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Thomas Caprio, MD recognized for geriatric leadership

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Thomas Caprio,MD was honored with the Walter M. Beattie Award from the State Society on Aging of New York. He was also appointed director at large of the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board of Directors for a two-year term.

Read More: Thomas Caprio, MD recognized for geriatric leadership

As US Suicide Rates Climb, Older Men are Most at Risk

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Yeates Conwell, MD spoke with Broadcast Retirement Network on the growing number of deaths by suicide among older men, the factors that are leaving this population more vulnerable, and what policy changes lawmakers at all levels can make to address this public health challenge.

Read More: As US Suicide Rates Climb, Older Men are Most at Risk

Why Elderly Men Have the Highest Rates of Suicides

Monday, December 11, 2023

Kim van Orden, PhD joined NPR's Ayesha Rascoe to discuss the persistently high rates of suicide among elderly men and what healthcare providers can do to address this public health challenge. 

Read More: Why Elderly Men Have the Highest Rates of Suicides

Janine Rowe Named EAP Service Manager

Friday, December 1, 2023

We are proud to share that Janine Rowe, MSEd, LMHC, CASAC, SAP, CEAP has been named Service Manager of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). In this role, she will join the EAP leadership team to ensure that all employees have the support they need.

This well-deserved promotion recognizes Janine’s exceptional contributions to UR Medicine EAP and her continued commitment to excellence. 

Janine first joined our UR Medicine EAP team in 2021, bringing a wealth of skills and clinical experience to her role.  Over the years, she has not only demonstrated her ability to take on a new and complicated identity as an EAP Counselor and supervisor, but has also exhibited a high level of professionalism that sets her apart.  Janine’s ability to navigate diverse and complex situations with skill and grace has been instrumental in enhancing the quality of our services.   One of Janine’s noteworthy accomplishments has been to assume a leadership role in further developing and sustaining the YoUR Support Team. This achievement reflects her dedication to ensure that all employees have the support they need to ability to be resilient through times of crisis. 

Over the past few years, Janine has become an integral part of our leadership team.  Her promotion to EAP Service Manager is a natural progression and recognizes her ability to lead with vision, clinical expertise, and effectiveness. 

Please join us in congratulating Janine on this well-deserved promotion.  We have no doubt that she will excel in her new role and continue to elevate the standards of excellence within our EAP team.

Join Us for Our Next DICE Grand Rounds- From Drapetomania to Protest Psychosis: Brief History of Racism and Psychiatry

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

We invite you to join the Department of Psychiatry for their upcoming DICE Grand Rounds with Dr. Shawn Utsey, Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, taking place on 11/29 from 12 PM to 1:15 PM. In-person attendance is highly recommended for those who wish to join.

This lecture will interrogate the history of scientific racism in psychiatry, beginning in the Christian Era and into modern history. Racialized notions of insanity emerged in the Antebellum South as an instrument of control and as a justification of chattel slavery. The idea that the act of resisting one's oppression was a symptom of mental illness began in slavery, but would again surface in the 1960s when psychiatry weaponized the DSM against urban resistance movements and other marginalized communities.

The lecture will conclude with a discussion of the need for continued efforts to rehabilitate psychiatry from its legacy of scientific racism.

Five Star Bank Partners With URMC to Expand Health Care Access in Upstate NY

Friday, November 17, 2023

Michael Hasselberg, NP, MS, PhD, chief digital health officer of UR Medicine, spoke with Rochester Business Journel on an upcoming partnership with Five Star Bank to expand on-demand healthcare access to rural communities that lack internet access at home. 

Read More: Five Star Bank Partners With URMC to Expand Health Care Access in Upstate NY

Learn How You Can Donate to Children & Teens this Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Cartoon of a child with snowflakes

The Golisano Children's Hospital has many ways to donate to children and teens needing comfort this holiday season.

Gifts made to the Pediatric Mental Health Wish List bring comfort to children and teens in our Pediatric Inpatient Psychiatry unit during their hospital stay. 

Read More: Learn How You Can Donate to Children & Teens this Holiday Season

Get Tickets for the 23rd Annual Rainbow Classic to benefit Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness

Friday, November 10, 2023

Rainbow and basketball logo text:Rainbow Classic

The Rainbow Classic Pittsford Mendon-Sutherland basketball games are played in memory of the two former Pittsford students to raise funds for the Golisano Children’s Hospital. This year, the games are raising funds to support Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness.

23rd Annual Pittsford Schools Rainbow Classic
Date: Friday, December 22, 2023
Location: UR Palestra Basketball Court, University of Rochester campus

Time: Games begin at 6pm

General Public Ticket Sales are available at the Pittsford Athletic Office through December 18th or until sold out.
Donations can also be made to the Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness

Learn more about the event on the link below. 

Read More: Get Tickets for the 23rd Annual Rainbow Classic to benefit Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness

Thanksgiving Food Drive - Department of Psychiatry

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

The Department of Psychiatry is partnering with the hospital & our Foodlink food cupboards to run a Thanksgiving Food Drive. Your donations will directly help our patients at Strong Ties, Chestnut Street, Strong Recovery, and discharged BH inpatients. 

Non-perishable food items only: Pasta, Tomato sauce, cereal (no XL boxes), canned veggies & fruits (100% juice or water), canned meats, tuna fish, peanut butter, rice, crackers, oatmeal (low sugar), applesauce (unsweetened), soup (low sodium), jelly/jam (no HFCS), and beans.

November 11th - 25th - Bring donations to PMHN Educator Office 1-9022 pr PMHN Service Office 1-9017


Anton Porsteinsson, MD speaks to13 WHAM ABC about new Alzheimer's study

Thursday, November 2, 2023

People walking to raise money for Alzhiemers

Dr. Anton Porsteinsson, alongside Jim Gulley, a man from Penfield living with Alzheimer's Disease, spoke with 13 WHAM ABC on Lecanemab, a medication recently approved for people with the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and the AHEAD study aimed to help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Read More: Anton Porsteinsson, MD speaks to13 WHAM ABC about new Alzheimer's study

How to Fight the “Winter Blues” and SAD this Season

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

UR Medicine psychiatrist Annabel Fu, MD, and psychologist Leisha Cuddihy, PhD, share these recommendations for finding light in the darkness this winter.

Read More: How to Fight the “Winter Blues” and SAD this Season

Unifying Frameworks to Organize Supervision Orientations

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Janine Rowe & Julie Achtyl

Janine Rowe, MsEd, Senior Counselor at our Employee Assistance Program, and Julie Achtyl, MS, LMHC, Program Director at our Strong Recovery Outpatient Clinic, presented at the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision's conference in Denver.

They discussed the use of integral theory as a unifying, integrative, meta-theoretical framework to organize the multitude of supervision theoretical orientations while attending to the supervisee's developmental level and the supervisory relationship. Supervisors face multiple competing and sometimes contradicting theories, approaches, and models. An integral approach that conceptualizes supervisees from the four quadrants and employs a variety of applicable theoretical orientations while considering developmentally and state-appropriate interventions can be highly effective, yet quite challenging. It concludes with a case study demonstrating an integral approach to clinical supervision.

Psychiatry Nursing Heads to the 37th APNA Conference 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Jessica Hashim, RN-BSN, Laura Inclema, AD and Kristy Lamb, NM

Jessica Hashim, RN-BSN, Laura Inclema, AD and Kristy Lamb, NM, recently presented at the 37th Annual American Psychiatric Nurses Association Conference in Orlando, Florida on EMR interventions to support increasing compliance with Primary Care Screens. 

