Spring 2016 Issue
Print page PRINT PAGE

University of Virginia - Spring Update

By Marie Lyse Turk, MD and Joseph Otonichar, DO
PGY-1 and PGY-4, UVA PSV Representatives

Spring is upon us! And with the budding of trees and the blossoming of flowers, it is with heavy hearts that many of our residents and fellows will soon be departing their beloved alma mater in pursuit of further career growth. And grow they will! Dr. Andrew Alkis will be heading to George Washington University to complete a fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr. Jennifer Gomberg will be voyaging to the Michigan State University to begin a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Dr. Joseph Otonichar will be traveling to New York City to complete a fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry with NYU. Dr. Nishant Parikh and Dr. Kelli Messina will both be bringing their expertise into the world at large as they begin transitioning to practice here in beautiful Virginia, while the remainder of the PGY-4 class. Dr. Michael Heck, Dr. Tina Thakrar, Dr. Matthew McEachern, Dr. Toral Desai, and Dr. Amanjot Kaur, will continue their training in UVA’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship program. Several of our PGY-3s will also be advancing into their area of expertise as they begin Child and Adolescent psychiatry fellowships this year: Dr. Robert Johnston will be adding to the pool of talent here at UVA for his fellowship, Dr. Souraya Torbey will begin her fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Abhishek Nitturkar will start his fellowship with George Washington University. Congratulations also to our upcoming graduates of the Child and Adolescent fellowship, Dr. Andreanne Gingras, PGY-5, and Dr. Richard Jackson, PGY-5, as they continue their careers onward!

Within the academic world, our residents continue to prosper. On the most recent PRITE examination, gauging psychiatric knowledge, all four of our classes scored above the 90th percentile among all residency programs nationwide. Our top three scorers—Drs. Blevins, Parikh, and Otonichar—were among the top 10 performing teams in the national “Mind Games” competition.

Our residents continue to add to the general scholastic body of psychiatric knowledge. Nine of our ten PGY-3s will be presenting individual posters at the upcoming Annual APA Meeting in Atlanta, including Dr. Souraya Torbey, Dr. Robert Johnston, Dr. Lauren Moore, Dr. Erin Dooley, Dr. Derek Blevins, Dr. Abhishek Nitturkar, Dr. Maria Moreno, who will be presenting, “Lisdexamfetamine for the Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder,” Dr. Surbhi Khanna, who will be presenting, “To Feed or Not to Feed? The ethical dilemma of feeding a patient with treatment refractory depression who refuses to eat,” and Dr. Danielle Ivanova, who will be presenting with her mentee, Dr. Melanie Miller, PGY-2, “Rapid Development of Pulmonary Emboli Two Days After onset of Catatonic Symptoms.”  Dr. Heck, PGY-4, Dr. Steven Phillips, PGY-2, Dr. Diana Robinson, PGY-2, and Dr. Aditi Giri, PGY-2, have all had posters accepted at the Annual Meeting, where Dr. Alkis will also present his research on “​​Feasibility and Acceptability of Performing Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) on an Inpatient Unit at UVA.”

In line with academic achievements, Dr. Gabriela Pachano, PGY-1, recently co-authored an article, “Lack of Association of SNPs from the FADS1-FADS2 Gene Cluster with Major Depression or Suicidal Behavior” in Psychiatric Genetics. Dr. Derek Blevins was awarded a fellowship to attend the 2016 American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology Workshop on Clinical Trials. Dr. Toral Desai received a Dennis Anderson Travel Grant to participate in the annual meeting of the AACAP. Drs. Andrew Alkis, Jennifer Gomberg, and Nishant Parikh all recently co-authored a chapter titled “Sexual Dysfunction Due to Psychotropic Medications,” in an upcoming edition of Psychiatric Clinics of North America.  Drs. Surbhi Khanna, Gabriela Pachano, and others have written a book chapter with Dr. J. Kim Penberthy in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction. Dr. Eliza Buelt, PGY-1, Dr. Gabriela Pachano, and others, along with Dr. Penberthy will be presenting a poster, “Development and Implementation of a Complex Care Multidisciplinary Clinic for Cancer Patients with Pain, Psychiatric, and Substance Use Disorders.” Dr. Daniel Cox has recently authored numerous publications as well. Similarly, recent graduate, Dr. Caridad Ponce, has received the AADPRT’s international medical graduate fellowship.

UVA’s psychiatry department recently joined UVA’s Global Health Leadership Track due to efforts of Dr. Larry Merkel, faculty member in both UVA’s psychiatry and anthropology departments. As part of this venture, Dr. Merkel has made several visits to Uganda to establish ties with the psychiatry department of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). Joseph Otonichar, PGY-4, recently spent two weeks in Uganda working closely with physicians training in MUST’s psychiatry residency program. Drs. Diana Robinson and Aditi Giri, both PGY-2, and Dr. Souraya Torbey, PGY-3, are also participating this year in global health rotations.

UVA residents remain active within the PSV as well. Dr. Diana Robinson recently won an award for her poster presentation at the spring PSV meeting. Dr. Otonichar recently participated in White Coats on Call, during which he met individually with State Senator Creigh Deeds as well as other legislative representatives to discuss policies affecting mental health care. Dr. Parikh has also recently been appointed a board member and Early Career Psychiatrist for the PSV. Dr. Marie Lyse Turk, PGY-1, has been elected UVA’s new PSV representative.

Our residency program is pleased to announce that we have matched ten bright new interns for the upcoming academic year! Congratulations to our new chief residents, Drs. Erin Dooley and Derek Blevins, for being selected to succeed Drs. Alkis and Otonichar at the helm of our residency program. They will continue to contribute to the growth of the department and the quality of resident education and experience. Congratulations also to Dr. Tina Thakrar, PGY-4, for being selected as the new chief of the Child and Adolescent fellowship program.

As residents participate in our annual retreat this spring, we reflect and build upon relationships with our colleagues and friends.  Having established strong friendships and bonds in the department over the past four years, the graduating PGY-4s would like to share a hearty thanks for all the kindness and support they have received during their time at UVA. They will indubitably miss UVA!!

Back to top




member app






PSV 2016 Fall Meeting


PSV 2016 Fall Meeting

October 7-8, 2016
The Hotel Roanoke
& Conference Center
Roanoke, Virginia

For printable registration form