May 2020


2020 Distinguished Fellows

2020 APA Virtual Meeting

The 2020 APA Meeting is happening virtually! Time to celebrate some good news! We congratulate our faculty who were awarded distinguished fellow, and fellow status and whose convocation is not being celebrated as it normally would – we are proud of Drs. Rob Averbuch, Ludmilla de Faria, Brian Harlan, Julie Rodriguez, Jamie Smolen, Louis Solomon, and Uma Suryadevara. Well done! …


Dr. Nallapula on TV20

Patients schedule telemedicine appointments amid pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced doctors and their patients to make more appointments online. Departments at UF Health such as the Department of Psychiatry has transitioned to telemedicine appointments. Dr. Kishan Nallapula talks with TV20's Dave Snyder.


behavior AND COVID-19

Promoting positive behavior in children during COVID-19 crisis

During this short video, Melanie M. Nelson, Ph.D., a UF Health psychologist and an associate professor of psychology in the UF College of Medicine’s department of psychiatry, discusses how getting back into a routine and spending just five to 10 minutes of focused interaction with children can lead to improvement in behavior.


Kishan Nallapula, MD

Amid COVID-19 crisis, telehealth visits surge at University of Florida Health

Amid COVID-19 crisis, telehealth visits surge as University of Florida Health reacts to accommodate a surging demand for telehealth visits. Dr. Kishan Nallapula talks about the department of psychiatry's transition to telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis.


Drs. Cottler and Nixon

Landmark study of adolescent brain development renews for additional seven years

The National Institute on Drug Abuse - NIDA announced $290 million of new funding over 7 years for the ABCD Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health ever conducted in the U.S. Drs. Sara Jo Nixon & Linda Cottler serve as co-principal investigators for the University of Florida, one of 21 sites involved with the multi-institute …


Richard Christensen

5th Annual Dr. Richard C. Christensen, MD Advocacy Day

This month, we would have commemorated the 5th Annual Richard C. Christensen, MD Advocacy Day​. We have decided to postpone an amazing talk by Dr. Liz Frye until after the pandemic settles down. However, we know that Dick would have been very proud of how everyone is handling this new reality and truly being there for our patients. In his …


Andrea Guastello

Tips for parents during COVID-19 crisis

Many people are struggling to juggle work, parenting and now suddenly homeschooling their children during the COVID-19 crisis. UF Health Psychologist Dr. Andrea Guastello provides tips to help parents through these challenging times.



Transition in leadership

Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., has accepted the position of interim chair of the department of neuroscience beginning April 13. Dr. Bizon currently is a professor and associate chair in the department of neuroscience and co-director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory. In addition, she serves on the College of Medicine’s promotion and tenure committee and as a member of UF’s McKnight Brain Institute Executive Committee, and she also co-leads the MBI Education and Outreach Committee.



UF CARE Podcast Episode 6: Dr. Barry Setlow

Watch UF CARE Podcast Host, Dr. Oliver Grundmann talk with UF CARE member Dr. Barry Setlow.




COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Resources



UF Coronavirus Updates

University officials are closely monitoring updates regarding the novel coronavirus and will continue to provide information as the situation evolves. All students, faculty and staff are urged to stay informed. UF communications and other details regarding the situation are posted at


Busting COVID-19 myths

Have you had it with all of the hearsay? The World Health Organization is sorting fact from fiction with their Coronavirus Myth Busters resource. Stay empowered by staying informed.

Learn More »


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:

• Psychiatric medication consultation and management

• Free individual short-term counseling

• Individual psychotherapy

• Resilience-based group therapy

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].



The Gator community sticks together in all kinds of weather, and that's never more evident than in times of transition and hardship. Aid-a-Gator has processed more than 1,000 requests for a total of $955,695 from students to help cover a variety of needs, including rent due to lost wages, unanticipated travel, additional technology requirements, replacements of medications, emergency childcare due to extended school closures, and other needs. To file an application or to donate for students, visit and for employees, visit


COVID-19 Emergency Paid Leave

Emergency Paid Sick Leave is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This leave entitles eligible employees with up to 10 days, not to exceed 80 hours, of paid sick leave, pro-rated for part-time employees based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.




Everyone's gone virtual including the APA National Business Meeting.

Dr. Josepha Cheong, representing the Gator Nation! Go Gators!


Learn the Art of Mental Health

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow, Dr. Faryal Mallick hosted a live Q&A on Instagram in Pakistan on how to manage your well-being and mental health during these uncertain and anxious times.


Resident of the Month


Quality and Safety Star

Faryal Mallick, MD (Child Fellow)

For our April Quality and Safety Star Award, we are honoring Dr. Faryal Mallick who made a key observation of an abnormal test that changed the hospital course of a patient for a safer trajectory. Great catch! Thank you for being a Quality and Safety Star!

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


Staff Spotlight


Priscilla Spence

Priscilla Spence is an Administrative Support III in the Chair's office. Although her physical office is in the Chair's office, she is known throughout the department to assist where ever help is needed. During a pandemic is no different. She has been coordinating, creating and attending Zoom meetings to keep us all informed, helping faculty and staff get set up to work from alternative work locations. She has worked with Dr. Nallapula to take inventory and get clinicians the equipment they need to continue to see patients via telehealth. She has been working with Dr. Hobbs and the infection control task force to make sure the daily infection control tip sheet is updated, distributed and posted for clinic and hospital staff daily. Even with all these duties she still finds time to sew masks for healthcare workers and those in the community. 

 Thank you Priscilla for all you do for our department!


