About Us

East Tennessee Children's Hospital Developmental Behavioral Center

Our Story

The professionals at East Tennessee Children's Hospital Developmental Behavioral Center have chosen to work with children whose struggles at home and in school offer challenges. They provide diagnostic information and treatments that are based on years of experience and knowledge of child and adolescent behavior.

When providing care, they believe it is important to consider all aspects of a child's development. For this reason, they evaluate children from developmental and a functional perspective to obtain an accurate and complete assessment of your child before they discuss treatment.

Meet Our Providers

Debbie Christiansen, MD

Debbie Christiansen, M.D.

Dr. Christiansen is a board certified developmental behavioral pediatrician. Her undergraduate degree is in secondary science education. As a mother to three grown children and grandmother to two, she believes children are our most valuable asset and deserve our utmost care and concern.

Lauren Johnson, MSN, CPNP

Lauren Johnson, M.S.N, C.P.N.P.

Lauren is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and pediatric mental health specialist. She focuses on caring for children and adolescents with developmental and behavioral diagnoses. She is passionate about providing family-centered care and empowering children to reach their full potential. She and her husband have a growing family.

Kayla Atkins, MSN, CPNP

Kayla Atkins, M.S.N, C.P.N.P.

Kayla is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner who is passionate about caring for children with developmental and behavioral needs. She believes it is our duty to children to ensure they are given the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in life and to become their best self. She was born and raised in East Tennessee and attended The University of Tennessee for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing. She and her husband have two daughters.

Meet our Staff

Developmental Behavioral Center Staff

Front (L to R): Kayla Atkins, M.S.N, C.P.N.P., Debbie Christiansen, M.D., Lauren Johnson, M.S.N, C.P.N.P.

Back (L to R): Jama Boyd (Practice Manager), Telissa (Staff Nurse), Brandy (Patient Services Representative), Nikki (Patient Services Representative), Ashley (Patient Services Representative), Sally (Staff Nurse)

Preparing For an Appointment

Virtual Appointment

Father and son receiving online counseling from Developmental Behavioral Center


  • You will need a computer with built in camera and microphone, smartphone or tablet and a reliable internet connection.
  • Make sure all technology is working, including camera and microphone at least one hour before connecting.
  • Make sure your device is fully charged.

Gather the following before the visit:

  • Your child’s weight and height
  • A list of your child’s current medications
  • A list of your child’s current concerns
  • Any comfort item your child may want during the visit

Space for the virtual visit:

It is important to find a quiet, private place for the visit to occur. The room needs to have good lighting and a place for your child to lay down, if needed, for the exam. Please make sure all pets are put away. Turn phones on silent.

At the time of the visit:

  • Make sure your child is with you. If your child is not present, the visit will be rescheduled.
  • Make sure your audio is not muted and your volume is turned up on your device.
  • Please do not drive during the visit. It is important that you are in a home or private location.
  • No eating or smoking during the visit.
  • The parent/guardian does not have to be in the same location as the child for the visit. Parents can join the zoom call from another location.
  • If the patient is a teenager, ensure there is an area where they can speak privately with the provider if needed

In-Person Appointment

Boy talking to Developmental Behavioral Center counselorWe want every visit that you have at DBC to be a useful and helpful time for children and families.  Please keep the things below in mind when coming to an in person visit. 

  • COVID updates to masks, visitors, and any other changes will be on our website. 
  • Bring your list of medications including dose & time given.
  • Make sure that your child attends ALL appointments with you.
  • Update us on any medical changes or major life changing events, these impact what we do as well. 
  • Explain this visit to your child, why they are coming to the doctor.  This helps to cut down on any worries in the office. Example, “we are going to see the doctor to talk about school and home”
  • Keep it simple
  • Write down any concerns that you have to help us remember to cover all of your concerns.  Medication side effects, school or behavior concerns, etc.

Take a Look Around Our Office

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East Tennessee
Children's Hospital
Developmental Behavioral Center

(865) 690-1464
120 Suburban Rd, Suite 203
Knoxville, TN 37923


  • Monday: 8am to 4:30pm
  • Tuesday: 8am to 4:30pm
  • Wednesday: 8am to 4:30pm
  • Thursday: 8am to 4:30pm
  • Friday: 8am to 4:30pm
  • Saturday: CLOSED
  • Sunday: CLOSED