Hi! I'm Melissa (aka Dr. Shepard)! I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, College Park where I double majored in Psychology and Art History. After finishing school, I worked as a Unit Secretary and Nursing Assistant in a Cardiac ICU and in doing so, decided that medicine was the right choice for me.
I went to medical school at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. I had never intended to do psychiatry, but I realized that I loved the connection I could develop with my patients and the difference I could make in their lives. I graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into the Alpha
Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism Honors Society. I received several awards for teaching and excellence in psychiatry.
After medical school, I headed across town to Johns Hopkins for my psychiatry residency. At Hopkins, I researched suicide prevention in people with Parkinson's disease, contributed to textbook chapters, and helped develop an online curriculum on psychiatric treatments for medical students. I was awarded for excellence in commitment to the care of patients with psychiatric illness and served as Chief Resident in my fourth year of residency.
My personal experiences have also played a huge role in making me who I am today. I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and OCD, and have been helped so much by my own therapy and psychiatric treatment. Fortunately, my struggles have been mild and have never interfered with my ability to do my job, even at their worst. But I have found that these experiences allow me to really understand and connect with my patients. I have also unfortunately had the experience of having not-so-great medical care at times. I know that our psychiatric care system has some serious flaws, and my experiences have made me even more passionate about improving that.
Likewise, my coaching interests have developed from my personal experiences. Even when my mental health was good, I still found myself to be a tired, overwhelmed, self-conscious, and unhealthy mom who was struggling to set boundaries and obtain some semblance of work-life balance. This pushed me to learn and practice confidence-building skills, self-compassion, habit change, mindfulness, and health at every size (HAES). With these changes, I have become a much more confident, healthy, and happy version of myself and I want to help others do the same!
Find me on social media, where I regularly overshare.