After 22 years of providing care to children in the community, pediatrician Dr. Elaine Stasny has retired from St. Johnsbury Pediatrics.
After working for 10 years in Montana and New Mexico. Dr. Elaine Stasny joined Dr. Mark Price, Dr. Karyn Patno and a nurse practitioner at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) in 1999.
“It was neat because I had been in residency with Dr. Price and Dr. Patno at UVM,” Dr. Stasny says. “They were both two years ahead of me, and at NVRH, we on-call every third night and weekend. We didn’t get a break until we had a fourth person join us!”
The pediatrics practice has expanded steadily over the years, and Dr. Stasny along with the other providers worked through several changes, including a remodeling which gave them more space and updated rooms.
Another change Dr. Stasny and the providers encountered in their work was an increase in mental health needs.
“We rarely see the severity of illness in newborns that we used to,” Dr. Stasny says. “We used to work much more with antibiotics, because that was the treatment that so many children and adolescents needed. Now we are much more involved with mental health concerns.”
An increase in mental health crises and suicidality, especially during the pandemic, has become a focus 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 is participating in the Vermont Zero Suicide Initiative. All patients ages 11 and up are screened for mental health challenges and substance abuse issues, and providers have access to an on-call child/adolescent psychiatrist.
“I know our community will find creative ways to address these mental health issues,” Dr. Stasny says. “The energetic young folks are stepping up to do amazing things.”
Dr. Stasny will be missed by her patients.
“We like the way she cared and was interested in knowing us as well,” one family, the Long family said. “Thank you so much for your loving car for our whole family these past eight years. We all enjoyed coming to see you!”
“Of course I’ll miss the families and I’ll miss the daily stimulation of the wonderful, smart team of providers and staff at our office,” Dr. Stasny adds. “But I won’t miss the pager going off when I’m asleep!”
“Dr. Stasny admired the connection and collaboration with her patients and their families,” St. Johnsbury Pediatrics Practice Operations Director Cheryl Stahler said. “Dr. Stasny was a positive influence with our patients, coworkers and 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 is the envy of our colleagues in other parts of the state and country,” she says. “I especially thank the Birth Center and our lactation specialists for their baby-friendly work and steadfast support of breastfeeding. Oh, and our Care Coordinators are the best!”
Dr. Stasny is a certified Nordic ski instructor and hopes to teach somewhere in the winters ahead. She also plans to continue playing oboe with the Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra, and other groups in the state.
“But first, I am taking a fishing trip to a remote river in Alaska,” she adds. “Hopefully I will bring home some delicious salmon!”