Improving Young Lives
Jonathan Vu, MD ’ 12 (PG ’ 16, ’ 17)
I am working at UnityPoint Health — Meriter Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit in Madison, Wisconsin. I typically work with adolescents with severe depression or anxiety who need to be hospitalized for safety, or younger children who are so aggressive that they cannot be kept safe at home.
Following my graduation from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, I completed a psychiatry residency and a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at UW Health in Madison.
The most memorable case that I’ve had was during my residency. In the outpatient clinic, I met a patient who was a young woman with bipolar disorder, and she had been hospitalized years prior and stabilized with multiple antipsychotic medications and other sedating medications. She was suffering from Parkinsonism and cognitive slowing caused by overmedication, and as I helped her taper off some of her medications, she became a different person. She told me that her young child exclaimed “Mama, you’re not staring at the wall anymore!”
I participate in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and I attend the organization’s annual meetings whenever I can. Although the subspecialty of child and adolescent psychiatry was not on my radar during medical school, I chose this field because it was the most enjoyable rotation I had during my residency. I would tell any interested medical students that this specialty is great because you can make a lasting change early in a person’s life.
Social Media’s Shadow
Paul H. Wurst, MD ’86
Over the past year, I closed my online practice in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry to assume the position of medical director at White Sands Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center in Fort Myers, Florida.
The most common diagnoses that I have treated include ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, eating disorders, and mood disorders. I have consulted with burn units, cancer centers, detention centers, and community action treatment teams at community mental health centers, and I have had various teaching roles.
Social media-driven psychiatric cases — including psychogenic Tourette’s syndrome, pseudoseizures, eating disorders, and sexual addictions — are the most recent memorable cases I have seen. A few cases involving social media influencers have been quite complicated.
My interest in psychiatry started in high school and college while I was working as an orderly at various facilities around Madison, and my first exposure to child psychiatry occurred in the second year of my residency.
I completed an internship and PGY-2 year at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s Milwaukee Clinical Campus. I transferred to the University of South Florida to complete residency training and fulfill my commitment to the U.S. Air Force. While stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, I served as a major/chief of mental health services in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield. I completed my child psychiatry fellowship, including research and a role as the chief fellow, at the University of South Florida.
For those interested in child psychiatry, I recommend participating in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
For half of my career, there were no cell phones or internet. Social media presents new dilemmas, such as suicide risk, substance abuse, and social anxiety, including school phobia, for our young patients. Participating in the mental health process of these young patients requires caring, nurturing clinicians.
Rewards of Child Psychiatry
Catherine (Katie) J. Steingraeber, MD ’ 11 (PG ’16)
As an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, I see patients in several clinics, but my “home base” is at the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain. I split my clinical time between Integrated Behavioral Health, where I work with primary care residents to increase their comfort level managing patients with mental health diagnoses, and our Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Disorders Clinic, where I see patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities (ID), genetic disorders, and complex medical conditions.
I remember a 6-year-old child with ASD and ID who was struggling significantly with emotional and behavioral dysregulation to the point they were no longer able to attend school. Our clinic team was able to educate both the patient’s family and school about strategies to help keep this child calm and engaged; pull in additional therapy services, including occupational therapy and speech-language therapy; and provide appropriate psychotropic medications so this child was able to successfully return to and even enjoy school.
I really struggled when choosing a specialty! Ultimately, I chose to do a general pediatrics residency at the University of Utah prior to completing an adult psychiatry residency at UW Health in Madison. I completed a child psychiatry fellowship at the University of Minnesota. I participate in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as well as its state chapter in Minnesota.
This specialty has the potential to be incredibly rewarding. There is significant variety in the types of patients I see, as well as what each day looks like. On an average day, in addition to seeing patients, I often consult with general pediatricians, subspecialists, family members, therapists, and teachers.
