Psychiatry

Executive Fellowship educates health professionals on addiction medicine

Dr. Ken Zoucha, left, has started an addiction medicine executive fellowship and Carey Wheelhouse, MPAS, PA-C; Jon Kilstrom, MPAS, PA-C; and Dr. Heather Spain have signed up to learn more about how to use the medication in addictions.

In November, Dr. Ken Zoucha, with help from the addictions division, started an Addiction Medicine Executive Fellowship to educate residents and health professionals on addiction medicine.

“I felt that getting more education about addiction medicine into the curriculum was necessary and was really important,” said Dr. Zoucha. “I kept hearing from folks that they weren’t getting enough training in addiction medicine.”

The fellows will spend their time seeing patients at several locations, including the Intensive Outpatient Program clinic and Veterans Affairs Administration.

Jon Kilstrom, MPAS, PA-C, Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Skills for the College of Allied Health, was the first person to sign up for the executive fellowship.

“I have an interest in addiction medicine, and the big thing right now is medication-assisted treatment,” Kilstrom said. “I wanted to learn the principles and then share what I had learned with my students.”

Dr. Zoucha said participants will receiving training to receive the DEA waiver to prescribe Suboxone, which is used to help with the opioid-use disorder.

“Hopefully, patients will get the Suboxone, fellows learn that it’s a good healthy way to treat the opioid-use disorder and share what they have learned with their colleagues,” said Dr. Zoucha.

In December, Child Fellow Dr. Heather Spain and Carey Wheelhouse, MPAS, PA-C, registered for the executive fellowship. Wheelhouse said one of the reasons she signed up for the fellowship was to learn about how to use the medication in addictions treatment. Dr. Spain said she sees a lot of adolescents who struggle with substance use issues.

“I wanted to be more comfortable with the identification of the disorders but also the treatment of the addictions,” said Dr. Spain. “The fellowship has made me feel more comfortable with identification and treatment.”

Anyone interested in the Addiction Medicine Executive Fellowship should contact Liz Weise at 402-552-6170 or elizabeth.wiese@unmc.edu. Dr. Zoucha will hold a grand rounds presentation on the fellowship at noon on Jan. 9 in room 2018 in the Sorrell Center.

APA honors Dr. Mark Fleisher for his contributions to the field of psychiatry

The American Psychiatric Association has recognized UNMC Professor Mark Fleisher as a Distinguished Life Fellow.

Dr. Fleisher, who joined UNMC in 1991, will be honored at the APA Annual Meeting on May 20 in San Francisco, California.

Mark Fleisher, M.D.

“Becoming a Distinguished Life Fellow of the APA is a very significant honor to me. I recognize it is an important achievement by noting my current Distinguished Fellow colleagues, Dr. Chris Kratochvil, and Dr. Ashish Sharma and other previous department members: doctors Carl Greiner, Blaine Shaffer, Ernie Haffke, and John Donaldson, among others,” Dr. Fleisher said.

Psychiatrists are recognizes as Distinguished Life Fellows after making significant contributions to the psychiatric profession in at least five of the following areas: administration; teaching; scientific and scholarly publications; volunteering in mental health and medical activities of social significance; community involvement as well as for clinical excellence. Distinguished Fellow is the highest membership honor the APA bestows upon members.

Dr. Fleisher is a tenured professor of psychiatry and holds courtesy appointments as professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and the Munroe-Meyer Institute. Along with being named a Distinguished Life Fellow, Dr. Fleisher has received several professional achievement awards including the Frank J. Menolascino Award for Clinical Services to Persons with Intellectual Developmental Disorders from the American Psychiatric Association; faculty election to Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society; and the UNMC Chancellor’s Golden U Award in 2004. He has served as a member of the National Board of Directors of the NADD (National Association for the Dually Diagnosed) for several years as well as Board officer.

Dr. Baumgartner will join geriatric psychiatry division in July

Dr. Andrew Baumgartner said it was an easy decision to accept a position working with two of his favorite mentors.

Dr. Baumgartner has accepted an instructor position with the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. He will also see patients at Home Instead Center for Successful Aging (HICSA) with geriatric psychiatrists Dr. Steven Wengel and Dr. Thomas Magnuson. Dr. Baumgartner said their mentorship led him to study geriatric psychiatry.

Andrew Baumgartner, M.D.

“My earliest and most consistent mentors have come from the geriatric psychiatry division,” Dr. Baumgartner said. “I enjoy working with the geriatric patient population as well as their family members and their caretakers.”

Dr. Baumgartner said Dr. Wengel and Dr. Magnuson taught him to take time to get to know the patients and their family members.

“I couldn’t be happier that Dr. Baumgartner is joining the department, and especially, the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry,” said Dr. Wengel. “I think his calm, deliberate, and thoughtful approach to patient care will serve him well with our older patients. He is a really conscientious physician and a caring person – we’re very fortunate to have him aboard.”

While Dr. Baumgartner could have been a geriatric psychiatrist anywhere, he decided to stay in Nebraska. Dr. Baumgartner graduated from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2009 and UNMC in 2015.

