MIRECC / CoE
Newsletter | Spring 2022 | South Central MIRECC
2022 BEST Fellows
The Building Educational Scholarship in psychiatry Training (BEST) program encourages psychiatry residents to enter post-residency research training fellowships in VISNs 16 and 17. Directed by Dr. Ali Abbas Asghar-Ali, the program recognizes talented residents with academic interests and offers consultative experiences in mental health research careers. As part of the nomination process, program directors were asked to consider the candidate’s contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion and whether they belong to a group that is underrepresented in psychiatry or otherwise marginalized nationally or at their institution. Awardees attend a national scientific meeting, get a stipend for books or tuition, and work with a career mentor. Congratulations to our 2022 fellows!
Dr. Norah Abdullah is a second-year psychiatry resident at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and completed the Global Health Track, first working at the International Rescue Committee clinic in Al-Ramtha Jordan, and then establishing a new site in Amman, Jordan with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees. As a resident, Dr. Abdullah continues to work on global health initiatives, including establishing a Global Health Track at UTSW. She plans to travel to their new site in Istanbul, Turkey to work with Syrian Refugees and Displaced persons in March. Her goal is to reduce stigma of receiving mental healthcare in Middle Eastern society, which often silences individuals. She also hopes to reduce obstacles that limit patients from seeking treatment, such as a perceived lack of cultural or religious sensitivity and understanding.
Dr. Adam W. Burroughs is a second-year psychiatry resident at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Through his program’s Resident Academic Track, he is researching driving evaluations in the geriatric population, focusing on practical bedside tests to assess the risk of driving impairment in addition to counseling older drivers if transitioning from driving is necessary. He hopes to continue this work in the BEST Fellowship. He is interested in general adult and geriatric psychiatry, with a potential future path in academics as a clinical educator. Outside of work, he enjoys exercising and spending time with his wife and dog (Wookiee Baggins).
Dr. Abdualla Ben Ammer graduated with a MBBCh from the University of Tripoli Faculty of Medicine where he was the recipient of several awards and also served as Chief Resident of Psychiatry. He completed one year of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. His past research has focused on schizophrenia genetics in Qatari families. He is currently conducting a study on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on psychiatry residents' education. His interests include travel, BBQ, cooking, exploring new parks, and learning about different cultures.
Dr. C. Austin Casey is a second year psychiatry resident at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHS) Shreveport. He received a BS in medical physics from LSU Baton Rouge and a MD from LSUHS Shreveport. Dr. Casey is currently leading two quality improvement projects involving referrals for abnormal metabolic screens and medical clearance for patients with mental illness in the emergency department and is also interested in research involving management of agitation in geriatric populations in medical settings. After residency, Dr. Casey hopes to pursue a fellowship in either geriatric or consultation and liaison psychiatry and remain in academic psychiatry thereafter.
Dr. Christopher Gurguis is a second-year psychiatry resident at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. Prior to entering medicine, he earned a master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona where he studied the ontogeny and evolution of behavior in western bluebirds. This early interest continues to color his research today, which focuses on understanding how the symptoms of mental illness evolve in contemporary populations. His current research is focused on the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and variation in life history traits across diagnostic categories. More specifically, he is interested in how history of trauma and impulsivity influence evolutionarily important decisions such as the timing of childbirth. In the future, Dr. Gurguis is interested in continuing to serve VA populations whose complex mental health needs shift over the course of not only an individual’s life, but also between generations.
Dr. Kevin Ha is a second-year psychiatry resident at UT Health San Antonio. He attended medical school at the University of California, Riverside where he developed an interest in cross-cultural psychiatry and healthcare literacy in underserved communities. He is proud to learn and receive mentorship from neuropsychiatrists, psychologists, and rehabilitative therapists at the South Texas VA where he hopes to expand his clinical experiences, understand complex psychopathology, and appreciate the vast socioeconomic and cultural differences within our diverse Veteran population. After residency, he strives to be an academic psychiatrist engaged in clinical trials and guiding the next wave of physician leaders.
Dr. Sara Karnes is a second-year psychiatry resident at the LSU-Ochsner Psychiatry Program located in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was raised in Chicago, Illinois and is attending LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. She plans to pursue a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry with a career in academic psychiatry and to pursue research to evaluate the role diet, nutrition, and exercise play in individuals with anxiety, depression, and memory deficits. Ultimately, she hopes to assist in the creation of a geriatric psychiatry fellowship at her home institution and to encourage the next generation of physicians to collaborate in order to provide optimal care for the growing geriatric community.
Dr. Chandini Reddi is a second-year combined resident in medicine-psychiatry at Tulane University. She grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and received a BA in Biology and Medical Humanities at St. Louis University and completed medical school at the University of Iowa. She worked on a combined Med-Psych unit during medical school and this is where her interest in the intersection of medicine and psychiatry began. Her research interests include teaching suicide risk assessments to internal medicine residents, behavioral activation for individuals involved in outpatient substance use drug treatment and evaluating the availability of psychological services on inpatient Med-Surg units.
Last updated: May 19, 2022
In this Issue
— SC MIRECC Welcomes New Co-Director
— Grant Writing Scholars 2022
— 2022 BEST Fellows
— DEI Corner: Adding Pronouns and VHA ODEI Inclusivity Campaign
— DEI Calendar of Events
— Anchor Site Highlights
— New Clinical Eduction Resources
— Publication Highlights
— Pilot Grant Opportunity
— MIDAS Consultation Service
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