September 2016

In This Issue

Association Leadership

Joseph Bona, MD, MBA

Ray Kotwicki, MD, MPH

Vice President
Yolanda Graham, MD

Sultan Simms, MD

Colleen McLemore, MD

Immediate Past-President
Kevin Winders, MD

APA Assembly Representatives
Howard Maziar, MD (2015-2018)
Sultan Simms, MD (2015-2017)
Joe Morgan, MD (2016-2019)





Check Out the GPPA Classified Ads Page

In the market for a new job? Maybe you are looking to rent some new office space?  

Each Classified Ad is posted on the GPPA website for ninety days. Click here to place your ad today. Below is an example of real classified content that is live right now:


RN Seeking Psychiatric Preceptor


I am a Community Mental Health Nurse Practitioner student at the University of South Alabama. I am seeking a psychiatrist or psychologist who can prescribe medications to precept me for the Fall of 2016. I will need 60 clinical hours. I live in the Atlanta area, but I am willing to travel an hour outside of the perimeter. Please assist me. 

Ife Cauley, RN

770 605 8665



Thank you to those who were able to provide a year-end gift to the Georgia Foundation for Psychiatric Education and Research. With these funds we will continue to implement public and professional education programs. These programs are important to the success and future of the psychiatric community and helping Georgians better understand psychiatry and mental illness. You, your family, friends, or colleagues can give to GaFPER at any time during the year. And remember, you can recognize a colleague, honor or commemorate someone important, or remain anonymous. Thank you for continuing to consider GaFPER in your charitable planning. You may donate online here.

GaFPER is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Donations are completely tax deductible.

Editorial: My EMR Rant 

Editing our newsletter, I have the easiest job. The wonderful GPPA staff does the work, and I can pontificate at will. Generally, as our field progresses, a positive attitude is called for. On a bad day though, one veers to the dark side…

Presented with an independent medical evaluation, I have a stack—a virtual felled forest—of xeroxed EMR records. As I review them, I am sucked into a dyadic, repetitious world. Each progress note has lengthy mental status note options, from catatonic to hyperactive, and each has an endless medical review of systems. Pertinent positives are scarce. Psychotropic medications are not changed with each visit. All of them are listed, discontinued, then restarted at the end of the progress note. Only a steady focus discerns the changes from week to week. Twenty pages in and I am on my second progress note. I persist only to discover diabolical double couples interspersed throughout. It seems there are no dated progress notes; well, yes, there are, but they are in the lower right-hand corner of the page listed under “client encounters” and noted in a hieroglyphic series of digits.

After an hour my vision begins to blur. Except it’s not my eyes, it’s the copier, which was set on autopilot and gradually ran out of ink over a span of 300 pages. Some of the pages are off-center or cut off—usually at the crucial juncture documenting suicidal/homicidal intent. Meanwhile, the hour draws late. On page 500 (or, the fourth progress note) I’m drowsy. I lay my head on my records stack and drift into stage 4 sleep. Then the nightmares begin: Whole forests are razed by the EMR Godzilla monster—it’s a desert, not a tree in sight. In the distance there is a man pushing records up an incline. Is it Sisyphus…? No! It’s ME! I bolt awake.

At my desk, I have drooled all over the records, but it doesn’t matter. There are 12 computerized pages of the same note. Sitting up, I notice my back hurts. It’s from carrying the review records. Despite my rant, I’m thankful. My hospital has yet to convert to EMRs. Then you will really get an editorial!

Gary Weichbrodt, MD 
Mind Matters Editor


Dear GPPA Members,

The Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association is enjoying a busy and successful 2016. Our Association held a lively members-only reception at the Center for Human and Civil Rights downtown in May, hosted a successful CME meeting on Amelia Island in July, and has gained 10 new members since April.

As you doubtlessly know (as it is virtually impossible to ignore,) 2016 is an election year. Super Tuesday is November 8, but early voting in Georgia is only a month away, starting on October 17. Early voting hours vary from county to county, so click here to get your specific Advance Voting polling places and hours. If you need more general election information, or just want to make sure your voter registration is current (the last day to register is October 11), click here to go to the Secretary of State's My Voter Page. There you can also find a description of the four constitutional amendments that are up for a vote this year. On the state level, GPPA is staying engaged legislatively: developing a letter of recommendations in response to the findings of the Child Mental Health Study Committee from last session, and looking forward to keeping involved with the upcoming Mental Health Study Committee this next session.

Read on! This issue of Mind Matters features an inspiring member profile of
Elizabeth Frye, MD, -- a psychiatrist who found her calling on the streets and works to bring mental health care to Atlanta's homeless -- and a letter from GPPA Vice President Yolanda Graham, MD, about Amendment 2: an important constitutional referendum that will be on all Georgian's ballots in the upcoming election.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch; we love to hear from our members.

Wishing you a happy and healthy autumn, 

The GPPA Executive Office

2711 Irvin Way, Suite 111
Decatur, Georgia 30030
(404) 298  7100



Thank you everyone who came to Amelia Island in July to attend GPPA's 2016 Summer Meeting.

