About Us : Message from the Chair

January 2013

More than nine months have elapsed since my last letter to you. I am delighted to report that we have accomplished much in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine since my last communication. Our new PGY1 residents are a superb group and have settled in nicely. Kudos to Radu Saveanu, M.D., Vice Chairman for Education and Director of the Adult Psychiatry Residency Training for recruiting this strong residency class. We are in the midst of recruiting the next class and have been incredibly impressed with the caliber of the candidates we are interviewing. Kudos again to Ana Campo, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Medical Student Education for Psychiatry for the large number of UM medical students who chose psychiatry as a career this year—11 by my count. Indeed, this is a new high. We hope that some will stay with us as PGY1 residents. Our Department’s medical student, residency, and fellowship programs are vibrant and outstanding.

Our research enterprise continues to excel. In spite of decreasing NIH funding, our Department has continued its upward mobility among Departments of Psychiatry nationwide; our current ranking is #24 among the more than 125 U.S. medical school departments, a remarkable achievement considering our ranking of #37 just two years ago. New NIH grants were received by Drs. Wahlestedt, Harvey, Jope, Jones, Loewenstein, and Nemeroff. We look forward to climbing even further up the NIH funding ladder in the coming years.

We have dramatically increased our clinical service delivery, together with our major presence at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the University of Miami Hospital, and the Miami VA Medical Center. We have now markedly expanded our presence at the Sylvester Cancer Center under the leadership of Beatriz Currier, M.D., Director of the Courtelis Center for Psychosocial Oncology. Dr. Currier and her team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers are providing evaluation and treatment to a large number of cancer patients. Our Comprehensive and Diagnostic Treatment Evaluation Program, in which patients are seen by a team of UM faculty and includes brain imaging and neuropsychological testing, with a comprehensive report prepared for the patient and their referring mental health provider or physician, has been very successful. We now have a waiting list to schedule these assessments. Such referrals may be made to my office by contacting 305-243-6400.

It is also important to note the remarkable success of our newly developed programs at the University of Miami Hospital including the beautiful Mood Disorders Inpatient Unit, the Med-Psych Unit for treating patients with both medical and psychiatric problems, the Inpatient and Outpatient Eating Disorders Program, and the revitalized new Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Service. We are particularly pleased to now offer repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for the treatment of refractory depression.

I want to highlight a few faculty and resident honors. First, for the second year in a row, the residents defeated the faculty in the Annual Resident – Faculty Softball Game. Congratulations to the residents for an outstanding performance. Pedro Ruiz, M.D., Professor and Executive Vice Chairman for Clinical Programs currently is serving as President of the World Psychiatric Association. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine of Argentina. Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D. was named to the Board of Directors of the Anxiety and Depression Association of American (ADAA) and received the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th Annual Chairs Summit. Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D. and Amanda Myers, Ph.D. were elected to membership in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Beatriz Currier, M.D.; Daniella David, M.D.; and Spencer Eth, M.D. were elected to membership in the American College of Psychiatrists. Ana Campo, M.D. received the University of Miami Faculty Citizenship Award and Beatriz Currier, M.D. received the University of Miami Medical Group Faculty Hero Award.

Additional recent faculty awards include the following: Alfred Bellon, M.D., Ph.D. was the recipient of an NCDEU New Investigator Award; Radu Saveanu, M.D. received an American Psychiatric Association Assembly Member-in-Training Mentor Award; and Eléonore Beurel, Ph.D. received the CINP’s Rafaelsen Young Investigator Award and attended their meeting in Stockholm.

The UM Momentum 2 Campaign is underway and we are hoping to make a substantial contribution in this regard, raising philanthropic dollars for the Department to support our educational, clinical, and research missions. More than $1 billion have been raised towards our University goal of $18 billion. Our goal is 100% participation of our faculty and staff. Our External Advisory Boards for both the Department and our Center on Aging are working hard to support this effort.

I want to reiterate how much I appreciate all that our faculty, residents, fellows, and staff contribute to the Department. I am also grateful to Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean, and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Miami Health System; President Donna Shalala; and the rest of the UM Leadership for their strong support.

My very best wishes to all of our students, residents, fellows, staff, faculty, and friends for a happy and healthy New Year.

Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.
Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chairman
Director, Center on Aging
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences