About Us : Message from the Chair

April 2018

Walking back from covering the geriatric psychiatry inpatient unit at the Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital this morning on this gorgeous spring day with blue skies above gave me the opportunity to reflect on the department, its faculty and residents. I rounded on 15 very sick geriatric patients who suffer with a variety of severe psychiatric and medical disorders ranging from schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease to depression, bipolar disorder and Parkinson’s disease. It reminded me of how very hard our faculty and residents work with the sickest of patients in our community. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated group of faculty and residents who serve all of our clinical sites including Jackson, the Miami VA Medical Center and the University of Miami Hospital. We have just received the results of our residency match and I could not be more delighted with the results. First, we have witnessed a major increase in the number of graduating medical students who have chosen psychiatry as their specialty: more than a doubling since 2009. Our new class comes from a variety of schools and is very diverse in every way, geographically, background, gender and interests. I look forward to welcoming them here this summer. We remain as one of the largest psychiatry residency programs with 15 new first year residents joining us this year. The tragedy of the Parkland shooting in February hit our department very hard as one of our faculty, Dr. Nicole Mavrides, attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. She organized a clinic with our child and adolescent psychiatry fellows at our nearby University of Miami Deerfield Clinic to see family members and students who were seeking psychiatric care.
We continue to work with our colleagues locally and nationally to help reduce the burden of the opiate overdose crisis and suicide which together accounted for the loss of approximately 120,000 lives last year in the United States. If there is any silver lining here, it is the inclusion in the recently approved US budget for research and clinical care dollars to address the opioid crisis, as well as research in another extraordinarily important public health area, Alzheimer’s disease.
In terms of research, our department maintained its top 25 status in NIH funding among Departments of Psychiatry nationwide and we continue to submit new grants at a remarkable rate.
There is much work to be done and the patient volumes at each of our clinical sites show no signs of
abating any time soon. Finally on a lighter note, I was delighted to be a part of the faculty victory over the residents in our annual softball game, 19-7. This was the faculty’s 4th victory in a row and a good time was had by all.