The meeting was once again a huge success, with fascinating speakers and topics in a paradisiacal setting. The 2016 meeting featured 
Prakash S. Masand, MD, the Founder & CEO of Global Medication Education(GME), a panel on opioids moderated by Dr. Patrice Harris, and a GPPAC breakfast with Emory's own political expert Alan Abramowitz, PhD. 

Upcoming Events:
January 25, 2017: Physicians Day @ the Georgia State Capitol

Go to to register.

February 3-4, 2017: Winter CME Meeting @ the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta
This 2-day meeting will offer physicians up to 11 hours of CME credits. 
Online registration now open! Click here

August 4-5, 2017: Summer CME Meeting @ the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
To reserve a room at the discounted rate of $289/night call 888-239-1217 


Liz Frye:
Street Psychiatrist

Every Wednesday evening,
Dr. Elizabeth Frye and seven of her colleagues from Mercy Care  pile into a white van and venture forth into the sultry city streets of Atlanta. This street medicine team—which includes a primary care provider, a nurse, a formerly homeless street outreach guide, one or two students, a wound-care specialist, and one psychiatrist: Dr. Frye—then proceeds to spend the next three hours seeking out homeless people and providing them with basic health care. “This is the most vulnerable population,” explains Dr. Frye. “They are most in need of these health services, especially mental health, and they are least likely to have any access to them.”  

Sitting atop just enough of a hill to provide a scenic view of downtown, Mercy Care is a modern, red-brick building that houses a health clinic on one side and administrative offices on the other. “Our patients really like how we’ve redone the waiting area,” says Dr. Frye (who goes by Liz). The clinic offers primary, behavioral, and dental health care to very poor and homeless patients five days a week, and Dr. Frye is Mercy Care’s only psychiatrist. She explains how the clinic has developed a holistic approach that includes both behavioral and primary care services, “Over 50% of the people we see have some sort of mental issue, and there just aren’t enough psychiatrists to go around to treat these folks. With our integrated system, the behavioral health specialist is sitting in the room next to the primary care provider, so collaboration is easier. Plus people aren’t going to a ‘mental health center,’ so there’s less stigma.”

"Our team goes out and works with the most vulnerable subset of the homeless population, and we do it in a really collaborative way that is also creative and non-traditional."

Along with a psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and the occasional plucky student on rotation, Dr. Frye performs all of the clinic’s psychiatric services. Mercy Care’s robust mobile outreach program includes telemedicine services on Thursdays, but street medicine “is absolutely the most rewarding part of what I do.” She happily tells me that due to a new partnership with the city of Atlanta they will soon be expanding street services to two nights each week.

So what exactly is street medicine? “The purpose of street medicine is very much to work with people who aren’t engaged—whose trust in systems that were supposed to take care of them was broken in childhood and has been perpetuated throughout their lives…they feel targeted instead of protected. Even within the medical system there’s stigma towards homeless people. Our main goal is just to go out there and form trusting relationships with people, where we hopefully provide some sort of relief for physical and mental health, and try to help them be healthier and eventually get off the streets.”

The team has a handful of set locations on their route: Coca-Cola Park, Bell Street, The Bluff, and a church by the Capitol Building called ‘The Shrine,’ upon whose steps people often sleep. “Very few times have I felt unsafe...We rarely go out with fewer than 8 people, and it feels very safe even though the places don’t seem safe. We’ve been doing it for long enough that people know who we are. I’ve actually had some of our clients say they would protect us if we ever needed it.”

Since high school, Dr. Frye has felt a desire to work with the very poor, “People who I felt really needed these services and wouldn’t have another opportunity to get them if I weren’t there,” and she discovered street medicine during her Fellowship in Community Psychiatry at Emory. “Doing this kind of work is really exciting and speaks to me…seeing how people live in their own environment gives you a really broad picture of what’s going on from a psychiatric standpoint and an overall health standpoint. You have the ability to see all of the social determinants that are affecting somebody's mental health, and [you are] therefore getting to the root of the problem and not just slapping a medication on symptoms. And doing that kind of work really is exciting and speaks to me. Our team goes out and works with the most vulnerable subset of the homeless population, and we do it in a really collaborative way that is also creative and non-traditional.”

"We’ve been able to get 20-25 people off the streets and into housing, and they’re coming in for regular treatment and living the lives they want to live."

Liz concedes to occasionally feeling frustrated by the powers that be, or “larger systems that I don’t have a lot of influence on;” however, “We’ve been able to get 20-25 people off the streets and into housing, and they’re coming in for regular treatment and living the lives they want to live...that’s a tangible difference that our program is making in people’s lives. It’s very rewarding.”

When asked about what she finds most challenging, Liz admits that being the only psychiatrist at Mercy Care creates a lot of competition for her time. “We have a volunteer psychiatrist a few days a month, who can cover for me occasionally. But my RN and psych NP have to stop working if they can’t reach me for consultation...I love the multi-faceted aspect of my job but I feel a little stretched sometimes...It’s a double-edged sword, because it keeps it interesting.”

