About Us : Message from the Chair

September 2013

It is hard to believe that nine months have elapsed since my last message. To say that the faculty, residents and fellows, and staff have been busy would be a remarkable understatement. Much has transpired in the last year. From an educational point of view, we welcomed the largest class of PGY-1 psychiatry residents in July (see all of our residents in the picture below). They are an extraordinary group from schools throughout the United States (Arizona, Ohio, Vermont, Illinois, and Florida). We also accepted two outstanding international applicants (Ireland, Colombia). We must acknowledge the remarkable work of Radu Saveanu, M.D., our Vice Chair for Education and Residency Training Director, his associate directors and fellowship directors (Drs. Pedro Ruiz, Daniella David, Edmi Cortes, Spencer Eth, Ihsan Salloum, Elizabeth Crocco, and Lourdes Illa), the current residents, and the faculty for working together to recruit such a fabulous class. In addition, we are very pleased to announce the approval of a new University of Miami affiliated psychiatry residency program in Palm Beach which will admit 3 PGY-1 residents in its first class. We are currently recruiting for a new director of this program who will report directly to Dr. Saveanu.

Speaking of education, we continue to have a higher percentage of new University of Miami medical students choose psychiatry for their post-graduate training compared to the national average, largely due to the efforts of Ana Campo, M.D., Professor and Associate Dean; and Jorge Sotelo, M.D. who oversee the psychiatry clerkship and our hard working and enthusiastic faculty.
In research our Department continues to grow and thrive in spite of the recent negative impact of the sequestration on funding from the National Institutes of Health. Indeed, we exceeded our targets for departmental research funding for the fiscal year which ended May 31, 2013. Although the School and Department rankings for the past year are not yet available, we are confident that we will rise from our current #24 position in National Institutes of Health funding among the 130+ medical school Departments of Psychiatry in the United States. We have particularly strong programs in schizophrenia, aging, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, basic neuroscience, inflammation, genetics, Alzheimer’s disease, and mood disorders. We have a new active clinical trials program led by Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, M.D., M.B.A.

Our clinical service delivery continues to expand at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the University of Miami Hospital (UMH), and the Miami VA Medical center. Regina Carney, M.D., Assistant Professor, serves as Medical Director of the Jackson Mental Health Forensic Psychiatry Inpatient Unit. The Medical Psychiatry Unit for patients with comorbid medical and psychiatric disorders, co-directed by Joel Danisi, M.D. from the Department of Medicine, and Jorge Sotelo, M.D. from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is poised to open at UMH this fall. The number of inpatients and outpatients seen by our faculty at all of our sites is at its highest level in the Department’s history. The Comprehensive Diagnostic and Treatment Evaluation Program, which focuses on treatment-resistant patients has now seen more than 200 patients and a waiting list has been established.
We are delighted to welcome new faculty to the Department including Luminita Luca, M.D., Ph.D. and Vanessa Padilla, M.D. two recent graduates of our programs, and Jocelyn Lebow, Ph.D. a child psychologist from the Mayo Clinic. We are markedly expanding our clinical and research work at the Sylvester Cancer Center.

Not surprisingly, our talented faculty have received a number of prestigious awards. Sara Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard Miller Professor and Scientific Director of the Center on Aging received the Jack A. Kraft Award for Innovation, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; Philip Harvey, Ph.D., Leonard Miller Professor and Chief of the Division of Psychology was the 2012 Inaugural Recipient of the Schizophrenia International Research Society’s Clinical/Community Research Award—considered the Society’s highest honor. Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D. Leonard Miller Professor and Chairman received the V. Sagar Sethi, M.D. Mental Health Research Award from the North Carolina Psychiatric Association and was named the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry Visiting Professor for 2013.

Finally, we are delighted to report that the Department finished the 2012-2013 fiscal year ahead of budget—quite an accomplishment in these economically challenging times.

None of these achievements would be possible without the support of our Dean, Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.; Joe Natoli, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Miller School of Medicine and UHealth and Senior Vice President of Business and Finance & CFO; Mark Diaz, Interim CFO, Miller School of Medicine and UHealth, and Vice President of Budget and Planning; and President Donna Shalala. To them, our students, colleagues, residents, fellows and patients, we are very grateful.

Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.
Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chairman
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Director, Center on Aging
Chief of Psychiatry, Jackson Memorial Hospital
Chief of Psychiatry, University of Miami Hospital
Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Residents and Fellows