Meet Our Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows
The Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center currently is proud of our four fellows who come from all over the country. A short description of each of them and their journey to our fellowship, as written by them, follows.
1st Year Fellows
Hi, I’m Mike! I was born and raised in northeastern Connecticut and received my bachelor’s degree from University of Connecticut. I lived and worked in the greater Boston area for six years before moving to Washington, DC to attend medical school at The George Washington University. I completed psychiatry residency at Georgetown University Hospital. Before attending medical school, I spent much of my childhood and young adult life playing percussion with various musical groups, which was fun and incredibly rewarding! Vermont was a big move for me and my family, but joining the wonderful community at UVM made this an easy transition. Training in child and adolescent psychiatry is a dream come true! I was drawn in particular to VCCYF because of their family-based approach to care and strength in promoting wellness in patients, families and their communities. I’m especially interested in interventions that leverage music instruction and performance. Outside of work I enjoy playing music, “retro” video games, skiing and exploring The Great Outdoors. I’m also fascinated with different species of otters (river otters, sea otters, etc). Did you know that a group of otters is known as a romp? Well, now you do!
Hi all, I’m Christopher David, and I am one of the first year CAP fellows. I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan, but my medical career has taken me all over the country to explore new cities and places to continue my psychiatry training. For my undergrad studies, I pursued neurobiological psychology at Cornell University, and then went to the NIMH and worked in the Child Psychiatry Branch for 3 years studying the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of Childhood Onset Schizophrenia. I completed my medical school training at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where I also studied mitochondrial etiologies of Parkinsonian pathology at the Pittsburgh Institute of Neurological Disease. I also specialized in LGBTQI-patient centered medical care and worked to implement new LGBTQI-patient oriented curriculums in the clinical training for future classes of medical school students.
I went on to complete my general psychiatry residency at University of California San Diego, and during my annual visits to the AACAP conference, quickly fell in love with UVM’s Child program and their Family Based Approach. Vermont offered an unbeatable combo of professional excellence alongside the highest quality of personal life-work balance that I found on the interview trail. I love to hike, cook traditional Romanian cuisine, and explore the rolling hills and mountains of Vermont with my golden doodle pup Ozzy.
Tyler Fanning, MD
I grew up in Oregon and come from five generations of farmers on one side of my family, and educators on the other. My educational background includes a B.A. from St. John’s College, a medical degree from Oregon Health & Science University, and adult psychiatry residency here at the University of Vermont (UVM). I’m delighted to be continuing my training here in the child and adolescent fellowship at the UVM.
I have enjoyed working with kids and young people for a long time, and particularly enjoyed teaching middle and high school for two years at a public-charter school after undergrad. In medical school I gravitated toward working with kids and young people, and found psychiatry fascinating, challenging, rewarding, and well-suited to my desire to learn from and help others. The Vermont Family Based Approach here at UVM allows us care for the whole family and take into consideration multiple facets of our patients and families lives - improving the quality of care we offer.
My interests within pediatric and general psychiatry are widespread, though I have a special interest in developmental and neuropsychiatric problems.
When not working with patients, families, or learning from our talented group of clinicians, I can be found spending time with my family, biking, or enjoying the lake or hiking trails here in the green mountain state.
Theresa Flanagan, MD
I am thrilled to be coming back to Vermont for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship. I grew up just over the Connecticut River in New Hampshire and was the first grandchild (or child!) to follow in my grandmother’s Catamount footsteps by attending the Larner College of Medicine for medical school. I have managed to venture out of New England at least few times, most recently completing my general psychiatry training at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Vermont Family Based Approach was a major influence in my decision to pursue psychiatry. As a medical student, I loved that even the case presentation order modeled a holistic and strengths-based approach, rather than jumping straight to pathology and psychopharmacology. I saw firsthand how “wellness” is more than a buzzword at VCCYF, and I am looking forward to being a part of a department that emphasizes evidence-based practices not only for patients and their families, but also ourselves. Some of my specific interests include psychodynamic psychotherapy, LGBTQ+ mental health, and addiction medicine. During fellowship I am particularly interested in gaining a better foundation in neurodevelopment, as I have found it to be crucial not only for child and adolescent psychiatry but for my practice as a whole.
