DePelchin.ξ The renewed partnership is training another generation of child psychiatrists to meet the demand.ξ Mao says treating children has its own set of challenges.

"The difficulty working with kids is that many times the child is not providing consent.ξ And if the parent is not giving permission or feels uncomfortable with medications frequently children who need to be treated do not receive the treatment they need, so it becomes very difficult because we have to not only engage the child, but also the parent."

Aaron Peterson is a resident in the program and gets to do a little bit of everything.ξ He helps with medication management, individual therapy and group therapy.ξ Peterson says the partnership allows for hands on training in an area that needs attention.

"You have a lot of children who have not been able to form proper attachments to loved ones, to mother, to dad.ξ So instead of having issues that may be more related to someone's genetics or issues being purely an inattention issue, you have so many different factors that I think these are some of the sickest children you wind up working with."ξ

Peterson does see the lack of resources in the system and wishes there was more of a focus because so many of the conditions are chronic.ξ Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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