November 2020


Josepha Cheong Feature Image

Dr. Cheong appointed Director of ACGME Board of Directors and of ABPN Board of Directors

Josepha A. Cheong, MD, Professor of the University of Florida Department of Psychiatry has been appointed as a Director on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Board of Directors. Dr. Cheong recently completed a 6 year term on the ACGME Psychiatry RC, on which she also served as Vice Chair for the Executive Sub-committee. She also currently serves …


Jordanne King

Dr. King selected for PRITE Fellowship

Jordanne King, MD has been selected for the American College of Psychiatrists Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination (PRITE®) Fellowship Program. The PRITE® Fellowship Selection Committee chooses residents to serve at least one year on the Editorial Board. Applications for Fellowships are received from PGY II and III general psychiatry residents and first year child Fellows in residency programs throughout the United States …


Samar Abdel-Jabbar, MD

Dr. Abdel-Jabbar to receive membership into the Gold Humanism Honor Society

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow, Samar Abdel-Jabbar, MD has been inducted into the UF Chapman Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The mission of the Gold Humanism Honor Society is to recognize individuals who are exemplars of humanistic patient care and who can serve as role models, mentors, and leaders in medicine. Dr. Adbel-Jabbar was one of a select …



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!

Check the bridge for details on our upcoming book club including how to access the book and when we will be discussing the first section of the book: Quicksand by Nella Larsen.

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. “ 



Get a Plan / Get a Kit / Be Informed

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


Sign up for UF Health’s mass notification system

The UF Health Shands Emergency Preparedness team is constantly monitoring the weather and its impact on Alachua County. Make sure you're signed up for UF Alert — Shands, UF Health’s mass notification system.



Halloween in the Department of Psychiatry

Halloween was celebrated throughout the Department of Psychiatry again this year! Hope everyone had a fund and safe Halloween!


Annual TEAMS Staff Meeting

This year’s annual TEAMS Staff meeting was held via zoom. Spooky stories and costumes were enhanced this year with virtual backgrounds.

This years winners:
1. Priscilla Spence
2. Tina Green
3. Jennifer Stricklen


2020 MBI Award Winners

Toffler Research Award
Binh Nguyen

MBI Fellowships
MBI/Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases Clinical Fellowship
Matthew Burns, MD, PhD

Trainee Enhancement Opportunity Award
Franjo Ivankovic-MacGibbon



2020 AACAP Meeting

UF Child Psychiatry Faculty and Fellows attended the Annual American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting.

Check out some of the On-Demand content and more from the conference here.


UFCC Gators Give Basket Raffle

Thank you to everyone for all the time and effort put into the basket raffle this year. With your help, we raised $634 for charity!

This year’s basket winners:


Resident of the Month


Fellow of the Month


Quality and Safety Stars

For our October Quality and Safety Star Award, we are honoring Dr. Deanne Grayson. She graciously agreed to cover our inpatient service during the PRITE examination. Thank you for being a Quality and Safety Star! The help was much appreciated, and congrats on finishing your geriatric psychiatry fellowship. We wish you well!

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


Ashley Benson

Ashley is a Clinical Coder II, responsible for coding and billing of professional medical fees for all faculty physicians in the Department of Psychiatry. This involves extracting billable services from the patient charts and applying appropriate CPT and ICD-10 codes and then entering these services in the EPIC billing system for submission. Ashley works closely with faculty, fellows and the Residents in the respective Divisions to provide education on correct coding, proper documentation to maximize physician reimbursement, and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. She also involved in creating and analyzing reports for maximizing billing and revenue.

Thank you Ashley for all you do for our department!


Tip of the Cap

Tip of the cap to Doctors Rob Averbuch and Laurie Solomon for their telemedicine helping hands at clinic. All of the patients appreciate the care given to them by all the UF volunteers.

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


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. ( 


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 October 1, 2020 or June 1, 2021 using the proposal submission template found on the CAN website. Awards will be made by November 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021.

Please direct any inquiries to Dr. Mark Lewis at


Participants needed for kava clinical trial

A clinical trial led by Carol Mathews, MD, Brooke Professor and Vice Chair for Strategic Development in the Department of Psychiatry and Chengguo “Chris” Xing, PhD, a professor of medicinal chemistry and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, seeks healthy participants for a study of the pharmacokinetics of kava. Kava is a dietary supplement emerging in popularity in the United States, but there is limited pharmacokinetic data available to evaluate its use as a dietary supplement or potentially a botanical therapeutic. The research team aims to collect pharmacokinetic data by enrolling study participants who are healthy adults ages 18-50, non-smokers, not pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the next 12 weeks, and are not experiencing liver disease or other chronic health conditions. Anyone interested in enrolling, or learning more about the kava study, is encouraged to contact Robyn Nelson, the study’s coordinator, at 352-294-5563.


