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A Day in the Life

Marc Ettensohn, MD

Marc Ettensohn, MD

Congratulations to Dr. Marc Ettensohn for earning the ABPN Fellowship Award!

Jacqueline Hobbs, MD, PhD is very pleased to announce that Dr. Marc Ettensohn, PGY-3, after a competitive national search and in-person interview with Dr. Faulkner, CEO of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), has been awarded a prestigious ABPN Senior Resident Administrative Fellowship for 2015-2016. This fellowship will provide Marc a 3-month experience at the ABPN office to become familiar with the structure and function of the ABPN, major regulatory and professional organizations in psychiatry and neurology (ABMS, ACGME, RRCs, FSMB, etc.) and crucial issues confronting these disciplines. Marc will work directly and travel with Dr. Faulkner to various national meetings, be introduced to leaders in the field, as well as perform a research project relevant to the ABPN. Funding will be provided by the ABPN. This is an amazing achievement for Marc. We are very proud of him.


Andrew Pierce, MD

Andrew Pierce, MD

Marc Ettensohn, MD

Marc Ettensohn, MD

Congratulations to Drs. Marc Ettensohn and Andrew Pierce on their nominations to the Institutional Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) as resident representatives.

Please join us in congratulating Marc and Andrew!

Both were selected by COM peer residents to represent the overall housestaff.

The GMEC oversees 70 ACGME-accredited,  as well as 44 non-ACGME training programs.
The committee is made up of core program training directors, hospital and education leaders, GME administrators, and resident/fellow representatives.

Marc and Andrew will learn a lot about the key leadership structure of the hospital and COM.


Natasha Clark, MD

Natasha Clark, MD

Natasha Clark, MD
PGY – 1

My background:

I was born and raised in Chicago, and stayed in the Midwest for undergrad at University of Michigan. I went back to Illinois and attended University of Illinois at Chicago for my Masters in Public Health, and later on went to University of Illinois at Peoria for medical school.

Why I chose UF:

The two factors that played into my decision of choosing UF were:  First, I felt I would receive great training with the variety of patients at several different hospital sites and clinic settings. Second, I saw the way the residents got along and seemed like they were happy. I wanted to make sure that I would be at a program where I felt like I would fit in, and I would be able to get along with my fellow colleagues. After interviewing, I felt pretty confident that both of those aspects would be fulfilled at this program. I also have an interest in addiction psychiatry, and this program is well known for its addiction training, so it was a great fit for me.

Typical daily schedule:

Currently, I am on the Shands consult service. My work day usually starts shortly before 8:00am. I go in and round on my patients. Then the team meets around 9:30am to round on the whole teams’ patients which could be anywhere between 1 patient to 10 or so. After rounding, we see any new patients that we get consulted on during the day. We then round again in the afternoon around 1:30 or 2pm, and see the new patients that we have seen during the day. Three days out of the week, I have didactics during the lunch hour. Currently our team consists of 4 residents, with 2 interns who are there all the time, but the senior residents are there when they don’t have to see clinic patients. We also have a lot of medical students on the team who can go around and help see some of the patients. At the end of the day, we write notes on the patients that we saw. I usually end up leaving around 5:00pm. Leaving at 5:00pm, gives me a little free time to run errands or cook dinner, or even head out to Planet Fitness to get some exercise in.

How I spend my free time:

Since we are on a college campus, there are plenty of things to do. I look forward to being able to attend some of the football games, because I am sure that it would be a great experience. Being from Chicago, there were always a variety of restaurants to go to, so it’s good to see that there are some pretty good restaurants to try in the area, so that I don’t miss out on some diverse cuisine.  Also, since Gainesville is in north central Florida, it’s kind of close to a lot of major cities, so you can have a nice weekend drive to places like Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, etc. I have some family and friends who live within a couple of hours of here, so I can always take a weekend trip to visit them. It’s still early in my time here in Gainesville, but I’ll have plenty of time to get around and explore Gainesville and the rest of the surrounding areas.


Christopher Ong, MD

Christopher Ong, MD

Christopher Ong, MD
PGY – 2

My background:

While I was born in New Jersey, I was raised in Jacksonville, FL for most of my life. I am a true product of the University of Florida system as I have attended undergrad, medical    school, and residency here in Gainesville.

