August 2021


August is National Wellness Month

Research has shown self-care helps manage stress and promotes happiness. Whether you challenge yourself to a new yoga pose or try a different spa treatment, make a small change and impact your health in positive ways.

There are numerous ways to make those small changes, too.

• Increase your water intake.

• Add more fruits and veggies to your meals.

• Monitor your sleep and make adjustments for better sleep habits

• Join a yoga, walking, or aerobics class.

• Learn to meditate.

• These small steps can lead to many more healthy habits in your lifestyle.

Sara Jo Nixon

UF addiction expert selected for international video series on alcohol use disorder

Sara Jo Nixon, PhD, is among international experts selected for a new publicly available video series that aims to provide the latest research on alcohol use disorder and its many complexities.


Turlington plaza

Drs. Morris and Pumariega publish article on use of psychiatric medication in college students

Their research looks at the use of psychiatric medication and related health service utilization among college students receiving care on- and off-campus. It was published in the Journal of American College Health.



Striving for Excellence educational series

APA has partnered with the Morehouse School of Medicine African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence to develop the Striving for Excellence educational series. The series entails 12 Webinars and 2 self-paced learning modules adding up to 14 CME credits, FREE FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS. Each live webinar will cover practical problems and offer culturally appropriate, evidence-based practices and approaches for caring for African Americans/Black people. 



How to access the Faculty Development Intranet

Introducing the updated Faculty Development Intranet page. Find helpful information for this year’s mentoring; faculty development opportunities at UF, local service, and service to the profession! Plus, be more prepared for your Mid-Career and P&T with resources the Faculty Development Committee and College of Medicine have developed for you.



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.


Tip of the Cap

Tip of the cap goes to Doctors Meena Nuthi and Lily Valad , and the UF undergrad volunteers for their helping hands at clinic. All of the patients appreciate the care given to them by the UF Psychiatry team. Everyone is welcome to help.

Helping Hands Clinic


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. 



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



August 2 | Plank & Drank

Improve your hydration practices and strengthen your core during this annual four-week challenge. Complete daily plank exercises and record your water intake throughout this individual-based, four-week challenge.

Register now

four-week wellness challenge 


August 2 - 6 | Fear Facers Summer Camp


August 11 | FRC Wednesdays at Noon, Reconceptualizing Personality Using DSM-5’s Alternative Model

Amanda Janner, PsyD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry

Wednesday, August 11, 2021
12:00-1:00 pm


August 13 | Grand Rounds, “Boomer to Zoomer” – Review and Refresh Your Telemedicine and EMR Skills

Kishan Nallapula, MD
Assistant Professor
Director of Telemedicine and Medical informatics
Department of Psychiatry

Friday, August 13, 2021
12:00 -1:00 pm

Meeting ID: 913 5095 3659
Passcode: 821267


August 23 | Anti-Racism & Health Equity meeting

12:00pm - 1:00pm

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 940 8732 0057
Passcode: 478196


August 24 | UF Leadership Roundtable on Ethical Decision Making 

Join UF Leadership for a interactive discussion with UF senior leaders to discuss research integrity and ethical decision making. Panelists will discuss their experiences as researchers, leaders, and citizens, and the impact of ethical decision making in their daily lives. They will also discuss the importance of integrity and its role in achieving excellence at UF and beyond. 

Dr. David Norton, UF Vice President for Research
Ms. Amy Hass, UF Vice President and General Counsel
Dr. Steve Segrue, Associate Vice President for Research, UF Health
Dr. Nicole Stedman, Dean, UF Graduate School
Moderated by Terra DuBois, UF Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer with opening remarks by UF President Kent Fuchs. 

Tuesday, August 24th, from 10:00am - 11:30am
Reitz Union Grand Ballroom
Seating is limited. Please RSVP.
Livestream available for those who do not work on the UF Main Campus


October 15-17 | Addiction Health Summit

2021 Florida Society of Addiction Medicine (FSAM) and Florida Medical Practitioners Group (FMPG) joint conference known as the Addiction Health Summit, October 15-17, 2021 at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort.  This year’s theme is Reconnecting After Isolation, and features a great lineup of speakers.  Friday afternoon and all-day Saturday feature scientific CME/CEU lectures on various relevant addiction medicine topics, and Sunday morning will be recovery-themed programming.  This is a great opportunity for networking and fellowship.  Hope to see you there!

