Psychiatric care and the monitoring of the effectiveness of medication are important components to effective treatment.  La Europa Academy has two psychiatrists that work with the program (see below). 

The psychiatrists meet with each new student as soon as possible after enrollment and complete an initial evaluation.  Medications are reviewed and the student’s current medication regimen is discussed with parents. 

Changes to medications are usually not made for the first 30 days while the student is settling in.  Psychiatrist collects information
from the therapist, the residential team and the school prior to making any recommendations for medication changes so he or she can get a full profile of how the student is doing. 

La Europa Academy has a full-time nurse who is on campus a minimum of five days per week.  The nurse accompanies the psychiatrists for all meetings with student to ensure a smooth transition with any medication changes. 

Our Psychiatrists

Dr. Ryan Williams, MD
Psychiatrist and Pediatrician

Dr. Williams is board certified in both psychiatry and pediatrics. He has also completed training in child psychiatry in addition to child abuse and neglect training.

Dr. Williams completed his pediatric training and adult and adolescent psychiatric training at Tufts University in Boston MA, where he served for two years as the Chief Resident. At Tufts University he was educated by prominent members of the field of Psychiatry and developed a broad understanding of development, human behavior and brain functioning. This training enables him to see the whole patient in a way that can be lost in the compartmentalized world of modern psychiatric care. 

Dr. Williams believes that it is the knowledge of the individual patient (and not the diagnosis) that should direct care. Furthermore, medication, in most adolescent patients, carries an adjunctive role to therapy and while helpful, it has definitive limits. Many of the patients who come into long-term residential care know these limits all too well.  Dr. Williams views most adolescent mental health problems, not in terms of chemical imbalances, but in terms of abnormal patterns of neuronal firing that can be modulated by medications but only repaired through corrective experience, which in turn is facilitated and hastened through psychotherapeutic techniques. You will find Dr. Williams to be a caring and thoughtful physician who recognizes your investment in your daughter as he coordinates with the treatment team in providing psychiatric care. 

Dr. Poonam Soni, MD
Child Development Doctor

Dr. Poonam Soni, MD, comes to La Europa Academy with a wealth of experience in adolescent  and adult psychiatry.  She graduated from the University of Tennessee medical school in 1986 and completed her residency at the University of Utah in 1991. She was the first graduate of the Triple Board Program at the University of Utah, trained in Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry, and Adult Psychiatry. She is also board-certified in Forensics. 

Dr. Soni believe in conservative medication management, that medications are a tool but lasting change comes through therapy.  She worked for two decades with individuals with abuse and trauma, and she has also worked with individuals with severe mental health disorders and autism spectrum individuals. 

Dr. Soni has worked in community mental health settings across the Salt Lake valley including residential and outpatient programs.  Dr. Soni has directed many studies on the effectiveness of medications and authored or co-authored numerous articles on a variety of mental health topics related to adolescents and adults.