Psychiatry Residents and Fellows Honored at Graduation Ceremony

Ten residents and fellows who recently completed their training in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University were honored at a graduation ceremony on June 16, 2011. The event was hosted by Department Chairman, Mark J. Sedler, MD and Residency Director, Michael Schwartz MD. Characterizing the graduating class as “a distinguished group of physicians who will represent us well in the future,” Dr. Sedler commended the graduates for doing well in a challenging program.

Five graduating residents completed four years of training in general psychiatry: Lisa Changchien, MD, Suzanne Krishnamoorthy, DO, Elizabeth Varghese, MD, Thomas Vertrees, MD and Tejpal Singh, MD. Graduation qualifies them for the specialty practice of psychiatry. “You may not realize it yet,” Dr. Schwartz told the graduates, “but your successful completion of this program means you are already experts and great psychiatrists.”

Pria Persaud, MD and Lara Quatinetz, MD completed two-year fellowships in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Aditya Virmani MD completed his fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry. Two residents—Maria Levine, MD and Sabena Panhwar, MD—completed three years of training in general psychiatry and are moving on to fellowships in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Schwartz joined the graduates in thanking the faculty. “Their job is to teach, supervise and transform,” Dr. Schwartz said, “and they do it very well.” His comments were echoed by Dr. Sabena Panhwar who said that the faculty “guided, taught and helped” the residents as they worked their way through the residency program. The sincere affection between faculty and residents was apparent throughout the evening.

Assistant Professor, Laura Kunkel, MD, the recipient of last year’s Teacher of the Year Award, delivered the keynote address in which she praised the class for their courage and tenacity in overcoming obstacles. “Pursue what makes you happy,” she advised them.

Several departmental awards were presented at the ceremony. Dr. Raghuram Bhat received the Department’s Academic Merit Award for scoring among the highest in the nation on the American College of Psychiatrists’ PRITE examination. Dr. Jenna Taglienti received the Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Award for her commitment to the practice of psychotherapy and Dr. Lisa Changchien was recognized with the Steven Samek Award, given to the resident who demonstrates the greatest devotion to the care of people with chronic mental illness. The Resident Educator Award, which recognizes the role of residents in training medical students, was shared by Drs. Jacqueline Decker and Jeremy Bennett. Dr. Elizabeth Varghese received the Department’s Resident of the Year award, named for former Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. William Turner, who ended his distinguished career as a research psychiatrist at Stony Brook.

The residents voted Andrew Francis, MD Teacher of the Year for Adult Psychiatry and Richard Mattison, MD Teacher of the Year of Child Psychiatry; and they selected Sandya Jeyamitra, MD, Medical Director of the C.K. Post Addiction Treatment Center, as Outstanding Outside Supervisor.

The graduates expressed their gratitude to family and friends, the faculty, hospital nurses and social workers, and administrative staff who supported and encouraged them throughout their training. They had special praise for Residency Training Coordinator, Jane Pometti, for her loving attention to their academic and personal success.