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The next leadership consultation workshop will be held on Wednesday September 25, 2019 from 9:00am – 10:00am.


We have scheduled all of the 2019 seminars so that people can save the dates. These all will be held at EP12 in the 1st floor training room, Room 2.

  • September 18, 2019, 9:00-10:30am - Erotic Transference and Countertransference
  • December 5, 2019, 9:00-10:30am - Harmful Supervision


The Writing Group is the 1st Wednesday of every month from 8:00-9:00am at EP12 in Room 554. The next Writing Group is June 5.



Viorica Pencea is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences with a primary placement Atlanta VA Healthcare System. Viorica is the Medical Director for Atlanta VAHC Acute Mental Health program (includes the Mental Health Inpatient Unit, Emergency Department mental health team and Front Door, a mental health walk-in clinic), and was recently charged with expanding Acute Mental Health services even further and part of the team spearheading the development of the VA Medical-Psychiatric, Gero-Psychiatric and Mental Health Observation Units.  She provides education and clinical supervision for Emory PGY2s, Morehouse PGY1s and 2s, as well as Emory and Morehouse medical students.  She also works constantly with the Emory VA Chief resident and Emory and Morehouse Training Directors to improve the VA Psychiatry Rotation, while also involved in the Resident Quality Improvement projects.  Viorica was also appointed as Atlanta VA Co-chair for the facility’s Flow Committee, where she utilizes my knowledge and experience to improve patient flow more broadly for the VA facility. 

Outside of Emory, Viorica was awarded a VA Center for Innovation Grant for cutting edge efforts to introduce a more reliable system to triage patients presenting to the ED with mental health needs.  This process enables efficient assessment of the level and type of resources needed for mental health patients and has built the groundwork for re-organization options for patient flow in the ED. This work during the VA Inpatient Flow Academy resulted in invitations to present to hospital, VISN and Central Office leadership, as well as in the invitation to serve as faculty in the VA Flow Academy for the last two years. Viorica is also a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Viorica most enjoys understanding how intricate all systems are, and how each event is multifactorial, as well as following the trajectory of students and residents and seeing how they become confident clinicians dedicating themselves to helping others and making the world a better place.

Viorica has been at Emory since 1997 as a postdoctoral neuroscience fellow, psychiatry resident, child and adolescent psychiatry fellow and faculty member. She has worked in areas with no apparent correlation, going from basic neuroscience research in the field of neuronal progenitor and stem cells, to child and adult psychiatry, to quality improvement in healthcare: all of them demonstrating, however, a strive and hope for improvement and progress.

Outside of work, Viorica is passionate about her family, including her husband and two daughters (oldest daughter has just graduated from the Emory MPH program and is embarking on her career in medicine this fall, while her youngest daughter is starting her college application journey).  She enjoys painting, practicing cognitively-based compassion meditation, traveling and hopes to visit Tibet and Bhutan.


Kimberly Hall is a Primary Therapist with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, but her managers, providers and peers refer to her as the Intake Coordinator for Adult Psychiatry. This includes intake support for all of the attending psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as the resident’s psycho-pharm and therapy clinics.  Kimberly grew up in Atlanta and after graduating from Marist, she moved to Nashville for five years to attend Vanderbilt University to complete her undergraduate studies and first Master’s degree in Developmental Counseling.  Following that, she moved to Oakland, California, for 15 years and worked in Residential Treatment with children and teenagers who suffered severe trauma and abuse.  She also completed a second Master’s degree in from Argosy University in Clinical Psychology. 

Kimberly returned to Atlanta after her dad died suddenly and her mom needed help. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has been with Emory since 2009. The best part of her job is when she is able to provide a solid, clinically-astute intake for a patient and successfully match and schedule them with the most effective treatment and provider within the Emory system.  Her future plans include maintaining her LPC license and continuing to evolve and improve as a clinician. 

Kimberly is very involved with her 4-year-old God-daughter Kemi and her mother Erica who is her best and closest friend whom she met at Emory on her first day.  Her sister, brother-in-law and niece are also big parts of her life.  They live under three miles apart by design.  Kimberly does yoga several times a week and maintained a vegetarian/cruelty-free lifestyle for over 30 years.  She goes wilderness camping every year when returning to California in the summers and continue to enjoy all forms of board sports including snowboarding/wakeboarding/skateboarding/surfing anytime she can.  


