Spring 2017 Issue


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Navy Medical Center Portsmouth - Update

By Stuart Kyllo, LT, MC, USN
PGY-2, Department of Psychiatry
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth

The residents at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth had a great year again on the annual Psychiatry Residency In-Service Training Exam (PRITE), the national standardized exam administered to all residents of all training levels. This year, their average scores were well above the national average for second, third and fourth year residents. Once again, this confirms the high quality of training provided by both the military and civilian staff. In addition to having an impressive ratio of patients-to-providers compared to any other department in the hospital, they also manage to devote a significant portion of their time to ensuring quality instruction and supervision to their trainees. The top three residents on the PRITE exam, Drs. Andrew Buchholz (fourth year), Christopher Brawner (third year), and Stuart Kyllo (second year), all officers in the Naval Medical Corps, will participate in the Annual Mind Games competition hosted by the American Psychiatric Association being held later this spring.

Navy Medical Center Photo

Left to right: HM3 Noble (psych tech), Dr Landvater (1st year), Dr Guajardo (4th year), Dr Van Slyke (staff psychiatrist of Fleet Surgical Team 6) aboard the USS Bataan.

Unique to Naval psychiatry, compared to both their civilian colleagues and even those of the other branches, is the opportunity to serve and provide care on ships. This unique environment brings its own challenges and rewards. It is uncommon for trainees to have the opportunity to experience living and working on a ship during their residency due to the nature of operational schedules of ships and timing the resident's rotation schedule with that of the ship going underway. Recently, two of our residents, Drs. Phillip Guajardo (4th year) and Jeremy Landvater (1st year) did have the opportunity to do an elective rotation of their training with Fleet Surgical Team 6 and the embedded psychiatrist Dr. John Van Slyke. This provides invaluable training experience as, after residency, new psychiatrists (as well as senior providers like Dr. Van Slyke) may be the sole psychiatrist responsible for several ships while out at sea. The following is Dr. Landvater recalling his experience:

We spent three weeks underway as guests with Fleet Surgical Team Six (FST-6), that is currently assigned to the USS Bataan (LHD-5) Amphibious Readiness Group, which consisted of three ships (USS Bataan, USS Mesa Verde, and USS Carter Hall) and Marine Expeditionary Unit 24.  All in all, we were responsible for the mental health of approximately 5,000 service members. Our team consisted of CAPT. Van Slyke, LT. Guajardo, myself, and HM3 Noble who is trained as a Psych Tech.  Over the course of three weeks, we had a total of 81 encounters that included 26 new evaluations, three shipboard inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations, and two MEDIVACs.  In addition to seeing patients at sea, Dr. Guajardo and I both took multiple call shifts for after-hours sick call, engaged in ship board exercises to include a Noncombatant Evacuation Operation and Medical Department inspections, refined the  FST-6 Inpatient Psychiatric Instruction, participated in review of the ship's psychotropic medication formulary, worked to advance the ship's telehealth capabilities, participated in flight operations, and taught both blue side and Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen [about mental health].

Where are our graduates going? The psychiatry residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth has five residents that will be graduating this summer: Drs. Elle Marie Schollnberger, Justine Sprague, Andrew Buchholz, Jessica Sierzchula and Phillip Guajardo. After graduation, Dr. Schollnberger will be headed to Japan to work with the foreward deployed Marine Corps forces stationed there. Dr. Buchholz will be going up to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD to become part of the staff training medical students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Drs. Sprague and Sierzchula will remain at Navel Medical Center Portsmouth to become full time staff in the psychiatry department. Dr. Guajardo will be going down to the base on Guantanamo Bay briefly until he receives further orders elsewhere.

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