Chief of Mental Health Services

Dr. Carl PetersenDuties

Dr. Carl Petersen serves CHKD and the community by leading the hospital’s efforts to provide much-needed inpatient and outpatient mental health services to children throughout Virginia. 


Dr. Petersen is dual board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in general and child and adolescent psychiatry.

A retired U.S. Navy captain, Dr. Petersen brings a wealth of experience overseeing mental health initiatives and programs. He spent the last 10 years of his military career at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, serving the last three as its director of mental health.

As an advocate for children’s mental health, Dr. Petersen led efforts to improve access to evidence-based care for children with behavioral difficulties and created a program to help pediatric residents properly diagnose and treat children with psychiatric illnesses.

He also established initiatives that expanded access to mental health services for military service members.


Dr. Petersen holds a BA in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and completed his medical degree at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He entered active service in 1998 and completed his internship in internal medicine and residency in psychiatry at Naval Medical Center Bethesda. He then completed fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.