Speaking on the conference, Hashim says, "The conference offered an opportunity to learn what other nursing systems in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatry are learning and implementing nationwide! What an experience to hear multiple presentations, view posters and move whole health forward by embracing Inclusion, diversity, equity, access and de-stigmatization. We were able to attend presentations based on preference, personally I appreciated the in person presentations on increasing awareness of suicide amongst the nursing profession compared to the general population. A pilot study from the University of Kentucky indicated that nurses have a  predisposition to elevated suicide risk due to the nature of the work they provide. Professional nursing staff didn’t feel they had adequate resources to help deal with increasing work related psychological stressors. This was eye opening to me, as a nursing profession, we spend most of our time caring for others and yet feel ineffective or inadequate in caring for our own mental health? As we continue to  care for patients with mental health diagnosis’ we should consider advancing the narrative to helping one another as well. This conference was an incredible opportunity to learn and acknowledge ways in which to better serve patients, families and one another! "

Maggie Powell speaks with WXXI about teen drama therapy performance at OFC Creations

Friday, October 27, 2023

URMC debuts teen drama therapy performance at OFC Creations

WXXI News speaks with Maggie Powell, a drama therapist at URMC, about the Golisano Children’s Hospital Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness production of She Kills Monsters. Performances running October 27-29th at OFC Creations and youth artwork will be featured at the upcoming Bridge Art Gallery Exhibit

Read More: Maggie Powell speaks with WXXI about teen drama therapy performance at OFC Creations

Join us on October 27th for the opening night of Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness's Production of She Kills Monsters

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Girl battling a dragon text: She Kills monsters

Tickets are still available for the Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Creative Arts Therapy program's production of She Kills Monsters at OFC Creations Theatre Center.  She Kills Monsters is a drama-comedy by Qui Nguyen offering a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all. Performances will take place between September 27 and 29.

Read More: Join us on October 27th for the opening night of Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness's Production of She Kills Monsters

Psychiatry Residency Program Holds Clothing Drive

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Our Psychiatry Residency Program is organizing a clothing drive for our Inpatient Medicine In Psychiatry Service (IMIPS) program!

Many patients on IMIPS face housing & financial insecurity, and the unit constantly needs clothing for these patients, particularly as winter approaches.

Boxes have been set up on the second floor of our Strong Hospital location (Room 2.9055), 1860 South Ave (1st floor), and 200 East River Road (3rd floor) locations!

Students Face Mental Health Care Barriers. A Proposed Law Might Help

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

A shortage of mental health services at schools and colleges remains a concern across the U.S. Dr. Craig Cypher, sports psychologist at UR Medicine, spoke with WXXI on how some colleges are tackling this challenge by embedding mental health providers in athletics departments.

Read More: Students Face Mental Health Care Barriers. A Proposed Law Might Help

Reel Minds film festival addresses social stigma of mental illness

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Held in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Humanities and Bioethics, the Reel Minds Film Festival is an annual series of films, performances, and discussions addressing the social stigma of mental illness and behavioral disorders. The festival concludes on October 25 with the US premiere of Daughters  and a panel discussion.

 Learn more and purchase tickets

Read More: Reel Minds film festival addresses social stigma of mental illness

Dungeons and Dragons: Youth Use Love of the Arts to Drive Therapeutic Outcomes

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

GCH’s Division of Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness outpatient Services has grown significantly in response to the national pediatric mental-health crisis. Its mission—to help all children reach their full potential by promoting healthy development—is evident in the program’s  commitment to expanding services and launching new initiatives to address the needs of children and families in the greater Rochester area. 

During the past seven years, the Creative Arts Therapies program has provided an opportunity for patients to utilize their creativity and interest in the arts in supporting their therapy goals and healing through foundational skill development. 

Play Script Cover

The program is facilitated by Margaret Powell, senior staff clinician, licensed creative arts therapist, and registered drama therapist, and is supported by colleagues including Robyn Broomfield, licensed mental health counselor, and Caitlyn Camp, licensed creative arts therapist and board-certified art therapist. It features a variety of offerings available to support the needs of patients.

“Social-skills development, community, problem-solving, and role playing are at the heart of this work,” said Powell. “The challenge, however, is getting youth to use what they are learning (in therapy) in real world scenarios.”

Creative Arts Therapy groups apply the creative process to these real-world scenarios. These groups use art, music, drama, and other innovative interventions, such as the Dungeons and Dragons concept (D&D), to drive positive outcomes in children and adolescents.

D&D is a popular tabletop role-playing board game in which there is a basic storyline with a game master who serves as the story leader. The players create characters—like knights or rogue spies, wizards, and sorcerers—with different powers and areas of weakness who come together to support the accomplishment of a goal.

The use of D&D-style role playing in therapy has become more popular over the years as a method used by practitioners to treat issues associated with tough topics for children, such as self-esteem, bullying, gender identity, sexuality, addressing and recovering from trauma, and building healthy relationships. This concept ultimately drove the Creative Arts Therapies program toward a new idea: producing a play.

“The idea is that the youth feel empowered to have a voice and be who they are and express themselves in a way that they may not usually be able to.” said Powell. “We want to give kids the power to build upon for their own therapeutic well-being.”

The group, comprised of current and past patients ages 13 to 18, is planning to stage the play She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition by Qui Nguyen. The play, which has three versions, is about a high-school student named Agnes Evans who tragically loses her little sister, Tilly, in a car accident. In working through this traumatic event, Agnes begins an adventure to get to know and understand her sister better by playing a Dungeons and Dragons narrative that Tilly had written before her death. On this journey, Agnes discovers new things about her sister and herself by exploring themes of sexuality, trauma, and other issues that high-schoolers typically experience during their formative years.

Youth are participating in the play as actors as well as making contributions by providing assistance with the management of the technical aspects of the production; the development of a logo and flyer; assisting with costume, backdrop and prop development; and providing artwork for the art-show component of the event.

The play will be performed at OFC Creations Theater Center, a local organization with a focus on youth theatre education and performances, which hosts professional productions and community events.

“Resources and donations have been imperative to making this happen, and OFC Creations is an amazing partner in this work,” said Powell. “I really strongly believe in the value and importance of community and creativity—it is important to kids’ mental health to have connections that are rich and that are supported. Creativity is an important part of that. Expressing themselves, being understood, working towards a goal, being seen and witnessed and supported by a larger community are all important to their growth and development.”

“Community connection and empowerment—that’s the next step in their development,” added Broomfield. “Feeling empowered and connected and knowing that they can do it on their own.”

The production will be held at the OFC Creations Theater Center (3450 Winton Place) Oct. 27-29 and is a first-of-its-kind fundraiser, with a portion of the proceeds going to support future creative arts therapy programs. Tickets and showtimes available here.

Mark Oldham, MD speaks to Rochester First about ways to identify and treat seasonal affective disorder

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Mark Oldham, MD, spoke to Rochester First about ways to identify and treat seasonal affective disorder, a condition that is common in the colder months when sunshine is hard to come by. “Light therapy should be a 10,000-lux device. That is a measurement of how much biologically active light the device provides,” Oldham said. “Usually within 15 minutes of awakening for at least 30 minutes each day.”

Read More: Mark Oldham, MD speaks to Rochester First about ways to identify and treat seasonal affective disorder

Addiction Specialist: ‘Recovery is All About the Story’

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Drawing on His Own Past, Charles Brown is Helping Others Beat Addiction 

Charles Brown

Charles Brown, a chemical dependency counselor and group specialist with the Strong Recovery Program, is the most tenured member of the counseling team. He has helped hundreds of people through some of their toughest battles to get and stay clean and sober. We spoke with Brown, a recovering addict himself, who says he uses his own experiences to help others live better, healthier lives.  

How did you come to be a member of the Strong Recovery team? 