Justin Palanci, MD is a fourth-year resident in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He serves as co-chief of ambulatory services, which includes the Resident Psychopharmacology Clinic and Outpatient Psychotherapy Training Program. Among his responsibilities as chief, he helps develop and coordinate didactics for both programs and provides psychotherapy supervision to second year residents. He holds a First Episode Psychosis Psychopharmacology clinic at Grady Behavioral Health in which he integrates elements of dialogic practice with evidence-based medication management under the supervision of David Goldsmith. He is a member of the Open Dialogue Atlanta team under the supervision of Robert Cotes. He also serves as the resident representative for the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. Outside of the department, Justin is a trainee at the Institute for Dialogic Practice. He is entering his third and final year of the International Certification Training program.

Justin most enjoys working with individuals and families in a collaborative manner to support their recovery and wellness in a way that emphasizes autonomy, capacity for self-healing, shared-decision making, and flexibility. He is most proud of his ability to incorporate working with families into the care of individuals experiencing psychosis. He is grateful to the department for supporting these efforts by funding his training at the Institute for Dialogic Practice through the Walter Wellborn Endowed Fellowship. He is proud to have been recognized by his peers and mentors through the Resident Recognition Award earlier this year. 

Outside of work, Justin enjoys spending time with his family including his wife, Whitney, their 11-month old son, James, and their pug, Louie. Justin and Whitney enjoy exploring new restaurants around town. He also enjoys playing guitar and is an avid golfer. This summer, Justin will be joining the Emory faculty as Medical Director for the Grady Assertive Community Treatment program. He will also be continuing his work in First Episode Psychosis and Open Dialogue as lead psychiatrist for the First Episode Psychosis Coordinated Specialty Care program. 



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Kelly Coffman made the difficult decision to leave Emory at the end of July. During her time at Emory, she split her time between the Women’s Mental Health Program and forensic psychiatry. She will miss teaching and working with Emory residents but hopes to continue to work with the forensic psychiatry fellowship program as an adjunct faculty member, working in the jail programs at Fulton County Jail and the Atlanta City Detention Center. She will also continue to see patients at Atlanta Area Family Psychiatry. Kelly’s transition will allow her to spend more time with her young family.


Jewish American Heritage Month (Betsy Gard, PhD, Adjunct Professor). President George W. Bush, in 2006, made a proclamation to establish the month of May to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Jewish-American citizens.  The 2019 proclamation continues this month, highlighting, Jewish American illustrators -  ( The history of Jews in America dates back over 360 years.  America has always been seen as a safe haven for those fleeing countries that persecuted minorities because of their religion. Beginning in 1655, Jews came to “New Am”, which later became New York.  In 1733, a Jewish community was established in Savannah. Before the American Revolution, Jewish communities sprang up in Charleston, Rhode Island, and Philadelphia. George Washington wrote a letter in 1790, in response to Jewish residents’ fear that they would be expelled from the US, to reassure the Jews that their religious liberty would be protected.  He wrote, “Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” Between 1880 and 1914, Jews were tortured, raped, burned out of their homes and massacred across Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldovia.   It is estimated that over 2 million came to the United States. The Nazis massacred nearly 6 million Jews beginning in 1933 through 1945, but unfortunately, in the US, there were severe limits on immigration from Germany and Nazi- held countries and many of those waiting to come to the US perished in concentration camps. A small sampling of Jewish contributors to our American life include; Louis Brandeis, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Jonas Salk, Levi Strauss, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Barbara Streisand, Billy Crystal, Sean Penn, the Marx Brothers, Scarlett Johansson, Albert Einstein, Stan Lee and Rube Goldberg.

Ramadan (Dinah Ayna, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, and Ishrat Khan, MD, Assistant Professor, Atlanta VAMC). Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims around the Globe. Fasting (sawm) is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and is expected from Muslims to achieve utmost piety (Taqwa) and devotion to Allah (Arabic word for God). Exemptions from fasting are made for those who are ill, traveling, menstruating, pregnant, nursing, and elderly. Fasting is required for the duration of the month from sunrise to sunset and includes refraining from: 1) all that is edible or enters the body (e.g. food, water, medicine, smoking, etc); 2) sexual relations; and 3) denounced thoughts and behaviors (e.g. gossip, using foul language, fighting outside self-defense, etc). Ramadan encourages virtuous deeds and strengthening of Islamic values such as forgiveness, being merciful towards one’s self and others, assisting the needy, and reconnecting with Allah via additional prayers and mindful readings of the Holy Quran.

