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The Great State of UI Psychiatry

Wednesday, August 12, 2015



At the July 21 State of the Department meeting, James B. Potash, MD, MPH, Chair and Department Executive Officer of Psychiatry, discussed achievements within the department in the past year, and was full of praise for the outstanding people who made them possible. 

The annual meeting found Dr. Potash reading glowing comments from patients praising clinical staff. For example, “The medical team was excellent, communication was thorough and effective. I felt a high level of compassion mingled with a vast knowledge of their respective fields. A most special thanks to Dr. Michelle Morais and Dr. Hristina Koleva.” The clinical enterprise continues to grow and improve with innovations in outpatient psychotherapy, in collaborations with the Emergency Department, and in expanded telemental health. In addition, several excellent new clinicians are set to join the ranks of UI Psychiatry in the coming months. 

In the educational arena, new and updated curriculum for medical students is up and running. A number of changes are being implemented within the residency program as well that should strengthen and improve the training experience. Dr. Potash spoke to the strength of Psychiatry teaching faculty and read complimentary feedback from medical students and residents praising their instruction. For example, “Dr. Jim Amos is an incredibly gracious and approachable teacher…I deeply appreciated how much he stopped after every patient to teach us extensively about their condition, and then would never hesitate to ask us questions in a non-judgmental, teaching manner...” 

Advancements in research within the department, which led to a number of high-profile papers over the past year, were also highlighted. For example, Dr. John Wemmie and colleagues published interesting work in the journal Molecular Psychiatry on the use of a novel brain imaging method to detect changes in the bipolar brain. A number of new grants and a record-setting wave of philanthropic gifts help ensure that the department’s research efforts will continue to grow in the coming year.

Dr. Potash emphasized the value of bridging dichotomies, such as between working for Iowa or for the world, for research or for clinical care, and within a biological framework or a psychological one. Like the yin and the yang, these apparent opposites are intimately woven together, Potash said, and the most productive work comes out of seeing the interrelationships, and building on them.

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