When Dr. Beverly Jewell Sutton was in grade school, she already knew she wanted to be a child psychiatrist. She was fascinated by what children do and why they do it, so her family doctor encouraged her to pursue it in a professional setting. Intrigued by his suggestion, Dr. Sutton proceeded to earn an Associate of Science from Grand Rapids Junior College (now Grand Rapids Community College) in 1952 and an MD from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1957. She found she really enjoyed her studies, and knew she was in the right field.
The next step for Dr. Sutton was garnering hands-on experience. She started as a rotating intern at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in 1958, and then became a resident in child psychiatry at the Hawthorn Center, a resident in pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical Center Hospital, and a resident in psychiatry at Austin State Hospital. During this time, Dr. Sutton obtained medical licenses from the states of Michigan and Texas and diplomas from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., and the American Board of Pediatrics. She also joined prominent organizations like the American Genetics Society, the American Pediatric Association, the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, and the American Association of Psychiatric Administrators. This helped her better connect with her peers and professional community.
After completing her training, Dr. Sutton went straight to work. She started as the director of the Children’s Psychiatric Service and as the chief of child psychiatry at Austin State Hospital, and garnered a reputation for being reliable and compassionate. Dr. Sutton spent the next four decades at the institution in roles like director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training Program, director of the Austin Psychiatric Residency Program, director of training and research, and acting clinical director of medical and psychiatric services. In 2003, she took on additional responsibilities as a child psychiatrist at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and Seton Healthcare Family. She retired from both hospitals in 2010.
Outside of the office, Dr. Sutton enjoyed finding new ways to connect with her peers and community. She authored an article on retirement for the AACAP Newsletter in 2011, co-authored “Scientific Foundations for the Social Brain, PowerPoint Training Presentation” for the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry Website in 2009, and authored “Scientific Foundations for the Social Brain Concept” for Psychiatric Annals in 2005. She also wrote pieces like “Clinical Vignettes for Examinations” for the College of Psychologists of Ontario, “Resident Work Hours” for Academic Psychiatry, “Psychiatric Hospitalization of Children and Adolescents” for Texas Medicine, and “Memo Rituals” for the Texas Personnel and Guidance Association Journal. Further, Dr. Sutton was active as an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Texas A&M University, a clinical associate professor in child psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and in pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and a site coordinator for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Oral Examinations. She was also involved as a member of the board of directors of PHNA, the steering committee of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, and the bylaws committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, among other roles.
As a testament to her hard work and dedication, Dr. Sutton was honored by the psychiatric department of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2012 and inducted as the founder of the Hall of Fame at the Central Texas Academic Health Care that same year. She also received teaching awards from the Austin Medical Education Programs, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program, and Autism Psychiatric Residency Program, a meritorious service award from the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and Austin State Hospital, a distinguished service award from the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians, and a Jackson R. Day Award from the Texas Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as well as many others. Notably, the Dr. Beverly Jewell Sutton Endowment for Psychiatric Education was created through the Seton Fund of the Seton Healthcare Network (now the Seton Healthcare Family) in 2004. The award is still given out to this day.