Annapolis Pediatrics is committed to providing superior healthcare for your children. Because at least 1 in 5 children have a developmental or behavioral concern, we have dedicated part of our newly expanded Crofton office for the assessment and management of our patients and their families who have these types of concerns.
A physical exam must be completed by an Annapolis Pediatrics’ provider within the past year prior to scheduling an appointment with the behavioral health team.
The providers from Annapolis Pediatrics Behavioral Health Department may refer to psychology or psychiatry when indicated. In addition, the services from the Annapolis Pediatrics Behavioral Health Department are not for emergent problems. If you believe your family member has a medical or psychiatric emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
Please note, as per Annapolis Pediatrics’ policy, a fee of $50 will be charged for any cancellation without 24 hour notice.
Please ask your primary Annapolis Pediatrics’ provider if further evaluation by our Behavioral Health team would be appropriate for:
- Learning difficulties
- Attention or concentration difficulty including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Excessive worries, fears or anxieties
- Repetitive behaviors or thoughts
- Behavior problems
- Mood concerns
The medical and psychosocial aspects of children’s and adolescents’ developmental and behavioral problems are considered in the evaluation and management with the understanding that all development and behavior occurs in the context of the family.
Management in our office may consist of behavior therapy and targeted elements of other psychotherapeutic modalities, as well as medication when indicated.
There are some disorders where referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist or neurodevelopmental specialist would be more appropriate. Your primary Annapolis Pediatrics provider will be able to help determine the best course of evaluation and treatment.
Visit our Behavioral Health Parent Resources page for related articles and videos from our providers.
Dr. Sharon Richter
Dr. Richter received her BA degree in Psychology and Biology from Long Island University, and her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Before joining the practice in 2015, Dr. Richter completed an Internship in Medicine and Pediatric Residency at duPont Hospital for Children / Thomas Jefferson University, and also a Fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University. After her fellowship, Dr. Richter spent 11 years as the division head of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.
Dr. Richter’s board certifications and professional memberships include:
- Board Certified in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
- Member of: Society for Development Behavioral Pediatrics; and the Emotional Health Committee- Maryland Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics
- Affiliate Member of: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dr. Richter's personal Interests and hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and writing.
Erin B. Merli, CPNP-PC, MS, RN, PMHS (Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist)
Erin's degrees and certifications include:
- Bachelor of Science (Psychology with concentration in Neuroscience) Duke University, 1999
- Master of Science in Biotechnology Johns Hopkins University, 2004
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of Maryland, 2007
- Master of Science, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, University of Maryland, 2012
Erin Merli has worked extensively, in variety of settings, with patients and families affected by mood disorders and stress. She started her professional career at Johns Hopkins Hospital, researching the genetics of psychiatric disorders, for almost a decade. During this time, she interviewed and helped assess several hundred patients, and families with loved ones, affected by depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Using data collected through these multi-site, collaborative projects, she co-authored and published 9 peer-reviewed articles in professional journals on the genetics of psychiatric illness.
After receiving a masters degree in biotechnology from Hopkins, she entered nursing school as a second degree student. Shortly after graduating in 2007 with high honors, Erin was awarded a Fogarty AIDS International Research Fellowship and traveled to Nigeria to lead an independent research project investigating the prevalence of hazardous alcohol use and depressive symptoms in HIV positive patients. She published and presented her findings for an international audience upon her return. Additionally, Erin worked in the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Maryland for 6 years where she made it a point to care not only for her ill patients, but also for their families during extremely stressful life events. Erin brings her lengthy experience of working with patients and their families, in a myriad of settings, to primary care where she has a special interest in working with teens and young adults who are experiencing difficulty with mood, stress and anxiety symptoms.
Michelle Schall, CPNP-PC, PMHS (Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist)
Michelle's degrees and certifications include:
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing - Saint Francis University 2005
- Master of Science in Nursing, Pediatric Primary Care - John's Hopkins University 2011
- Pediatrics Primary Care Mental Health Specialist - PNCB 2022
Michelle Schall had started her nursing career in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Duke Children's Hospital. She then moved to this area and worked in DC before working at Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital in Pediatrics Intensive Care unit.
Throughout her career she has cared for infants, children and their families through many life experiences, including times of physical and emotional stress. Michelle has found a passion throughout her years in various hospital settings and currently in primary care at Annapolis Pediatrics in helping patients and their families navigate and improve their emotional, mental and behavioral health.
Ashley Spencer, LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor)
Ashley Spencer is a licensed clinical professional counselor in the state of Maryland. She has more than 15 years of experience providing support to adolescents, children, and adults in a variety of settings including community mental health clinics, substance abuse programs, and the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. Most recently, Ashley had been conducting emergency safety risk evaluations to patients of all ages in an emergency department setting as a Lead Mental Health Consultant for almost 7 years.
Ashley achieved her bachelor's degree in psychology from Wesley College and her master's degree from Bowie State University in Mental Health Counseling. She teaches community courses as a certified instructor for Mental Health First Aid USA for Youth and Adults. She has developed programs in various settings such as family support and trauma groups. Ashley has a background in CBT, bereavement counseling, substance abuse treatment, and treating those with safety risk and other persistent mental health concerns. Ashley's passion is to continue providing education and support to individuals who are coping with all dynamics of mental health challenges.
ALL PATIENTS – FIRST VISIT
You must complete these forms:
- Initial Visit Questionnaire
- Depression Screen (All children over age 12)
If you are concerned your child may have anxiety, please complete these forms:
- Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (Parent form)
Note: parents of children of all ages may complete this form
- Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (Children age 8 and above)
Note: for children aged 8-11, parents may assist when filling out
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screener (GAD-7) (Children age 12 and above)
If you are concerned your child may have depression, please complete this form:
- Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) (Children age 6 to 11 years)
Note: for children aged 6-11, parents may assist when filling out
If you are concerned about your child’s behavior and/or are concerned about ADD/ADHD please complete these forms:
- Initial Vanderbilt Parent Informant (both parents complete)
- Initial Vanderbilt Teacher Informant (all teachers complete)
- ADHD/ADD Consult or Medcheck –Vanderbilt
- Anxiety Consult – SCARED (parent), SCARED (child, 8 and above), GAD-7
- Depression Consult – PHQ-9
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - Call or text 988, anywhere in the US, to chat with a caring counselor.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline (24/7) 1.800.273.8255
- Anne Arundel County Crisis Response System 410.768.5522
- Maryland Crisis Youth Hotline 1.800.422.0009
- AACPS Student Safety Hotline 1.877.676.9854