Former participants in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship describe their experiences at UAMS.

Mari Bowling, M.D., 2021 graduate
Child psychiatrist, Centers for Youth & Families, Little Rock

Bowling“I graduated from medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed my residency in psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) before joining the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at UAMS. I chose UAMS for fellowship because I was impressed with the faculty and the breadth of training experiences available for fellows, including its unique child diagnostic unit. As a mom of two, I wanted to choose a program that allowed me to balance work and family and found the UAMS fellowship to be supportive of this while still providing exceptional clinical training. After graduation, I started work at the Centers for Youth & Families in Little Rock as a psychiatrist in their child and adolescent residential facility. We provide trauma-informed care to patients and have a specialized program for human trafficking survivors. In my role, I oversee medication management and clinical issues that arise in our programs and collaborate with two nurse practitioners. In the UAMS Child Psychiatry fellowship, I received a strong foundation in trauma-informed practices and care for patients who have experienced trauma. This has directly impacted my career in a positive way as most of the children and adolescents I see have extensive trauma histories. The medication management skills that I learned while in fellowship have more than prepared me for my current job and I feel confident in the clinical skills that I learned as a fellow.”

Toby Belknap, M.D., 2020 graduate
Co-Medical Director, Child Diagnostic Unit, UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute

Belknap“I chose UAMS for fellowship because of the supportive faculty, the dedication to education, and the variety of training sites. Training experiences within the fellowship included time in a school-based outpatient clinic, the Arkansas State Hospital, the consult/liaison service for patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (a nationally recognized magnet hospital), and also the unique Child Diagnostic Unit. In the UAMS Child Psychiatry fellowship, I received a strong foundation in evidence-based practices, psychopharmacology, and trauma-based care. The children I care for on the CDU frequently have significant trauma histories and symptomatology. Fellowship not only helped prepare me to provide quality trauma-informed care to the patients, but also to work with families/communities in helping them view children and their difficulties through a more appropriate lens. Further, the opportunities to work collaboratively with other disciplines during training allowed me to see first-hand the value of a team approach and has proven immeasurably beneficial to my current practice.”

Meredith Lavallais, M.D., 2020 graduate
Child and adolescent psychiatrist, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas

Lavallais“I decided to complete fellowship at UAMS due to the unique training opportunities available like the Child Diagnostic Unit and the adolescent units at the Arkansas State Hospital. Also because UAMS is the largest medical center in the state, patients with the most severe illness are referred to our clinics. This provided invaluable exposure to rare disease processes. Little Rock was a great place to live with a low cost of living. The UAMS Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship provided me with the knowledge and skills to confidently enter independent practice at the time of graduation by offering excellent exposure to inpatient, outpatient and consults. With the practice I gained presenting lectures and teaching medical students during fellowship, I have felt prepared to present case conferences and journal clubs to my colleagues and equipped to teach medical students. I also had unique experiences like going to the AACAP annual conference sponsored by the fellowship program and participating in a Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives audit of the Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Facility which deepened my knowledge in psychiatry.”

Bryant Virden, M.D., 2018 graduate
Psychiatrist, Mercy Behavioral Health Clinic, Fort Smith, Ark.

Virden“I am an Arkansas native, born and raised, and have the accent to prove it. My family and friends live here, and I wanted to stay close to home for school. I went to UAMS for med school and stayed for my general psychiatry residency and CAP fellowship. It was a good fit for me, and I’m very lucky that such stellar training is available close to home. What I remember the most from fellowship is the mentorship I got from experienced faculty members. I find myself daily using a skill or asking a question in a certain way that I can trace directly back to one of my professors, and this, in turn, helps me uncover critical elements from patients that help guide the course of treatment. If I had not done the fellowship, I’d not be able to provide this level of care to my community. I would definitely encourage anyone interested in a child and adolescent fellowship to consider UAMS.”