Meet the Doctors

Dr. Jerad Dalton, D.O. : Psychiatrist

Dr. Jerad Dalton, D.O.

Psychiatrist

Thank you for visiting Axon Health Associates. My name is Dr. Dalton, and I am a psychiatrist with a private practice located on the north side of Indianapolis. I specialize in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents, but I welcome people of all ages into my practice. I have been in private practice since 2008, along with working as Medical Director at Columbus Behavioral Center, a residential treatment center for children and adolescents.

My interest in behavior and emotions began in high school with my first psychology class. This interest continued to grow in college as I obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology from Indiana University. I also became fascinated with the medical field and was especially intrigued by the preventative philosophies and holistic approach of osteopathic medicine (click here to learn more about osteopathic medicine).

I earned my Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the University of Health Sciences' College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, MO. My interest in child and adolescent psychiatry was formed during my clinical rotations in medical school, when I began to understand the great need for quality providers in the field. It was very rewarding to see people of all ages improve their functioning at work, school, home, and all other areas of their lives with the aid of their mental health provider.

As a general psychiatry resident at the University of Louisville, I developed a broad knowledge of brain development, psychotherapy, and pharmacology. I learned the ways in which genetics and the environment interact to affect our brain chemistry and our mental state. I also received excellent psychotherapy supervision, and further solidified my desire to perform therapy in my own practice, in addition to medication management.

I then decided to further my training in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at Indiana University. I learned about typical and atypical child development, and how to appropriately handle the often difficult to manage childhood behavioral and emotional disorders. I also learned that many treatments that are effective for adults simply do not work for kids and discovered the importance of adhering to evidence-based practices.

I am committed to continuing to expand my knowledge in this field and to staying up-to-date with the most effective treatments available. As a member of the American Psychiatric Association and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, I am constantly reviewing the most recent published research. This dedication will allow me to provide the highest quality care to anyone who walks through my door.

In my free time I enjoy golfing, sports, and spending time with my wife and three children. Thank you for choosing Axon Health Associates, where we believe healthy lives begin with healthy minds.

jdalton@axonhealth.org
Dr. Ann Kledzik, M.D. : Psychiatrist

Dr. Ann Kledzik, M.D.

Psychiatrist

My name is Dr. Ann Kledzik, and I joined Axon Health Associates in 2013. I first became interested in Psychology and Psychiatry during my undergraduate years at Indiana University, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry with a Minor in Psychology.

After graduating from college, I was accepted at Indiana University School of Medicine. As part of medical school training, we rotate through different specialties, and I particularly enjoyed the Psychiatry clerkship during my third year. This clerkship focused on working with adults who struggled with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Because of my enjoyment of this rotation, I chose several special electives during my fourth year of medical school to focus on the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric mental health difficulties.

By the end of medical school, I had developed a love of working with children and their families, but I had difficulty narrowing down my area of focus. I was fortunate to be accepted into a combined residency, allowing me to receive specialized training in Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry. I enjoyed all three specialties while in residency, but I felt that my Child Psychiatry rotations were the ones that called to me most strongly.

I graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine’s Triple Board program in 2009 and received board certification for Adult Psychiatry in 2010 and Child Psychiatry in 2011. I am board eligible in Pediatrics, and I am grateful to have received specialized medical training in this field, since there is a close relationship between physical symptoms and mental health symptoms in children and adolescents.

I was able to explore this connection between physical and mental health difficulties while working at Riley Hospital as the Consult-Liaison Psychiatry medical director. I worked with children with chronic medical issues and their families as they coped with hospitalizations and treatment for their medical conditions. I also formed a clinic in the Hematology-Oncology department to treat children with mental health concerns that are often related to cancer treatment, such as depression and cognitive issues.

I have enjoyed working in Dr. Dalton’s practice, Axon Health Associates, where we focus on diagnosis and treatment, using the most recent evidence-based studies. My special areas of interest are working with children and adolescents with ADHD, disruptive behavior, depression and anxiety.

When I am not at work, I enjoy reading, traveling, and spending time with my husband and three children.

akledzik@axonhealth.org
Dr. Michele Thorne, Ph.D. : Psychologist

Dr. Michele Thorne, Ph.D.

Psychologist

My name is Dr. Michele Thorne. I am a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children, families, and adults. I joined Axon Health Associates in 2013 after working with children and families at Riley Hospital for Children for several years. I have been interested in psychology and mental health issues throughout my life, working with foster children and families while still in high school. My interest continued to grow throughout my undergraduate career at the University of Kansas where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Human Biology. Before graduate school, I worked for a year as a psychology technician in the psychiatric units at St. John’s Mercy Hospital. While there, I was privileged to work with children, adults, and seniors who were experiencing a wide array of mental health and substance abuse concerns. This led me to pursue my graduate education at Purdue University in Clinical Psychology. During my time at Purdue, I trained in delivering the most effective and up-to-date therapies for a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression, behavioral concerns, and trauma reactions. My research focused on resilience and the function of therapy in helping people reach their life goals.