Why I chose UF:

1)     Academic/research opportunities: the program doesn’t force you to do research, but if you like presenting and going to conferences, this program does more for its residents than any other in the country. Last year, UF had the MOST residents from any program presenting at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual conference (which was all the way in New York) thanks to financial support and rotation coverage that was organized by Dr. Gold, Dr. Hobbs, and our chief residents.

2)     Call schedule: our program has a lot of call at the start, but luckily you’re done with call at the end of your second year (yes, that means no call as a 3rd or 4th year). Because you learn so much on call, it’s no wonder why we often feel more prepared than our counterparts at other programs where call is stretched out over all 4 years.

3)     Personality: the residents just get along! You’ll hear us say it over and over again, but unlike other programs where the residents pretend to know each other on interview day, you’ll see that we are a family who isn’t afraid to have a little fun (or make fun of each other).

Typical daily schedule:

Currently I’m on night float at our stand-alone psychiatric hospital, Shands Vista. My shift starts at 5pm when I start answering calls and dealing with any non-emergent issues from home. Once I get to the hospital at 7pm, I start seeing any new admissions or take care of any issues that I could not deal with over the phone. Admissions are usually steady until midnight, at which point things calm down. From then on, I’ll have an occasional admission or two until my shift ends at 7am. During this quiet time, I will answer an occasional nurse page or tend to any emergencies on the floor. I usually get about 3-4 hours of sleep while in the hospital, even on a busy night.

When I’m not feeling tired, I’ll use this precious quiet time to either study for the PRITE, work on my portfolio, or catch up on the latest season of 24 (don’t tell Dr. Hobbs). While the shifts may seem long, I work from Sunday night until Friday morning, so it feels like I have a 3 day weekend during night float.

How I spend my free time:

I take advantage of these long weekends by going out of town. This month, I went to a wedding in Orlando, attended the chair summit in Tampa, and presented at the Florida Psychiatric Society’s conference in Clearwater. So, it’s pretty easy to see that I really like night float!


Laura Tait, MD

Laura Tait, MD

Laura Tait, MD
PGY – 2

My Background:

I was born in Arkansas and attended undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri (Go Tigers!). I obtained my MD from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. After graduating, we returned to my husband’s home state and gave this Midwesterner some much needed sun time!

Why I Chose UF:

1) The opportunities are endless. UF has so many different experiences that a resident can tailor what he or she truly enjoys practicing in psychiatry and continue to expand his or her knowledge in that area. We have addictions, forensics, child, ECT, TMS, eating disorder inpatient and outpatient clinics, weight loss clinics, pain management, sleep clinics, movement disorders…you decide what you like!

2) UF has the right approach to the medicine months. Psychiatry residency requires four months of medicine to make a well-rounded psychiatrist. At UF, they have opted for us to do two months of rotations at an urgent care associated near the VA ER. It is a great experience and helps us learn how to handle daily medical problems, knowing when to admit a patient and when to send them home. We also have a month of combined Dermatology and Pain Medicine. Being in Florida, skin cancers are prevalent and I used that rotation to know when that mole needs to be addressed. The pain medicine portion involves an outpatient clinic setting at the VA where we rotate with various pain doctors, becoming more comfortable with the opiates. We only do ONE month of inpatient medicine. I enjoyed my inpatient month and learned a lot about cardiovascular work-up. You truly feel like a team member and I was treated with respect while on my month-long rotation.

3) THE RESIDENTS! The people I work with are awesome. We are genuine, laid back, and go out often for dinner and drinks. You couldn’t ask for better colleagues to work with!