I came to the U of R in 1989. Dr. Robert Klein and his wife discovered me at Charlotte High School. I was working as a chemical dependency counselor after years of working the night shift at Kodak. I was in recovery myself after 18 years of using drugs. I've been clean now 38 years, and I've been here at the University 34 years. At the time, I was doing a presentation about addiction at a high school and after the presentation (Dr. Klein’s wife) came up to me and said, ‘my husband can use you at the University of Rochester.’ I told her I could use the University of Rochester! I didn't get the first job, but that didn't matter. I got the second one and that's how I arrived here. 

What a fortuitous encounter. What was your own recovery like? 

I believe in Divine Intervention. I never went to treatment myself. I went back to church. My father was a minister. My own personal experiences helped me learn more about the addiction field, not only for myself, but so I could help others by telling my story. Recovery is all about the story. I was allowed to tell my story to an audience that wanted to hear it and I knew I could help them get well. I often say that I get more out of the group process than they do; I get the opportunity to put it to work because everybody does not know that the addict is a creative genius going in the wrong direction, but nevertheless, a creative genius. 

What has it been like working at the University and helping others with recovery? 

(Those who use) know how to hook stuff up—good, bad or ugly. When I came here, I said, ‘This is the fertile place; stay right here.’ Here I have a purpose. We are some of the people that can help folks take their walk to the next level. We have ‘been there and done that’ and lived to tell about it, and with what's on the streets now—a lot of people are not living to tell about it. That's why I'm still here. I'm still learning, still growing. That's what it's all about. And I've come to understand here through the death of my brother last year, that discomfort and growth travel in the same vehicle. 

I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. How has that impacted your work? 

From it I learned a lot about processing grief, and I teach the same lessons to my patients. You can learn a lot from grief. I tell my patients they’ve got enough grief in their life. Let me show you how to handle it so you can use it to grow up. They say emotional development ceases when drug use begins, and a lot of our patients have been using drugs for a long time. And that's why I'm still here.  

What does it mean to you when you see the difference that you make in someone's life? 

Oh, that is what I call a mountaintop experience. When someone shares a story with you, you understand you are in the right place. Before leaving my previous job, my mentor told me, ‘The marriage between knowledge and experience creates a child called wisdom.’ I understand exactly what he meant now because when I came here, I was able to consummate that marriage between my experience and knowledge and put 'em together.  

Wisdom enabled me to help patients make that same walk that I made. Being here has allowed me to put what I have learned from my experience into play into their lives and teach them to ask better questions. I'm teaching my patients that recovery is all about stories and questions. When I hear my patients start asking the questions, it helps me understand, okay, they got that. And I just keep doing it over and over again because repetition is the mother of skill. Once patients have the skills, we are able to teach them how to put that practical application to work in their recovery.  

What do you hope patients will take away from their recovery journey here? 

Recovery is not as easy as it looks, but we know it is worth it. The gifts, blessings, rewards, benefits, discoveries, surprises, opportunities, privileges and the adventure and joy of the journey and always, always, always. The cherry on top is hope for a better tomorrow.  

Join the Geriatric Psychiatry and Memory Care Division for the 2023 Walk to End Alzheimer's

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Alz walk graphic

Our Geriatric Psychiatry and Memory Care Division will once again be walking in this year's 2023 Walk to End Alzheimer's! This year's walk takes place on October 7th at Innovative Field and will support the work of Alzheimer's Association: Rochester, NY.

We invite you to join the team or donate to the team's fundraising efforts for the Alzheimer's Association here. 



How to Prevent the Next Opioid Tragedy

Friday, September 15, 2023

Leah Hill, Senior Chemical Dependency Counselor at UR Medicine's Strong Recovery, says parents can play a key role in preventing the next tragedy—but only if they're willing to hear some difficult truths. Hill says parents need to avoid lectures and judgment. “Make it safe to share and be honest,” she says. That’s the key to having open conversations.

Read More: How to Prevent the Next Opioid Tragedy

Groundbreaking Ceremony Celebrates Strong Memorial Hospital Expansion Project

Friday, September 8, 2023

The Strong Memorial Hospital expansion project will add more than 200 examination/treatment and patient observation stations in phases to the ED and the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP). The combined ED and CPEP footprint will more than triple, from 32,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet.

Read More: Groundbreaking Ceremony Celebrates Strong Memorial Hospital Expansion Project

Get Tickets Now for Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness's Production of She Kills Monsters

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness's Production of She Kills Monsters

Join us for Performances: Friday, October 27 at 6:30PM; Saturday, October 28 at 6:30PM; and Sunday, October 29 at 2PM.
Location:  OFC Creations Theatre Center, 3450 Winton Place, Rochester, NY 
Appropriate for ages 12 & up

Sponsored by UR Medicine: Golisano Children's Hospital Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness.
Directed by Maggie Powell, Registered Drama Therapist, and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist

Read More: Get Tickets Now for Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness's Production of She Kills Monsters

The Power of Prevention: URMC Looks to the Future to Prevent Suicide

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide (CSPS) is leading a new kind of suicide prevention using technology with hard-to-reach populations like teens to reduce risk factors to help prevent suicidal thoughts and older adults struggling with isolation and depression. The Center has been at the forefront of suicide prevention and research for over two decades. 

Read More: The Power of Prevention: URMC Looks to the Future to Prevent Suicide

The Secret to Loving Every Sports Game—No Matter the Outcome

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Craig Cypher, PsyD, CMPC, an expert in performance psychology at UR Medicine Orthopaedics and Physical Performance, shares insight into the emotions we feel as avid sports fans—and a great idea to always enjoy the game, even when it ends badly.

Read More: The Secret to Loving Every Sports Game—No Matter the Outcome

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Friday, September 1, 2023

Two individuals holding hands. Text: “Let’s Talk About Suicide Prevention. Share science. Share hope.” Points to

During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, help @NIMHgov raise awareness about suicide prevention by sharing informational materials based on the latest research.

Everyone can help save lives. Share science. Share hope. Learn more by visiting #SPM23 #shareNIMH #suicideprevention


Collaborative Care & Wellness Division Administration Changes

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Our Collaborative Care & Wellness Division (CCW) has expanded significantly over the past few years with more plans for expansion in the future. In order to meet the needs of the two branches of the CCW division, we would like to announce changes in the administrative leadership of the division. Toni Sexton is now the lead administrator for the integrated care branch of the division which includes hospital consultation services, all outpatient hospital services, as well as all the integrated care programs at St. James, Jones, Noyes, FF Thompson Hospital, and Finger Lakes Health. Vanessa Mace is now the lead administrator for the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group branch of the division which includes our Employer Based Services as well as the growing UMH Practice. 

The Art of Being a Morning Person (Even if You’re Actually Not One)

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

NY Times: Leisha Cuddihy, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and of medicine, discusses ways night owls can adjust to waking up early. “A lot of people, no matter what time they wake up, just need a minute,” says Dr. Cuddihy. Simply acknowledging that reality can help bring a feeling of peace and acceptance to the morning, she says.

Read More: The Art of Being a Morning Person (Even if You’re Actually Not One)

Construction Notice - Medical Center Ground Level

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Construction Impacts to the Mental Health & Wellness Building - 300 Crittenden Blvd, Rochester, NY.

We are excited to kick off construction for the region's FIRST pediatric Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic, made possible through a donation from the Brighter Days Foundation! During the renovations, some disruption may occur to our patient and visitor areas in the UR Medicine Mental Health and Wellness building.

The Crittenden Road Behavioral Health parking lot is open for patients who have appointments in the Psychiatry clinics. If construction affects parking, overflow will be directed to the Saunders lot via signage. 

Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health breaks ground on region's first-ever walk-in mental health urgent care for youth

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health has officially broken ground on the region's FIRST pediatric Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic.

The development of our area’s first-ever walk-in mental health urgent care clinic for teens and children was made possible by $1 million in support from the Brighter Days Foundation. Located at Strong Memorial Hospital, it is estimated that the clinic will aid as many as 3,000 children and teens in crisis annually.

