In keeping with MA’s over-all clinical emphasis, its senior leadership includes two experienced board-certified psychiatrists. One (John McKinnon, MD), the Academy’s Medical Director, reviews entering students’ psychiatric histories and closely follows each student taking psychotropic medication. MA provides an ideal context for the close management of psychotropic medications. A registered nurse (Melissa Nunn, RN) distributes the ordered medications to students and also follows their progress. Program staff, therapists and teaching staff are in daily contact with students and regularly meet to review each student’s progress. Parents, who are regularly in touch with sons and daughters, consult directly with Dr. McKinnon and Ms. Nunn.
As students settle into campus life and gradually become more mature—and less symptomatic—it is important to monitor their need for these prescriptions. In regular appointments Dr. McKinnon adjusts doses and manages side effects. The historical trend (see Outcomes) has been for MA students gradually to need less or no medication, and, in consultation with parents and students, it has been common for Dr. McKinnon to reduce or stop medications—and quickly to restore those prescriptions as soon as a continued need becomes apparent.
When, as sometimes happens, a student reveals a heretofore-untreated depression, or disruptive anxiety, recurrent mood lability or disabaling distractability, Dr. McKinnon consults with students and their parents to prescribe and monitor new medications.