Sarah Vinson, MD: President

Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson is a physician who specializes in adult, child & adolescent, and forensic psychiatry. She is the founder of the Lorio Psych Group, an Atlanta, GA based mental health practice providing expert care and consultation. After graduating from medical school at the University of Florida with Research Honors and as an Inductee in the Chapman Humanism Honors Society, she completed her general psychiatry training at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. While there, she also received specialized training in trauma through the Victims of Violence Program. She then returned to the South to complete fellowships in both child & adolescent and forensic psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine. In addition to providing mental health care services such as psychotherapy, consultation and psychopharmacology through her private practice, Dr. Vinson is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine. Just two years after joining the faculty she was honored as Psychiatry and Faculty of the Year in 2015. She is also Adjunct Faculty at Emory University School of Medicine. She has been elected and/or appointed to national and statewide office by her professional peers. She is the current President of the Georgia Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and is a Trustee on the board of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. Additionally, she serves on the Communications Council of the American Psychiatric Association and is the Early Career Psychiatrist Representative on the Board of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. She has been a speaker at national conferences including the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting and The National Urban League Annual Meeting.. Dr. Vinson has received numerous awards in recognition of her service and leadership.

Nicole Cotton King, MD: President Elect

Dr. Nicole King Cotton is a Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She graduated from Emory University with a B.S. in Chemistry. After obtaining her M.D. from Morehouse School of Medicine, she completed her specialty training in adult, child and adolescent psychiatry at Emory University. She is currently a psychiatrist at DeKalb Community Service Board working with children and adults. Dr. Cotton has given many local and national presentations on pediatric mental health, religion and spirituality in psychiatry, and minority mental health.  


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Vanderlyn Sewell, MD: Secretary/Treasurer

Dr. Sewell is a Board Certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist.  She is currently the Medical Director of Laurel Heights Hospital.  We specialize in working with youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We have the only specialized Autism Acute Unit in the state of Georgia.  She completed her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training at Emory University in 2004 and has been practicing in Atlanta ever since.  She has worked in multiple inpatient and outpatient settings and finds fulfilment in working with some of Georgia’s most challenging patients.  She is on the volunteer faculty of Emory School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine.  She supervises medical students, residents, and fellows in their rotation at Laurel Heights.

Michael Ellis, DO: Trustee at Large

Dr. Michael Ellis is board certified in both General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He completed his residency and fellowship at the Medical College of Georgia. He has been on the Lifelong Learning Workgroup for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) for 9 years. He is also an Advocacy Liaison for AACAP.  He is currently the Trustee on the Georgia Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is Clinical Assistant Professor for Mercer University School of Medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor for the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus. Although he treats children and adolescents with various mental health diagnoses, he is also an autism expert. He has written a book on Autism Spectrum Disorder for parents of children with ASD that is set to be published in February 2018. It is called Caring for Autism. He lives and practices in Columbus, GA. He has a wife and three children.

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Sandra Sexson, MD: Membership Committee Chair and Assembly Delegate

Professor, Psychiatry & Pediatrics, Chief of Child, Adolescent & Family Psychiatry, Director of Training in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Dr. Sandra Sexson is a leader in psychiatric education, having served in numerous national & international roles. Leadership positions include chair of APA’s Council on Med Ed & LLL, ACP’s PRITE & PIPE Commissions, the ACAGME’s Psychiatry RRC as well as the Sub-Com on the Post Pediatric Portal Program, AACAP’s Training & Education Com. & Lifelong Learning Com. She served as president of AADPRT, Editor of PRITE & Founding Editor of CHILD PRITE, ABPN Team Leader for CAP as well as senior examiner in both psychiatry and CAP, and on ABPN general & CAP question writing Committees.  More recently she has been involved in ACGME-International work both as a consultant & now as a member of the International Medicine RRC.  Dr. Sexson has published articles on various topics related to psychiatric education in Academic Psychiatry & other venues.

 Ranjan Avasthi, MD: Assembly Delegate

Dr RK Avasthi, is a double board certified Adult and Child Psychiatrist working here in Atlanta, GA. He is currently the medical director for the Peace of Mind Psychiatric Services Clinic. He is also the lead psychiatrist for the Southern Crescent Behavioral Health System Partial Hospital Program that specializes in substance abuse and recovery. Dr. Avasthi completed his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at the Medical College of Georgia, a part of Augusta University. He stayed on to work as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior. He also serves as an Adjunct Clinical Professor for Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Avasthi has lectured around the US at regional and national meetings for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and also at the American Psychiatric Association, where he was selected as an Investigator in Clinical Psychobiology for the 2013 Research Colloquium.

Dr. Avasthi was appointed to the national Disaster and Trauma Committee for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and has also been elected to serve as an Assembly Delegate for the Georgia Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He has received a number of awards for leadership and service.




Eric Lewkowiez, MD: Past President and Nominating Committee Chair

Dr. Eric Lewkowiez is an assistant professor in the Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Psychiatry.  He received his MD degree from the University of South Carolina and an MS in Microbiology and Immunology from the Medical University of South Carolina.  He completed a General Psychiatry Residency and Child and Adolescent Fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  Dr. Lewkowiez came to MCG in 2003, after 3 years of private practice in Columbia, SC.  He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., in both adult and child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Lewkowiez was appointed Associate Dean in the Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs in 2012.  He functions primarily as the rotation director of the Community Psychiatry Rotation in the second year for Child Psychiatry Residents and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Rotation for General Psychiatry Residents.  His teaching areas include Basic Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Advanced Pediatric Psychopathology, Development, and ADHD.  Dr. Lewkowiez's clinical areas of interest include ADHD, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, and Mood Disorders.  He is also very interested in medical student and resident education , work force issues in Mental Health in Georgia and advocating for children.  Dr. Lewkowiez is currently past president of the Georgia Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He currently serves on the Continuing Medical Education Committee for the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the Steering Committee for Georgia Families 360 and the Safe and Health Babies Workgroup .

Dale Peeples, MD: CommunicationS Committee Chair  

Dr. Peeples is an associate professor at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.  After completing medical school at USC in Columbia, South Carolina, he continued his training at MCG completing his internship, residency, and fellowship in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.  Since staying on as faculty, he works in both inpatient and outpatient services in the child and adolescent division. He also provides services to juvenile corrections currently working with the Regional Youth Detention Center of Augusta and the Augusta Youth Development Campus, as well as the Macon YDC via telemedicine. In terms of serving the school’s educational mission, most of his work focuses on training the child & adolescent psychiatry fellows as the assistant program director for the fellowship program, & the outpatient director as well.  Nationally, he’s a member of the AACAP media committee.

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