March 2017
Editor Gary Weichbrodt, MD

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:


Emory St. Joe's C/L Psychiatrist 68582BR


The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is looking for a consultant and liaison psychiatrist to join a team of clinicians at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital and Outpatient Clinic at Executive Park. The physician would be responsible for providing 80% time for clinical care with up to 20% time for academic related activities, which include teaching, scholarship and administration. Clinical care would be for consultation liaison services at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital (60%), with the remaining time providing outpatient consultation liaison services. Compensation will be commensurate with faculty rank and experience and includes an attractive benefits package. Assistant through full professor positions are available.

Mark Hyman Rapaport MD , Emory School of Medicine

404 727 8382



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.


Dear GPPA Members,

It's been an eventful session of the General Assembly this year -- there have been several pieces of legislation significant for mental health professionals.

Of particular interest to GPPA members are two bills legislating Prescription Drug Monitoring Program mandates: SB 81 and HB 249, which spelled out hefty fines and a felony provision for failing to utilize the PDMP. 

Both bills have "crossed over" from their chambers of origin, and are therefore still alive for this session. 

However, the versions that passed were amended and do NOT include the felony provision. Even with these amendments, both bills are still onerous and unhelpful. 

Please call your state representatives and tell them why SB 81 and HB 249 are bad for Georgia psychiatrists and their patients. 

Click here to find out who represents you at the Gold Dome. 
It's best to use your complete zip code when determining who your elected officials are.
Click here to find out your full zip code +4 

Stay tuned to your inbox for our weekly Capitol Watch legislative updates and other action alerts from the Gold Dome.

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 spring, 

The GPPA Executive Office

2700 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 570
(404) 298  7100



Saturday, April 29, 2017

Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) Clinician Workshop
Hosted by the Georgia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Click here for more information


Friday & Saturday, August 4-5, 2017
GPPA's 2017 Summer CME Meeting at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island:
 To reserve a room at the discounted rate of $289/night call 888-239-1217 


Peter F. Buckley
2017 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

One of two major awards that GPPA gives out every year, the Distinguished Service Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding, long-term commitment to serving the mental health community. A longtime member of the organization, Dr. Buckley was selected as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his “distinguished leadership, [his] enduring commitment to scholarship, education and training, and [his] notable contributions to the advancement of psychiatric medicine.”

Dr. Buckley is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and he has served as Chair of GPPA’s Continuing Medical Education Committee for over a decade.

"We are gathered here today for an occasion designed to increase our knowledge, so it feels particularly appropriate to present this award to Dr. Buckley,” said GPPA President Joseph Bona, MD, MBA.

He is a true polymath: in addition to being an internationally renowned expert on schizophrenia, he has also been a professor of psychiatry, pharmacology, and radiology. Dr. Buckley is a prolific author: he has published more than 500 original articles, book chapters, and abstracts, and he has authored or edited 18 books—most recently the second edition of a reference book for mental health professionals on schizophrenia and a textbook about the intersection of mental and physical health.

Erudition aside, Dr. Buckley also receives this award for his distinguished leadership, which spans oceans: he is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Congress on Schizophrenia, a member of the Election Committee of the Schizophrenia International Research Society, and even the chair of AAMC’s Council of Dean’s Fellowship Committee, which “was created to enhance the development of future leaders in academic medicine.”

Dr. Buckley has received several other awards, including an Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the 2006 Georgia Psychiatrist of the Year Award. Dr. Buckley is also the recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Administrative Psychiatric Award for his work on State-University Collaborations.

2017 is an eventful year for Dr. Buckley. After having been at the helm of the Medical College of Georgia since 2011, he recently started a new role as the 24th Dean of the Medical School at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System.  

Dilip Patel, MD
2017 Psychiatrist of the Year

"[Dr. Patel] has worked tirelessly to bring internationally trained psychiatrists who might otherwise feel marginalized into organized medicine.”
Dr. Howard Maziar

The Psychiatrist of the Year Award is given to a GPPA member who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to psychiatry and has used his/her skills as a psychiatrist in service to the community. Dr. Patel has served several terms on GPPA’s Board of Trustees, and currently is President-Elect of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Dilip Patel is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is the founding president of the Georgia chapter of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association, and is also the President-Elect of the National Indo-American Psychiatric Association.

When it comes to providing community services and leadership to the profession, Dr. Patel has always volunteered. He is the Chair of the GPPA International Psychiatry Committee and serves on the Board of Trustees. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Association of Physicians from India.

He has been an IMG delegate with the Medical Association of Georgia since 2009, and he is a current Committee member of MAG’s Correctional Medicine Committee. Since the beginning of the Psychiatric residency program at Morehouse, he has taught many of their psychiatric residents, as well as being an adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor at the Morehouse Department of Psychiatry. During his work at State Hospital, he was President of Medical Staff from 1990-1991, and helped many Georgia IAPA members practice their oral board examinations.