Read More: Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health breaks ground on region's first-ever walk-in mental health urgent care for youth

No One Left Behind: U.S. Air Force Rolls Out Suicide-Prevention Technique to Every Base in the World

Monday, August 14, 2023

The suicide rate among active-duty military personnel has increased over the past few decades, with suicides now accounting for 25% of all active-duty military deaths. The Air Force has been hit particularly hard, losing more members to suicide than to combat since 2015.

Peter A. Wyman, PhD, co-director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide (CSPS) at URMC and founder and director of the Wingman-Connect program, is taking a different approach to address the problem. The Wingman-Connect research trial ran for nearly a decade at an Air Force base in Wichita Falls, Texas. The results were so impressive that the Air Force is now putting $5 million behind expanding the program to all of its 68 bases worldwide.

Read More: No One Left Behind: U.S. Air Force Rolls Out Suicide-Prevention Technique to Every Base in the World

Radical Prevention: Their Ideas for Stopping Suicide Are the New Frontier- And Rolling Out Nationwide

Friday, August 4, 2023

Peter Wyman, PhD, and Arielle Sheftall, PhD were highlighted in Rochester Medicine for their work in suicide prevention in the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide (CSPS). 

Dr. Wyman, alongside Ian Cero, PhD and Bryan Yates, discussed suicide prevention among the military and the Wingman Connect Program, a program aimed at harnessing the power of social connections to prevent thoughts of suicide before they occur. READ MORE>>>

Dr. Sheftall, alongside Yeates Conwell, MD, Eric Caine, MD, Kimberly van Orden, PhD, Caroline Silva, PhD, Anthony Pisani, PhD, Elizabeth Handley, PhD, Wilfred Pigeon, PhD, Kenneth Connor, PsyD, and Aileen Aldalur, PhD, spoke on CSPS's work in researching the prevention of suicide among youth, middle-aged adults, older adults, the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community and the Spanish-speaking community, among others. The article also highlighted Dr. Sheftall's work in suicide prevention among Black youth as well as a recent study testing to see if nerve-stimulating earbuds alongside a peer support app can help reduce risk factors in teens. READ MORE>>>

Michael Scharf, MD appointed the Mark and Maureen Davitt Distinguished Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Monday, July 31, 2023

Michael Scharf, a professor of psychiatry, has been jointly appointed as the Mark and Maureen Davitt Distinguished Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

He is psychiatrist-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital, chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and director of the psychiatry graduate medical education program. Scharf is involved in several local programs dedicated to ensuring access to quality mental health care for all children and adolescents in the Rochester region.

Mark and Maureen Davitt, whom the professorship honors, are longtime philanthropists to the Medical Center.

Read More: Michael Scharf, MD appointed the Mark and Maureen Davitt Distinguished Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Paul Geha, MD receives $8.3 million to study chronic pain and the brain

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Paul Geha, MD, associate professor of Psychiatry has been studying the correlation between brain structure and chronic pain and was recently awarded $8.3 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) to continue this work in understanding the link between pain and the brain.

Read More: Paul Geha, MD receives $8.3 million to study chronic pain and the brain

Black suicide rates, once among the nation's lowest, have risen dramatically among youths

Sunday, July 16, 2023

USA Today: Arielle Sheftall, Ph.D. discusses rising suicide rates amount young Black people. Black suicide rates, once among the nation's lowest, have risen dramatically among youths. Suicide rates among young Black people have risen precipitously in recent years. One study finds communities aren't prepared to handle the crisis.

Read More: Black suicide rates, once among the nation's lowest, have risen dramatically among youths

Ploy (Mongkae) Siripornsawan Named Medical Director of CPEP

Monday, July 10, 2023

We are also proud to share that Ploy (Mongkae) Siripornsawan, MD has been named the Medical Director of our Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP). She completed her general psychiatry residency at Michigan State University, then a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship here at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Siripornsawan has been an integral member of our CPEP team for several years as a clinician and leader, including as Associate Medical Director of CPEP Education prior to the interim medical director role last year. In her new role, she will continue to work with our dedicated multidisciplinary CPEP leadership and team members in meeting the needs of our patients, health system, and community.


NEW Medical Director of Interventional Psychiatry

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Oner Gonen

It gives us great pleasure to announce that as of July 1, Dr. Oner Gonen will be the new Medical Director of Interventional Psychiatry services. Dr. Gonen received his medical degree from Yeditepe University School of Medicine in Istanbul, Turkey in 2004. He practiced as an attending psychiatrist at Amasya University Sabuncuoglu Serefedd in  Turkey until 2014, before moving to the USA with his wife.  He completed psychiatry residency training at Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Houston, TX prior to joining our faculty in 2021. He has had extensive training in interventional Psychiatry during his residency and is an asset to our growing Interventional Psychiatry service. While a significant amount of his time will be spent growing our IP program he will continue to also be part of the Chestnut Street family delivering patient care through psychopharmacology consultation clinic.

Segundo Robert-Ibarra Named Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Acute Services Division Chief

Friday, July 7, 2023

Segundo Robert-Ibarra

In this role, Dr. Ibarra joins our leadership team, focusing on clinical operations for our Child Psychiatry acute services, which include: Child and Adolescent Inpatient (49000), Pediatric Consultation and Liaison (GCH inpatient), Child and Adolescent Partial Hospital Service, and the Brighter Days Pediatric MH Urgent Care (to open this year), as well as collaborating with other emergency/crisis services that see children and adolescents (CPEP and Mobile Crisis).

In starting this role, he joins (and completes) the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Executive Leadership Team, with Dr. Micheal Scharf as Associate Chair and Director, Dr. Linda Alpert-Gillis as Chief for Ambulatory Services, Dr. Peter Wyman as Academic Chief, and Leslie Hoff as Division Administrator.

This is an exciting time for expansion in Children’s Mental Health services and for our academic missions, but, as we all know, comes in the context of greater suffering and needs among the children and families we serve. Having this new leadership structure fully in place should help us be better prepared to meet the needs in our health system and the larger community.

Sheftall Lab Recruiting Participants

Friday, June 30, 2023

The Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide is recruiting families for research studies aimed at making a better future for youth and increasing understanding of how we can prevent suicide in youth. The Sheftall Lab is looking for parents or legal guardians with children aged 6 to 11 with and without a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Parents will receive $50 while children will receive 2 gifts or a $10 gift card, dependent on their age.  Visits are expected to take 2.5 to 3 hours. 

In addition, the Sheftall Lab is looking for parents with and without mental health concerns and their children aged 9 to 11. Families are eligible to receive $70 per study visit, for up to 5 study visits for a total of $350. The first visit is expected to take 2.5 to 3 hours while the following visits are expected to take 1.5 to 2 hours. 

For further information, please contact the Sheftall Lab at (585) 694-7510 or

Creatively Connecting 2023 Summer Showcase

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Presented by the URMC Psychiatry Residency Program, Geriatric Psychiatry Division, and the Collaborative Care & Wellness Division. This series aims to use music and the arts to connect with each other and the Rochester community. Each performance features members of the URMC Department of Psychiatry.

New Advanced Certificate Program in Addictions Counseling at the University of Rochester

Monday, June 26, 2023

In collaboration with the Margaret Warner graduate school of Education, School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Strong Recovery the University of Rochester has launched an advanced certificate program in Addictions Counseling.

This one-year program is targeted toward human service professionals with a current master’s degree who are interested in obtaining a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) credential. The program includes two tracks, one for students interested in gaining more alcohol and other drug clinical internship experience, and the other track is designed for students interested in learning more about clinical supervision. 

Read More: New Advanced Certificate Program in Addictions Counseling at the University of Rochester

Upcoming Psychology Training Leadership transition, and gratitude!

