About Us : Message from the Chair

December 2010

This message represents my most recent update on activities in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. I am writing this on my first anniversary as Chairman and much has transpired in the department in the past year. It has been seven months since I last communicated on the website; I will not reiterate the information provided in that essay, as it remains available to website visitors. We continue to recruit new faculty and are deep in the midst of the resident recruitment season.

In terms of new faculty, I am delighted to report our successful recruitment of Dominique Musselman, M.D., Associate Professor, from Emory University, who will serve as Chief of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) and a faculty member at the Courtelis Center of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Musselman has conducted pioneering work on mood disorders in patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. She is an exceptional teacher, clinician, and investigator. Jonathan Sherin, M.D., Ph.D., nominated to the rank of Professor, was recruited from UCLA as our new Associate Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Mental Health at the Miami VA Medical Center. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Sherin will also serve as a faculty member at the Adult Outpatient Clinic (AOPC) at JMH. He is a gifted administrator, clinician and teacher. Joining him at the VA is Spencer Eth, M.D., Professor, recruited from New York Medical College where he served as Vice Chairman and Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program, a role that he will continue in our Department as well. Remarkably, Dr. Eth is trained and board certified in adult, child, geriatric, and forensic psychiatry. Limore Maron, M.D., Assistant Professor, joined us from New York University. She has already become one of the residents’ favorite supervisors in our Emergency Department at JMH. Ricardo Caceda, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, recruited from Emory University, is serving as a “float” attending, covering inpatient units at JMH to give our attending a much needed break, seeing patients in our Coconut Grove clinic, and developing his research program using functional brain imaging to study the neurobiology of decision making, a key to substance and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and mood disorders. Our new inpatient service at the University of Miami Hospital (UMH) is thriving due to our inpatient chief, Edmi Cortes, M.D., Assistant Professor, a UM-trained psychiatrist. Felicia Gould, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, has been added to the faculty at our Coconut Grove clinic for neuropsychological testing and psychotherapy. She has been working closely with Philip Harvey, Ph.D. and me in research activities. Finally, we are delighted to announce the presence of our Department in the Student Counseling Center on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus. Edmi Cortes, M.D. is currently serving their psychiatric needs, but she will shortly be replaced there by Valorie Haves, M.D., a psychiatrist from Philadelphia who will serve in that capacity and provide clinical services and teaching at JMH when she relocates in early January. Five additional major faculty recruits are “in the works” and will be announced shortly; a few are nationally renowned leaders in their field.

As noted earlier, we are currently in the process of residency recruitment. We have received more than 1,000 applications. We have increased our PGY-1 residency class size from 10 to 12 to help accommodate our increased presence at UMH. We have invited approximately 110 applicants to interview on our campus. The candidates we have seen thus far have been truly impressive. Space limitations preclude any more than a passing mention of several other noteworthy activities. We held the first resident/staff/faculty family picnic at Crandon Park. The faculty defeated the residents in softball 13-2. The residents are already saying, “wait until next year.” We hosted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) walk on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus, which had more than 900 participants led by our Dean, Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D. We have received pledges for more than $350,000 in philanthropy to support our research and educational activities. Our Comprehensive Evaluation and Treatment Program, described in my last message on our website, has been widely utilized by local physicians and mental health professionals, as well as by many throughout the United States and internationally. We now have a short waiting list for those seeking this service. For patient referral to this program, contact Carmen Alsina (305-243-6400).

Two final notes, we were able to recruit Mr. Jared Abramson, from the Office of Research at the University of Miami, to fill the position of Vice Chairman for Administration. He will help improve our Departmental operations, in especially clinical service delivery and research areas. The Center on Aging has accomplished the transition of reintegration into the Department. I have accepted the Dean’s request for me to serve as Interim Director of the Center.

I have been gratified by the warm welcome I have received in my first year as Chairman of the Department—from the UM leadership at Coral Gables and the Medical School, from the hospital’s leadership, from the faculty, residents, staff, and patients. As always, I am available to receive feedback on how we are performing in each aspect of department-life—patient care, teaching and research. My best wishes to you for a happy and healthy holiday season, and wonderful New Year.

Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.
Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chairman
December 2010