Black History Month

February is Black History Month, let us take a moment to recognize Black Americans’ contributions to the field of medicine. Today we will learn about Cassandra Newkirk, M.D. She was nominated by Ludmilla De Faria, M.D. for her advocacy work with healthcare for incarcerated women and mentoring in health care administration.

Cassandra Newkirk, MD

Cassandra Newkirk, M.D. currently serves as the Chief Psychiatric Officer for Wellpath. She practiced general and forensic psychiatry in Atlanta with faculty appointments at Emory University and Morehouse Schools of Medicine, and currently holds a voluntary faculty position at Florida International University and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Newkirk has been an advocate for the inclusion of correctional psychiatry as a part of the public psychiatry sector and has mentored several students and residents in this area throughout her career. She has held a variety of positions in professional organizations, including several committee memberships in the American Psychiatric Association, has served as presidents of the Florida Psychiatry Society, and the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. She currently serves as an Assembly representative to the American Psychiatric Association from the state of Florida and is the Chair of the FPS Telemedicine Committee.

Dr. Newkirk received her bachelor’s degree from Duke University, her Doctor of Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in business administration with emphasis in healthcare management from Regis University. Dr. Newkirk was Chief Resident at Emory University School of Medicine and is board certified in general adult and Forensic psychiatry.


Ludmilla DeFaria, MD

Dr. Ludmila De Faria is an associate professor of psychiatry and an associate training director for psychiatry in the College of Medicine. She has been a psychiatrist in Florida for over 15 years, seeing patients, teaching psychopharmacology and participating in research.

Dr. De Faria has a special interest in and works closely with minority populations. She is especially interested in increasing access and decreasing mental health disparities among minorities and providing a culturally sensitive environment for patients. She is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. De Faria was born in Brazil where she earned her Medical Degree from the Universidade de Brasilia and moved to United States in 1991 to complete medical training at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami.