News & Press

River Edge Behavioral Health Physician Recognized as Leading Expert in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

River Edge Behavioral Health Physician Recognized as Leading Expert in
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Dr. Theresa Courtney Published in Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Journal

MACON – River Edge Behavioral Health physician Theresa Courtney has been published as a leading, international, medical expert in intellectual and development disabilities. Her review of the Handbook of Evidence-Based Practices in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities will be published in the globally circulated Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Journal.

Dr. Courtney’s expertise has been built over a nearly 30-year career in pediatric medicine and developmental disabilities, including over a decade as the Clinical Director for the Developmental Disabilities Division at Central State Hospital as well as serving as Director of Developmental Disabilities for the state of Arizona. 

Originally joining River Edge in 2012, Courtney is now part of River Edge’s 16 full-time physicians leading Georgia’s healthcare delivery for persons with mental health, addiction or developmental disability challenges.

“Dr. Courtney’s expertise as well as her commitment to pragmatic service and continual learning is a gift to the persons who choose River Edge for care,” said Shannon Gordon, River Edge Chief Executive Officer. “Not only is she an excellent clinician with individuals and families, Dr. Courtney is an engaged team member who works to bring excellent training and improved processes to River Edge as an organization. I am so grateful.”

The Handbook of Evidence-Based Practices in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities distills current research across disciplines on assessment, treatment and training modalities and evidence-based outcomes for major clinical areas in intellectual disability care and supports. Dr. Courtney’s comprehensive review of the handbook’s 984 pages outlines what is and is not evidence-based practice in the field of developmental disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living estimates that between 7 and 8 million Americans, or three percent of the general population, experience an intellectual disability. One in 10 US families has at least one extended family member with an intellectual disability. 

“I choose to work with people who have developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges because these individuals are so often greatly underserved.  Most providers do not understand the diagnostic and care intricacies,” said Dr. Courtney. “Most individuals with developmental disabilities end up on too much or inappropriate medication because of this lack of understanding.”

With a residency and extensive early career in general pediatrics and neonatology throughout Georgia, Arizona and Washington state, Dr. Courtney began treating patients with developmental disabilities of all ages in 1995.
“Taking care of this population was a logical extension from pediatrics in that most are functioning on a level equivalent to people in that age group,” she said.

It’s also a career focus that runs in her family. “My mother taught special education at Georgia College and started the Education and Work Activities Center at Central State Hospital. My father started and ran the Eye Clinic at Central State as well as the Research Department. My stepmother was a Music Therapist at Central State and was promoted to Team Leader and then Service Director over five units that served people with severe or profound intellectual disability.  My older sister was the director of Psychological Services in the Division of Developmental Disabilities. She continues to work at Central State as the Assistant Clinical Director at the Cook Building.”

With Dr. Courtney’s published works, extensive career and family dedication to people with developmental disabilities, she is available for interviews and expert medical advice on this topic.

Please contact Communications Consultant Jessica Walden at to find out more or to coordinate interviews with Dr. Courtney.

About River Edge Behavioral Health

The full continuum of River Edge Behavioral Health services provide state-of-the-art treatment and support services for more than 13,000 children, youth, families and adults who experience mental illness, addiction, co-occurring disorders or developmental disabilities annually. River Edge services extend throughout Central Georgia, including Baldwin, Bibb, Jones, Monroe, Putnam, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties with specialty services opened in 2016 to serve some residents of Houston, Peach and Crawford counties also. Learn more at  For help, call 478-803-7600.