What led Veronica Fellman to become a Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychiatrist?
Being genuine and transparent is paramount to working with children, who seem to quickly identify any false fronts and disdain them! It is a pleasure to follow a child’s lead and try to meet them where they are: whether by being playful or using a more gentle approach. Regardless, my general rule is to respect the experience of the child; whether I agree or disagree with a particular behavior or interpretation, I try to understand the child’s perspective.
How would you describe your approach to working with children vs. adults?
I applied to medical school specifically to become a psychiatrist, but always assumed I would work with adults. During my general psychiatry residency at NYU Langone, I completed a rotation on a child psychiatry inpatient unit at Bellevue and fell in love with the field. My husband saw me come home everyday excited and happy, and wisely told me to continue “doing whatever I was doing“ because I so clearly loved it. I stayed at NYU to complete my child and adolescent fellowship. After graduation, I worked in the Bellevue CCPEP (the only dedicated child psychiatric emergency room) for eight years and taught medical students and residents. I have also provided consultations for the ACS Children’s Center (where children are brought immediately after removal from home). Most recently I worked at The League School, a day treatment program in Brooklyn for children’s ages 5-21.
Was there anything in particular that stood out to you when deciding on moving forward in your career at Summit?
I was offered positions at other schools and treatment programs but after meeting with Barbara Baker and Brant Goldsmith, my decision was made. Their approach to guiding treatment is very much aligned with my own belief that treatment must be child-centered. Any institution can only be as strong as its personnel, starting with leadership, and already I have felt the enormous strength that drives this team, from nursing and therapists to teachers and support staff. My decision was all about the people here.