Ramadan is the 9th of 12 months in the Islamic Calendar (aka the Hijri Calendar). The Hijri Calendar was initiated to commemorate the migration of early Muslims from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution and form a religious base. Muslims believe that the first few Quranic verse were revealed to Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) in a night called Laylat Al-Qadr, thought to be one of the five odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan. This night is believed to be more powerful than a thousand nights, where God’s mercy and forgiveness are most abundant. Additional worship rituals are thus performed on this night. The end of the month is celebrated by 3 days of festivities called Eid Al-Fitr. Because the Hijri Calendar follows lunar observation, Hijri months lag roughly 10 days behind the solar-based Gregorian Calendar and so the month of Ramadan and Eid celebrations correspond with different Gregorian dates each year. Muslims in North America started observing Ramadan on May 6th, 2019 this year.

The Black Lives Matter Movement: Mental Health Implications (Joya Hampton, PhD, Postdoctoral Resident, Grady). Black Lives Matter, a grassroots movement developed after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012, centers Black Lives in the fight against systemic injustice and provide intervention and affirmation around the unique oppression that people of African descent face (Crowell et al., 2017; Garza, 2014). Born from social media, the movement has joined forces with other organizations with similar goals, and together, have been considered by some to be the “21st Century Civil Rights Movement” (Crowell et all., 2017). The Black Lives Matter movement is important for mental health professionals to be aware of because it provides affirmation and validation to a group of patients that historically have been systemically disenfranchised and that also experiences physical and mental health disparities (Williams, Priest, and Anderson, 2016). The movement affirms and validates the pain that results from the shootings of unarmed people of color. As mental health professionals being familiar with the power that validation has in the therapeutic context, we can appreciate the power it has within the Black Lives Matter movement. The lack of affirmation and validation of this group is a critical part of why we see the aforementioned disparities and bringing this to the forefront in our professions is key to dismantling such inequalities. It is essential that mental health professionals understand the nuanced implications of the movement for our patients (i.e. patients being reluctant to utilize law enforcement as a resource and being wary of the system that we work within). As someone who has both personal and professional experience with themes around Black Lives Matter, I believe it is imperative that we not fall away from the movement by considering it a symbol of political persuasion, but rather that we consider it a necessary movement that empowers our African American patients that have been systematically disempowered.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (Nori Lim, PhD, Assistant Professor, Child & Adolescent Mood Program). During May, which is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Our country pays tribute to the history and contributions of AAPIs to American culture and society. This commemoration originated in 1977 when Congressman Frank Horton (New York) and Senator Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) introduced a joint resolution in the House and Senate, respectively, to make the first ten days in the month of May “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.” However, it was not until 1978 when the bill passed both houses of Congress and the proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress extending the week to a month-long observance. May was chosen because it marks the immigration of the first Japanese settlers into the US (1843) and celebrates the completion of the transcontinental railroad (1869), for which Chinese immigrants were instrumental in constructing. Amounting to over 100% population growth since the year 2000, AAPIs constitute one of the fastest growing ethnic/racial groups in the State of Georgia today. Representing immigrants from various countries in Asia, they make up 5.6% of the Metro Atlanta area and about 4% of Georgia (Asian Indians form the largest sub-group in the state). Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders played an active role in creating the America that we know today. AAPIs have made and continue to make significant contributions in numerous spheres, such as in labor and labor union formation, education, science and research, sports, arts and entertainment, public service, law and government, as well as in civil rights and social justice movements. Of note, AAPIs have a long history of fighting racial discrimination, injustice, and exclusion; this is something that AAPIs still struggle with today.


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Major Leadership Appointments, Activities and Achievements

Rachel Ammirati was appointed Assistant Vice Chair for Faculty Development – New Initiatives.

Jordan Cattie was elected President of OCD Georgia, the state-level affiliate of the International OCD Foundation. 

Telsie Davis was appointed Assistant Vice Chair for Faculty Development – Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity.

Andrew Furman was appointed Assistant Vice Chair for Faculty Development – Promotions.

Ebrahim Haroon was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.

Erica Lee was appointed Assistant Vice Chair for Faculty Development – Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity.