Friday, June 9, 2023

Our Psychology training program has long been a vibrant, values-driven, and successful one, attracting supremely high-quality applicants seeking training experiences in some of the best of what our Dept has to offer. Its deep-seated commitment to “Meliora”, particularly with respect to its curriculum, its engagement in antiracism and systemic bias work, its desire to enhance trainee experience, its ability to adapt to wildly changing times and healthcare priorities, and its development of talented and expert faculty educators have all yielded an impressive arm of our broader education efforts, investment in a pipeline of talented clinicians and future faculty, and a tremendous source of pride for our Department and its leadership. 
In the setting of this history, and its present-day, every day practices, Dr. Wendi Cross has been a stalwart leader, visioner, advocate, and mentor. And it is against the backdrop of these critically important investments that she and her leadership team have made that this announcement of transition comes. As of July 1, Dr. Cross will be stepping out of the role of Director of Psychology Training, and we will welcome Dr. Jennifer West to guide the training program on to its next successes. Dr. West, having served as Associate Training Director since 2012, and as interim Director of Training for this academic year, will officially assume this leadership role in a more permanent way. Dr. West will also maintain her role as the Child and Adolescent Internship Director at this time. 
Dr. West’s new role invites some other changes and opportunities for Psychology Training leadership. Dr. Kristen Holderle, who this year, served as the Interim Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship, will be moving into the role of Associate Director of Training and will be making that transition as of July 1 as well. Drs. West and Holderle will work together in ways that will include oversight of both the Fellowship and Internship programs, and as such, the Postdoc Director role will be sunsetted.  
Dr. Lindsay Sycz will continue as the Associate Director of the Integrated Care Family fellowships (with Dr. Susan McDaniel), Dr. Linda Alpert-Gillis will continue as the Director of the Child and Adolescent fellowships, and Dr. Renee Madathil will continue as the Director of the Adult internships. 
Please join me in expressing deep gratitude to Dr. Cross for her inspiring leadership and devotion, her investment in our current and future leaders of the training program, and her thoughtful and intentional planning for transition. Please also join me in welcoming Drs. West and Holderle to their new (and official/permanent) leadership roles, and thanking Dr. Deana Sams for serving in the role of Acting Associate Training Director this year.

Chennel Anderson Named Director of the Office of DICE

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Chennel Anderson

We are excited to welcome Chennel Anderson as the new Director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity. In her new role, she will be helping to lead the Department’s DICE initiatives as outlined in our strategic plan and to assure that we live up to our vision statement of a Department of Psychiatry described by all as a great place to work, train, receive care, and flourish. 

Ms. Anderson is not new to URMC as she comes to us from the Department of Neurology where she has held several administrative positions most recently as lead Administrator for the Child Neurology Program. Along with fellow colleague Dr. Nimish Mohile, they have lead Neurology’s DEI efforts which have set the department apart from many others.

We are extremely lucky to have hired such a talented thought leader in the field of DEI. Please join me in welcoming Chennel Anderson to our Department

Board Excellence Award Winners Recognized for Going Above and Beyond

Monday, June 5, 2023

The UR Medicine Quality Institute and the URMC Board last night honored the winners of the 2023 Board Excellence Awards, recognizing them for the exceptional care provided each day to our patients and the outstanding efforts of our fellow co-workers.
Winners from the Department of Psychiatry included: 

Team Excellence Awards

Adult Partial Hospitalization Program, Psychiatry is an intensive outpatient psychiatric program that provides psycho-education groups, individual therapy, psychopharmacology, and discharge planning for patients who are experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms, with the intention of rapidly stabilizing their symptoms so that they can prevent the need for psychiatric hospitalization, or to step down from psychiatric hospitalization. The Adult Partial Hospitalization Program is a resilient, dynamic team of skilled individuals, including Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatrist, Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, Credentialed Substance Abuse Counselors, Registered Nurses, and Support Staff. This team, despite the challenges of the past several years, has significantly demonstrated the desire to improve the well-being of patients and the community through innovative, compassionate, patient- and family-centered care. As of July of 2022, the team has taken an innovative approach to delivering care to individuals in the Rochester community, as well as throughout the Finger Lakes Region, becoming the first ambulatory clinic at Strong to use technology to deliver hybrid-model group therapy to participants. This team is an exemplary model of professionalism, and it's resolve and unwavering commitment to excellence is inspiring. 

Adult Partial Hospitalization Program, Psychiatry Team Members: Colin Barnicle, Katie Blakely, Rebecca Canfield, Adam Cake, Jenny Cole, Sue DiGiovanni, Randi (Rose Mary) DeBellis, Daniel Horn, Michael Kerxhall, Michelle LaRussa-Trott, Susan Mason, Amber Oritz, Amy Pardo, Colleen Platt, Jillian Poepsel, Meaghan Quinn, Karen Schuster, Brenda Swartz, Carmela Taylor, Kelly Zodl, Ryan Walters, Christine MacDonald, Heather Burchell, Heather Kaltenbach and Gregory Truelove

Age-Friendly Health System Workgroup, UR Aging Institute, is spearheading URMC’s ongoing Age Friendly Health System (AFHS) transformation, a nationwide movement to improve the health care of older adults. AFHS focuses on what matters to older adults receiving care, improving health outcomes, and optimizing value for all.  An AFHS follows the 4 Ms Framework, ensuring that every medical encounter addresses mobility; mentation; medications; and what matters to each older person, aligning care to their specific health outcome goals & care preferences, including end-of-life care. As one of the largest health systems in Upstate New York, URMC is playing a key role in advancing the AFHS initiative and serving as a model for health systems in our region and nation. Both Strong Memorial Hospital and Highland Hospital have achieved the highest AHFS designation from the IHI, “Level 2: Committed to Care Excellence,” and several other care sites and affiliates are joining our AHFS efforts. The AFHS Workgroup is spearheading URMC’s ongoing AFHS transformation. The success of the AFHS Workgroup showcases URMC’s commitment to Geriatrics & Aging and the care of older adults. The AFHS Workgroup remains committed to promoting and disseminating the AFHS initiative to ensure all URMC health professionals of all disciplines have the skill set to provide 4Ms care to our older patients. Age-Friendly Health System Workgroup, UR Aging Institute Team: 

Representatives from medical and dental faculty, nurses, social workers, and administrative staff at Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, Jones Memorial Hospital, Noyes Memorial Hospital, Eastman Institute of Oral Health (EIOH), and Departments of Medicine (Geriatrics & Hospital Medicine Divisions), Surgery, Anesthesiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Public Health Sciences.

Read more on the URMC Intranet (VPN Login)

Read More: Board Excellence Award Winners Recognized for Going Above and Beyond

Burnout: The New Pandemic

Thursday, June 1, 2023

 Michael Privitera, MD recently published a blog for the American Hospital Association discussing the new pandemic of burnout, particularly in healthcare, and steps hospital leadership can take to grow a culture in which every worker has access to ways to decrease stress. The infographics (left) are an adapted version by Elisa Arespacochaga, and team of a 2022 publication by Dr. Privitera mentioned in the article. 
View PDF 

Cancer and Your Mental Health: Tips from An Expert in Oncology and Psychiatry

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Daniel McFarland, DO associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, is a medical oncologist specializing in treating head, neck, and lung cancers who also has a background in psychiatry. Dr. McFarland, who leads the Psychosocial Oncology Program at Wilmot, answers a few questions about what cancer patients and their families should know when it comes to mental health. 

Read More: Cancer and Your Mental Health: Tips from An Expert in Oncology and Psychiatry

Mind Matters Podcast with Dr. George Nasra - Creating Community-Based Continuum of Care: A Primary Care Perspective

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Mind Matters: A Behavioral Health Podcast
Creating Community-Based Continuum of Care: A Primary Care Perspective

Dr. George Nasra joins Dr. Mena Mirhom to discuss the siloed nature of the U.S. healthcare system and the opportunity to achieve behavioral health integration by taking a population health perspective.

