May 2021


May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month by joining our Talk About It campaign to combat mental health stigma. Throughout the month of May, receive informational posts and content about mental health to share on your social media platforms using the hashtag #GCTalkAboutIt

cartoon image to depict panic attack for Washington Post article

Heart pounding, body sweating, thoughts racing? It might be a panic attack. Here’s what to do.

Ludmila DeFaria, MD talks with the Washington Post about panic attacks and ways you can manage them.


Kishan Nallapula on APA vlog for telepsychiatry

Dr. Nallapula records Telepsychiatry Vlog for APA

As a Member of the Committee on Mental Health Information Technology of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Kishan Nallapula, MD was asked to record a vlog on Inpatient Telepsychiatry During COVID-19. View his vlog here.



Wellness Wednesday  at Loften High School

Drs. Jordanne King and Carol Lewis visited Loften High School and led their Wellness Wednesday. Drs. King and Lewis helped the students make calming glitter bottles. Lofton High School is part of the direct mental health instruction that is now offered in our public schools.


Ludmila DeFaria, MD has been selected by her UF College of Medicine colleagues to represent the college at the university-wide level in the UF Faculty Senate! 


Bob Graham Center partners with UF Health

The Bob Graham Center and UF Health have now partnered to create a new initiative, the Florida Health Policy Leadership Academy, to empower communities with leaders who are knowledgeable and skilled in public health policy making. Participants will learn skills to measure and monitor population health, gain understanding of pressing issues in public health, and make enduring connections with other community leaders, during this three month professional development course. Drs. Michael Shapiro and Andres Pumariega were invited to give presentations about the history of Baker Act in Florida and systems of care solutions for mental health improvement. 



Tip of the Cap

Tip of the cap goes to Drs. Gabe Jenkins and Rob Averbuch for their helping hands at clinic. The patients appreciate the care given to them by the UF psychiatrists.

Helping Hands Clinic


Check out our latest Quality and Safety Star Awardees on the Quality whiteboard in the adult workroom at the MOB. 

If you have a nominee for future Quality and Safety Star Awards, please email Dr. Jackie Hobbs.


Anti-Racism and Health Equity Group

It’s not too late to join the Anti-Racism and Health Equity Group on the UF Health Bridge!

We would love for you to join us for these new and thought provoking opportunities and welcome you to join the group and present ideas of your own. Go to the UF Health Bridge to join the group, and see more details, on resources, activities, and events. 

The next meeting will be May 24th at noon.



Join UF Psychiatry Alumni Society

Become a member of the UF Psychiatry Alumni Society! The society fosters alumni networking, socializing and sharing current trends in psychiatric and behavioral science. Show your support of the education, research and clinical mission of the department by joining.

Join today at:

• Annual Dues: $100

• Lifetime Dues: $2,500 (payable over five years, $500 per year)

Membership dues support activities of the society and training programs.

To learn more about giving back to the department and alumni opportunities, please contact Callie Wilkes. ( 


Do you have some news or an announcement you would like to share?

Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond and who you would like to recognize? 

Want us to save the date for an upcoming event?

Email us



Jason Pappas

We would like to welcome Jason Pappas to the department as the new manager of the Child Psychiatry and Psychology Clinic manager.

Please join us in welcoming Jason Pappas as the new clinic manager.

His contact information is or 352-265-8885.


May 14 | Grand Rounds; APA Poster Flash Talks

12:00-1:00 pm 


May 21 | Research Lecture Series

"Understanding the Self-Control Mechanism in the Context of Smoking Cessation"

Noon – 1:00pm

Bachir Kassas, PhD
Assistant Professor
Food and Resource Economics Department

Zoom: pOZz09
Meeting ID: 933 5891 5739 Passcode: 989813


May 24 | Anti-Racism & Health Equity meeting

12:00pm - 1:00pm

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 940 8732 0057
Passcode: 478196


May 28 | Grand Rounds; Addiction Medicine Fellows, Medical and Surgical Complications of Addiction

12:00-1:00 pm 


June 4 | Grand Rounds; Child Seniors

12:00-1:00 pm 


June 9 | FRC Wednesdays at Noon

12:00-1:00 pm

Jamie Smolen, MD
Associate Professor
Associate Director, Florida Recovery Center
Director, Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program
Division of Addiction Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
UF College of Medicine


June 11 | Grand Rounds; Senior Residents

12:00-1:00 pm 




UF CARD Update

Support UF CARD and purchase a 'Promote Autism Acceptance' shirt.

A big thank you to EHS STAR (Eastside High School Students Together for Autism Research) for hosting a fundraiser for us! Purchase options include t-shirts and baseball shirts in adult & child sizes and hoodies in adult sizes. There are several colors to choose from. The fundraiser will run until May 7th and orders will arrive between May 18th and May 27th. Get your shirt now:

UF CARD Online Social Learning Sessions for Teens 13-17

These four social learning sessions will focus on common social challenges for teens ages 13 to 17 years of age. Each session will all be hosted on Thursdays in May via Zoom from 4 to 5pm. Teens can attend one or all four. Registration is required.