Dr. Patel served Gujarati Samaj of Atlanta—the largest, service oriented, Indian organization in metro Atlanta in operation since 1980—in many different capacities for 20 years, including being a President and registered agent. Under his Vice-Presidential leadership in 1992, Gujarati Samaj arranged the first-ever Health Fair and Dr. Patel has helped arrange this event every year on Father’s Day, with the help of many volunteer doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and laboratory technicians as well as other paraprofessionals.

He is married to Dr. Daksha Patel, a pediatrician, whom he met while in medical school in India. He has two daughters, the oldest just completed her sports medicine fellowship at the Carolinas HeathCare System.



There are an estimated 1.4 million individuals in this country who identify as either transgender or as a gender outside of male and female. Actively identifying as a gender outside of their biological assignment has resulted in many transgender individuals facing discrimination and persecution in multiple settings, including the hospital. Compared with cisgender patients, care for transgender patients has often been disproportionate in terms of quality and availability

According to the Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey:

  • 19% of transgender patients have been refused medical care from a facility
  • 50% felt the need to “educate providers on what it means to be transgender”
  • 28% deferred medical care based on discrimination
  • Examining the sequelae in mental health terms, recent data indicates:
    Up to 41% of transgender patients will attempt suicide, compared to 4.6% of the general population (2).
It is becoming evident that hospitals must acknowledge their role in the issue and take steps to positively impact this national health concern.

Grady Memorial Hospital has taken on that challenge. Grady serves as the largest hospital in the state of Georgia and one of its largest mental health providers. In 2017, Grady plans to open the Grady Transgender Clinic, a weekly clinic in which providers from multiple disciplines (including, but not limited to: OBGYN, endocrinology, and surgery) will provide initial and follow-up care for transgender patients. Psychiatry will have an important role in conducting psychiatric evaluations for patients coming through the clinic; screening for mental illnesses and assessing the general mental state of those exploring potentially life changing interventions. If mental illness is discovered, the treatment team will review potential interventional options as well as potential concerns regarding transition care, including hormones and/or surgery. The full spectrum of psychiatric treatment options will be available to those receptive to psychiatric care.

It has been acknowledged that individuals may react negatively to a mandatory psychiatric screening. If they understand the concerns, patients will be educated and reminded that the goal of a mental health screening is not to prevent access to care but to ensure they are receiving the proper and appropriate care. Working together as a team, the clinic aims to ensure transgender patients receive catered and quality care in one convenient location.

Furthermore, the Grady Transgender Taskforce Committee is also conducting research with residents from Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University to gauge their experience, medical knowledge, and comfort level when working with transgender patients. The results will inform the development of a formal training curriculum for medical providers across specialties to educate on the importance of awareness, competence, and empathy toward the transgender community.

The Transgender Clinic at Grady Hospital is one way to address the barriers to treatment for the transgender community. Staffing the facility with prepared providers, the clinic strives to serve as an example of unbiased and unprejudiced quality care dedicated to the transgender community.


Jordan Howard, MD 

Chief Resident
Department of Psychiatry
Morehouse School of Medicine

(1) Flores, A.R., Herman, J.L., Gates, G.J., & Brown, T.N.T. (2016). How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States? Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute.
(2) Grant et. Al. Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2011



The Mental Health and Development Program at Emory is accepting participants, between the ages of 13 and 30, for an NIMH project on factors that contribute to risk for psychosis. Patients who are experiencing possible prodromal signs (e g., unusual thoughts/perceptions, suspiciousness) may be eligible for an assessment that includes diagnostic interviews, neuropsychological assessments, MRI scans, and blood tests, all conducted at Emory. There is no charge, and test results can be provided to referring physicians.

For further information, contact Elaine Walker, Ph.D. at


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 

  • GPPA Treasurer Sultan Simms, MD has been accepted to the tenth class of the Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (GPLA.) The GPLA was established by the Medical Association of Georgia in 2007 to develop physician leaders who will enhance the medical profession and the health care system and the quality of life in the state.
  • Morehouse School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry has joined APA's 100% Club at the Platinum Level
  • The Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry has joined APA's 100% Club at the Silver Level
  • Atlanta psychiatrist John M. (Mickey) Nardo passed away on February 19, 2017. Click here to read his full obituary in the AJC. 

New GPPA Members -- 

Maloa Affuembey, MD

General Member


Nohl Braunl, MD

General Member


Laura Briggs, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Jason Carness MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Humera Chaudhary, MD

Resident Fellow Member


Rachel Conrad, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Joshua Deal, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Norah Essali, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Steven Figiel, DO

General Member


Heather Griffin, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Joseph Hernandez, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


William Hudson, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Neil Jariwala, MD

General Member

Johns Creek

Challyn Malone, MD

General Member


Jennifer McCullough, MD

General Member


Emily Novik, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Heather Oxentine, MD

General Member


Srikanth Prayaga, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Shaji Puthuvel, MD

General Member


Muntzra Qadri, MD

Life Member


Joseph Vinson, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Rebecca Woo, MD

Resident-Fellow Member


Victoria Yee, MD

Resident-Fellow Member



This is a publication of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association
GPPA Executive Office
2700 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 570, Atlanta, GA 30339
(404) 298 7100