Virginia-based Range Mental Health Services adds specialist in children, teensAt least partially addressing the dearth in child psychiatry on the Iron Range, Virginia-based Range Mental Health Services announced Wednesday that it has hired a specialist in child and adolescent care.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
At least partially addressing the dearth in child psychiatry on the Iron Range, Virginia-based Range Mental Health Services announced Wednesday that it has hired a specialist in child and adolescent care.
Connie Semmelroth, a certified family psychiatric nurse practitioner from the Proctor area, has joined the nonprofit mental health center’s staff, spokeswoman Susan Garrett said.
“We are thrilled and incredibly lucky to have Connie added to our psychiatry team,” said Laura Tovar, the facility’s co-CEO. “Her expertise with children and adolescents helps close a service gap on the Iron Range.”
The News Tribune reported last July that Range Mental Health Services had been down to a psychiatric staff of one psychiatrist and one psychiatric nurse practitioner since the previous April.
The psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Pajari, said at the time that the optimum size of staff with the authority to prescribe medicine would be two psychiatrists and three nurse practitioners.
Moreover, neither Pajari nor nurse practitioner Pam Jarvis specialized in child and adolescent psychiatry.
The problem isn’t limited to the Iron Range or to Minnesota.
The American Medical Association reported there were 8,300 practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide in 2012. But the Council on Graduate Medical Education, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, had projected in 1990 that there would be a need for 30,000 of the specialists by 2000.
Rural areas and areas with low-income populations have the most severe shortages, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Range Mental Health Services still plans to add to its psychiatric staff, Tovar said.
Semmelroth, whose previous practice included community and correctional settings, has special interests in treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism and eating disorders, the mental health center’s announcement said.
Appointments can be made by calling (218) 749-2881.