On July 1, 2021, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences welcomed its latest group of fellows who are continuing their post-graduate education. This is the first of two articles in which we proudly introduce them and their subspecialties

Addiction Medicine
The goal of the addiction psychiatry program is to train psychiatrists skilled in the recognition, assessment, and treatment of persons with substance use disorders whether alone or in combination with other psychiatric and medical disorders. The fellows are:

Robert “Cole” Pueringer, MD

Robert (Cole) Pueringer MD

Dr. Pueringer earned a BA in chemistry from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN; and completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. His residency in internal medicine was done at Hennepin Healthcare (formerly Hennepin County Medical Center). Dr. Pueringer holds a CTropMed® certification from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and completed a Medical Toxicology fellowship at HealthPartners in Minneapolis, MN.

Since 2018, Dr. Pueringer has been gaining clinical experience at Hennepin Healthcare in its methadone clinic and detox facility, as well as working as a hospitalist on their medical wards. He also spent three years building his skills as a basic research scientist for the University of Minnesota Cancer Center’s Department of Pediatric Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

From 2016 to 2018, Dr. Pueringer was selected by his peers as the medicine representative to the Resident Leadership Team. In that capacity, he helped make decisions that affected all residents and served on the General Medical Education Committee. He also spent several years as an instructor in Hennepin Healthcare’s Simulation Center, helping prepare residents for complex patient scenarios.

Dr. Pueringer has published five journal articles and is currently doing research on the use of ketamine for agitated patients in the hospital setting. He has presented posters during medical meetings throughout the world and spoken at meetings in the Twin Cities. He is an active member of Physicians Helping Physicians, an organization dedicated to supporting healthcare providers struggling with the medical, personal, and professional ramifications of addiction. He is also active in the Twin Cities recovery community.

On the global stage, Dr. Pueringer has worked with a team of physicians in Ilulua, Tanzania, since 2013 to provide medical care and education.

Originally from Billings, MT, when Dr. Pueringer has free time, he enjoys reading, fly fishing, canoeing, camping, hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing. He also enjoys sports such as soccer, basketball, and racquetball, and loves to bike.

Ingrid Podnieks Yelkin, MD

Ingrid Podnieks Yelkin, MD

Dr. Podnieks Yelkin spent 14 years in the HealthPartners/Park Nicollet healthcare system. She has been a family physician, a medical director, and Vice Chair of the Department of Family Medicine. During that time, she also spent two years as a consultant working with the Minnesota Department of Health on the Health Care Home Certification Team.

She completed her Family Medicine residency at the U of M and Methodist Hospital/Creekside in the Twin Cities. Dr. Podnieks Yelkin split her time in medical school between the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses of the U of M. She earned a BA in biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Paul, MN.

Dr. Podnieks Yelkin has made several presentations to various medical groups and has been on humanitarian missions in Moldova, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Ghana, and Cuba.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
The mission of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is to train fellows to diagnose and treat mental illness in children from infancy through 18 years of age. The child psychiatry fellow will understand biological underpinnings and vulnerabilities, environmental and family influences, interactions with medical illness, and neurological concomitants of the illnesses. The fellows are:

Justin Garcia, MD

Justin Garcia, MD

Dr. Garcia earned a BS in neuroscience at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and an MS in global medicine at the University of Southern California. He completed his MD at the University of Missouri in Kansas City (UMKC), where he also completed the first year of his psychiatry residency. He finished his residency with our department here at the U of M.

At UMKC, Dr. Garcia spent almost five years as a research assistant in the lab of Martin Maldonado, MD, working on a project related to pregnant mothers and their ability to bond with their children.

He also served in leadership positions while at UMKC in student organizations that held events for those interested in psychiatry or the medical field. Dr. Garcia volunteered at UKMC student-run free health and eye clinics . While at UCLA, he participated in activities designed to attract Filipino students to the university.

When Dr. Garcia has free time, he enjoys films, playing guitar, ukulele, and percussion, and practicing yoga.

Erin Myers, MD

Erin Myers, MD

Dr. Myers completed her psychiatric residency at the University of Central Florida in Kissimmee. She earned her MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and a BS in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While in school, Dr. Myers won the Patrick E. Bolger Memorial Award in the Ethical Practice of Medicine and received Scholarly Project Distinction for Bioethics Pathway at the Medical College of Wisconsin Scholarship Forum.

During medical school, she planned and conducted weekly tutoring sessions for a group of seven M2 students as they prepared for the USMLE STEP 1 examination. Dr. Myers spent eight years volunteering with the Wisconsin Science Olympiad, writing and proctoring exams, coordinating build competitions, and coaching students. She built her research skills in spinal cord injury in the Department of Neurosurgery of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In 2017, Dr. Myers published a prophetic book titled, Vax and the Virus, about vaccine efficacy and safety that she had partnered on with an illustrator. She also presented HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention talks to local high school health classes. Dr. Myers was the Medical Student Volunteer Coordinator for almost two years at the Philippine Center Free Clinic in Milwaukee. She has made presentations and presented posters during medical meetings.

When she has spare time, Dr. Myers explores the world with her husband and two young daughters. They enjoy hiking, baking, and impromptu living room dance parties. When she has time on her own, she spends it writing poetry, painting, and watching British crime dramas.

We anticipate that these fellows will accomplish great things while they are with us.

Stay tuned for the final article in the series, in which we introduce our fellows in Forensics and Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuromodulation Medicine.