Typical daily schedule:

I am currently assigned to the Brain Stimulation Unit located at UF-Shands hospital. It is a ten bed, ECT unit run by Dr. Solomon. It is a relaxed unit with nursing staff that know the routine so well, it runs like a well-oiled machine. I arrive around 8-8:15am. The nurses tell me about the patients and any issues that occurred overnight. ECT sessions are done on Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays. Dr. Solomon’s outpatients participate in their ECT treatments before the inpatients so I usually round quickly in the mornings of ECT and address any needs of my ten patients. Residents can participate in ECT under the guidance of Dr. Solomon and I have assisted with the anesthesiologist as well. ECT finishes around 11-11:30 and then we have sit down rounds in the nurse’s station. We discuss medication changes and then coordinate with our unit social worker for discharges/admissions. It is a slower unit, as most patients receive anywhere from 6-12 ECT sessions during their stay. We typically have 3-4 discharges per week with 3-4 admissions as well. There is lots of time for teaching medical students, studying for the prite or boards, or enjoying a good book. I leave around 5pm.

How I spend my free time:

My husband and I live in a neighborhood about 20-25 minutes away from the hospital. It has numerous running trails, a golf course, and swimming pools so we spend our free weekends lounging at the pool or hitting balls on the greens. The weather is absolutely beautiful so we enjoy many outdoor activities. I also have three dogs and take them on walks/runs often. Once a month we try to get away for a weekend and explore Florida. You can’t beat the cost of living, the weather, or friendly vibe of Gainesville.


Deepak Davidson, MD

Deepak Davidson, MD

Deepak M. Davidson, MD
PGY – 3

My background:

I was born and raised in New York. I attended SUNY Binghamton for undergrad then Barry University in Miami,Fl for a masters and finally St. George’s university in Grenada, West Indies for medical school.

Why I chose UF:

I chose UF because it is an outstanding training program, with great facilities and excellent teaching staff. I knew one of the residents from medical school and was able to get first hand knowledge about the program. My interview visit confirmed what I learned from my friend. The one thing that stood out for me was the camaraderie among the residents. I knew I wanted to be at a place where the residents found it enjoyable to be and got along with each other. UF exemplifies those characteristics.

Typical daily schedule:

Currently I am on the Blue Team on the inpatient unit at the VA. This team generally sees patients with mood disorders. There is one resident for the team and I see at most 12 patients per day. Normally I get there in the morning and get the census from the nursing staff. I then log on to CPRS and quickly review my patients’ charts for updates. The attending and I will see new patients admitted overnight and then round on the patients already admitted.  As the resident, I am responsible for the care of the patient and also responsible to manage medical care if appropriate.  I liaise with the attending, case management, pharmacy and the nursing staff to formulate a treatment plan for each patient. This allows for treatment and facilitates discharge planning as well. As the resident I am responsible for the patients until 5pm.  After that all calls will be handled by the ward call resident.

How I spend my free time: 388833_10150431699003215_1954767977_n

I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. My wife gave birth to our first child this past April.  I usually like to relax and just hang out. I enjoy both playing and watching sports. Though I am a New Yorker at heart, I think Gainesville is a great place to live.

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Melinda Hansen, MD

Melinda Hansen, MD

Melinda M. Hansen, MD
PGY – 3

My background:

I was born and raised in Minnesota but was looking to migrate to sunny Florida as my family will be relocating here in the near future. I went to University of Minnesota, Twin Cities for undergraduate and St. George’s University School of Medicine in the West Indies.

Why I chose UF:

When I came to UF I was amazed at the resources available to the residents to include a variety of fellowships as well as clinical and research opportunities in new state of the art facilities. I was particularly impressed by the amount of clinical exposure that I would get to include private and public settins as well as procedure based exposure to electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I was also very excited to gain early experience in outpatient psychiatry which is integrated into the program starting second year. I was most enthused by the warm welcoming I received from the residents at UF throughout the interview process and I felt that the residency program had a “family” like feel to it which was an important attribute.

Typical daily schedule:

Currently I am rotating at Shands Vista East inpatient unit which has 19 beds designated for patients with psychosis. In the morning we generally start rounding on the patients about 7am with the attending, nursing staff and medical students. During this time, we review the patient’s status, current treatment plan as well as discharge planning. Of the 19 beds, I am responsible for 9-10 of the patients and typically discharge 2-3 daily as well as admit 1-3 patients per day until 5pm. While the attending is ultimately responsible for the final treatment plan, I am generally permitted to make medication changes with his discretion. During lunch time, we generally have a lecture series on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 1 hour which we are currently using for PRITE review as well as Grand Rounds on Fridays. Additionally on Wednesday afternoons I have outpatient clinic from 2-5pm which allows for more diversity in my weekly routine and enables me to maintain continuity of care as I can continue seeing my recently discharged patients from the inpatient unit as well as take on a few psychotherapy cases. We also have psychotherapy group supervisory on Thursday afternoons which is a great venue to further explore some of our unique and challenging cases.

