Medicine of the mind

DO child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist is also a children’s book author and private practice owner

“I love psychiatry because I get to connect with patients and have the honor of walking alongside them during their journey of life, while also helping them with the challenges they face,” says Dana Reid, DO.


For this month’s DO to Know, join us as we explore the mind of Dana Reid, DO, a double board-certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist who is also a children’s book author and blogger. She attended the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in Blacksburg, Virginia, as a part of the school’s second graduating class.

At Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Dr. Reid completed three years of training in general psychiatry and then fast-tracked to fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Emory University back in her home state of Georgia. After completing her training, Dr. Reid started a practice in Alpharetta, Georgia, where she now cares for both adult and children’s psychiatric needs. Outside of patient care, she has authored a children’s book and, as a mindful content creator, Dr. Reid has also authored several blog posts. Let’s take flight and talk with this superhero mom, physician and author.

Dana Reid, DO

How did your osteopathic medicine story start? What brought you to the field?

I learned about osteopathic medicine in college as I was looking at and applying to medical schools. As I learned about osteopathic medicine, I truly related to the philosophy of the whole-person approach to treatment and how interconnected the mind and body are.

After I interviewed at VCOM, I left that day knowing that is where I was meant to go and be. I loved the family and community feel of the program and school. I practice the philosophy of osteopathic medicine daily in my practice as a psychiatrist. I look at the whole person and incorporate mindfulness, nutrition, exercise and social interactions in addition to therapy and medications.

When did you decide on child and adolescent psychiatry and what attracted you to the specialty?

I went into medical school with plans of doing pediatrics. During my pediatric rotation, I had a case where I found myself wanting to delve more into what was going on in the patient’s life and understand if the loss they experienced in their life and family struggles contributed to their physical illness. I realized the shorter visits and only focusing on a few chief complaints made it harder to know what a child was going through or experiencing. I wanted to get to know them as a person.

In my third year of medical school, I also did a psychiatry rotation at a VA hospital in North Carolina, and I had three wonderful mentors during the rotation. This is when my interest in psychiatry developed. I loved spending a lot of time with patients and understanding their lives and what they were going through. I decided to combine my love of pediatrics and psychiatry by setting up child psychiatry electives in my fourth year of medical school. This solidified my desire to pursue child psychiatry.

I love psychiatry because I get to connect with patients and have the honor of walking alongside them during their journey of life, while also helping them with the challenges they face.  The connections with patients and seeing their growth and recovery are hugely rewarding. I love the continuity of care in outpatient child and adult psychiatry.

I have some kids who have recently graduated college and started careers as adults, and I remember when I started working with them when they were in middle or high school. As a child psychiatrist, I love working with families and being an ally and advocate for them. I also recognize the importance of treatment and interventions early in life. When mental health concerns are addressed earlier in life when they emerge, these kids are better equipped and do better in adulthood.

There is a shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists. How did this come about and how can the medical community address this?

The shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists has been ongoing even before I started my training. The shortage is even more pronounced in rural areas, as most child psychiatrists are concentrated in bigger cities. Also, there are several factors such as additional training and time for fellowship, less reimbursement/pay, less funding and spots for fellows and burnout causing some to reduce hours or leave.

One way to approach this shortage is to find ways to incentivize and encourage medical students and psychiatry residents to enter the field, e.g., loan repayment programs, finding ways to shorten training to four years from five to six years, exposing med students to child psychiatry electives in med school, finding ways for a psychiatrist to work in a multidisciplinary team to reduce the burden and burnout, and improving telemedicine services to reach kids in rural areas.

You are a children’s book author of “Danny Doesn’t Quit.” Tell us about the message and lessons you convey in your writings.

“Danny Doesn’t Quit” is my children’s book that was published in February 2023. It is a story about perseverance and believing in yourself. There was a time in my child’s life that, whenever something felt hard, he wanted to quit. He tried a couple of sports that he gave up on.

But what inspired the book was when my 8-year-old son was learning baseball. It was his first season trying the sport and there was an important game that he was up to bat for. He missed the first two swings and on his final swing, he made the hit. I asked him how he made the important hit and he said, “I pictured myself making the hit.”

I saw what was possible when he kept trying and didn’t quit. It is a lesson for all children and kids that if we keep trying even when things feel hard, we may surprise ourselves with what is possible.

Dr. Reid and her children’s book, “Danny Doesn’t Quit.”

How do you balance running your own practice with being a mom, writing books and everything else?

I started my private practice 10 years ago. I will say I have come to learn that there are different seasons in your life. In some seasons, you can take on more, and in other seasons, not as much. When my kids were little, it would have been harder to do more outside of running my practice. Now that my practice has been running for 10 years and I have a thriving practice, I have been able to find space to do more things like content creation and writing.

I do content creation, writing and blogging in the evenings, early mornings or weekends. I will say it is a balancing act and some months I will do more blogging/writing and, some months, not so much. Also, I have learned to practice self-compassion and learned that it’s OK if I can’t do it all.

I ask myself what brings me the most joy and what do I want to invest my time in. I have to say no to things to say yes to things that bring me happiness. Writing and blogging are creative outlets for me and after COVID, I realized I needed those outlets outside of direct patient care and medicine, even though I love caring for patients.

What is next for Dr. Reid, child and adolescent psychiatrist, private practice owner and children’s book author?

I have so many ideas but I’m trying to figure out how to make the time for these ideas and new endeavors. My next thought is to create a YouTube channel to provide more mental health education and reach more people. I also have another idea for a children’s book. I love sharing my journey with premeds and medical students and would love to do more in this area and provide more mentorship.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

A passion for psychiatry: How this DO is creating meaningful change in the medical world

A day in the life of a consult-liaison psychiatrist

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