Read More: Mind Matters Podcast with Dr. George Nasra - Creating Community-Based Continuum of Care: A Primary Care Perspective

Help Support Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Through the Strong Stroll

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The 27th Annual Stroll for Strong Kids & 5k Race will take place on Sunday, June 4th at Genesee Valley Park, and our Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness has a walking team! There are many ways you can support the team in raising money for our child and adolescent outpatient services, partial hospitalization service, and inpatient service.  

  • Register for the walk and join our team here. If you wish to donate, please do so AFTER registering. This will guarantee your donation goes to support our programs. 
  • We are teaming up with Special Touch Bakery to sell pies starting May 15 through May 31 with delivery on June 16. Click here to order. 
  • We are partnering with Upstate Bottle Return for a bottle and can drive.  People can drop off their recyclables starting May 30 through June 3 throughout Rochester. Stay tuned to the Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Facebook page for a list of locations coming soon!

Confidential and convenient mental health resources for University employees

Monday, May 22, 2023

Well-U offers expert mental health support to all University employees. Virtual or in-person appointments are available at UR Medicine EAP and Behavioral Health Partners. Call (585) 276-9110 for UR Medicine EAP or (585) 276-6900 for Behavioral Health Partners if you are enrolled in the University’s health plan.

Read More: Confidential and convenient mental health resources for University employees

Why You Need to Have This Dreaded Conversation with Your Doctor

Monday, May 15, 2023

When to Start the Hospice Care Conversation

Both doctors and patients tend to avoid subjects like hospice care and palliative care, and that’s a problem says University of Rochester Medical Center researcher Marsha Wittink, MD. Wittink co-authored a recent article describing how unfounded optimism about the effectiveness of medical treatment and physicians' own emotions can delay such conversations.

Read More: Why You Need to Have This Dreaded Conversation with Your Doctor

Handling Heartache: How to Cope with Grief on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Friday, May 12, 2023

For those who experience grief, anxiety, depression, or feelings of loss on certain holidays, Serina Tetenov, Ph.D., LCSW-R, assistant professor of Psychiatry and clinical director of Adult Mental Health and Wellness at the University of Rochester Medical Center, offers advice and resources.

Read More: Handling Heartache: How to Cope with Grief on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Deanna Sams Named Clinical Director of Child and Adolescent Inpatient

Thursday, May 11, 2023

It is with great enthusiasm that we share that Deanna Sams, PhD has been named to the position of Clinical Director of Child and Adolescent Inpatient. This new position is part of the restructuring of our Child and Adolescent Division leadership in order to effectively manage the expanded services and address the current youth mental health crisis. Dr. Sams has been a critical leader in our programming and operations, as well as education, on 49000 in recent years, and has been the lead in developing the Rapid Stabilization Pathway which has dramatically impacted how we provide inpatient care as well as our length of stay, overall census, and impacted patients boarding in CPEP. Having Dr. Sams join our inpatient leadership team which also includes Mani Kurien, medical director, and Lara Walker, nurse manager, will help us be prepared to succeed in current and future endeavors. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sams on this new role! 

What You Need to Know about the New Parkinson’s Biomarker

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Irene Richard, MD, a professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), was involved in the development and planning of the PPMI study in her role as senior medical advisor to MJFF, a position she held from 2008-2011.  Richard continued her work with the organization as a member of the scientific advisory committee and was the principal investigator for the Rochester site of the PPMI study, overseeing the enrollment, evaluations, and follow up the initial cohort of study participants.

Read More: What You Need to Know about the New Parkinson’s Biomarker

Sign up for the NAMI Rochester Walk and Join our Team!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

people walking together

Lace-up your sneakers and get ready to walk, run, or roll with the UR Medicine Mental Health & Wellness team!

You’re invited to join the Mental Health & Wellness team for the 11th Annual NAMI Walk 5K. The NAMI Walk brings together people of all ages to raise awareness and funds for the National Alliance for Mental Health.

Date: Saturday, May 20, 2023
Time: Pickup opens at 9am
Walk Kickoff at 10am
Location: The Village Gate in Rochester

The NAMI Walk is open to everyone, so grab your friends, family, and coworkers and join us for a day of fun and fundraising! Stay for the Community Celebration with vendors, music, food, and drink after the walk.  All funds raised at the NAMI Walk will go to supporting the local Rochester chapter of NAMI and its programs to provide support, education, and advocacy to individuals and families of all cultural backgrounds living with mental illness.

Help us to meet our goal for the NAMI walk!

You can donate to NAMI through our  UR Medicine Mental Health & Wellness Team team fundraiser! 

Read More: Sign up for the NAMI Rochester Walk and Join our Team!

Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

April 26th is Administrative Professionals’ Day! We would like to take this opportunity to thank our administrators for their hard work and support to our Department’s mission and keep the our operations running as smoothly as possible.

In our clinical areas, you build and maintain schedules; register patients, answer phones, field refill and other clinical requests, assist with arranging transportation, manage referrals, and help with completing forms and paperwork. In our Research areas, you coordinate studies, subjects enrollment, assist with logistics and manage deadlines for grant submissions, assist with ensuring our research meets rigorous standards. In our Education areas, you provide support for residency and fellowship programs, medical students, and other trainees, balance complex schedules, assist with ensuring our programs meet accreditation standards and give a helping hand wherever needed. In addition to the mission areas, we also have central administrative support staff who provide support to department leaders with scheduling meetings and coordination of various functions in the department as well across the medical center. 
The above mentions are just some of the great work you do every day to support our Educators, Researchers, Clinicians and Leaders. We are honored to work with such an amazing group of administrative professionals, and I wish our future together will be even brighter as we overcome challenges and celebrate successes together.

Thank you again for all the hard work you do everyday! 

Celebrating Our Psychologists and Psychologists-in-Training

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Did you know that psychologists work in many different locations across the URMC system? 
We have psychologists and psychology trainees across our Department of Psychiatry, which includes our child, adult, and older adult inpatient units and outpatient clinics, partial hospitalization programs, Deaf Wellness Center, HEAL, Family Therapy, and Lazos Fuertes. We also have clinicians in a variety of specialty clinics, including: Dentistry, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics (Craniofacial, Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Endocrinology, Feeding Clinic, Gastroenterology, Hematology & Oncology, Nephrology, Pulmonology, Rheumatology, Sleep Medicine, and Transplant), Neurology (child & adult), Neurosurgery, Ob/Gyn and Women’s Health, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Surgery, Transplant, and at Wilmot Cancer Center. We also have psychology colleagues in highly competitive and productive research roles, across several primary care clinics (child and adult), embedded into a variety of school systems across the region, in our Employee Assistance Programs, at the College Counseling Center on River Campus, and in the VA system. 
We have students, interns, and postdoctoral fellows, drawing top candidates from across the US to each. In addition, we have psychologists across our UR leadership, including our President Sarah Mangelsdorf. 

April 23rd-29th marks Psychology Week, a celebration of psychologists and psychologists-in-training as well as the field's contributions to improving lives. In addition, the United Nations will be streaming their 16th Annual Psychology Day presentation on the 27th starting at 11AM. Our department will be celebrating the week prior, April 16th - 22nd. Join us in thanking a psychologist or psychologist-in-training in your life on Twitter on April 20th, 5th annual URMC Psychology Day with the hashtags #PsychologyDay2023, #PsychologyDayURMC2023, and #PsychDayUN2023.

