PsychIG – Psychiatry Interest Group


Co-Presidents Nathan Burriss & Kathleen Ehresmann
Treasurer Bhavana Pottabatula

Welcome to the Psychiatry Interest Group!

The mission of the Psychiatry Interest Group (PsychIG) is to educate all members of the University of Florida College of Medicine (UF COM) community about the many facets of psychiatry and the issues of mental health, as well as the breadth of opportunities available in this field. To this end, our group works closely with the UF Department of Psychiatry to organize several events per year, including speaker lunches on key topics in psychiatry, student involvement in the National Alliance on Mental Illness Gainesville Awareness Walk, and the Wearing out the Stigma event, founded by a Psychiatry Interest Group president in 2010. PsychIG also aims to provide opportunities in virtual and real space for students interested in psychiatry to foster relationships with peers and mentors in the field.

What is Psychiatry?

According to the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, psychiatry is defined as “a specialty that involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders, emotional disorders, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders and adjustment disorders. Biologic, psychological, and social components of illnesses are explored and understood in treatment of the whole person. Tools used may include diagnostic laboratory tests, prescribed medications, evaluation and treatment of psychological and interpersonal problems with individuals and families, and intervention for coping with stress, crises, and other problems.

Psychiatry Residency & Fellowship

The Minority Affairs Section of the American Medical Association maintains a helpful guide to the most common residency programs, including psychiatry. Mariana Mendez-Tadel, MD, Resident, Department of Psychiatry, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, author of the section on psychiatric residencies, writes, “most [psychiatric] residencies nowadays are four years in length. Internship is now integrated into the categorical psychiatry program and includes a minimum of 4 months of medicine or emergency medicine, 2 months of neurology and various other combinations of rotations. The majority include at least a few months of inpatient psychiatry. However most prog! rams will still allow candidates who have already done an internship in another specialty or a transitional or preliminary year to join the residency program as second years. Second year is usually entirely devoted to inpatient rotations. The third and fourth years are mostly spent in the outpatient setting. Some programs will allow residents to graduate in the third year as long as they continue a fellowship immediately afterwards. Also there are a few combined programs in Psychiatry and Medicine, Pediatrics, Neurology or Family Medicine.”

Following residency and subsequent certification in general psychiatry, psychiatrists are eligible for certification via the ABPN for the following subspecialties:

  • Addiction Psychiatry
  • Brain Injury Medicine
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Clinical Neurophysiology
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Pain Medicine
  • Psychosomatic Medicine
  • Sleep Medicine

Shadowing Opportunities

The Psychiatry Interest Group is pleased help UF medical students have the opportunity to shadow faculty in the Department of Psychiatry. The following professors have agreed to allow students to contact them to set-up appointments to shadow and learn more about their exciting fields.

The process works as follows:

1.  Identify a faculty member from the list whom you would like to spend some time with. For more information on faculty please visit

2. Send the faculty member an email with the subject: “Medical Student Psychiatry Shadowing” and include in the email your name, your year, and that you are with the Psychiatry Interest Group and would like to shadow them. Please cc so that we may keep track of participation.

3. Please provide some dates and times that you are free to spend with them and see if any of those times work (alternatively, you can leave it up to them and work your schedule around theirs).

This is a very flexible program–you can shadow the same person over and over again, or you can mix it up; you can spend an hour or an entire day with them. This is meant to allow you to gain some exposure to psychiatry in a real world setting before the third year clerkships begin. All of the faculty on the list are excited to participate in this program, but please be patient in waiting for a reply.

Faculty list:

William Greene, MD – Assistant Professor, Division of Addiction Medicine –

Elizabeth P. Dizney, Psy.D. – Assistant Professor, Division of Addiction Medicine, Clinical Director of UF & Shands Eating Disorder Recovery Center –

Tessy Korah, MD – Assistant Professor, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry –

Tonia Werner, MD, Assistant Professor, Division Chief of Forensic Psychiatry –

Brian Cooke, MD – Assistant Professor, Forensic Institute –

Joseph E. Thornton, MD – Assistant Professor, Chief of Division of Aging Geriatric Psychiatry, VA Consultation Liaison Services –

Richard Shriner, MD – Assistant Professor, Psychiatrist in Chief, Vista Psychiatric Hospital, Program Director, Eating Disorders and Obesity Programs –

Gary M. Reisfield, MD – Assistant Professor, Chief of Pain Management Services, Divisions of Addiction Medicine and Forensic Psychiatry –

Kimberly Teitelbaum, ARNP- Board Certified Psychiatry/ Mental Health Nurse Practitioner –

Mehdi Yazdanpanah, MD – VA Hospital, Psychiatry –

Dawn-Christi Bruignzeel, MD – Assistant Professor, Director of ECT services, VA Hospital –

Grand Grounds

Please visit: for information ont the UF Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds program.

Future Events

  • TBA

Other Resources