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Health Careers Academy Explores Mental Health

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Health Careers Academy (HCA) visited the Department of PHealth Careers Academy Visitsychiatry on November 13th. Twenty-seven high school students were introduced to various fields relating to mental health, including nursing, activities therapy, social work, research, medicine, substance/addictions services, psychology, creative therapy and more. 

HCA is a partnership program between Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Genesee Community College for highly motivated high school seniors interested in exploring the medical field as a career choice. In addition to earning 15 college credits, students investigate a multitude of health careers through job shadows and internships at a variety of related facilities.

Health Careers Academy VisitOver the last few years Psychiatry has hosted students from HCA early in their program to encourage them to consider mental health fields as they continue their education and careers. At the request of their teacher, Strong Recovery trained the students in opioid overdose reversal, a popular training for this group.

The Office of Mental Health Promotion would like to thank all those who took the time to come speak to the HCA students: Caroline Nestro, PhD, MS, RN; EJ Santos, MD, MPH; Kevin Yang, DO; Vilma Vindrell, LMSW; Barbara Legler, MSEd; Jessica Moore, PhD; Holly Brown, DNP, RN, PMHNP, PMHCS-BC; Margaret Powell, RDT, LCAT; Ian Cero, PhD; April Aycock, LMHC, CASAC and Julie Achtyl, MS, LMHC, CASAC.

Music for the Mind Fundraiser

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Talented musicians from the Department of Psychiatry joined forces for a night of entertainment and fundraising. On Thursday, November 8th we held Music for the Mind, the 1st Annual Department of Psychiatry Musical Fundraiser. It was a night to remember with over 100 people in attendance at the Lovin’ Cup.  Raising close to $3,000, these funds will go toward: the maintenance of musical instruments already used in our inpatient and outpatient settings, the purchase of new instruments and sound systems that will therapeutically bring music into the environment, and to the establishment of innovative ways to include music into the care we provide. In addition to ticket sales, additional funds were raised through a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction of twelve mental health promotion baskets, donated by many generous department members. 

Opening the show was a solo performance by Dr. Ben Lee, Department Chair, playing guitar and singing, “And I Love You So,” after which he was joined by his family with a beautiful rendition of “You Raise Me Up.” Next up was Dr. EJ Santos, beginning her four-song set with Willie Nelson’s “Crazy,” accompanied by her daughter Zhia on ukulele and Ben Morey on guitar. From our inpatient units, Cara Borrero, a Social Worker on our Child & Adolescent Unit, moved the audience with her rendition of “Warrior,” a song that provides a hopeful outlook on mental illness and addiction. Also from inpatient was 2-9200’s Senior Psych Tech, Robert Calhoun, who crooned some original R&B that wowed the crowd. Talented Psychiatry Residents also helped us to raise funds, including Dr. Josh Wortzel, PGY-1 and Dr. Milin Balsara, PGY-2 each performing engaging, original pieces, some with psychiatric themes, that communicated the thoughtfulness required to be great psychiatrists.

Changing the pace of the evening we turned to Genesee Jive, a toe-tapping Western Swing quartet with two fiddles, upright bass, and guitar-player Dave Frenzel, who is married to Mary Jo Newcomb, a nurse at the Older Adults Clinic. After Genesee Jive cranked out several tunes we heard from our very own Dr. Michael Christie who took the stage to play tenor sax with Jason Gordon on guitar. They performed Coltrane’s soulful and healing “Alabama” and Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor Madness”. Celtic music was played next by the lively quartet “Arugula”, with Dr. Silvia Sörensen on flute, bringing some audience members to their feet to dance.  On their feet once again, but this time for a standing ovation, the audience enjoyed renditions of jazz standards played by Chris Karlic, Primary Therapist at our Older Adults Service on tenor sax, along with local headliner John Nyerges on piano and two MCC students on bass and drums. Topping off the night was local headliner and former co-worker Gordon Munding who had us singing along with Blues and Roots music followed by “Da Vines”, a duo of Fred Vine and his son Alex, who finished the evening with a wonderful set of harmonic Blues pieces. 

Psychiatry Welcomes New Therapists

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Department of Psychiatry is proud to welcome two new social work therapists: Kecia McCullough and Rebecca Holmes. 

Kecia McCullough is a new therapist in Psychiatry Adult Ambulatory. Kecia was born and raised in Rochester. She received her MSW in 2006 from the Greater Rochester Collaborative (GRC) Program. Her experience comes from working with Mobile Crisis and The Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA).

Kecia is the leader and founder of “Black Girls Do Bike Rochester,” which is one of 80 all-inclusive bike groups for women, with a special focus on Black and Brown women. This group focuses on physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being. When Kecia is riding she feels “like a kid, in a happy and free place.” 

Kecia sees social work as "an umbrella with a wide variety of services we are able to provide and assist clients with.” She believes that everyone needs help with something, so she sees herself as a helping agent. Overall, she enjoys helping people get from where they are to where they want to be, while being genuine, empathic, and non-judgmental.

Rebecca Holmes is also a new therapist in Psychiatry Adult Ambulatory and has already started seeing clients. Rebecca was born out of state but considers Rochester her home. She received her MSW in 2017 from SUNY Buffalo. Prior to coming here, she worked at Genesee Mental Health in outpatient adult therapy.

Rebecca enjoys exercising, running, and CrossFit, which is also her method of self-care. She enjoys working with clients one-on-one and working to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. She believes social work is about looking at the whole person. As Rebecca puts it: “When a flower doesn't bloom, fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”