Tanya Tran Receives Alfred Bader Fellowship

Friday, April 14, 2023

We're excited to share that Tanya Tran, PhD, postdoc in our INTERCEPT Program, has recently been awarded the Queens University Alfred Bader Fellowship award. This fellowship supports one year of study and research, or to pursue an endeavor which contributes to the advancement of knowledge, contributes to society, or allows creative expression. Dr. Tran will be researching therapy outcomes in high risk for psychosis patients, using a CBT-type intervention that she has been developing. Congratulations to Dr. Tran on this accomplishment!


The tragedy of Black youth suicide - AAMC Viewpoints by Arielle Sheftall

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Black children ages 5 to 12 are twice as likely to die by suicide as their White peers, and Black teen suicides are growing at shocking rates. What’s going on, and what can be done to help save young Black lives? 
AAMC Viewpoints by Arielle Sheftall, PhD

Read More: The tragedy of Black youth suicide - AAMC Viewpoints by Arielle Sheftall

Bridge Art Gallery Call for Art Extended Deadline

Monday, April 10, 2023

Bridge Art Gallery Call for Art: Healing Within Extended Submission Deadline April 30th, 2023

Read More: Bridge Art Gallery Call for Art Extended Deadline

Celebrating Ms. Donna and Her Years of Service

Friday, April 7, 2023

Ms. Donna and group of staff

Ms. Donna, as she is lovingly referred to by Chestnut staff, retired this month after years of service with the Department of Psychiatry. Ms. Donna worked for Eastman Kodak for over 35 years before finally joining the Department of Psychiatry as a patient access specialist in 2016.

She was initially hired by the Rapid Access team and once our Chestnut Street facility opened she moved over to help support their services. She has eagerly provided coverage at many of our outpatient sites including; Strong Ties, Older Adults and Memory Care, the Employee Assistance Program and the even Medicine Service.

"I love meeting and learning from people who work in other areas of the department," she would often say. Congratulations on your retirement Ms. Donna, your bright smile and cheerful disposition will be miss by all of us, but specially by our patients! Thank you.

Quality Institute Announces URMFG Healthcare Innovation Awards Winners

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The UR Medicine Quality Institute, in collaboration with the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group (URMFG), is pleased to have selected three new projects as recipients of the URMFG Healthcare Innovation Award in the amount of $100,000 each, over a two-year period, beginning March 1. The annual awards support the development of innovative approaches to health care delivery that drive value through improved efficiency and quality and foster outcomes research. 

Congratulations to Department of Psychiatry URMFG Healthcare Innovation Awards Winners Elaine Rigney, MD & Marsha Wittink, MD, MBE, for their project below. 
Marsh WittinkElaine Rigney

Elaine Rigney, MD, senior instructor of Psychiatry and Medicine, and Marsha Wittink, MD, MBE, associate professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine: Reducing Hospital Readmissions for Patients with Severe Mental Illnesses (SMI) 
URMC’s division of Medicine in Psychiatry aims to improve the quality of care for SMI patients, thereby reducing health disparities and healthcare costs. This project aims to support this mission by incorporating a point-of-care tool to help identify patients’ priorities related to discharge and expand existing transitional care management services. The goal is to use a patient-centered approach to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions and improve engagement in primary care.

Read more on the URMC Intranet (VPN Login)

Read More: Quality Institute Announces URMFG Healthcare Innovation Awards Winners

Myra Mathis speaks to WXXI about the over-the-counter availability of Narcan

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Myra Mathis, MD, medical director for Strong Recovery, spoke to WXXI (March 30) about the FDA's decision to approve non-prescription sales of the emergency opioid overdose nasal spray Narcan. Over-the-counter availability of Narcan should be in addition to free programs currently available, Mathis said. "Let's not limit the spaces where Narcan has already been made available just because it is now available over the counter."

Read More: Myra Mathis speaks to WXXI about the over-the-counter availability of Narcan

Register Now for the 11th Annual Joseph Ryan Conference, April 28th

Friday, March 24, 2023

Strong Recovery Presents: Transformation in Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Exploring Systemic Trends
Friday April 28, 2023, 9:00am to 3:30pm  

The Department of Psychiatry Strong Recovery is thrilled to announce that our annual Joseph Ryan Conference is returning in person after four years due to challenges from the pandemic. We have an incredible lineup of speakers and invite all professionals in the field of substance use/ addiction treatment to learn about how the substance use disorder treatment field has transformed over the years. To register, please contact Stacey Ciotti

Read More: Register Now for the 11th Annual Joseph Ryan Conference, April 28th

Alzheimer’s Association finds growing caregiver burden in New York, Dr. Carol Podgorski weighs in

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

URMC Department of Psychiatry faculty Dr. Carol Podgorski, PhD weighs in on the growing burden on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in New York.

Read More: Alzheimer’s Association finds growing caregiver burden in New York, Dr. Carol Podgorski weighs in

Study: More research is needed surrounding age exposure to social media

Monday, March 13, 2023

Dr. Anthony Psani, PhD discusses a new study with WROC channel 8 on how social media affects teen mental health. 

Read More: Study: More research is needed surrounding age exposure to social media

Bridge Art Gallery Announces New Call for Art

Friday, March 10, 2023

call for art Our Bridge Art Gallery is now accepting artwork submissions for their next call for art, Healing Within. These past few years have seen significant national turmoil and a growing mental health crisis. We ask artists to respond to the theme Healing Within while considering topics such as healing, community, and togetherness.

To submit artwork, complete the online form here or send an email to the Bridge Art Gallery.  


SafeSide Prevention online workshop for service providers in rural communities

Friday, March 3, 2023

The UR Medicine Recovery Center of Excellence is partnering with SafeSide Prevention to offer a free, half-day workshop for healthcare providers in rural communities to provide them with a systematic framework for suicide prevention. The interactive training includes a special focus on youth, substance use, and Indigenous communities. 
Find the schedule of workshops and register here.

Read More: SafeSide Prevention online workshop for service providers in rural communities

11th Annual Joseph Ryan Conference

Monday, February 27, 2023

We are excited to share that our Strong Recovery Program's 11th Annual Joseph Ryan Conference is back in person on April 28th at the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/University & Medical Center!

If you are someone working in substance use/ addiction treatment, we invite you to learn about how the substance use disorder treatment field has transformed over the years. CASAC, LMHC & Social Work CEUs are available.

To register, contact Stacey Ciotti. 

A Message from Department of Psychiatry Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity

Friday, February 3, 2023

Violence in our country during the past 30 days have set off a whirlwind of emotions in all of us, but especially in the AAPI, Latino and Black communities.

Beginning on January 21 a mass shooting in Monterey Park claimed the lives of 11 victims at a dance studio on Lunar New Year. Two days later, a mass shooting in Half Moon Bay California took the lives of 7 Latino and Asian farmworkers in a senseless spree of violence that has swept through our nation. Just yesterday, 29 year-old Tyre Nichols, was laid to rest in Memphis, TN after having been senselessly beaten to death by police without evidence of a crime.

We stand together with all the victims of this past month, their family, loved ones and with all whose lives have been affected by these tragedies. 

The Department of Psychiatry and the University of Rochester stands against all forms of hatred and racism, in solidarity with those working tirelessly for a more compassionate world, and in steadfast resolve to Live Our Values Everywhere. We invite you to join the University of Rochester in the #LivetheSix initiative to embark on a sweeping movement to address racism and hate. Read more about #LivetheSix here.

If you are in need of any support please do not hesitate to reach out to the following resources:

Carol Podgorski Named Associate Chair of Faculty Affairs

Thursday, February 2, 2023

We would like to share that that Carol Podgorski, PhD, MPH, MS has been named Associate Chair of Faculty Affairs as of February 1st. In this role, she will oversee our faculty appointment, promotion and tenure processes and foster faculty career development among other responsibilities. Those who has worked with Carol would agree that It is hard to think of anyone more qualified than her for this important leadership role anywhere. 

