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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship

History and Progress

The Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry was founded in 1946. The Division has had 11 division heads since that time. Most recently:

  • 1984-2002 Robert Harmon, MD
  • 2002-2012 Marianne Wamboldt, MD
  • 2012-Present Douglas Novins, MD


The Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program has had six training directors since its conception in 1965 (some serving more than once). Recent directors are:

  • 1988-2001 Donald Bechtold, MD
  • 2002-2010 Debbie Carter, MD
  • 2010-Present Kimberly Kelsay, MD


The Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Division is an integral part of the Department of Psychiatry. Its training program is approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children. The program was accredited on June 29, 1960, and has performed solidly in RRC reviews ever since.

Starting in the 1980's, the Department of Psychiatry increased focus on the development of academic research careers for child psychiatrists by working with the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group (DPRG) T32 Training Grant to help young investigators develop research careers and prepare for NIH or other funding grants.

A career research track was developed within child residency to recruit highly qualified applicants interested in an academic career. Residents interested in research devote first and second year elective time to hone a research project prior to applying to the two-year DPRG- child division research track after graduation. Children’s Hospital was one of 4 sites to participate in the DSM V trial. Current areas of investigation include early onset schizophrenia, neuroimaging of patients with eating disorders, systems of care interventions and research with Indian health services, interventions for children with neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders, and substance abuse among Colorado adolescents.

Infant psychiatry, attachment, bonding, and the early dyadic relationship has been a significant focus within the division since Rene Spitz, MD, expanded theories on child development while at UCD. Currently residents participate in a twelve month didactic and clinical experience focusing on the 0-5 year old child period. The Irving Harris Program for Child Development and Infant Mental Health Fellowship allows for residents to pursue additional training after graduation.

Henry Kempe, a pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Hospital Colorado) published a seminal article on child abuse. The child psychiatry division continues this legacy of providing expert advocacy to the community of metro Denver and environs.

The Child Psychiatry Division has a history and core value of providing excellent clinical care. Our current services span many levels of care from community interventions, to outpatient programs, inpatient diversion programs, day treatment, and inpatient services for children with various diagnosis including children and adolescents with neuropsychiatric conditions, eating disorders, other emotional and behavioral disorders and medical illnesses.