“I guess you can say my family is rooted here in Nebraska,” Dr. Baumgartner said. “Both of our families are in Nebraska. Plus, I did my training here. My mentors work here. It would have been tough to pick up and leave.”

Dr. Baumgartner will finish his residency next June and start working for UNMC on July 1, 2019.

Dr. Baumgartner wrestled at UNK on an athletic scholarship. He won two state championships at Kearney High School. While at UNMC, Dr. Baumgartner was awarded the Dr. John E. Gilmore Distinguished Scholarship, the Nellie Powley Hills & John Willard Hills Merit Scholarship, and the Robert L. Preston Merit Scholarship.

Dr. Strong receives American Psychiatric Association honor

UNMC Adult Psychiatrist Dr. Sheritta Strong, center, received the Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education. Dr. Strong is co-director of Medical Student Education for the Department of Psychiatry with Dr. Daniel Gih, left. Also pictured is Dr. Howard Liu, Interim Chair for the Psychiatry Department.

Dr. Sheritta Strong has been awarded the 2018-2019 Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The certificate is awarded annually to APA members who have made outstanding and sustaining contributions to medical student education. Dr. Strong received the award for all of Dr. Strong’s contributions to medical student education to the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Medicine and as a faculty member of the Creighton-Nebraska Psychiatry Residency Program.

As an adult psychiatrist, Dr. Strong is the co-director of medical student education in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. She is a visible member of the team and the first psychiatrist our medical students meet. Dr. Strong is the lead instructor and coordinator for the pre‐clinical curriculum in psychiatry. Furthermore, she is highly involved in small group teaching and course design for the department.

Dr. Strong has served in several outpatient settings including those treating underserved and minority populations (Charles Drew Health Center) and integrated care clinic with the Department of Family Medicine.

“(Dr. Strong’s) work has always been inclusive of student learners. Moreover, her dedication shines in her ongoing enthusiastic support for and recruitment of faculty providers to the student-run free medical clinic, S.H.A.R.I.N.G. Clinic for student supervision on the psychiatry [consultation] night,” said Dr. Daniel Gih, Co-Director of Medical Education for the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. “She has participated in this clinic since her medical school days here. She also serves as a mentor for pre‐medical students and is the academic advisor for a minority-led student group on campus, Graduates & Professionals Representing Achievement Diversity and Service.”

Dr. Strong is an active member in professional organizations at the national and local levels including the APA, the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry, the National Medical Association and the Nebraska Psychiatric Society. Dr. Strong was the keynote speaker for The Urban League of Nebraska’s 2017 scholarship reception.

“As a recent addition to the faculty, I have benefitted in being paired with this wonderful individual as we lead our department’s efforts in a major curriculum reform process,” Dr. Gih said.

This award was established in honor of Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD and serves as a tribute to her unique and creative contributions to psychiatric education.

As Nebraska delegate, Dr. Balasanova authors resolution to promote use of clinically accurate terminology

Alёna A. Balasanova, MD, FAPA is the Nebraska delegate to the Young Physicians Section of the AMA, where she also serves on the Strategy and Leadership Committee.

At the AMA Interim Meeting November 8-13 in National Harbor, Maryland, Dr. Balasanova authored a resolution to promote the use of clinically accurate, nonjudgmental terminology related to substance use disorders and addiction. The resolution was passed as amended by the YPS and will be introduced to the AMA House of Delegates at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Earlier this year, the Nebraska Medical Association House of Delegates voted unanimously to pass Dr. Balasanova’s resolution “Destigmatizing the Language of Addiction” which was introduced on behalf of the Metro Omaha Medical Society.

“The words that we choose to describe our patients’ illnesses are more than simply being politically correct– they both implicitly and explicitly convey judgment and can actually impact the quality of care that we provide to our patients,” said Balasanova. “I am delighted that this important topic is being addressed by our AMA and the house of medicine.”

The AMA is the nation’s oldest and largest professional medical society. It represents over 200,000 physicians in the U.S. and is influential in setting public health policy.

Dr. Balasanova is a board-certified psychiatrist with clinical expertise in integrated treatment for co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders. Dr. Balasanova is actively involved in program development for education and training of residents and medical students. She is the founder and director of the Longitudinal Integrated MH/SUD Outpatient Clinic (LIMSOC), a comprehensive clinical experience for 3rd year psychiatry residents at Nebraska Medicine. Clinically, Dr. Balasanova directs Nebraska Medicine’s Addiction Services Outpatient Clinic, an integrated care model providing concurrent treatment for co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders.

SPOTLIGHT: Arica Lerdahl

Arica Lerdahl
Research Assistant

What are your duties as a research assistant?
We are currently working on two studies. I work on recruiting subjects for each study and coordinating their appointments. I also score the forms that the subjects fill out and organize the data we collect. For one of the studies, I also assist with the MEG and fMRI scans as needed.

Why did you go into research?
Research of all kinds has always fascinated me. Our medical care wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for researchers conducting their studies. I love that working in research has the potential to give more insight and improve the medical care provided to patients.

Why did you go into the area of Psychiatry?
I think mental health is very important and yet one of the most neglected areas in medicine. In college, I attended the summer BHECN College Ambassador Program. I also shadowed one of the psychiatrists in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic. I had wonderful experiences both times and I was very excited when I saw a research position available in the Psychiatry Department.

