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The next Leadership Consultation will be Wednesday February 14th from 11:30-1pm and will be held at EP12 in the 1st floor training room.


The next Faculty Development Seminar will focus on Teaching Portfolios. It will be very helpful to people going up for promotion any time in the future, as well as for individuals mentoring faculty who are in the promotion pipeline. It will be held on Wednesday February 7 from 10:30-12pm, EP12, Room TBD.


The next Writing Group meeting will be Wednesday February 7 at 8am at EP12, Room TBD.


Michael Morrier, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is the Director of Screening and Assessment at the Emory Autism Center (EAC). He is the Emory PI on a multi-state NIMH-funded investigation of the use of technology for obtaining an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. Michael, in conjunction with Cathy Rice, helps families of children under age 9 years obtain a state-of-the-art comprehensive assessment to determine if they qualify for a DSM-5 diagnosis of ASD.  

Since 2015, he has worked with Cathy to develop the Georgia Autism Assessment Collaborative (GAAC) with funding through Georgia’s Department of Public Health (DPH). The GAAC trains community-based licensed psychologists to conduct the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) as part of a comprehensive ASD assessment. This current funding focuses on developing 5 specialty ASD clinics throughout Georgia to lower the age of ASD diagnosis. Michael has consulted to the CDC’s autism surveillance project (Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network) to track and monitor the prevalence of ASD nationally and in Georgia since 1999. Annually, he coordinates a 2-3-day training for community-based school psychologists and other health professionals to learn how to conduct the ADOS in clinical practice. As a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), he coordinates the applied behavior analysis training program, also funded through DPH, for graduate students gaining hands-on experience hours and supervision to obtain certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. From 2013-2015 Michael worked with key state stakeholders to draft an insurance mandate for ABA services for ASD, which was passed as Ava’s Law in 2015. Currently, Michael is working with department and Emory personnel on trying to use a family’s insurance benefit to pay for ABA services at the EAC. Michael is part of the EAC Safety Committee that is developing policies and procedures to ensure safety for all parties at the EAC. 

Outside of Emory, Michael serves as the President of the Georgia Division for Early Childhood a state subdivision of the Division for Early Childhood, a component of the Council for Exceptional Children. He teaches ABA-related ethics and practicum courses at Georgia State University.  When not working, Michael is an avid fan of Georgia Bulldogs football - Go Dawgs!!

What Michael enjoys most about his work at the EAC is helping families navigate from developmental concerns, to ASD diagnosis, to access to evidence-based treatments.  He values assisting the next generation of BCBAs learn how to incorporate ABA procedures into the natural environments for which families and children come into contact on a daily basis.

The highlights of Michael’s career started when he relocated to Emory in 1991 to work with the newly created EAC. At that time, bringing innovative ABA treatment for ASD to Georgia was an experience he will never forget. Other highlights include being recognized for his assessment work by being asked to conduct ASD related assessments for research projects in and outside of Emory. But the biggest highlight is seeing the students he has supervised gain regional, national, and international prominence in their field of choice, whether it be ASD, ABA, special education, or other related fields.

One of Michael’s future goals is to help family’s fully access their insurance benefits for ABA services so that young children from all socioeconomic levels can access evidence-based treatments. He hopes to continue to develop the BCBA training program so there are enough BCBAs in Georgia for families across the state, especially rural areas, to access ABA services that meet their child’s unique strengths and needs without having to be put on a lengthy service waiting list.


Tomina J. Schwenke, PhD, ABPP, Assistant Professor (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences), psychologist at the Emory Clinic, and Program Director, Competency Restoration Program, based in the Psychiatry and Law Service, provides treatment, assessment, and consultation within clinical and forensic settings. She collaborates with multidisciplinary legal and medical practitioners and provides supervision for postdoctoral fellows doing forensic psychology work.  Dr. Schwenke received her PhD in 2012 from Georgia State University and completed Masters degrees in Deafness Rehabilitation and Counselor Education at New York University. She graduated from an interpreter education program at City University of New York and is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and has a specialty certification in mental health interpreting. Her major interests are forensic psychology, deaf studies, and traumatology.  