And she’s not going anywhere: “I love it here. There’s nowhere else in the city where I could get paid to do the work I’m doing now. I really love the population of people that I’m working with. If anything I would like to see my role develop into a little bit more program planning, be able to touch everyone on a more macro population level. But I’m really happy where I am."

I ask Dr. Frye if she could use more volunteers, and if they could be GPPA members. “Yes! We could definitely use volunteers -- especially if they can commit to an on-going arrangement; our volunteer now, for example, has his own private full-time practice, but he is here two days each month. If anyone is interested, we can even set up a ride-along with our street medicine team, so they can really get a feel for the work we do.” Just send me an email:


Safe Harbor Amendment 2:
Vote Yes on Nov. 8

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing you as an advocate for children who have been commercially, sexually exploited. As the number of children victimized in the United States continues to climb—200,000-300,000 (est.) annually—it is vital for us as GPPA members to lend our individual voices and collective effort to advocating for this vulnerable population.

Georgia remains at the forefront in responding to these epidemic numbers of sexually exploited children. Our state recognizes sexual exploitation as a reportable form of child abuse and has developed a centralized, state-wide case management entity. Georgia has implemented specialized treatment programs and crafted legislation that targets both traffickers and consumers. Yet, even as we make these gains, an estimated 250-500 children are bought and sold on the streets and online in our state every month. The average age of these victims is 13 years.

In the November 2016 general election, the ballot will include a referendum for an amendment to Georgia's constitution that will establish greater penalties for traffickers, require their registration as sex offender’s post-conviction, and mandate the development of dedicated funding for victim restorative services. Amendment 2 seeks to create The Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund (TSHSEC), providing access to housing, medical treatment, clinical services and legal aid. Funding for TSHSEC would result from penalties imposed on traffickers and fees assessed to the adult entertainment industry. Passage of this amendment would ensure the availability of resources for any child who has been sexually exploited in Georgia regardless of socioeconomic status.

Your support as a Georgia voter is easy. Scroll to the bottom of the election ballot and vote ‘yes’ to the referendum in the November election. Your support as a GPPA member is also critical. Continue to educate yourself and others on this epidemic as we work to impact change and reduce demand.

Thank you for your commitment to Georgia’s children, as physicians, as advocates, as citizens of this great state.

"Passage of Amendment 2 would ensure the availability of resources for any child who has been sexually exploited in Georgia regardless of socioeconomic status."


Yolanda Graham, MD
GPPA Vice President


A good host always provides guests with a parting gift!
When planning your next event, consider offering your attendees an opportunity to earn some CME Credit as well.

The Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association is accredited to provide PRA Category 1 Continuing Medical Education Credits (CME) by the Medical Association of Georgia. By co-sponsoring your event with GPPA, you can provide your attendees with the added professional-development benefit of continuing education credit(s). Whether you are hosting a speaker at a small-group dinner club, or an all-day educational event at the Carter Center like the Dekalb Community Service Board's conference on psychosis last March (pictured below), simply fill out a joint sponsorship application and GPPA will immediately begin working with you to get your event accredited as soon as possible--with levels of customer service and attention that only your district branch can provide. 

Contact Anita Amin for an application or if you have any questions: 


GPPA Wants to Hear From You!

If you are interested in contributing to Mind Matters (i.e. any information you would like to share, honors, awards, promotions, authorship, or other news of interest) please submit it to 

About GPPA Mind Matters

Mind Matters is GPPA's members-only newsletter that focuses on current issues in psychiatry, member news, association news and updates, legislative issues, practice management, and other subjects of interest to Georgia psychiatrists.

The GPPA does not necessarily endorse the opinions or statements contained in articles or editorials published in Mind Matters.


Members in the News 

  • Samantha (Sammye) Brown, MD: First-ever recipient of Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Member Award from Emory University Psychiatry Department. 

  • Peter Buckley, MD: Published in the August edition of Psychiatric Services: "Comparison of Injectable and Oral Antipsychotics in Relapse Rates in a Pragmatic 30-Month Schizophrenia Relapse Prevention Study."

  • APA Publications released The Social Determinants of Mental Health, edited by former GPPA members Michael Compton, MD, MPH, and Ruth Shim, MD, MPH.

Welcome New Members!

Aaron Clark, MD

General Member


Georgina Hartzell, MD

Resident-Fellow Member

Emory University

Ayisha Jameel, MD

General Member


Cecelia Kane, MD

Fellow Member


Nancy Laube, MD

Distinguished Fellow


Nadia Meyer, MD

General Member


Richard Mullaney, MD

Resident-Fellow Member

Emory University

Kalpana Prasad, MD

General Member


Michael Redmond, DO

Resident-Fellow Member


Mark Vakkur, MD

General Member


This is a publication of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association
GPPA Executive Office
2711 Irvin Way, Suite 111
Decatur, Georgia 30030
(404) 298 7100