As a Biochemistry major in college, Dr. Neel Nene knew that he wanted to become a doctor, and the path to child and adolescent psychiatry became clear over the course of his studies. Today, Dr. Nene is the Chief Medical Officer of Bloom Health Centers, which is home to the largest number of child and adolescent psychiatrists in the Mid-Atlantic.
“One of the greatest challenges for treating mental health conditions is that it doesn't work overnight,” said Dr. Nene. “When I introduce myself to parents of a child in distress, I am completely open and honest with them that it could be an easy trajectory or a difficult one, but either way, we're in it together. Some parents have a really hard time understanding their child’s mental health, and we don’t want them to go through it alone.”
Although Dr. Nene’s caseload does not currently allow him to see patients at the Bloom Health Centers locations, he still dedicates time to treating a small number of child and adolescent patients at a local inpatient facility in Virginia.
It can be unusual for the chief medical officer of a large practice to still see patients. Yet, Dr. Nene remains dedicated to staying “in the trenches” of his practice as an active service provider at a local inpatient facility. Staying connected to the environment of this profession and maintaining a shared understanding of the challenges his colleagues face ultimately helps to build a supportive environment for his staff and colleagues at Bloom Health Centers. “The result of a happy staff is happy patients,” he said.
The Path to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Growing up in a bustling household of other active children, and later coaching youth sports while teaching biology and organic chemistry to undergraduate students, Dr. Nene is no stranger to an integrative, hands-on approach to life and work.
“I liked giving back to children and young adults, and I always felt like I was a child advocate growing up. In adulthood, I knew I wanted to help children who were particularly struggling with something, either academically or emotionally. And that's where psychiatry came into the picture.”
Dr. Nene completed his psychiatry training at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, NY, with extensive addiction training at Bellevue Hospital in New York, NY. He completed a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship program at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Penn State University in Hershey, PA, where he served as Chief Fellow. His interests in Neuromodulation led him to pursue an Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Fellowship at Columbia University, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) training at the Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre in the Netherlands.
Bloom Health Centers came to fruition earlier this year as the result of a merger between Comprehensive Behavioral Health (CBH) in Arlington, VA and Psych Associates of Maryland in Towson, MD. Dr. Nene was the founder and Medical Director of CBH.
Dr. Nene believes in the core principles and mission of Bloom and is particularly enthusiastic about sharing the practice model that lives at the core of Bloom Health Centers – called the Care Team Model – which allows patients easier access to mental health care. New clients can typically meet with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant within a few days to begin diagnosis and creating a customized care plan.
“As we've come together to establish Bloom Health Centers, there is no restriction due to severity of illness or insurance coverage,” said Dr. Nene. “And we have the resources and the specialists to bring access to mental healthcare to anyone, and that's so important to me, especially for children and teens.”
Up to 20 percent of children in the United States experience a mental health concern in a given year, without about 50 percent of them not receiving the mental health care and attention they deserve. Bloom Health Centers is working hard to change that by building up its child and adolescent psychiatry services.
Dr. Nene said, “There is evidence that if you were to appropriately treat the child or adolescent, they may not become an adult patient. That is what this is about.”
His experiences in child and adolescent psychiatry and his approach to parent relationships have a positive effect and influence on the rest of the team.
Along with his duties at Bloom Health Centers, Dr. Nene stays busy with his wife and family, coaching soccer for his 7-year-old son and running around after his 5-year-old daughter. Whether he is at home, on the playing field, or in the office, he is determined to leave a positive influence on the mental health of the next generation.
While Dr. Nene is unable to add new patients to his caseload, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced child and adolescent psychiatrists in Annapolis, Arlington, Baltimore, Bethesda, Catonsville, Columbia, Gaithersburg, Leesburg, or Towson.