About Us : Message from the Chair

March 2012

Another six months have passed since my last message to you and again I am pleased to report that much has been accomplished in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine during this time. We have just completed a very successful residency match filling our 13 PGY1 resident slots with a superb group of graduating medical students. Congratulations to Radu Saveanu, M.D., Vice Chairman for Education and Director of the Adult Psychiatry Residency Training for recruiting what will, undoubtedly, be one of the strongest residency classes we have ever had the privilege of welcoming to the University of Miami. Kudos also to Ana Campo, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Medical Student Education for Psychiatry—in view of the large number of UM medical students, 9 chose psychiatry as a career this year. This is a new high, and of these 3 will remain with us as PGY 1 residents—also a record. Our successful residency recruitment has been equaled by the very successful recruitment of a new wave of fellows in Child, Addiction, Forensic, Psychosomatics and Geriatrics—congratulations to our fellowship directors. Clearly, our Department’s educational programs are vibrant and outstanding.

Our research enterprise is absolutely thriving. In a time of decreasing NIH funding, our Department has skyrocketed among Departments of Psychiatry nationwide to our current ranking of #29 among the more than 125 U.S. medical school departments and 5th among the 22 departments in the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. With the recent recruitment of new NIH funded faculty such as Richard Jope, Ph.D., a professor and world renowned expert on the mechanism of action of lithium, and the remarkable success of several of our research teams, we can anticipate climbing even further up the ladder in the coming year.

Perhaps the greatest change in our Department is the large increase in our clinical service delivery system. With the growth of the size of the faculty, the conversion to a new electronic scheduling, insurance verification, billing and collection, and medical record system, and the expansion of our services at the University of Miami Hospital, the Department is now not only serving the School and South Florida community, but the nation and an increasing international clientele. Our Comprehensive and Diagnostic Treatment Evaluation Program, in which patients are seen by 6 or more UM faculty and a comprehensive report is prepared for the patient and their referring mental health provider or physician, has been phenomenally well received. We now have a short 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.

I would be remiss if I did not mention a few faculty and resident honors. First, after 3 faculty injuries, the residents eked out a 6 – 5 victory in the Annual Resident – Faculty Softball Game. Congratulations to the residency class on wearing down their elder mentors! Molly McShane, M.D., one of our Chief Residents, was named both a Laughlin Fellow from the American College of Psychiatrists and a Ginsberg Fellow from the Association for Academic Psychiatry. Pedro Ruiz, M.D., Professor and Executive Vice Chairman for Clinical Programs has begun his 3 year term as President of the World Psychiatric Association, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry in London. Philip Harvey, Ph.D., Professor and Division Head of Psychology, received the Inaugural Clinical Scientist Distinguished Research Award from the Schizophrenia International Research Society. Susan Folstein, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Autism Research. Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chairman for Research was elected to membership in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Ana Campo, M.D., received the UM Faculty Leadership Award, the second year in a row that our faculty was so honored. Radu Saveanu, M.D., Amanda Myers, Ph.D and Sara Bodner, M.D. are in the inaugural faculty group of the University of Miami Academy of Medical Educators.

I am fortunate in having been named to the Steering Committee for Neuroscience for the Institute of Medicine and have three books in press including Management of Treatment Resistant Psychiatric Disorders (Oxford University Press).

We have added a host of new Assistant Professors including: (1) Alfred Bellon, M.D., Ph.D., who is a member of the UM Stem Cell Institute and an emergency room attending at Jackson Memorial Hospital; (2) Ingrid Barrera, Psy.D. who divides her time between the Eating Disorders Program and Psycho-Oncology; (3) Maria Rueda-Lara, M.D., full-time in Psycho-Oncology, based at the Sylvester Cancer Center and Sylvester at Deerfield Beach; (4) Nicole Mavrides, M.D., in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison Psychiatry and Psycho-Oncology; and (5) Eleanor Beurel, Ph.D., a young basic science investigator focusing on inflammation in psychiatric disorders.

Several of our faculty were involved in before and after question and answer periods associated with the performance of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award winning play on bipolar disorder, Next to Normal at the Actors Playhouse in Coral Gables.

Finally the UM Momentum II Campaign is now officially 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. Our goal is 100% participation of our faculty and staff. We have founded External Advisory Boards for both the Department and our Center on Aging to help support this effort.

I hope all of you know how much I appreciate all you do for 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 and the rest of the UM Leadership for their strong support.

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