In a state with a pronounced need for mental health services, the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine has opened a new psychiatric clinic to serve both adult and pediatric patients, located on the first floor of the Huntsville Medical Campus building.
"There is a critical need for additional mental health services in North Alabama, especially for traditionally underserved populations," said Roger Smalligan, M.D., the dean of the Huntsville campus.
The clinic will be staffed by Clinton Martin, MD, associate professor and regional chair of Psychiatry, and Janaki Nimmagadda, MD, associate professor. Both physicians are board-certified in child and adolescent psychiatry and general adult psychiatry. Martin focuses primarily on psychosis in adolescents, adult ADHD and major depression in adults. Nimmagadda focuses on childhood ADHD, adolescent mental health and mood disorders in transitional age youth between the ages of 16 and 24.
Nimmagadda and Martin came to UAB in 2011 to pursue their child psychiatry fellowship training following adult residency training at St. Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, D.C. They joined the faculty in 2013 and 2014, respectively, jointly running the child and family assessment clinic. In addition, Martin was the co-director of the First Episode Psychosis Clinic at Birmingham.
"Early identification and treatment are the keys to management of any psychiatric illness," Martin said. "There is an average of eight to 10 years' delay between the onset of symptoms and the beginning of treatment during these critical developmental years in the life of a child. Nearly two-thirds of children in need of mental health services receive very little or no treatment. Therefore, collaborating with community and school leaders who often serve as gate keepers to children's mental health is one of our first agendas."
"The teenage years are critical for mental, social and emotional well-being," Nimmagadda said. "Many psychiatric illnesses begin in adolescence and young adulthood, with almost half of all lifetime mental disorders starting by age 14. These psychiatric disorders could lead to considerable difficulty in a child's ability to perform daily roles. The unique thing about our clinic is that we do not discharge a patient from our clinic at age 18 to adult services, but will continue to provide support during their early adulthood years."