Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Stony Brook Medicine

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    Overview Identifying and diagnosing mental health conditions in children and adolescents is one of the toughest jobs in health care. Sometimes symptoms overlap with other conditions. Changed or disruptive behavior could signal a disorder — or a typical developmental stage. Younger children may not have the words to express their thoughts or feelings. Teens may not want to communicate at all. All too often, schools, courts, community health care providers, and other agencies may not have the resources to provide an appropriate evaluation.

    The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program at Stony Brook Children's has built an international reputation based on meeting these needs. We provide expert assessment of childhood and adolescent mental illness — in many cases, second opinions — to patients from as far away as California and South America.

    Stony Brook also provides the full spectrum of psychiatric and behavioral services — inpatient treatment, outpatient care, medical and behavioral management, and school programs — to address the wide range of mental health conditions occurring in children today.

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    Contact Us

    Inpatient Care Stony Brook Children's Services
    12N - Stony Brook University Hospital
    Stony Brook, New York 11794

    For physicians seeking information on admissions, call (631) 444-7547 or (631) 444-1251


    Outpatient Diagnostic Clinic Stony Brook Children's Services
    South Campus-Putnam Hall
    Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday
    For appointments, call (631) 632-3096
    For information on clinical services and research, call (631) 632-8850

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    Our Team Gabrielle A. Carlson, MD, Division Chief
    Deborah Weisbrot, MD, Outpatient Department Director
    Judith Crowell, MD, Fellowship Training Director
    David Margulies, MD, CPEP
    Richard Mattison, MD, School Consultation Director
    Vicky (Erla-Victoria) Rundberg-Rivera, MD, School Consultant
    Paul Mitrani, MD, PhD
    Shreya Maniar Nagula, MD
    Ilana Yel, DO

    Other key members of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry faculty team include:Darla Broberg, PhD, Clinical Director 12N 
    Joyce Sprafkin, PhD, Associate Professor, Outpatient Department Clinical Child Psychologist
    Joseph Blader, PhD; Research Assistant Professor
    Michael Greenberg, LCSW, Social Worker
    Angela Denton, LCSW, Social Worker 12N

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    Services Stony Brook's renowned Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services provides three major services: outpatient evaluation and treatment of children with psychiatric disorders; inpatient care at the only academic medical institution on Long Island to provide inpatient child and adolescent psychiatry services; and consultation to schools that serve children with severe emotional disability.

    In-Depth Evaluation and Assessment. The cornerstone of the Stony Brook program, our outpatient evaluations often are performed as second opinions for schools seeking detailed reports that will help the child obtain the appropriate school services. They sometimes are needed to advise in legal matters. And always, these evaluations and assessment help educate parents, guardians, and the child on the presence, nature and treatment of their condition. A routine evaluation begins with obtaining standardized ratings from parent and teacher, copies of past evaluations and hospital records if relevant, and an interview with the parent/caretaker and child. A detailed evaluation also includes a laboratory assessment of attention and impulsivity as well as a classroom observation.

    Inpatient Care. For children ages five through 12 with serious psychiatric disorders, we can provide 24-hour inpatient services in our 10-bed, locked unit. Children receive a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, medications if necessary, and appropriate therapeutic interventions, which may include behavior management programs and therapeutic recreation along with educational services through the BOCES program. A core component of treatment is parent training to reinforce inpatient treatment, better manage the child, and give parents a new set of coping skills. The inpatient team includes a psychiatrist, psychologist, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants.

    Consultation Liaison Service. This provides high quality, thorough and timely psychiatric consultations to pediatric patients throughout Stony Brook Children's. Led by Dr. Peng Pang and staffed by psychiatrists on the faculty, the consultation service provides evaluation and assistance with the management of psychological conditions and psychiatric disorders occurring in medically ill children throughout the hospital such as complex medical/psychiatric diagnoses including acute stress reactions to medical conditions, self-injurious behaviors or suicidal attempt and ideation, acute decompensation from prior psychiatric or psychological status, procedural anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Assessment consists of talking to the families, outpatient healthcare providers and school counselors of children about their medical and psychological/psychiatric conditions, as well as collaborating with the pediatric team involved in their care.