None noted


The Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion will be sharing information monthly regarding various holidays and heritage months and celebrations of various forms of diversity. Volunteers to briefly education members of the department about a specific form of diversity and to share some personal experiences are welcome.

World AIDS Day – Allison Ramsay, PsyD, Psychology Postdoctoral Resident, Grady Pediatric Infectious Disease Program. Since 1988, December 1st has been designated as World AIDS Day. This is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to mourn those who have died of the disease. Globally, over 70 million people have been infected with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 35 million people have died from AIDS-related complications. As a postdoctoral resident at Grady’s IDP, I am surrounded by innovators in the field of HIV treatment and I am continually amazed by the developments in research that have led to simplified regimens, fewer side effects, and notable improvements in quality of life for those living with HIV/AIDS. However, it was not long ago that “living with HIV/AIDS” was not a commonly heard phrase. People were dying of HIV/AIDS-related complications faster than doctors could treat it, in some places wiping out entire communities. As a gay man in his 60s, my dad witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis and how it forever changed the gay community. My dad has told me stories of the community in which he now lives, in the Castro area of San Francisco, where during the height of the crisis, many of the homes in his neighborhood stood vacant as their residents lay dying in hospitals. The fear surrounding HIV/AIDS was very real, and fear along with HIV-related stigma and discrimination persists today despite major advances in treatment. As a mental health provider, I continue to see the sequelae of that fear, stigma, and discrimination every day with my patients. It impacts patients’ adherence to treatment, their relationships, their mental and physical health, and their sense of self. Certain populations continue to be extremely disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS as well as the continued fear, stigma, and discrimination, including racial and ethnic minorities, men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender communities, and IV drug users. World AIDS Day has always been a somber day for me. I always try to take a moment to visit the AIDS quilt when it comes to Atlanta to read the stories and learn about those we have lost. The theme of World AIDS Day this year is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.” It is my hope that as a department, we help strive to bring this theme to life to work to eradicate not only HIV but also the fear, stigma, and discrimination that have become all too familiar for individuals living with HIV.

International Day of Disabled Persons – Alison (Ali) Pickover, Psychology Intern, Trauma Track.  At age 8, I was diagnosed with DYT-1 dystonia. This movement disorder affects my left leg and right hand and is most noticeable to others when I write. While it’s unusual for me to talk about my diagnosis with colleagues, I frequently disclose to patients if they see me write. It seems to put them at ease, and it brings comfort to me. And though living with dystonia brings challenges, in honor of International Day of Disabled Persons 2017 (which this year was December 3), I would like to bring awareness to the way having this disorder enhances my ability to quickly develop rapport with my patients. I currently work on the Nia project, with survivors of violence, many of whom have comorbid physical and mental health disorders. This population is like the ones I have been working with since I was a research assistant in college. Frequently, I conduct in-depth diagnostic assessment in which extensive writing is unavoidable on my part. In the seven years I’ve been doing these assessments, I have yet to meet anyone who has disclosed a diagnosis of dystonia. Yet every time I talk to patients about seeing me write, telling them that “it might look a little unusual how I hold my pen, and it might take me a bit longer than other people to write down what you say, and yeah, having this disorder makes it a little harder, but everyone’s dealing with something, and we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got, and we make it work, right?”, a connection is formed instantly. This comes in part from my vulnerability, and in part from their empathy and understanding, conveyed through their responses. I have found this to be true even with patients who have extreme difficulties forming attachments, and with patients who, at least on the surface, appear to have very little in common with me. The choice to self-disclose is personal. Sometimes, it is optional. Other times, it is not. My patients share a tremendous amount of personal, often traumatic, information with me and with their providers and have no other option if they are to get optimal care. Disclosing my dystonia is a reminder of that to me, and a way of facilitating a connection that would be hard to establish in a short amount of time otherwise. It’s also a reminder that talking about aspects of identity, even when uncomfortable, is an important way to learn, and can ultimately have a positive effect on relationships. And thus, I am grateful for how my disability has affected me as a clinician and a person. If anyone would like to talk more about DYT-1 dystonia, feel free to contact me at


Major Leadership Appointments, Activities and Achievements

None reported


Marcangelo M, Heinrich T, Schwartz AC. “Providing effective teaching for all trainees on a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service.” Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine Annual Meeting, Palm Springs, CA, 2017 (workshop). 

