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
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 first 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 first 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!
2nd Year Fellows
Aamani Chava, MD - I grew up surrounded by the culture of “wellness” before I could define it as a word. My family had always stressed the importance of yoga, meditation, and healthy living practices yet, I resisted for most of my adolescence. However, during the course of undergrad and medical school, as the stress levels grew, I began implementing those very practices into my daily life. When I started residency, I found myself educating my adolescent patients and their families about the importance of balance and wellness.
After having lived in New York/New Jersey for most of my life, I never thought I would be able to leave the hustle and bustle of the city. However, as I was applying for fellowships, I found myself looking to move outside of my comfort zone and expand my interests. The UVM Family Based Approach appealed to my own ideology of comphrensive treatment and I could not think of a better fit for myself as well as my patient philosophy. Additionally, after interacting with the faculty, fellows, and staff, I was sold that this would not only be a wonderful educational opportunity but a positive partnership in my career. Though I will always miss my New York pizza, Burlington has made up for it with the endless farmers' markets, hiking trails, and all the mac n cheese (the cheddar is better!) I could have ever wanted!
Kristina Foreman, MD - My name is Kristina Foreman. I am a soon to be second-year child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
I am originally from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and I chose to go to St. George's University for one year of pre-med and my medical degree. Travel is one of my biggest passions and this afforded me the opportunity to live in Grenada, the UK, New York and now Vermont! I did my adult psychiatry training here at the University of Vermont, and I fast tracked into the Child Psychiatry Fellowship. I was drawn to this fellowship program because of the Vermont Family Based Approach and emphasis of well-being not only for patients and their families but also for staff.
I am infinitely glad that I matched at the University of Vermont for my adult training and even more pleased that I get to continue my child training in this lovely state.
Erica Marden, MD – Hi I'm Erica, one of the first-year child and adolescent psychiatry fellows. I grew up in Pennsylvania, attended undergraduate university there, and then moved to Vermont for medical school. I attended the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and have stayed at the University of Vermont for my adult residency and child and adolescent fellowship.
I have been thrilled with my decision to do my medical school, residency and fellowship training at UVM. The Vermont Family Based Approach integrates evidence-based treatment with family-centered care and this makes our work so fulfilling. I appreciate that the department emphasizes high quality care and wants to ensure that you have the resources and education to provide this care to all of your patients and families.
My clinical interests are treating transitional age youth, especially college-aged youth. I am also interested in positive psychiatry and suicide prevention work. Outside of work I love traveling, reading, spending time outside and enjoying Lake Champlain.