I have a hard time coming up with answers to superlative questions, but one of the easiest ones for me growing up was “What is your favorite place in the world?” Lake Champlain has always had my heart, and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to now call it home!
2nd Year Fellows
Alexis Bailey, MD - Hi, I am Alexis. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and I completed my medical school training at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. I moved to Vermont in 2017, where I had the wonderful opportunity to train in the adult psychiatry residency program at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC). Presently, I am in the second year of the child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at UVMMC.
Prior to my medical training, I had the incredible privilege of working with adolescents and families within my local community, which impressed upon me the verity of the adage, “it takes a village to raise a child.” I appreciate that the Vermont Family Based Approach (VFBA) is a strength based system that takes into account the various influences on the child’s wellbeing including family, peers, school, community, and the dimensions of wellness. It gives me great satisfaction to work with a team of professionals whose goal is to deliver high quality, evidenced based, and comprehensive care to the children and families in Vermont. As a person who prioritizes wellness in my personal life, I value mindful living, a healthy lifestyle, and connection with others. I am enthused to be in a program where this is emphasized and encouraged within all areas, and it is an exciting challenge to learn how to incorporate these principles into the care of my patients.
Joseph Pepitone, MD - I’m Joseph Pepitone, and I’m one of the second year child and adolescent psychiatry fellows. I completed my medical school training at the Florida State University College of Medicine, and am originally from Orlando, Florida. When applying for residency programs, I applied to the combined-track program here after reading about the Vermont Family-Based Approach and wanting to learn more. Now that I’m here, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
My road to psychiatry was not a direct one. I’ve had a few pit-stops along the way, originally graduating with an undergraduate bachelors in mathematics from Florida State, then spent some time in graduate study of theoretical chemistry at The University of Chicago. At this last pit-stop, my advisor and I had a conversation about my interests in medicine, and he told me about how he had seen the field of psychiatry change overtime from watching the practices of his psychiatrist parents. He encouraged me to consider a career in this direction. Ultimately, I left this graduate program to pursue a career in medicine, and during my medical school training, enjoyed my experiences working with children and adolescents in mental health.
My interests include functional and developmental neuro-anatomy, family-based assessment and treatment, behavioral interventions, manualized treatments, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapies, rTMS, and ECT. I’m currently working with doctors Peter Jackson and Brady Heward on designing a manualized intervention for children and adolescents from high-risk profiles for developing substance use disorders. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the gym, hiking the many awesome trails nearby, listening to music, reading good evidence-based medicine articles, baking pastries with sourdough, and am now attempting to learn to develop software.
Dhruv Shah, DO - Hi, I’m Dhruv and I am so excited to be training in child and adolescent psychiatry in the beautiful environment of Vermont. I’ve moved around a bit, but mostly grew up in New Jersey. I attended college in New Paltz, at the State University of New York where I studied biology and philosophy. I worked as a ski instructor and on an ambulance but I eventually returned to NJ and moved to Philadelphia for medical school at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. I trained in psychiatry at Cooper University Healthcare, a level one trauma center in the city of Camden. I nurtured a passion for caring for the most vulnerable, especially children and adolescents. Now I am looking forward to integrating my love for nature, music, and wellness into my practice of psychiatry.
Avni Mehta, DO - Hi, I'm Avni! I was born and raised in Michigan and did all of my schooling and medical training there. Moving to Vermont is a big move for me but I think it is going to be a great fit! In looking for a child fellowship program I wanted a program that took a holistic approach to treating child patients. I happened to hear about the program while I was on another interview and I'm so glad I applied.
I am excited to join the University of Vermont and find ways to continue to develop professionally and personally. During my interview I felt like this was a place where I could find like-minded practitioners who emphasized other aspects of treating patients alongside medication. I take my extracurriculars very seriously and am looking forward to finding ways to bring forth the therapeutic aspects of yoga, painting and writing into my practice of Medicine. I am also eagerly anticipating life in a small town and am very excited to explore some of Vermont's natural beauty!