Profile – Psychiatrist
Casey Patunoff, MD
Northwestern Counseling and Support Services
St. Albans, VT
Casey Patunoff, MD of Colchester describes the best part of her child psychiatrist job as saying goodbye to patients when they’re better.
A native of Plattsburgh, NY, she works at Northwestern Counseling and Support Services (NCSS), which provides mental health, developmental, psychological and support services to residents of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties.
Casey attended Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology and psychology; she studied for her medical degree at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, where she also completed a residency in general adult psychiatry. Following a fellowship in child psychiatry at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, she started her position at NCSS a couple of years ago.
Though she initially considered going into Pediatrics, a psychiatry clerkship rotation in her third year of medical school changed her mind. “I saw the need for child psychiatrists, and realized that when you help an individual, you are really helping the whole family.” A challenging part of her job is “coming in as an outsider to people’s families and getting them to let you into their worlds and secrets; establishing enough trust to be able to say things that may be hard to hear.”
Nevertheless, Casey is clear about recommending the profession as a career, and she’s realistic about the preparation for it. “It’s a long and challenging road to get all the education you need, but it’s worth it because psychiatry offers an appealing balance of lifestyle and work. It is never boring: there are new and interesting cases, and the impact and change you can bring about is very rewarding. It’s a great job and a wonderful community.”