Registration info: Addiction Health Summit | Register for the 2021 Summit Today


Takahiro Soda, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Soda is boarded in general psychiatry, as well as child and adolescent psychiatry. He obtained his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts and obtained his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts as art of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Medical Scientist Training Program. Dr. Soda completed his residency in general psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of North Carolina Hospitals. He is a member of AACAP ethics committee and ISPG ethics committee.

Dr. Soda will work in the Child Division and provide patient care services at UF Health Springhill II clinic and Shands Psychiatric Hospital. He will also conduct clinical research in autism and neurodevelopmental disorders in adults, adolescents, and children as well as, be an integral role in the development of research programs both in UF Health Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment (UF Health CAN), and in the UF Center for OCD, Anxiety and Related Disorders (COARD). In addition, he will serve as an important academic teacher and mentor for medical students, interns, training residents and fellows.

Please welcome Dr. Soda to our team!


Paola Giusti-Rodriguez, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Paola Giusti-Rodriguez grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she earned a BS in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. She completed her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology at Harvard University, where her doctorate research focused on studying the molecular basis of neurodegeneration.

Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez carried out her postdoctoral research with Dr. Patrick Sullivan at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she employed the multi-parental Collaborative Cross mouse population to better understand antipsychotic side effects. Her work lies at the intersection between neuroscience and functional genomics, and she aims to integrate the tools and techniques of these fields to shed light on the genetics of neuropsychiatric disorders.

In 2016, she was awarded a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award by the National Institute of Mental Health for her work focused on functional genomics of psychiatric disorders. Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez is co-founder of the Latin American Genomics Consortium, which seeks to increase the representation of research participants from Latinx admixed ancestry in genetic studies on psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez will work in the Adult Research Division and will conduct research in genetic psychiatric illnesses, with interest in human-based studies of neurodevelopmental disorders (including ASD and schizophrenia), at the UF Center for OCD, Anxiety and Related Disorders (COARD). In addition, she will serve as an important academic teacher and mentor for medical students, interns, training residents and promoting the research and educational mission of the McKnight Brain Institute (MBI) for Department of Psychiatry.

Please welcome Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez to our team!



UF Health Medical Psychology and the Center for OCD, Anxiety, and Related Disorders host another successful Fear Facers Summer Day Camp.


UF CARD Update

1. Several UF CARD staff members recently completed the Youth Mental Health First Aid Course offered by the National Council for Behavioral Health. A big thank you to Pam Kissoondyal from FAVI (Florida & Virgin Islands Deaf-Blind Collaborative) for helping us arrange the training! The training was also attended by staff from FAVI, FND (Family Network on Disabilities), & FAC (Florida Autism Center), and two UF Health CAN (Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment) Interns. 

2.  Employment Boot Camp: #AdultingGoals
Monday, August 16 thru Friday, August 20, 2021; 9:00AM – 3:00PM

We are offering a one-week (i.e., five full-days) Employment Boot Camp for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities (RD). The schedule of activities for the Boot Camp is designed to facilitate the development of professional and personal goals toward career and/or college success. The activities will include: preparing for employment, completing applications and putting together resumes, learning and practicing interview skills, and learning about workplace social skills. By the end of the week, participants will have determined next steps for achieving both their personal and professional goals. This program is free of charge to participants thanks to generous donations from IMPACT Autism at UF. More Details and Registration

3. UF CARD Golf Clinic Fall 2021
Tuesdays, 9/21/21 – 11/23/21; 11:30AM – 12:30PM
Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida

This 10-week golf clinic is designed for all types of golfers - beginners, novices, and experienced. Weekly group instruction will be provided for up to 8 participants by Scott Hampton, golf professional and Director of the University of Florida Golf Course. UF CARD staff will be on site to assist at each lesson. The clinic is open to UF CARD constituents 18 and older. Space is limited to 8 participants on a first-come first-served basis. More Details and Registration

