Dr. David Hjellen
Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist
I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. After completing my bachelor’s degree at Alaska Pacific University I moved into medicine. From the beginning I pursued a path towards psychiatry. I never saw myself treating one demographic and focused my efforts on receiving training to treat children, adolescents and adults. To do this I traveled around the country learning from anyone I could. Over the years I trained or worked at over 2 dozen clinics and hospitals across the country including places like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, The New England Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital. After finishing my training in 2010, I moved back to Anchorage and began treating children at North Star Hospital. Here I continued learning and expanding my knowledge while working with children and their families who were experiencing severe mental health crisis. During my time at North Star I also worked as a clinical faculty member of Washington State University, teaching and assisting in the training of future physicians.
In 2018 I transitioned my focus of care into the outpatient world. I opened a clinic and began treating children, adolescents and adults from across the state. At the same time I also started working for The State of Alaska and McLaughlin Youth Center. These additional patient experiences have dramatically increased my understanding and appreciation for the difficulties that most who come into my office are facing. I have all too often had patients come in feeling as though “getting better” was almost impossible. This has further motivated me to focus my efforts on improving treatment outcomes for all my patients through open communication and treatment transparency. Doing this requires an understanding that the patient is the more informed expert in the room when it comes to everything they have been dealing with. This understanding leads to a partnership between physician and patient where both parties have one goal in mind - make things better!
When seeing new patients, I start by providing as complete an evaluation as possible. I begin every assessment and follow-up appointment with the assumption that the patient is best served if I focus on providing them with the information they need to make an informed choice about what is best for them. Rarely am I in a position to tell a patient what to do. Doing so would require that I know more about them than they do, and that will never happen. Using this treatment approach it becomes clear that the most successful course is to provide the patient with as much information as is needed so they feel like they can make an informed decision about what is best for them. This provider/patient partnership results in a different dynamic during appointments and is designed to produce open dialogue and better outcomes.