    School Program. Unique to Long Island, the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) program provides school services while the child is hospitalized. BOCES teachers help students maintain and develop their educational potential during hospitalization, create a routine, and develop new coping skills. The program is available to both regular and special education students. The BOCES team works closely with the school to assess the child's performance and ease the transition back to school.

    Outpatient Services. Many of Stony Brook's services are available on an outpatient basis, including assessment, follow-up care, parent training, case management and therapeutic management. We phone discharged patients to maintain support and guidance during the transition from hospital to home. In addition, our staff is available for one-to-one therapy.

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    Patient Resources Members of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division are actively involved in educating families and the community about psychiatric disorders and their management. We have worked with Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), Special Education Parents and Teachers Association (SEPTA), and other support and advocacy groups.

    In addition, members of the Division continually reach out to community therapists, educators, and families by organizing educational programs on child and adolescent psychiatry topics such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, learning disorders and aggression, and many other areas.

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    Research and Education As part of an academic medical institution, Stony Brook's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division participates in the teaching of tomorrow's professionals, as well as researching psychiatric disorders and their treatment. 

    Education The Division maintains an accredited two-year psychiatric fellowship with two fellows in each year. Our faculty also teaches residents and medical students from the Stony Brook School of Medicine and nurse trainees from the Stony Brook School of Nursing.

    Research. Current and upcoming clinical trials include studies on ADD and aggression, bipolar disorder and pediatric epilepsy. The division also is involved in longitudinal and other studies examining a variety of important research questions.

    Dr. Judith Crowell is the principal investigator of a longitudinal study that will investigate the role of family factors and acute and chronic trauma and stress, including racism, on the development of metabolic syndrome (precursors to adult onset diabetes and heart disease). Based at Judge Baker Children's Center, Harvard Medical School, the project received a 5-year NIA funded grant in June 2009. It will follow psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents from a local high school and newly recruited subjects from the African American and Black Caribbean population of Boston.

    Dr. Gabrielle Carlson has been involved in two funded longitudinal studies. One project focuses on late teens and adults with a first episode of psychosis. The other study is following a community sample of preschool children to examine the effects of certain kinds of temperament in predicting future depressive disorder.

    Dr. Deborah Weisbrot has been involved with the Lourie Center for Pediatric MS as their psychiatric consultant. In addition to in-depth clinical evaluations, there are ongoing studies of psychiatric aspects of pediatric multiple sclerosis. As an outgrowth of this research, Dr. Weisbrot has published one of the first papers describing psychiatric aspects of demyelinating disorders in children and adolescents. She is a long-standing member of the Physically Ill Child Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

    Open Studies Two clinical studies of attention deficit disorder and aggression are available for children between the ages of 6 and 12. For more information, call Ashley Conway at (631) 632-8317.

    Bipolar disorder and major depression in children are the focus of two clinical studies for children and adolescents between the ages of 10 to 17. For more information, call Greg Carlson at (631) 632-8828.

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    Advances and Recognitions Members of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry staff have been recipients of numerous awards and recognitions over the years, including:

    Dr. Gabrielle Carlson and Dr. Deborah Weisbrot have been cited multiple times on Castle Connelly's list of "New York's Best Doctors."

    Dr. Richard Mattison recently won the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's Berman Award for outstanding research on children with learning disabilities.

    Dr. Carlson recently won a research award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for her work on bipolar disorder in children and adolescents, and a clinical recognition award from the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is the program director for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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    Definitions Attention deficit disorder - A syndrome characterized by a pattern of short attention span, impulsiveness, and sometimes hyperactivity.

    Bipolar disorder - A mood disorder characterized by episodes of energetic manic "highs" and depressive "lows".

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