4. Gainesville Elks Lodge’s Annual “SUMMER SPLASH” FAMILY FUN DAY! (Fundraiser for UF CARD)
August 21, 2021 10am–4pm
Gainesville Elks Lodge #990, 2424 NW 23rd Blvd, Gainesville, Florida

Bring the whole family down for this great day at the Gainesville Elks Lodge. Supersized Waterslide|Smaller waterslides|Kiddy pools|Bounce House|Dunking Booth|FREE food, drinks and ice cream for all! UF CARD will be there along with the Elks Mobile Therapist, and FREE vision screenings for children as young as 6 months old done by The Kids Sight Foundation. Bring your swimsuits, blankets, lawn chairs, sunscreen and make a day of it! Children’s parents/guardians ARE required to stay with their children at all times for supervision. For information please contact Susan Senterfitt 352-222-3505.

5. 29th Statewide Annual CARD Conference
January 14-16, 2022
Call for Papers is Now Open! Do you think you would like to present at a statewide CARD Conference?  If so, simply fill out the Call for Papers Request at the CARD Conference website.

If you know someone in need of UF CARD services please direct them to the UF CARD registration page or have them call 352-265-2230.


UF Health Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment (UF CAN) Housing Survey

Purpose: This study aims to collect information on the housing needs for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families. This information will be used by UF CAN and other organizations in measuring, defining, and sharing information about the housing needs and support services needed for adults with developmental disabilities in the State of Florida, in order to help them transition more independently into affordable and inclusive housing of their choice.

Who is eligible to participate in the survey?
Individuals 18 years or older, Living in Florida, and Diagnosed with a developmental disability OR Caregivers of adults with developmental disabilities living in Florida.

What do you need to do?
• Click the survey link:
• Answer the 21 questions listed on your computer, tablet, or phone. (Should take about 10 - 15 minutes to complete.)

For more information about this research study contact Carla Schmidt or Ann-Marie Orlando Study ID: IRB202100150 Date approved: 06/07/2021


Psychology Corner

UF Department of Psychology's Dr. Tim Vollmer, PI, in collaboration with Dr. Kerri Peters of Psychiatry, has secured a unique public-private contractual relationship with the Florida Autism Centers to develop four specialty clinics within the context of the UF Health Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment (UF CAN). This has resulted in hiring of 4 Ph.D.-level research-practitioners (Dr. Vivian Ibanez, Dr. Ciobha McKeown, Dr. Sean Smith, and Dr. Faris Kronfli). One clinic will focus on behavioral interventions for pediatric feeding disorders, another will focus on early learner skills for young children with autism spectrum (or related) disorders, another will focus on behavioral assessment and treatment, and the fourth clinic will focus on transition to adulthood.


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 pmJumpStart focuses on elevating your heart rate, energy, and mood for the week through cardiovascular and strength-based interval training. Register here.

Flow - Tuesdays from 12-12:15 pmFlow will offer gentle yoga that can be done at a desk with a focus on linking breath to movement.  Register here.

Build - Wednesdays from 12-12:15 pmImprove your total-body strength with this 15-minute virtual workout. No equipment needed! Register here.

Unwind - Thursdays from 12-12:15 pmThis class focuses on gentle stretching that can help improve muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion. Register here. 


New mental health helpline devoted exclusively to UF faculty and staff

In an effort to more efficiently connect UF faculty and staff and their families to mental health services, UFHR, in partnership with the UF departments of Psychiatry and Clinical and Health Psychology, is introducing a new Mental Health Services Access Line devoted exclusively to university employees and their dependents. Faculty, staff and their dependents may call (352) 627-0032 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to receive assistance identifying and securing access to the mental health services best suited to their needs.

The new helpline is designed to increase access to mental health care and to supplement existing resources like the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) rather than replace them, providing a single point of entry and ensuring employees get the help they need in a timely manner. UF employees and their household members may still call the EAP at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (833) 306-0103, and anyone experiencing a crisis with more urgent needs should call the Alachua County Crisis Center at (352) 264-6789.



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 well into the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season. If you haven't made a should. 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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