Celebrating Kristen Giltinan, PA-C
Nominated by: Meredith Hammond, MA, LPC
PA Program: University of Colorado, Class of 2000
Employer: Colorado Psychiatry Center
Practice Area: Psychiatry
How Certified PA Kristen Giltinan Makes a Difference…
Kristen Giltinan, PA-C, has been a PA for almost 17 years, including eight years specializing in psychiatry. She became a PA to serve the community and started out in family practice and emergency care. Her passion for psychiatry is personal: Giltanan is very open about the fact that three of her five children, have autism, ADHD and anxiety. When her first son was diagnosed, treatment options in her area were few. She recognized a need, and psychiatry became her passion.
Giltinan works at the Colorado Psychiatry Center where she sees 18-21 patients a day ranging from children, adolescents and adults. Prior to this center opening, it could take months for a patient to be diagnosed and treated, but as the original PA on staff, she sees new patients within a week instead of months. This is particularly important in the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents on the autism spectrum. Giltinan specializes in ADHD and treating autistic patients, as well as helping patients and their families through their journey of becoming mentally well and whole again.
Now a senior PA at the center, Giltinan has had a positive impact on over 3000 patients and their families' lives. She strives to deliver the utmost care with dedication and compassion to every patient and family she encounters. As part of her diagnosis and treatment plan, Giltinan actively participates in making algorithms for psychiatric care of patients, especially autistic patients, based on scientific evidence. She especially likes treating patients and their families with autism spectrum disorder and became MAPS certified (Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs) in the spring of 2017 - continuing her expertise in helping patients with autism spectrum disorder from a naturopathic perspective.
Colleague Meredith Hammond, a children's therapist, says: “Kristen has been a tremendous resource and support for my clients! She takes a holistic view of each patient and goes the extra mile when collaborating care with other providers, parents, and schools.”
In addition to her regular office hours, she willingly takes emergency calls even when not on call and in doing so has saved six lives by getting emergency authorities to patients having emergent suicidal or homicidal ideations while keeping the parties calm and on the phone until help arrives. Giltinan feels that treating psychiatric patients is a team effort not just with the patients’ involvement and input, but also with the help of the other office staff she works with. Giltinan says she would not be able to do what she does without the excellent training she received from the CHA/PA program at the University of Colorado, the specialty psychiatric training she received from Dr. Ron Morley and the naturopathic support she receives from Dr. Mike Mullin.
Giltinan’s goal is enabling families to get back to normalcy by helping them learn about their mental illness, how to handle life situations and destigmatize their situation. “Re-instilling hope for them in a time of need is so rewarding,” she says.
Giltinan was named PA of the Year in 2012 by the Colorado Academy of PAs. She earned a Master's Degree in PA Studies from CU and is currently a preceptor for students at that program. She became one of the first Certified PAs to receive a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Psychiatry in 2013 and now serves as an item writer for PANRE and NCCPA’s Psychiatry Specialty Exam.
She says she feels blessed every day to be doing a job in psychiatry that she loves to do. To be trusted with the care of something so precious as the brain of the patients that she cares for is “truly an amazing thing.”
Giltinan and Dr. Morley, owner of the Colorado Psychiatry Center, are currently working to open a new autism clinic called Autism Allies to serve severely autistic patients that will complement the center’s work.
NCCPA salutes Kristen Giltinan, PA-C, for changing and saving lives of those with mental illness.