Carol received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester (UR) followed by her MPH and, in 1990, her PhD in sociology. Initially appointed as an Associate in the Departments of Psychiatry and then Medicine, she worked with Drs. Pierre Tarriot and Anton Porsteinsson to develop the Program in Neurobehavioral Therapeutics (now the Alzheimer’s Disease Care, Education and Research [AD-CARE] Program) and with Dr. Bill Hall to design and direct the Center of Lifetime Wellness at Monroe Community Hospital. Because she also wanted to provide direct care to the patients and families these organizations served, Carol completed her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2005. She was initially named Assistant Professor of Nursing and Medicine, then joined our department for her primary appointment in 2006. She was promoted to her current rank of Professor of Psychiatry last year. 

Carol’s previous and current administrative responsibilities include as Director of URMC’s Memory Care Program, Associate Director of the URMC Office for Aging Research and Health Services (OARHS), Director of the Finger Lakes Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease (FLCEAD), Co-Director of our department’s Family Therapy Training Program, and discipline leader for Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs).
Those who has worked with Carol would agree that It is hard to think of anyone more qualified than her for this important leadership role anywhere. 

Please, join me in congratulating her new leadership in Department of Psychiatry.


Mark Nickels Named Interim Director of Inpatient Psychiatric CL Services

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It is with great pleasure that we also share that Mark Nickels, MD has been named the interim Director of our Inpatient Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison (CL) Services

Dr. Nickels completed his residency in Psychiatry at URMC and was Chief Resident between 1985-1986. He joined URMC as faculty in 1986 as has since progressed to be appointed Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in 2013. Dr. Nickels has had multiple leadership roles over the years including serving as the Director of the Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Service at Strong Hospital from 1996-1999, Director of Transplant Psychiatry since 2006, Director of CL Psychiatry fellowship from 2017-2020, Associate Director of Psychiatry Residency from 2020-2021 and now Director of Psychiatry Residency since 2021.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Nickels on his new appointment and thanking him for all he continues to do for our department and for our patients.

Addiction Psychiatry Leadership Changes

Thursday, January 19, 2023

We are thrilled to share a few changes to the leadership of our Addiction Psychiatry and Strong Recovery services.

As of December, Itza Morales, MSB, CASAC and Julie Achtyl, MS, LMHC, CASAC have been promoted to Co-Directors of Operations for Addiction Psychiatry. They will work in collaboration with Dr. Myra Mathis to continue advancing Addiction Psychiatry’s mission. 

Itza will oversee the OTP clinic, SUD-PC program and Access services. She is also assuming the role of Program Sponsor for Opioid Treatment Programs which includes being point of contact with the State Opioid Treatment Authority and federal regulatory agencies and ensuring compliance with OTP specific licensing rules.

Julie will oversee our Adolescent/Young Adult clinic, the Adult CD clinic and CCBHC Outreach services. She is also assuming the role of CASAC Discipline Chief which includes oversight of counselor education and training programs. 

To support the new leadership structure and management of each of its services, Strong Recovery will add a Clinical Coordinator for the OTP clinic to manage day-to-day operations of that clinic. And a Clinical Coordinator for the Adult CD clinic to manage day-to-day operations of that clinic.

Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Itza and Julie to their new and exciting roles!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week

Thursday, January 12, 2023

In partnership with the URMC Department of Neurology, the URMC Department of Psychiatry presents this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week, "Past, Present and Future: Rochester’s Civil Rights Journey Towards an Equitable Future." 

This year’s Department of Psychiatry MLK Week will be dedicated to the memory of Rev. Dr. John S. Walker, a beloved member of the department and a staunch advocate of civil rights and equitable health care. This year's daily events include: 

January 16th
Please view the documentary film below, July 1964, for the discussion with the director, Carvin Eison, on July 17th.
Read About the Documentary

January 17th
Discussion of July 1964 with filmmaker and producer Carvin Eison and a preview of his new film, Redlining
12 PM - 1 PM, Hybrid Event: Room 2-6424 Auditorium & Zoom Webinar

January 18th
MLK Jr. Grand Rounds: Panel on the present and future of Rochester in our journey towards civil rights and an equitable future
12 PM - 1 PM, Hybrid Event: Room Class of '62 Auditorium & Zoom Webinar

January 19th
Tribute to Rev. Dr. John S. Walker and his words on “Black Classical Music” and mental health

12 PM - 1 PM, Zoom Webinar Only

January 20th
Rochester’s MLK Choir Performance and readings of MLK Letters from Birmingham jail
12 PM - 1 PM, Hybrid Event: Room Class of '62 Auditorium & Zoom Webinar

Read More: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week

Remembering Rev. John S. Walker

Thursday, January 5, 2023

John Walker It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Rev. Dr. John Walker, Adjunct Associate Professor in our Department of Psychiatry as well as the leader of our Clergy Mental Health Collaborative which brought together faith leaders in Rochester to address issues critical to the community.

 Rev. Walker had been a wonderful source of wisdom and knowledge and taught countless members of our community about the importance of diversity, mental health, and equity. He had provided gentle mentorship, guidance, and intimate knowledge of the community generously and selflessly in order to make us all better. He was a strong social justice advocate whose kindness, wisdom, and mentorship will be etched in the memories of many of us in the Department. 

 Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those in our community for whom this loss weighs heavily. He was a man with incomparable qualities. While he will be sorely missed, the lessons he has taught us will not be forgotten. With his guidance, “we must keep on going.” 
Reverend John S. Walker 
Reverend John Walker was born in Columbus, Ohio. He joined the United States Army during the Korean War. After his service, he attended Morris College in South Carolina, where he graduated at the top of his class. Called to ministry, he subsequently enrolled at the Colgate Divinity School in Rochester and graduated in 1969. He went on to earn his Ph.D. at Syracuse University and became a visiting lecturer in Rochester. 
In 1973, Rev. Walker became the director of the Baden Street Settlement Counseling Center, and in 1978, became the director of the Seventh Step Foundation. He also worked with FIGHT (Freedom, Integration, God, Honor, Today) and the Marcus Garvey Black Solidarity Committee and wrote for Communique, a black-run Rochester newspaper. In 1989, he became the pastor of Christian Friendship Baptist Church and established several successful outreach ministries such as the one at the Henrietta Corrections Facility. Also, he founded the Adolescent Pregnancy Program, the Rochester Anti-Apartheid Program, the Palestinian Resettlement Committee, the Malawian Hunger Project, the Swaziland Hunger Project, and the Freedom and Justice Program of South Africa. In addition, he taught history and political science at Monroe Community College for many years prior to retirement. 
Dr. Walker was also an expert on Jazz, or, as he called it, “Black Classical Music.” He wrote music articles for the Ohio Sentinel between 1960 and 1963 and hosted a local radio program called “Black Classical Music” for 28 years between 1981-2009. As a jazz commentator, he used his African name, Talik Abdul Bashir, and often played full recordings of obscure jazz musicians while detailing their histories for each set. He broadened our musical knowledge and enjoyment of “Black Classical” musicians for many of us.  
In 2013, he became co-seminar director for the Rochester Program of Research and Innovation in Disparities Education (PRIDE) which brought together faculty leaders from the URMC Clinical Psychology Training Program and community leaders from faith-based and community-based organizations and health and human service agencies in Rochester, NY.  Subsequently, he became the leader of the Clergy Mental Health Collaborative (CMHC), which meets monthly as a collaborative team of clergy members from diverse faith groups in the Rochester community working together to address issues critical to the community, particularly regarding the overall health of poor communities. 
In 2019, he became an essential member of the leadership team for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Community (DICE). He had provided gentle mentorship, guidance, and intimate knowledge of the community generously and selflessly in order to make us all better. He was a strong social justice advocate whose kindness, wisdom, and mentorship will be etched in the memories of many of us in the Department.