Teaching Pediatric Mental Health to Student Doctors 
Faculty Focus on Ann L. Contrucci, MD, FAAP


June 18, 2021

PCOM South Georgia assistant professor of pediatrics Ann L. Contrucci, MD, FAAPAs an assistant professor of pediatrics and a mother, Ann Contrucci, MD, has four focal areas that she is passionate about: mental health, eating disorders, immunizations and screen time.

After practicing pediatric medicine for over 25 years, she’s seen the impact those areas can have on infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Because of this up-close and personal experience, she’s charging herself with bringing more pediatric mental health education to medical students.

She said that mental health is critical to teach the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine classes, especially those students who aim to practice medicine in rural areas.

“The reality is that these future physicians may be the only people who can provide any mental health services in a rural area,” she said. “Our students need this education in order to properly provide for their future patients. In rural areas, sometimes you’re the only physician, which means you see adults, adolescents, children, and infants. Our students have to know about pediatrics to be in primary care in rural areas, so my experience and passions support that.”

Since joining PCOM South Georgia in December 2020, she has performed multiple lectures focusing on traditional pediatric topics and skills. She has also introduced some new topics to the curriculum including mental health, mental disorders and eating disorders.

She believes it is important that the medical community embraces mental health as part of a patient’s total wellness, which also aids in destigmatizing and demystifying this particular component of health.

“We learn about all the organs of the body, how they work and their diseases. We need to look at the brain that way as well,” she said.

Dr. Contrucci is currently working with rising third-year students, teaching them about medical records and diagnostic errors, the tenets of clinical reasoning, adverse outcome discussions and medical liability and malpractice in order to prepare them for the realities of their third- and fourth-year clerkship rotations. She is also a mentor with the COMLEX Readiness Program and the faculty advisor for the student-led pediatrics club.

Ann L. Contrucci, MD, FAAP, receiving her COVID-19 vaccineThroughout her career, Dr. Contrucci has worked in pediatric emergency medicine in the suburbs and inner city as well as practiced primary pediatric care in suburban and rural settings. She founded a solo practice and taught medical students in Canada; has been a team member for medical mission trips to Guatemala and Honduras; and worked for a malpractice company where she taught patient safety to other physicians and created a peer support group for physicians experiencing a malpractice trial.

Dr. Contrucci holds a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from The University of Georgia and received her medical degree from The Medical College of Georgia in 1993. She completed her pediatric residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and has been board certified in pediatrics since 1996. She has 22-year-old twins and enjoys gardening, cooking, kayaking and hiking. She is a voracious reader and looks forward to traveling again and rejoining a cycling club.

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  • About PCOM South Georgia

    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.

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    Email: jordanro1@pcom.edu
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