 See the UF CARD website for more events.


The 8th Annual Center for Addiction Research Education, Addiction Symposium, Risk/Resiliency and Relapse was held April 20th and was a great success. In addition to the two keynote speakers, we had 150 registrants from UF, FSU, USF, UCF, and FIU, and 60 faculty and trainees from across all five institutions (and many in UF Dept. of Psychiatry) presented their research at the symposium. If you missed the symposium, you can watch the recorded speakers. 



Lisa Merlo, PhD, was selected as part of the Research Promotion Initiative to have her research featured by UF in the media. The university’s Research Promotion Initiative supports faculty for bringing their research to the news room, before it’s published. If selected the researcher is awarded $1,000 in research funding. Read how UF’s Strategic Communications team described Dr. Merlo’s work.

Learn how to apply for the UF Research Promotion Initiative here:

Toffler Award 2021 Winner Binh Nguyen

Binh Nguyen wins Toffler Research Award

Binh Nguyen, a MD-PhD student in Carol Mathews, MD PGENeS lab has been awarded a Toffler Research Award. Toffler Scholars are selected for their keen intellect, innovative thinking, meticulous planning, and demonstrated passion for their work. Through working on disparate projects across multiple areas, every Toffler Scholar is working to advance medical research and bring high-impact changes to all humanity. …



Congratulations to the 2nd Annual UF CARE Dissertation Aid Grant Awardees including Christian Garcia, Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Sara Jo Nixon's Neurocognitive Laboratory.

Read more here:


Research Pilot Project Grants Available

UF Health CAN offers funding for pilot projects for trainees and junior faculty to stimulate research in areas directly relevant to autism spectrum disorder. The description of the program and guidelines as well as a template for preparing a proposal can be found on the UF Health CAN Research website.

Up to $25,000 per proposal is available to initiate research that will generate preliminary or pilot data needed for competitive extramural grant applications.

Applications should be submitted by June 1, 2021 using the proposal submission template found on the CAN website. Awards will be made by July 1, 2021.

Please direct any inquiries to Dr. Mark Lewis at




Streamed Classes

Did you know that it only takes 15 minutes of exercise/stretching each day to improve your health? We are excited to share our new, 15-minute lunchtime classes, available to any UF or UF Health employee! Each are live-streamed via Zoom.

Jump Start - Mondays from 12-12:15 pm. Start your Monday off with a short cardio and strength class. Register here.

Build - Tuesdays from 12-12:15 pm. This class focuses on building strength in different muscle groups each week - no equipment needed! Register here.

Relax - Wednesdays from 12-12:15 pm. Stressed? This class focuses on breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation. Register here.

Unwind - Thursdays from 12-12:15 pm. Wind down on Thursdays with a gentle stretching class. Register here. 


Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

An expansion of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides UF employees with improved access to mental health counselors as well as enhanced work life, financial and legal resources and services. To learn more about the expanded UF EAP, please visit If you have questions, please contact UFHR Communications and Worklife at (352) 392-2477 or


Reminder that we have a new centralized contact for any UFCOM/UF Health employees in need of mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

If anyone reaches out to you for assistance, please encourage them call the UF Health Staff Telepsych Services center between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. (7 days per week) at 352-265-5459 or email [please provide name, contact number, and best time(s) to receive a call back].



Mindful Relaxation Minutes 


Please be sure to join us Thursdays at 12:15pm via Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting using:

Meeting ID: 159 914 780

Passcode: 601221



COVID Vaccinations

Learn about the COVID-19 vaccines available from UF Health. As federal and Florida COVID-19 vaccination plans evolve, we’ll update this site and keep you informed.



Get a Plan / Get a Kit / Be Informed

We are about a month away from the forecasted start of the June 1st Atlantic Hurricane season. It is disaster preparation experts say it is time to plan, not panic. The proposed disaster preparedness sales tax holiday is May 28 through June 13, 2021. Visit to make a plan now.

We continue our preparedness on Get a Plan / Get a Kit / Be Informed by focusing on personal disaster supplies. A basic kit includes needed items for 3 days. While a kit should be customized to your specific situation, below are general guidelines to follow. A printer-friendly version is also available for handy reference.

You can find a copy of the Department’s Emergency Plan on SharePoint and the Internal Resources/Call Schedule pages



UF GatorSAFE Mobile App

Safety resources at your fingertips with the new UF GatorSAFE Mobile App. Smartphone users who download the free GATORSAFE app can now report tips, including those not adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, to the UF Police Department, make emergency calls and perform other functions that improve their personal safety and security.

Apple Store

Google Play Store



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