Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry; CPEP Medical Director of Education and Community Coordination; Emergency Psychiatry Fellowship Program Director
The major focus of my educational, service and scholarly activities for the past 17 years has been in the area of Emergency Psychiatry, with a particular interest in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) specific to New York State. The CPEP program at the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC), in which I have served as the Medical Director since June 2014, conducts 10,000-12,000 evaluations annually. These programs are designed to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, able to intervene rapidly when patients pose a potential danger to themselves or others. There is tremendous diversity within the patients seen in CPEP, ranging from 2 to 99 years of age, coming from all socio-economic levels, cultures, referral sources and presenting with a wide range of problems and pathology. Rapid assessment of diagnosis, safety and treatment needs must be conducted, relative to both behavior within the unit and in determining the most appropriate level of care required by each patient. My clinical work requires a vast understanding of symptoms and psychiatric pathology, knowledge of community-based and hospital treatment resources, pharmacotherapy, systems of care, as well as the legal and ethical ramifications of involuntary commitment.
As a full-time attending psychiatrist in CPEP, my clinical area of practice provides a rich learning environment for trainees from which a wide variety of psychiatric pathologies can be identified, the art of lethality assessment can be demonstrated, developmental issues can be illustrated as can be the influence that derailments in these might have on mental health and well-being. There are regular opportunities to discuss the impact of social determinants on health, practice the prioritization of clinical tasks and responsibilities, time management, leadership as well as collaboration within a complex system of care and multi-disciplinary treatment team. Expertise in emergency psychiatry naturally lends itself to informing didactic commitments that I contribute to both medical student and resident education. I was designated the CPEP attending coordinator of resident education in 2008 and accordingly developed the current goals and objectives for the rotation and direct the Emergency Psychiatry, Crisis Intervention, and resident orientation lectures on supervision and handoffs. With an ever-growing appreciation for the educational value the psychiatric emergency room provides, promotion to Medical Director of the CPEP in 2014 allowed me to begin advocating for the development of a specialized fellowship program that could better highlight this unique teaching opportunity. In the fall of 2019, I secured funding to support one of only five nationally recognized Emergency Psychiatry Fellowships. I developed a curriculum, fellowship objectives, an evaluation process and website to define the fellowship. Through networking with the few other budding program leaders across the nation, I generated the first set of emergency psychiatry-specific milestones to guide teaching and supervision of incoming fellows. By November 2019, I created the organizational plan needed to earn approval by the office of Graduate Medical Education to begin recruitment, acknowledging this non-accredited fellowship program as affiliated with the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The first trainee enrolled in this program successfully completed the fellowship in June 2023. To better support my position as the Fellowship Director, and ongoing networking within the psychiatric community in Western New York, in January 2023, my administrative role morphed into the more focused, novel position as the Medical Director of Education and Community Collaboration. These efforts also earned promotion within the university to Associate Clinical Professor as of August 2022.
Born and raised in Buffalo I remain devoted to not only fostering the development of quality psychiatric training locally, but also championing the Jacobs School of Medicine as a center of excellence for teaching emergency psychiatry specifically. I expect to advance this novel educational opportunity highlighting the UB Department of Psychiatry and its faculty as leaders in this nationally developing field, and thereby as leaders in the medical community, educating expert clinicians within our unique Emergency Psychiatry Fellowship. This includes involvement in local advocacy and leadership initiatives by serving on the Department of Mental Health Community Services Board in advisement to the Erie County Commissioner of MH, also the Board of Directors for Endeavor Health, and participating in collaboration initiatives working with the NYS Attorney General's Office, peer advocacy groups, the Office of Mental Health and Erie County SPOA Office. In doing so, I hope to shape the system of care in Western New York for the better, and not just practice within it.