Dr. Tamara Palka

(757) 668-4673 (HOPE)
Board Certifications

American Board of Psychiatry

Child/Adolescent Psychiatry


Medical School: Saba University School of Medicine

Residency: University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt

Fellowship: Maine Medical Center


Dr. Palka is a board-certified child psychiatrist and the medical director of the neurodevelopmental disorders unit at Children’s Pavilion. She relocated to CHKD from Maine, where she worked at Spring Harbor Hospital’s specialized unit for children with autism and developmental disorders since 2013. Prior to that she worked on two other specialized units, giving her an expertise in this field of medicine since there are only about 18-20 of these units in the United States.

Her passion for helping children with developmental disabilities was sparked when she volunteered at a summer camp for children with special needs during her high school years in Pennsylvania. She was an associate professor at Tufts/Maine Medical Center and enjoys mentoring and teaching medical students, residents, and fellows.

International volunteer work has been a very meaningful experience for Dr. Palka. One of her students even accompanied her on a volunteer trip to Nicaragua with the International Autism Outreach Project (IAOP) and is now helping to open a new specialized unit in the Northeast.

Dr. Palka also loves baking sweets and spending time with her family at Virginia Beach.

Research Area(s)
  • Autism
  • Graduate Education
Clinical Interest(s)
  • Autism
  • Developmental Disorders
Awards and Honors
  • MITE (MMC Institute for Teacher Excellence) Scholar 
Professional Memberships
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
  • International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP)

Hayes, Vicki; Bing-You, Robert; Palka, Tamara; Ford, Marybeth D.; and Trowbridge, Robert Jr (2022) "A Four-Year Longitudinal Curriculum to Improve Feedback-Seeking Behaviors for Medical Students," Journal of Maine Medical Center: Vol. 4 : Iss. 1 , Article 6.

Behavioral Approaches to Managing Severe Problem Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum and Related Developmental Disorders- A Descriptive Analysis. Child Adolescent Psychiatric Clin N Am 23 (2014). Peter Doehring, Brian Reichow, Tamara Palka, Cara Phillips, Louis Hagopian.

Sleep Problems and Their Relationship to Maladaptive Behavior Severity in Psychiatrically Hospitalized Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders November 2018. Sannar EM, Palka T, Beresford C, Peura C, Kaplan D, Verdi M, Siegel M, Kaplan S, Grados M; Autism and Developmental Disorders Inpatient Research Collaborative (ADDIRC).