Expert Profile - Swapna Deshpande
Dr. Swapna Deshpande
MD, Board Certified Integrative Psychiatrist for both Adult and Child & Adolescent.
President of the Oklahoma Council for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma (OU), 2018-2020
Awarded “Fellow Status” for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2014. Awarded distinguished “fellowship status” by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) in 2020.
Recipient of several outstanding teaching awards including the Gordon Deckert award in 2018.
Creator of the Suicide Risk Assessment Checklist in Children (SRACC)
Founder of SwapnaLiveWell, headquartered in Oklahoma.
Dr. Swapna Deshpande’s Bio:
Dr. Deshpande is board certified in Adult psychiatry as well as board-certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Deshpande was also awarded the Fellow Status for the American Psychiatry Association (APA) in 2014. She is currently the President of Oklahoma Council for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a regional branch for the national organization of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and has been awarded a distinguished fellowship status in 2020 for AACAP.
Specialized training: Dr. Deshpande has broad training in various kinds of specialized psychotherapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and trauma informed therapy. She has obtained specialized training in Child abuse and Neglect, Functional medicine, Psychoanalytic therapy, and Obesity Medicine.
Teaching: Dr. Deshpande was the Program Director for The Child Psychiatry Fellowship from 2014 to 2020. She has given didactics, provided direct clinical supervision in outpatient child psychiatry clinic and consultation liaison service at the University of Oklahoma, (OU) Children’s hospital, and mentored numerous medical students, adult psychiatry residents, child psychiatry fellows since 2009. She has won several awards for outstanding teaching including the prestigious Gordon Deckert award, the highest teaching award in the Department of Psychiatry at OU in 2018. Most recently she won the Most Supportive Attending as well as the Best Didactic Teacher award for the academic year 2019-2020. At OU, as a child psychiatry fellowship program director, she established within the child fellowship a robust child outpatient clinic She has also provided clinical care to numerous patients in the child psychiatry outpatient clinic as well as the provided consultation services at the tertiary level OU Children’s Hospital from 2009 to 2020.
Community outreach/Social Policy Leadership: Dr. Deshpande has represented the department of psychiatry at OU College of Medicine Wellness Committee and for suicide prevention policy in children. She has created a procedural checklist for suicidal assessment called Suicide Risk Assessment Checklist in Children (SRACC) and has been active in increasing awareness and knowledge at the local, state, and national levels. She has created a training module for SRACC that will help improve confidence and competence in suicide risk assessments. She has presented this in multiple formats including to Governors Council for Suicide Prevention in Oklahoma in 2019. Under her direction as president, Oklahoma Council for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry will cosponsor a free 6-hour CME workshop on Suicide at the annual Oklahoma State Psychiatric Association meeting in fall 2020. In addition, she has been part of the state-appointed committee to create guidelines for psychotropic medications in children for the state of Oklahoma. The goal of these guidelines is to improve psychotropic medication use esp. in foster care children.
National Work: She was a past member of the Child Abuse and Maltreatment and Violence Committee 2007 – 2011 and is currently a member for Complimentary and Integrative Medicine committee for AACAP.
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to pursue a career in psychiatry?
My maternal grandfather was an amazing, kind, and charismatic primary care physician in India. After the sudden death of grandmother, within a year, he got really depressed and committed suicide. I was around 11 years old when this happened and it was very traumatic for everyone in the family. I was especially close to him and maybe trying to heal others is a way for me to heal.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all did those events impact the way you view how our current system teaches us to treat patients with mental health challenges?
Growing up in India, I had a conventional/allopathic physician (MD) grandfather who was ahead of his time and would reach out to his Non-MD colleagues when he felt the conventional medicine couldn’t help his patients. Under his guidance, I was treated successfully with his Homeopathy colleague for asthma at age 9. We also had an Ayurvedic doctor who would help with chronic cough and multiple other symptoms when conventional medicine could not help. In addition, growing up, one of my major influences was my maternal uncle who has devoted his life to spiritual practices. When I came to the USA in my early twenties, I had the privilege to work with amazing mentors such as Eugene Arnold, MD at Ohio State University, and many others at the University of Maryland-Sheppard Pratt Psychiatry program. I feel I am blessed to have had amazing trailblazers in my life to light the torch for me. I have prescribed intensive lifestyle interventions for years. I feel completely at home with practicing healing the body and the mind in an integrative way.
When and why did you decide to actually focus on practicing Integrative Psychiatry, specifically, and how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
Integrative psychiatry is a no brainer for me. Conventional Psychiatry is, unfortunately, very limited, at this time. I feel we as psychiatrists are amazing at understanding the impact of early experiences, genetics, and the environment in shaping who we are. Although we have powerful frameworks to understand people in psychiatry I do not think our medication treatments are yet as developed.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
I emphasize diet, mindfulness, exercise, medications, positive social connections, as well as empowering parents, patients and families through direct coaching, a variety of psychotherapies including cognitive behavior therapy, supportive therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, supportive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and attachment-based trauma-informed therapy.
As a physician, I always wear three hats to help guide my clinical decision making: a physician hat, a scholar of science hat, and a mother’s hat. This approach helps me make the best decisions for each patient and have the best patient-centered approach.
How did people react when you share this Integrative/Holistic approach with them – whether it be patients or other doctors?
Almost all of my patients understand and appreciate this approach. We are very conservative with medications. We focus a lot on other things mentioned above.