What are some of your hobbies?
I spend most of my free time playing with my son and our two dogs. When he is sleeping, I like to bake, read, and do crafts. I also love to travel, and I have a passion for coffee. When we travel, I always find the local coffee shops and try them out.

Staff celebrates Batey’s long career

Psychotherapist Bill Batey (center) takes a photo with co-workers after his retirement breakfast on Nov. 9.

Bill Batey has retired after working 28 years as a psychotherapist for UNMC/Nebraska Medicine.

Batey started in 1990 and worked for four different chairs during his time. His final day was Nov. 16.

“I stayed because it was a nice, stable situation. I always enjoyed the patients, and I’m going to miss them the most,” Batey said.

On Nov. 9, the Department of Psychiatry celebrated Batey’s long career with a retirement breakfast.

“I’ve enjoyed all the people I have gotten to work with through the years. I wish I could have known some people a little better, but a lot of times I came to work and went into my room and saw my patients,” Batey told everyone at his retirement breakfast.

Department of Psychiatry Clinic Manager Maggie Milner said Batey had been a fixture in the clinic for almost thirty years.

“There were many times within that timespan when he was our only therapy resource. Bill has been an exceptional asset to our clinic,” Milner said.

During the breakfast, Milner said Batey has been mentioning retirement for the last 3-4 years.

“I convinced him to stay part-time rather than take full retirement a couple of years ago. He did some rumbling about retirement again last year, but I was again able to convince him to stay another year. Thankfully, he agreed. We are all thankful for Bill’s dedication throughout the years and wish him much peace and relaxation in his retirement.”

In retirement, Batey will volunteer at Grief’s Journey, a place where people can find help, understanding, comfort, and hope after suffering a loss.

“I may also do some traveling, but nothing major,” Batey said.

Dr. Dana Raml will join UNMC faculty in August 2019

Dr. Dana Raml has accepted a faculty and clinical position in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry.

Raml, who is currently in her fourth year as a Creighton/UNMC resident, will join the faculty in August. The decision to remain in Omaha was an easy one for Dr. Raml, who attended Lincoln East High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before arriving at UNMC in 2011.

Dr. Dana Raml

”I just love the area. I guess you could say I’m a homebody,” Dr. Raml said.

While many future doctors start medical school unsure of what specialty to eventually declare, Dr. Raml has wanted to be a psychiatrist since she was a young girl. In 2008-2009, Dr. Raml worked as a medical receptionist for the Plaza West Psychiatry Clinic.

“I’ve always been interested in seeing how people will respond to different situations,” Dr. Raml said. “Will they respond poorly or with optimism? That question has always interested me along with how psychiatry uses both medications and therapy.”

As a clinician, Dr. Raml will start in the adult outpatient clinic as well as work with cancer patients with behavioral health concerns.

Now that she has signed her contract, Dr. Raml has transitioned from an applicant to a UNMC Department of Psychiatry recruiter. “I’ve been talking to other residents in my class. My class is awesome. I’m officially in recruitment mode right now to try and get all of them over here, too. I’m hopeful.”

Dr. Raml has received many honors and awards during her time at UNL and UNMC, including the UNL Regents Scholarship, College of Medicine Alumni Scholarship, Dr. Frank J. Menolascino Outstanding Student in Psychiatry Award, Creighton GME Presenter Scholarship and Lasting Hope Recovery Center Resident of the Year. Dr. Raml is currently president of Psychiatry Resident Organization in the Creighton/UNMC Residency Program.

UNMC doctors discuss postpartum depression

Dr. Sharon Hammer, Lisa Blair, Dr. Marley Doyle, and Leigh Cook led a panel discussion on postpartum depression.

Dr. Sharon Hammer, Dr. Marley Doyle, and nurse practitioner Leigh Cook led a discussion on postpartum depression as part of UNMC’s Science Café Series.

The panel discussion was held on Nov. 13 at The Showdown in Omaha. Joining the panel was Nebraska Medicine nurse Lisa Blair, who discussed her struggles and treatment of postpartum depression. Dr. Doyle applauded Lisa’s bravery and hopes that more women share their struggles with the most common medical complication of giving birth.

“Unfortunately, women don’t talk about it enough,” said Dr. Marley Doyle. “That needs to change, so people don’t go through it alone.”

Dr. Hammer said a woman often deals with thoughts which come out of nowhere, including that she is not the mother that her baby deserves or that she made a mistake.

“They feel a sense of being profoundly overwhelmed,” said Dr. Hammer. “Even normal things like not being able to deal with taking the baby to the grocery store or giving the baby a bath can be overwhelming. The expectation is that the birth of a child should be the happiest time of your life, so many women don’t share their unhappiness.”

The panel discussed the recommended treatments. Psychotherapy and anti-depressants along with close follow-up and continued monitoring of symptoms can help with mild and moderate depression. New mothers with severe depression should start taking an antidepressant and consistently refer to a mental health provider for treatment.

Science Café is a monthly event at The Slowdown where the general public can discuss timely issues with doctors at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.