Fall 2017 Issue


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Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Update

By Stuart Kyllo, LT, MC, USN
PGY-3, Department of Psychiatry
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth

The Naval Medical Center psychiatric residency program continues to fill its ranks with outstanding interns. One of their strengths this year is a balance between traditional students who have gone straight through college and medical school (Drs. Mitchell Storar, Charles Mitschow, Mitchell Laski), as well as those with other past experiences — adding a rich blend of skill sets to the program. For example, Dr. Heather Annis spent more than 20 years in the thoroughbred horse racing industry as a trainer and rider, then four years as a corrections officer in Washington State before writing her book, "Ringers: Nowhere to Run,” while recovering from a riding-related knee injury. Dr. Ryan Hare has prior experience in the Navy working with surface warfare and submarine rescue teams, giving him special field knowledge of the abilities and limitations of sailors in those areas and the needs of their mental well being.

We also have the pleasure of welcoming a convert to our ranks! Dr. Eric Earnshaw is a Post Graduate Year 2 (PGY2) who transferred to the psychiatry program after completing his intern year in the Transitional Year Program. The Transitional Year Program has a varied curriculum designed to help prepare interns for doing an operational tour before deciding on what specialty they prefer and then coming back to complete residency in a large medical center. Dr. Earnshaw, however, enjoyed his psychiatry rotations so much as an intern that he decided to forgo the mid-residency hiatus and pursue a career in Navy psychiatry.

The Winds of Change
Last time I wrote for the newsletter, I mentioned where the residents from our recently graduating class were headed for their first duty stations after training. Well, the winds have changed for some of them. Dr. Phil Guajardo will soon be leaving to spend nine months with naval forces in Guantanamo Bay before heading out to Hawaii; Dr. Andrew Buchholz has already been spending some time in Cuba himself, but soon will be joining the teaching staff at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences at the joint Army/Navy Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Elle Marie Schollnberger is now settling herself in Japan with the Marine forces and Naval Hospital Okinawa. Dr. Justine Sprague and Jesse Sierzchula are going to remain at the medical center as staff.

The psychiatry department was busy maintaining themselves as a formidable force in the medical center over the past year — and it was recognized during the intern graduation ceremony this spring. Dr. Hamid Tavakoli, the primary consult liaison psychiatrist of the medical center, was named Teacher of the Year by interns of the Transitional Year Program for his consistency in quality instruction and teamwork on rounds.  He squeezed every possible teaching opportunity out of the patients encountered on his service, as well as supported and encouraged the residents on his team to balance their everyday lives with the work demands of the residency program. Dr. Liam Kean (now PGY3) was named Resident of the Year across all intern programs in the medical center for, among other things, his ability to set a great example of a strong work ethic to junior residents, sound clinical decision making in difficult cases and his ability to efficiently liaise with other departments to provide the best care for psychiatry patients on all wards. Dr. Jeremy Landvater (now PGY2) was named Psychiatry Intern of the Year. This is the same psychiatrist also mentioned last season that did an elective rotation on USS Wasp, providing care to sailors while at sea. His aspirations to pursue a career in healthcare administration (he has past experience designing and implementing worldwide electronic healthcare systems for the armed forces) were quite evident when, even as an intern, he was comfortable managing the logistics of teams of patients and coordinating other non-categorical interns into a smoothly operating service, requiring only minimal oversight by his residents and staff.
Please stand by for further updates in future editions of this newsletter.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

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