Peter Topping evaluated the resident recruitment and interview practices for the Department of Medicine and conducted an interviewing workshop for the faculty in that department. His input and guidance improved the quality of interviews conducted by the core faculty.


Da Frota Ribeiro, M., & Riva-Posse, P. (2017). Use of Ketamine in elderly patients with treatment-resistant depression. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19, 107. DOI: 10.1007/s11920-017-0855-x

Rauch, S.A.M, Simon, N.M., Kim, H.M., Acerno, R., King, A.P., Norman, S.B., Venners, M.R., Porter, K., Phar, K.L., Tuerk, P.W., Allard, C., Liberzon, I., Rothbaum, B.O., Martis, B., Stein, M.B., & Hoge, C.W. (2016). Integrating biological treatment mechanisms into randomized clinical trials: Design of PROGrESS (PROlonGed ExpoSure and Sertraline Trial). Contemporary Clinical Trials, 64, 128-138. DOI: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.10.013

Sexton, M.R., Porter, K.E., Richards, S.K.H., Swanson, L.M., & Rauch, S.A.M. (2017). Gender differences in perceived nightmare- and insomnia-related sleep disturbances and their relationships to PTSD symptom severity in treatment-seeking veterans. 

Honors, Awards, Rankings

Michele Casimir was selected to be one of the 10 Early Career Psychologists funded by the American Psychological Association to attend the 2018 Practice Leadership Conference, which will be held in Washington, DC.  

Jennifer Felger was elected an Associate Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Rachel Hershenberg was selected as a 2017 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Sciences.

Bill McDonald was a co-author on one of the most talked about articles in psychiatry in 2017 – Sanacora, G., Frye, M.A., McDonald, W., Matthew, S.J., Turner, M.S., Schatzberg, A.F., Summergrad, P., Nemeroff, C.B., for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council of Research Task Force on Novel Biomarkers and Treatments. JAMA Psychiatry, 74, 399-405. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0080

Mark Rapaport was advanced to the status of the Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Barbara Rothbaum was elected to the rank of National Academy of Inventors Fellow.

Quality and Safety Initiatives and Capital Campaign Initiatives

None reported

Community Benefit Programs and Activities

Nori Lim spoke at Morningside Elementary School and the title of his talk was “How to raise brave and confident children: Parenting strategies to help children with anxiety.”


None reported

Emory in the Media

Greg Berns: (1) WFAE News: Charlotte Talks: Inside the minds of dogs

Rachel Hershenberg: (1) NBC News – A mental trick to help you deal with rude people this holiday season; (2) US News and World Report – How to motivate yourself to exercise when you have depression; (3) Psychology Today – Why the resentment? When you take on the lion’s share of the holiday preparations; (4) US News and World Report – 8 tiny lifestyle changes that deliver huge health rewards

Larry Scahill: (1) Spectrum – Anxiety may heighten social communication challenges in autism

The myLIFE program at the Emory Autism Center was featured in the Fall 2017 Emory Business Magazine -  

Other Accomplishments

Cook S*, Haw JS, von Esenwein S, Schwartz AC, Braden-Joyner A, Schneider J. “Improving access and quality of care for transgender patients: Creating a multidisciplinary, consultative clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital.” Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine Annual Meeting, Palm Springs, CA, 2017 (poster).

Kaslow, N.J. (December 2017). My journey as a psychologist: Leadership lessons learned. Keynote address at the Colin Powell School for Civil and Global Leadership, City College of New York. New York City, New York. 


Sayed, A., & Naqvi, H.A. (2017). Comparison of suicide rate and gun laws in developed nations. Poster presented at the annual convention of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Denver, CO. 


None reported