After 5 years at Purdue University, I was given an internship at Indiana University School of Medicine where I worked at Riley Hospital and Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital. As part of my training during internship year, I was able to work closely with individuals with medical concerns as well as mental health symptoms. I was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship through IU School of Medicine to complete my training. I served as the clinical psychologist for the adolescent girls’ unit at Carter Hospital. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career to date. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these young women and helping them learn techniques and strategies to overcome the many adversities they faced. At the conclusion of this year, I was offered a faculty position as the Clinical Director of Consultation/Liaison Service at Riley Hospital. This was an incredible experience where I was able to work with children with medical concerns and their families. Part of this role involved helping children and families learn to adapt to chronic medical conditions and learn to overcome the anxiety and depression that often accompanies these conditions. I trained many patients in biofeedback techniques as a treatment for anxiety and pain. I continue to have a strong interest in biofeedback and use it in my current practice regularly. While I enjoyed my time at Riley, I felt ready to make a change to the private practice community. I have enjoyed working with Dr. Dalton and Dr. Kledzik at Axon Health Associates and am excited to be a part of the practice on a full-time basis. My areas of specialty include anxiety and depression in both adults and children, ADHD and behavioral concerns, and trauma-focused treatments.

As part of my practice, I strive to help others achieve balance in their lives. This is an important area of focus in my own life as well. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my three children and husband. I enjoy outdoor activities, sports, reading, and running.

mthorne@axonhealth.org
Dr. Alexandra Epler, PsyD. : Psychologist

Dr. Alexandra Epler, PsyD.

Psychologist

My name is Dr. Alexandra Epler. I am a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children, families, and adults. Psychology has always been an interest of mine as I have seen how therapy has helped individuals close to me. I attended University of California, Irvine and studied psychology. While at UC Irvine, I completed a research project focused on understanding gender roles in virtual worlds and how it affected children’s literacy. In addition, I worked on a research project to help students learn math without language.

After completing my bachelors, I moved from California to Indiana and started graduate school at University of Indianapolis. During my time at UIndy, I completed my dissertation on bullying and explored potential intervention points such as increasing social skills and parental support. In my clinical work I focused on outpatient therapy with children, adolescents, and adults.

This past year I finished my Doctoral Internship at a community mental health center, Park Place Behavioral Health Care, in Kissimmee, Florida. There I continued to gain a breadth of knowledge. I conducted individual, family, and group therapy with children, adolescents, and adults. I completed rotations in a Crisis Stabilization Unit doing brief crisis intervention and in Substance Abuse providing both group and individual therapy for a 28-day treatment program.

I have completed my doctorate in Clinical Psychology and have joined Axon Health Associates to complete my Post-Doctoral training. My areas of interest include anxiety and depression in both children and adults, ADHD, and behavioral concerns. I primarily work from a cognitive-behavioral orientation, but adapt my treatment to client needs.

For fun I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, trivia night, outdoor activities, and sports. On any given Sunday you will find me watching football rooting for the Colts.

aepler@axonhealth.org
Dr. Amy Ricke, M.D. : Psychiatrist

Dr. Amy Ricke, M.D.

Psychiatrist

My name is Amy Ricke, M.D. and I joined Axon Heath Associates in 2017.  I am currently accepting patients age 16 and older for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

I first became interested in mental health during my senior year of high school during an abnormal psychology class.  Drawn to both biological science and the study of the mind and human behavior, I studied pre-medicine and psychology at the University of Notre Dame and graduated with a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude.  Entering medical school, I was relatively certain that I would choose psychiatry as a specialty given that it married both of my academic interests.  While other areas of medicine fascinated me, I was always drawn back to a career in psychiatry by my recognition that the mind and body are inextricably linked.  I came to realize that without good mental health, life cannot be fully lived.  I received my M.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Ohio, with the distinction of Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.  My medical education continued at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine where I trained in the adult psychiatry residency program.  Shortly after, I received my board certification in psychiatry.

My treatment approach combines both neurobiological and psychoanalytic perspectives, meaning that I believe that our earliest relationships not only determine how the brain develops, but also our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with others.  My aim is to understand the complexity of a patient’s symptoms and, in conjunction with their therapist, to help provide a deeper understanding of themselves and the sources of their pain.  In addition to prescribing medication, I take a holistic view of mental health and recommend therapy and lifestyle changes (i.e. nutrition, sleep, exercise, functional medicine) as part of my treatment plan.  The foundation of my practice is careful assessment, with ample time spent looking back early into a patient’s history.  My approach is in part captured by this quote, “A psychiatric diagnosis is a milestone in someone’s life. Done well, an accurate diagnosis is the beginning of an increased self-understanding and a launch to effective treatment and a better future. Done poorly, it can be a lingering disaster.”-Allen Frances, MD

My specific areas of clinical interest are mood and anxiety disorders, addiction, eating disorders, trauma, sleep disorders, personality disorders, and chronic medical illness.  In addition, as a senior resident and later as faculty, I established a reproductive psychiatry clinic within the department of high-risk obstetrics at IU where I worked with women with perinatal mood & anxiety disorders, infertility, pregnancy loss, and addiction.  I also have expertise in treating psychiatric issues surrounding menopause and PMS/premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

I have facilitated numerous professional talks, including at the Indiana Psychiatry Society regional conference, Postpartum Support International, several local hospitals, and the State Department of Health.  Topics have included reproductive psychiatry, pharmacogenetics, nutritional therapies for psychiatric illness, and the meaning of medications.  As volunteer Assistant Professor in the IU Department of Psychiatry, I remain active in teaching psychiatry residents.  I am committed to staying up-to-date with the latest research and practice guidelines via psychiatric literature, professional memberships, and conferences.  As a psychiatrist, I hope to lend my knowledge and skills to help my patients move through both long-standing and/or current difficulties to enjoy personal growth and a life more fully lived.

aricke@axonhealth.org