Sheila Rauch was promoted to the rank of Professor.

Justine Welsh was appointed to the board of Georgi’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.


Schwartz, A.C., Cotes, R.O., Kim J., Ward, M.C., & Manning, K.D. (2019). Bite-sized teaching: Engaging the modern learner in psychiatry. Academic Psychiatry, 43, 315-318.  DOI: 10.1007/s40596-018-1014-3


Fani, N., King, T.Z., Clendinen, C., Hardy, R.A., Surapaneni, S., Blair, R.J., White, S., Powers, A., Ely, T.D., Jovanovic, T., Ressler, K.J., Bradley, B. (accepted). Attentional control abnormalities in posttraumatic stress disorder: Functional, behavioral and structural correlates. Journal of Affective Disorders.

Fani, N., Michopoulos, V., van Rooij, S.J.H., Clendinen, C., Hardy, R.A., Jovanovic, T., Rothbaum, B.O., Ressler, K.J., Stevens, J.S. (accepted). Structural connectivity and risk for anhedonia after trauma: A prospective study and replication. Journal of Psychiatric Research.

Lee, E. (2019) Mass Shootings Unfairly Stigmatizing Mentally Ill. The National Psychologist, 28 (3).  

Michopoulos V, Beurel E, Gould F, Dhabhar FS, Schultebraucks K, Galatzer-Levy I, Rothbaum BO, Ressler KJ, Nemeroff CB. (accepted) Low TNFa and IFNg Concentrations in the Immediate Aftermath of Trauma Exposure are Associated with Greater Prospective Risk for Chronic PTSD Symptoms. The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Thompson, K., King, K., Nahmias, E., Fani, N., Kvaran, T., Tone, E.B., Turner, J.A. (accepted). Social feedback modulates neural response associated with cognitive bias in individuals expressing anxious symptoms. Journal of Chronic Stress.

Ward MC, Druss BG. (Published online May 15, 2019). Treatment considerations in severe mental illness: Caring for the whole patient. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0903

Honors, Awards, Rankings

Congratulations to the following faculty members were featured and celebrated by the School of Medicine for Educator’s Appreciation Day: Rob Cotes, Jennifer Felger, Heather Greenspan, Julie Kable, Brittany Lannert, Erica Lee, Phyllis Rosen, Ann Schwartz, Yilang Tang, Martha Ward and Jennifer Wootten.

Rachel Ammirati was awarded The Barbara Vick Impact Award by the Community Liaison Council of the Emory Center for AIDS Research. 

Peter Ash received the Issac Ray Award at the APA meeting.

Rob Cotes is a Consultant to the APA Scientific Committee for 2019-2020.

Negar Fani received a grant from Emory’s University Research Council entitled Vibroacoustically-augmented Mindfulness for Dissociative Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Andrew Miller won the Anna Monika Prize, a prestigious award in international mood disorders that recognizes his outstanding achievements in advancing knowledge about the biological substrate and functional disturbances of depression.

Gray Norquist received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychiatric Association.

Loren Post received second place for “An intensive outpatient program with prolonged exposure for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: retention, predictors and patterns of change” at the 2019 Health Services Research Day Poster Presentation.

Barbara Rothbaum was a featured speaker at Emory Alumni’s Emory Insights + Innovation Series at Lincoln Center in New York City. 

Jennifer Wooten was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from her high school, St. Pius X. 


Ammirati, R., Cattie, J., Hershenberg, R., Lee, E., & Waford, R.  (April, 2019). Hot topics in ethics. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association. Atlanta, Georgia.

Kovach, J.G., Servic, M.E., & Cotes, R.O. (May 2019). Innovative approaches to engaging and advising tomorrow’s psychiatrists. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, California.

Lee, E.D., Casimir, M., Powell, A-L., Popovic, R., & Roberts, T.M.  (April, 2019). Fostering resilience in serious mental health challenges: Building positive outcomes. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association. Atlanta, Georgia. 

Lindqvist, D. (Chair), Trivedi, M.H., Miller, A.H., and Rapaport, M.H. (Presenters) (May 2019). Using inflammation to personalize antidepressant therapy. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, California.

LoPilato, A.M.., Hampton, J., & Craighead, E. (April, 2019). Improving parent well-being and effectiveness: A DBT-informed approach to parent guidance. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association. Atlanta, Georgia. 

