Jean Zehnder


Jean Zehnder Photo


  • Doctor of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine

  • Triple Board Residency in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Adult Psychiatry, University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

  • Extensive experience treating youth in residential settings since 1995

  • Licensed Physician in Utah and Ethiopia


Jean believes that the difficulties youth experience before coming to Gateway need to be understood within their developmental, biological, family, and social contexts. Jean believes medication should only be used sparingly, with the input and informed consent of the youth and parents, taking into account the observations of staff, their therapist, and teachers.  Jean communicates with the parents shortly after their son’s admission as well as after each time she meets with him to keep them involved in, and informed of, all medical treatment decisions.


Jean has worked with adolescents and their families since 1995 in residential and day treatment settings. In both residential and day treatment programs, Jean has helped youth transition from wilderness programs, the State Hospital, and acute inpatient hospitalizations back to their families. Jean has worked with youth who struggle with depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, school problems, anxiety, aggression, psychosis, substance abuse, oppositional behaviors, nonverbal learning disorder, and autistic spectrum disorder.  She was the psychiatrist for a day treatment team for adolescents with autistic spectrum disorder for fourteen years. Jean has also worked with adults and children in outpatient settings for the past two years.

Additionally, Jean has traveled to India and Ethiopia for humanitarian medical clinics as a pediatrician.


Jean grew up near the Great Lakes and has a life long affection for swimming, waterskiing, and sailboarding. Having lived in Utah for 25 years, she has also acquired a sincere appreciation for snow skiing and hiking, not to mention heat without the humidity and mosquitos. Jean also enjoys travel, especially visiting her three children at college.

Creating Student Success

I have had several patients come to residential treatment on medication who do not want to be on medication. The medications may have been added during a crisis or a decompensation, and neither the student nor the parent knows if they have helped or not. In many, but not all, cases it is possible for the youth to learn new ways of dealing with anger, anxiety, or depression and slowly taper medications with the parents' consent within the controlled setting of Gateway. Having input from the entire team is invaluable. Many times, students are able to come off of their medications or be on fewer medications or lower dosages.