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Sioux San doctor awarded for tele-psychiatry.

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  • Sioux San doctor awarded for tele-psychiatry.

    Sioux San doctor awarded for tele-psychiatry.
    Dr. Mark Garry counsels American Indian children.

    By Jomay Steen, Journal Staff Writer
    Rapid City Journal - 16 July 2006

    RAPID CITY, SD -- Last week at a Department of Health and Human Services awards ceremony, a Rapid City doctor was honored for his work in using technology to provide psychiatric services to American Indian children from rural reservations.

    Dr. Mark Garry, director of behavioral health at Sioux San Indian Health Service Hospital in Rapid City, was presented the Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service. Garry was one of 15 honorees to receive the distinguished service award and one of four IHS employees honored at the ceremony.

    "It was a humbling experience," Garry said.

    Garry, an adult psychiatrist, began his work in 2003 after Sioux San's child and adolescent psychiatrist left in 2001 after eight years.

    The IHS regional mental-health clinic that serves South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa was left without a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry. The clinic has treated 391 children in the past three years.

    With one child and adolescent psychiatrist in part-time private practice in Rapid City, who is not under contract with IHS, Garry had to devise a way to evaluate and treat children in a cost-effective manner.

    As a way to address this need, Garry and Sioux San connected with University of Colorado School of Medicine's Center for Native American TeleHealth and TeleEducation. They began the twice-monthly Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry Service.

    The program increased access to treatment while saving money and travel expenses for the hospital and American Indian families, who otherwise would need to travel to Sioux Falls, Denver or Minneapolis for evaluations.

    "We thought up the idea, and the University of Colorado has helped to do the clinics," Garry said.

    He said that through CATS, the clinic has served 46 children dealing with complex and difficult cases, including psychotic problems, bipolar disorder, developmental disorders such as severe autism, and trauma caused by witnessing the death of one or both parents.

    Through a video link, Garry is able to confer with two child and adolescent psychiatrists, a child and adolescent psychologist and a developmental pediatrician in Denver during clinical sessions. "We then compare notes and develop a plan for treatment," he said.

    Garry brought his national award to a recent staff meeting, where he talked about his fellow honorees and the people who had attended the event in Washington.

    "I felt kind of humble because the others being honored had worked on eradicating diseases, saving hundreds of lives, and still others had saved billions of dollars," Garry said. "Our project seemed to be a small thing in comparison."

    Jim Hagel, a Sioux San clinical social worker, said that of the 65,000 Health and Human Services employees, Garry's program was selected as one of the four Indian Health Service projects worthy of distinction.

    Hagel said Garry's work increased access to child psychiatric services for children on the Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Yankton and Cheyenne River reservations.

    "It should be recognized and it's quite an honor," he said.

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

  • #2
    The worth of making whole one life is as great as the worth of actions that make whole thousands of lives. Lives are only made whole one at a time.

    Congrats to Souix San, Doctor Mark Garry and all involved in this program, you all should be proud.



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