Murrough, J.W. (Moderator), Miller, A.H., Figee, M., and Narr, K. (May 2019). Advances in the understanding and treatment of treatment resistant depression. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, California.

Norquist, G.S. (Chair), Schwartz, B.J., Certa, K.M., and Pelletier, M. (Presenters). (May 2019). Improving patient safety on inpatient units and the impact of recent changes in survey standards by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, California.

Pinals, D.A. (Chair), Ash, P., Prabhu, M., Swartz, M.S., and Janofsky, J.S. (Presenters) (May 2019). Updates from the Council on Psychiatry and the Law Council on Psychiatry and Law. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, California.

Rapaport, MH. (Moderator). Focus live: Complementary and integrative medicine. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, California.

Rapaport, MH. (Moderator). Focus live: Emerging therapies in psychiatry. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, California.

Schwenke, T.J., Azores-Gococo, N.M., Kaufman, H.V., Silva, M.T., Coffman, K.L., Gambow, A.L., & Hill, A.B. (April, 2019). Stress and resiliency in the face of litigations. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association. Atlanta, Georgia. 

Shah, S., Flores, A.L., & Egan, G.J. (April, 2019). Beyond Tarasoff: Federal and state laws psychologists should know. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association. Atlanta, Georgia.

Toledano, S., & Celano, M.  (April, 2019). Lessons learned from Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT): Adaptations and applications for diverse clinical populations and purposes. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association. Atlanta, Georgia. 

Watson-Singleton, N.N.  (April, 2019). From risk to resilience: Using mindfulness to promote health among African American clients. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association. Atlanta, Georgia.

Quality and Safety Initiatives and Capital Campaign Initiatives

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Community Benefit Programs and Activities

Dorian Lamis participated in the Skyland Trail/Grady Health System 2019 Dorothy C. Fuqua Lecture as a panelist. The title of the lecture, “From Tragedy to Treatment: The Path Forward in Suicide Prevention,” featured Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who has written and spoken about suicide prevention, as well as the panel that discussed strategies moving forward.


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Emory in the Media 

Emory Healthcare Veterans Program (1) WXIA – Emory Doctors Who Treat Veterans with PTSD See Military Trauma First-Hand at Fort Benning.

Rachel Hershenberg (1) Deseret News – Do Expensive Sports or Music Lessons Pay Off? New Study Shows Parents are Banking on Yes.

Nadine Kaslow (1) Pointe – Delayed Puberty: Why Not Getting Your Period is a Problem.

Andrew Miller (1) Medical Health News – Next-Generation Antidepressants Show Promise for Treatment-Resistant Depression. (2) Healio – Next-Generation Antidepressants Show Promise for Treatment-Resistant Depression.

Michael Morrier (1) CNN – When to Screen for Autism? New Study Suggests as Young as 14 Months.

Abigail Powers Lott (1) Glamour – My Friend and I Were Sexually Assaulted by the Same Guy – Our Friendship May Have Saved Us.

Sheila Rauch (1) Healthline – Research Finds Biomarkers May Help Identify People at Risk for Suicide.

Barbara Rothbaum (1) Atlanta Journal Constitution – Emory Expands PTSD, TBI Treatment Program for Military Veterans. (2) Metro Atlanta CEO – Emory Healthcare Veterans Program Celebrates Expansion, Doubling the Number of Veterans Treated.

Martha Ward (1) Healio – Psychiatrists can Care for the “Whole” Patient with Serious Mental Illness.

Other Accomplishments 

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Raymond Kotwicki was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. 

Matthew Norman, an adjunct associate professor in our department, has been appointed to the Georgia Composite Medical Board by the governor.  This is quite an accomplishment, as the Board has lacked a psychiatrist for many years. 


Justin Palanci was the recipient of the 2019 Association of Family Psychiatrists Resident/Fellow Recognition Award for Excellence in Family Care.

Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, CA: Aripiprazole-Induced Sialorrhea in First-Episode Psychosis: Case Report and Treatment Review. Ahmad Umair Janjua, Ayesha Khan, Robert Cotes 

Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, San Francisco, CA: Trainee Experiences with the Death of a Patient.  Rachel Conrad, Henry Keitzman, Robert Cotes, Jeffrey Rakofsky, Andrew Furman 


Dawn Fletcher has been appointed to the NAMI board of directors in Atlanta.


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