UF CARD Update

UF CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) is offering the following FREE trainings that may be helpful to your patients, please share!

Strategies to Support Success in Virtual Learning Environments
MONDAYS 10/26, 11/2, 11/9,  & 11/16  6:30pm 
This four-part series for caregivers on strategies to support success in the virtual learning environment will consist of one-hour sessions on the following topics:  

10/26: Creating your home learning station: This session will discuss strategies for arranging the environment to support your child’s learning.
11/2: Addressing attention and motivation - How to get your child to attend to online learning: This session will explain strategies for increasing your child’s attention to online learning tasks. In addition, attendees will learn how to motivate their children to work on all types of learning tasks within a virtual environment.
11/9: IEP & Distance Learning Plans: This session will address individualized education program services and supports in the online environment. Attendees will learn about requesting and accessing services and supports.
11/16: Parent Self-care strategies: This presentation will discuss an overview of caregiver mental health and stress. Attendees will also learn some wellness exercises and positive parenting strategies.


Online Social Learning Sessions for Children 8–12
THURSDAYS 10/29, 11/5, 11/12, & 11/19 4-5pm
These four social learning sessions will focus on common social challenges for children ages 8 to 12 years of age. Each session will all be hosted via Zoom from 4 to 5pm. Children can attend one or all four.

10/29: Initiating and ending conversations
11/5: Conversational turn-taking
11/12: Staying on topic
11/19: Compromising


Tuesday Night Training (TNT): Dating 101
TUESDAY 11/10 6:30PM
Are you an adult with ASD who is interested in learning ways to enter into the dating world?  Do you have questions about how to get started?  If you answered “YES” then consider attending CARD’s Dating 101 workshop during our Tuesday Night Training (TNT) series on Tuesday, November 10th from 6:30-7:30. Appropriate for CARD constituents ages 21 and older, register now to learn tools and resources for entering the dating scene with confidence.


Please visit the UF CARD Events page for details about other events including...
• MyFriends: Virtual Meet and Greet 
• Parent Support Group
• Support Group for Adults on the Spectrum
• UF CARD Orientation
• Housing Forum


Gnaneswara Midathala, MD

Dr. Midathala is a board certified psychiatrist. He finished his medical school at, medical college/Gulbarga University, Bellary, India. He finished his residency training in psychiatry at Chicago Medical School/Finch University of Health Sciences in 1997. He also has subspecialty training in neuropsychiatry during his fourth year residency training.

Since finishing residency training in psychiatry he has worked in many different settings of psychiatric practice including inpatient and outpatient care, inpatient detoxification, private practice, community mental health centers, correctional psychiatry, and state psychiatric hospital. He also has worked as a medical administrator for a state psychiatric hospital. His special interests are mood disorders, neuropsychiatric syndromes including cognitive disorders, teaching psychiatric diagnostic interviews, mental status examination, and cognitive screening tests. He will be the attending psychiatrist on green team at the VA.


Hannah Hatcher

Hannah will provide support to the Addiction Medicine Division, Department of Psychiatry under the supervision of Marika Brigham and Dr. Scott Teitelbaum. This includes direct support to the Division Chief, Forensic IME’s and the Division Fellowship program.


November 11th | Veterans Day


November 13 | Grand Rounds "Strengthening diversity at UF via Continent: Teaching and Research about African Mental Health Resources"

Faye Gary, EdD, RN, FAAN
The Medical Mutual of Ohio Kent W. Clapp Chair & Professor of Nursing, Professor of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University

Nancy Hunt, PhD
Professor, Center for African Studies Department of History, University of Florida

Eve Spratt, MD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida

Panel Moderated by:
Michelle Jacobs-Elliott, MD 
Assistant Dean Assistant Professor University of Florida

12:00-1:00 pm


November 13 | Psychiatry Celebration of Service

Join us as we celebrate several members of our department that have dedicated 5 to 35 years of service. 

3:00-4:00 pm

Zoom link TBP



November 14 | Out of the Darkness, Gainesville Experience

The ceremony for the walk will be online this year and will be streaming live at 10 am EST on Saturday, November 14th. You can walk by yourself, or with your team, make your loved ones favorite meal, workout, do a relaxing activity, have a Zoom party with your team, or any other healing and connecting experience.





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.


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:


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


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



2 Minute Resilience Reset 

Try these 2 minute sessions hosted by Dr. Carol Lewis that focus on breathing to stimulate the soothing part of the nervous system, and learn 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


COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Resources



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



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