Tip of the Cap

Tip of the cap to Dr Laurie Solomon, Dr. Andrew Thompson, Dr. Alice Zhang,  UF undergrad, Danielle Snyder, and the other UF undergrad volunteers for their helping hands at clinic last night. The patients appreciate the care given by all the UF volunteersThe next clinic is May 11th.  Faculty, fellows and residents are all welcome.

Helping Hands Clinic


We need your help!

We'd like you to keep an eye out for those staff members that continually go above and beyond for the department.

Then we would like you to nominate them by submitting their name and a brief explanation of the awesome thing(s) they do!

The Executive Leadership Committee will vote on the candidates and we will announce the winner in the newsletter. 

Please submit your entries to Priscilla Spence


UF CARD Update

UF CARD is still here to help! Please see our webpage for details. 

UF & Autism Conference has been postponed. We hope to reschedule it for the fall, stay tuned for details.


New 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


Srinath Gopinath, MD

Dr. Gopinath comes from the University of Connecticut Health center where he was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and was heavily involved in ECT service at UConn Health Center as one of the primary ECT providers. 

He completed a Medical Bachelors in Medicine in Surgery at the Kakatiya Medical College, Warangal, India. He was Executive Chief Resident at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY and served as resident in Psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Osmania Medical Center/Institute of Mental Health, Hyderabad, India. 

Dr. Gopinath will be providing outpatient care, consult liaison, ECT and TMS services, as appropriate to patients needing quality care at UF Health Shands and UF Health at Springhill Clinic in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Gopinath will also serve as both a teacher and mentor for medical students, interns, residents and fellows.

His contact information is and (352) 273-8710.

Please welcome Dr. Gopinath to the Department of Psychiatry!




Weekly webinar for all UF Health clinicians and staff

The Trauma-Informed Care, or TIC, Steering Committee is offering a weekly webinar beginning May 1 for all UF Health clinicians and staff, focusing on resilience and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. These webinars will feature clinical experts from the UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, the UF Department of Psychiatry and the UF Division of Psychology. The webinar will run from noon-1 p.m. every Friday. 

• When: Every Friday, starting May 1

• Time: Noon-1 p.m.

• ZOOM Location:


Friday, May 1, 2020 4-5PM
UF CARD Online Online Teacher Forum
Who: Individuals working in education (teachers, paraprofessionals, OT/PT/SLP, administrators, homeschoolers, unschoolers)
What: An hour come-and-go chat with CARD staff and specials guests to provide support, resources, and ideas for your teaching students with ASD and related disabilities virtually.

Monday, May 4, 2020 7-8PM (Tentative)
UF CARD Online Dads Support Group
We are gauging interest in holding this support group online via Zoom.  Meetings would on the first Monday of the month at 7pm, but could be adjusted if needed. Please email Art Wallen if you are interested and include any topics you would like to discuss. 

Friday, May 8, 2020 4-5PM
UF CARD Online Support Group for Adults on the Spectrum
Join us for our online via Zoom for our monthly support group where we will talk about how to manage daily life.  Parents are also welcome to join in. Please email Robin Byrd at if you are interested in attending.  

Friday, May 8, 2020 4-5PM
UF CARD Online Parent Forum
Calling all UF CARD parents and guardians! ​
Join us for our bi-monthly online PARENT FORUM.


May 13th | Grand Rounds

 “Understanding the Influence of the Egoic Mind on the Pathway to Addiction. Spiritual Principles and Practices that Lead Back to the Road of Recovery.”

Jamie Smolen, MD
Department of Psychiatry
University of Florida College of Medicine



May 15-16 | Tourette Association of America’s first Virtual Conference and Research Symposium

If you have not already, please register for sessions that you are interested in. Registration is FREE and continuing education credits are being offered for a small fee. Please share widely with your networks!


May 20th | 3pm | UF CARE Seminar

UF CARE Affiliate Members & Dissertation Award Recipients, Erin Ferguson & Carly Logan

Join Zoom Meeting:
Call in: +1 646 558 8656


May 22nd | Grand Rounds

“Understanding Adolescent Substance Use: A Developmental Perspective”

Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H.
Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the School of Medicine
Chief Executive Officer for Clinical Affairs
Professor of Psychiatry
University of California, Riverside


Resources to Promote Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak


While we are maintaining social distance and/or quarantined, many people lose access to resources that support their self-care. Here is a list of resources to help you navigate this challenging time while maintaining your own well-being.


Zoom Drop-in Groups

Please join us on Wednesdays at 2:00 pm to learn evidence-based stress and sleep management strategies during COVID-19 with the Director of the Insomnia and Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic,  Dr. Jessica Payne-Murphy

Support Group »


Guided Meditations

Lead by Dr. Carol Lewis and Dr. Lori Waxenberg, these guided meditations, ranging from 1 1/2 to 15 minutes, will help you learn to notice thoughts, sensations, and emotions without being swept away by them. They have been shown to benefit both physical and emotional health.

Meditation Playlist »


Streamed Fitness Class

Join a GatorCare staff member on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon for 15 minutes of an office (or home office)-friendly workout. No need to leave the office or change out of office clothes! Can’t join the live stream? Check out the recorded streams here.

Meeting URL:



Mindful Relaxation Minutes 


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

Join Zoom Meeting using:



2 Minute Resilience Reset 

Join Dr. Carol Lewis for daily 2 minute sessions that include focused breathing to stimulate the soothing part of the nervous system, and a practical tip from resilience science to help you maintain your stability in these difficult times.


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




Don't forget to check us out on social media to stay informed in-between newsletters!

Click on the icons below to follow us.