Series: Department welcomes its new residents

Every year, the National Resident Match Program’s Match Day has an enormous impact on students throughout the country who are looking to further their medical education. This year on March 31, 33,535 first-year resident program matches were made. Nine of those matches were made with the U of M’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Our new residents include Jeremiah Atkinson, MD; Jonas Attilus, MD, MPH; Hamed Ekhtiari, MD, PhD; Jamie Fyda, MD; Hasti Hadizadeh, MD; Eric Leppink, BA; Christian Morfaw, MD; Caitlin Raasch, BA; and Masoud Salehi, MD. They will start their journeys in June.

This is the first in a series of three articles about our nine new residents and we are incredibly excited to introduce you to…

Jeremiah Atkinson, MD
Jeremiah Atkinson, MD
Dr. Atkinson, who will be working in the PERLab (Psychiatric Education Research Lab), received his MD from the U of M and his double BS in biology and biochemistry from South Dakota State University in Brookings. In addition to becoming a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (and chair of the Society’s Mental Health Committee), Dr. Atkinson received the John R. Ylvisaker MD Scholarship, and the Conrad I. Karleen and Ruth V. Karleen/Walter H. Valentine Scholarship while in Medical School. He volunteers regularly with the VEAP Food Bank in Bloomington, MN, and had been a regular volunteer at the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic in Minneapolis.

Until his residency begins, Dr. Atkinson is working with the U’s Graduate Medical Education program to audit almost 100 programs for compliance with ACGME standards. He is also helping resident task forces create online training modules and working with international medical graduates. In addition to spending time doing research with several Twin Cities-based healthcare organizations, Dr. Atkinson is working in the lab of Residency Program Director, Lora Wichser, MD, to help create a new residency track that serves the Minnesota rural community. He is also helping establish telepsychiatry continuity clinics for residents in Native American communities across the state.

Dr. Atkinson has submitted several papers for publication (at this point, one has been accepted) and presented several posters and oral presentations during meetings throughout the United States. In his spare time, he likes to upcycle wood to create furniture and art for family and friends. He is also a sourdough enthusiast and baker.

Jonas Attilus, MD, MPH

Jonas Attilus, MD, MPHIn a Tweet about his residency match, Dr. Attilus wrote, “Kaz [Nelson] & Lora [Wichser] bring so much innovation into medical education & mentorship. This makes me so happy & confident about the next 4 years. Minnesota is the place to be. Highly recommended.”

Dr. Attilus received his MD from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Facultad de Medicina, Mexico, and the Université d'Etat d'Haïti Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie, Haiti. He then completed a Master of Public Health at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.

Throughout medical school, he received numerous scholarships and volunteered for several organizations, such as the Social Medicine Consortium, doing things such as working with chapter representatives in Mexico, Haiti, and the USA to promote health equity and social medicine integration into medical school curriculum.

In addition to several international volunteer experiences, Dr. Attilus spent almost a year working with the Hastings Center in New York City conducting a review of European policies related to providing health care services for migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees, highlighting promising practices and notable failures. He also worked on a project related to behavioral health integration in primary care in the Dominican Republic that was led by the School of Nursing at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He contributed to two published and one submitted journal article and has presented posters at meetings throughout the world. When he has spare time, Dr. Attilus enjoys learning new languages, poetry, watching soccer games, reading, and traveling.

Hamed Ekhtiari, MD, PhD
Hamed Ekhtiari, MD, PhDDr. Ekhtiari, who will be on the Physician Scientist track, completed his MD at the School of Medicine and his PhD in neuroimaging at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. He won a national award for his work as an associate editor of the Iranian Textbook of Psychiatry and helps edit the journal, Current Addiction Reports, in addition to providing editorial support for several other journals. He is a lecturer and course organizer for the International Cognitive Neuroscience Online Course, which has almost 130 students enrolled from 20 countries.

An experienced researcher, Dr. Ekhtiari worked for several years at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, OK, serving as a PI on several projects, writing grants, and teaching post-docs and graduate students. In addition, he taught PhD and MSc courses at the Institute for Cognitive Science Studies of Tehran. He has published numerous peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed journal articles and was first author on several, contributed to three published book chapters, and has made poster and oral presentations throughout the world.

Dr. Ekhtiari enjoys creating cognitive games and exercises and is the co-author of Brain-Healing First Aid: How to Recover My Brain's Abilities During Addiction Treatment. He is also an avid half-marathon runner.

In the next article, we will profile Jamie Fyda, MD; Hasti Hadizadeh, MD; and Eric Leppink, BA.

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