Class of 2019
Gabrielle Waclawik received the 2023 Department of Medicine Resident Outstanding Research Award at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). She is the Vogelman-Carnes Family Endowed Chief Resident in the Department of Medicine. Waclawik’s training and involvement in the Internal Medicine Residency Program’s Health Equity Pathway has allowed her to contribute to projects on colorectal cancer screening disparities and perform research as a resident. At national meetings, she has shared innovative presentations, one of which was selected for a trainee award; she is working on the related manuscript to submit to a notable journal.
Lindsey Boyke completed a Non-Operative Pediatric Orthopedic Fellowship in the SMPH Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation in June 2023; in August 2023, she joined that department’s faculty as an assistant professor. She also is a non-operative pediatric orthopedic physician at American Family Children’s Hospital.
Class of 2017
Nathan Zapolsky is the assistant medical director and trauma liaison at Maimonides Health and an assistant professor of emergency medicine with academic appointments at Hofstra Northwell, Mount Sinai, and the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, all in New York. Zapolsky is a former assistant program director of the emergency medicine residency at Maimonides and the former emergency department director of simulation at Staten Island University Hospital. He completed an emergency medicine residency at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. His primary clinical, simulation, and research concentrations have been on integrating residency education and emergency department operations, with a focus on post-cardiac arrest and ethics, physician finance, and reproductive health justice.
Class of 2012
Kathryn (Kerry) Gannon-Loew has joined the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics’ Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. In July 2023, she opened a clinic for the treatment of teens and young adults with substance-use disorders. Gannon-Loew came to her new position following an adolescent medicine fellowship at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, that addressed this health issue, and she saw the opportunity to continue the work in Wisconsin. The clinic is housed in UW Health’s Teenage and Young Adult Clinic in Middleton.
Class of 2010
Alexis Eastman is the first recipient of the Aging Advocacy Award from AgeBetter, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. The award honors an advocate for older adults and someone who devotes volunteer and professional time promoting healthy aging and preventing ageism. Eastman is an associate clinical professor in the SMPH Department of Medicine’s Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology.
Class of 2009
Amy Hernandez is the co-editor of Expeditionary Surgery at Sea: A Practical Approach, which is the only collaborative, comprehensive, 750-page textbook written by members of the maritime surgical team for members of that team. It was published in spring 2023. Hernandez lives in San Diego, California, and her most recent deployment was on the USS Makin Island (LHD8) in June 2023.
Ellen Selkie was named the director of pediatric fellowship programs in the SMPH Department of Pediatrics. She is an assistant professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Class of 2006
Margaret Lozovatsky won the Changemaker in Health Care Physician Executive of the Year Award from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems. She is a senior vice president and chief health informatics officer for Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lozovatsky also practices medicine as a pediatric hospitalist.
Class of 2003
Kristopher Schroeder edited The Essential Guide to Healthcare Professional Wellness: Proven Lessons from Leaders. The book, which will be available to purchase in October 2023, was crafted because health care professionals throughout the world heed a calling that compels them to devote their lives to treating patients. While this work is generally rewarding, these professionals frequently fall victim to stressors and barriers that impact their ability to function at work, the longevity of their careers, and the quality of their relationships outside the hospital. The book outlines readily available sources of help. Sections are dedicated to work-life balance, family, finances, faith, resiliency, and recovery. This book aims to serve as a source of solace and inspiration that should help to reinvigorate and extend successful careers.
Class of 1992
Ronelle Moe was named chief medical director at Thrivent Financial. She is the first female to hold that position in the Fortune 500 company’s history of more than 100 years. Moe joined Thrivent after practicing internal medicine for 20 years in the areas around Green Bay and Wausau, Wisconsin. She is board certified in internal medicine and insurance medicine. Her duties include assessing mortality and morbidity risk when issuing life and disability insurance policies; providing medical opinions on claims for which nondisclosure is an issue; and providing ongoing medical education to the company’s underwriters. Moe lives in De Pere, Wisconsin, with her husband and two sons.