How I spend my free time: residentnami

There are a variety of activities to get involved in throughout the year to include nature preserves for hiking, nearby springs for swimming with the mantees, cave scuba diving, and horseback riding as well as kayaking or sailing on the UF lake which is free to residents. Additionally, there are a variety of restaurants in the down town area with diverse cuisine and it is always a pleasure to take in a play at the Hippodrome theater. And of course if you are a fan of football, the Gator Stadium is always a popular destination to take in a game. As I have most weekends off, I also find it relaxing to take a drive to nearby St. Augustine beach, Tampa Bay area to visit the Florida Aquarium, and Orlando to visit the many theme parks to include my personal favorite Epcot Center with the food & wine festival.


Vikram Vaka, MD

Vikram Vaka, MD

Vikram Vaka, MD
Outpatient Chief Resident
PGY – 4

My background:

I was born in India and grew up in Ohio but I had always wanted to live closer to the ocean.

Why I chose UF:

UF “just felt right” of every program I visited. I was impressed by the diversity of experiences that residents are exposure to, the various fellowships offered, and the excellent facilities. However, I was most impressed by how friendly everyone I met was, how the residents got along well with each other and all had very positive things to say about their experience at UF.  The residents all had great camaraderie and had nothing but good things to say about how friendly and earnest the faculty were. This was most apparent to me when I witnessed the assistant program director, covertly pull a harmless practical joke on one of the residents as payback for a practical joke the resident had played on him earlier that day. The fact that the residents and attendings felt comfortable joking with each other in this manner really resonated with me.

Typical daily schedule:

Currently I am on the Brain Stimulation Unit (BSU), an inpatient unit specializing in administering ECT. The day to day schedule varies a bit based on the specific rotation but as is true of many rotations here, I begin my workshift at approximately 8AM. At the BSU, a typical day starts with treatment team rounds during which the attending, resident, and nursing staff review all of the patients on the unit, discuss overnight issues, and make tentative treatment decisions. The attending, resident, and case worker then meet with each patient in the conference room. The resident is responsible for any admissions or discharges to the unit until 5pm at which time their shift ends.

One of the things I really appreciate about the program is that many of the attendings trust the residents and give them excellent autonomy regarding making the diagnosis, coming up with the treatment plan, and caring for the patient. The attendings and residents often make decisions about how best to treat the patient as a team. The attendings have the final say regarding treatment decisions, which acts as an important safety net. However, if the resident comes up with a reasonable treatment plan, many of the attendings will trust the resident’s plan and give them the go ahead. This autonomy that residents have, I find is invaluable in easing the transition from supervised training to individual practice.

How I spend my free time:Residents 1

In terms of ways to spend your free time, Gainesville has a lot to offer regardless of where your interests lie. If you like nature there’s some beautiful nature trails, hot springs, lakes, caverns, a bat house and even an artificial rainforest populated with butterflies from all over the world. If you like art, there are several art festivals, various museums, and even a theater. If you’re a sports fan or like the night life, Gainesville is a university town so there’s certainly no shortage of either. The Gator games can be pretty epic and there are residents that like to have fantasy football every year. If you would prefer to get together with friends to play board games, video games or to watch a movie, there’s a few residents in every year that like do precisely that. And if you like traveling, Gainesville is only a 2-3 hr drive away from Orlando, Tampa, St. Augustine and Daytona which puts you within a short drive away from multiple beaches, and amusement parks (Busch Gardens, Seaworld, Disney and Universal all of which offer a surprisingly affordable annual pass for Florida residents). As for me, I spend my free time doing all of the above and every so often save up five vacation days to go on a nine day road-trip through Florida, driving from Gainesville to the Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Key West, and back.