Helping to usher in the next chapter of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences’ educational mission, Associate Professor Kay Powell, DO, recently joined the faculty as Residency Program Director.

This new leadership role fulfills a goal that Powell has had since her own residency. “I was involved in resident education when I was a chief resident and knew I wanted to lead a program,” she said. After completing her residency, Powell became the Associate Program Director of the Iowa Medical Education Collaborative Psychiatry Residency Program, now known as the MercyOne Psychiatry Residency Program.

Karen (Kay) Powell

Most recently, Powell (pictured here) was medical director at the MercyOne Psychiatry Resident Clinic in Des Moines, IA, and supervised second, third, and fourth-year residents. “I designed the clinic for working with residents and got a lot of feedback from them about how to create an excellent educational experience,” she said. Her current clinical focus will be on the resident portion of the M Health Fairview Riverside Clinic in Minneapolis.

“The U is a good place for me to take on this role because mentorship is important to the Department – people are interested in my success,” Powell explained. “Leadership also has a growth mindset, which supports professional development.”

A board-certified psychiatrist, Powell completed her residency at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earned her DO at Des Moines University in Iowa, and her BA from St. John’s College-Santa Fe, also in New Mexico. In 2022, she won the Society of St. Luke’s Award from MercyOne for providing compassionate care and being a servant leader.

Hitting the ground running in her new role, Powell is already helping the department prepare for resident applicant recruitment. “My immediate challenge is getting a good sense from faculty and residents about our common values and how we can communicate to the applicants a sense of community,” she said.

Powell sees some exciting opportunities at the U. One example is the work being done by Associate Program Director Tolu Odebunmi, MBBS, MPH, to develop individualized learning and mentorship plans for each resident. “We want to match them with faculty mentors and then monitor things over time so we can make adjustments if the residents’ goals change,” said Powell.

When Powell has some spare time, she enjoys being outside. “I don’t mean the athletic type of outdoor activities,” she said. “I like to sit outside and appreciate the beauty around me.”