NS. JOHNSBURY — After 22 years caring for children in the community, pediatrician Dr. Elaine Stasny retired from St. Johnsbury Pediatrics.
After working in Montana and New Mexico for 10 years. dr. Stasny joined Dr. Mark Price, Dr. Karyn Patno and a nurse practitioner at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH).
“It was neat because I had been in residency with Dr. Price and Dr. Patno at UVM,” says Dr. stasny. “They were both two years ahead of me and at NVRH we were available every third night and weekend. We didn’t get a break until a fourth person joined us!”
The pediatrics practice has expanded steadily over the years and Dr. Stasny, together with the other caregivers, made several changes, including a renovation that gave them more space and renovated rooms.
Another change that Dr. Stasny and the caregivers in their work was an increase in mental health needs.
“We rarely see the severity of the disease in newborns that we used to see,” says Dr. stasny. “We used to work a lot more with antibiotics, because that was the treatment that so many children and young people needed. Now we are much more involved in mental health issues.”
An increase in mental health crises and suicidality, especially during the pandemic, has become a focus of attention for St. Johnsbury Pediatrics. The practice, which sees more than 13,000 patients annually, added a full-time, on-site behavioral health specialist to its medical team. The practice has also received a COVID Relief Suicide Safer Care Mini grant to support suicide awareness and response training for staff, and participates in the Vermont Zero Suicide Initiative. All patients 11 years and older are screened for mental health and substance abuse issues, and caregivers have access to a child/adolescent psychiatrist who is available on call.
“I know our community will find creative ways to address these mental health issues,” says Dr. stasny. “The energetic young people are rising up to do great things.”
dr. Stasny will be missed by her patients.
“We love the way she cared about her and was also interested in getting to know us,” said one family, the Long family. “Thank you so much for your loving care for our entire family over the past eight years. We all enjoyed coming to you!”
“Of course I will miss the families and I will miss the daily stimulation from the wonderful, smart team of caregivers and employees at our office,” adds Dr. Stasny. “But I won’t miss the beeper that goes off when I sleep!”
“Dr. Stasny admired the connection and collaboration with her patients and their families,” said Cheryl Stahler, director of operations for the St. Johnsbury Pediatrics Practice. “She positively impacted our patients, colleagues and the community with her dedication, thoughtfulness and compassion.”
dr. Stasny is proud to have been part of the NVRH team.
“We have so much going on here that our colleagues in other parts of the state and country are jealous,” she says. “I especially thank the Birth Center and our lactation consultants for their baby-friendly work and unwavering support for breastfeeding. Oh, and our Care Coordinators are the best!”
dr. Stasny is a certified Nordic ski instructor and hopes to teach sometime in the coming winters. She also plans to continue playing oboe with the Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra and other groups in the state.
“But first, I’ll go fishing to a remote Alaskan river,” she adds. “Hopefully I’ll take some delicious salmon home!”