photo of W. Vaughn McCall, MD, MS

W. Vaughn McCall, MD, MS

  • Case Distinguished University Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior
  • Executive Vice Dean, Medical College of Georgia
  • Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs

Dr. McCall has been the Case Distinguished University Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University since 2012.  He also serves as Executive Vice Dean of MCG.  He completed his medical degree and post-graduate psychiatric training at Duke University. He completed a Masters degree in Epidemiology from Wake Forest University. He is board certified in general psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and sleep medicine. His research interests include depression, electroconvulsive therapy, quality of life, insomnia, and suicide.   He received 22 years of research support from the National Institute of Mental Health, and he has more than 500 published items, including more than 230 peer-reviewed journal articles, with a Google Scholar H-index of 59. His papers in the American Journal of Psychiatry were twice picked by the Editors as among 7 “most interesting and important papers” published in that journal for the years 2017 and 2019.

In 2021 he was ranked #43 in the world for scholarship on the topic of suicide (top 0.15 %), and among the top 14 psychiatrists in the world, and the top 5 psychiatrists in the USA. He is Editor of the Journal of ECT, Past Associate Editor for the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, and presently on the Editorial Board of Sleep and the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. He has been the Past President of the Association for Convulsive Therapy, and a prior Director of the Board of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He previously was the Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine from 2001-2012.


photo of Peter B. Rosenquist, MD

Peter B. Rosenquist, MD

  • Executive Vice Chair
  • Director of Therapeutic Neurostimulation
  • Leon Henri Charbonnier Endowed Chair

Dr. Peter B. Rosenquist is professor and executive vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.  He was named as the Leon Henri Charbonnier Endowed Chair in Psychiatry and Health Behavior in 2020. Dr. Rosenquist, is also director of the department’s Therapeutic Neurostimulation Program, came to MCG from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2012. He is an expert in electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation, techniques that apply various types of electromagnetic energy to the brain as an alternative to traditional pharmacologic therapies for psychiatric disorders.

He has participated as an investigator in multiple National Institutes of Health and industry funded trials over the past 25 years which have helped to define best practices in the field. His research efforts are primarily focused on finding alternatives for treatment resistant major depressive disorders.

He also is a coinvestigator on a $1.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration aimed at training psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and psychologists to work collaboratively with primary care practitioners to address rural behavioral health disparities.

An honored educator, Rosenquist is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a past recipient of the association’s Nancy C.A. Roeske Certification of Excellence in Medical Education award. He has twice been named Didactic Teacher of the Year by MCG and AU Health psychiatry residents.

Rosenquist is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of ECT and is a past examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is a member of the International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation, the American Psychiatric Association and the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.

He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, the University of Nebraska Medical School, and completed his psychiatry residency at the Chicago Medical School.


photo of Amal Asiri, MD

Amal Asiri, MD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Amal Asiri is an assistant professor in the Division of Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Dr. Asiri earned her bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from King Abdul-Aziz university in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She completed her psychiatry residency training at Tufts medical school and completed her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship training at Augusta University. Dr. Asiri has worked as a Child and Adolescent psychiatrist at The Bradley Center, St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, GA; Garfield Park Hospital, Mt. Sianai, and Holy Cross Hospitals in Chicago, IL. Prior to joining Augusta University, she was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL, where she served in clinical and supervisory roles in outpatient psychiatry, C/L services, and provided on-call coverage for the adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit.


photo of Sameera Azeem, MD, MPH

Sameera Azeem, MD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Director, Psychiatry Clerkship Program

Dr. Sameera Azeem is an assistant professor in the Division of Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She grew up in Augusta, Georgia, spent her entire childhood in the area, and is proud to still call Augusta her home. She completed her undergraduate studies at Augusta University, after which she worked as an assistant in research labs at the Medical College of Georgia’s Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine as well as in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Following this, she left Augusta for two years to obtain her Masters of Public Health at Rollins School of Public Health in Emory University. She then returned to Augusta to complete medical school, internship, General Psychiatry residency, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at Augusta University. She served as Chief Resident during her Child and Adolescent fellowship. Upon completing her fellowship, she remained with the department to join as faculty and also began serving as Associate Director for the Psychiatry Clerkship program for medical students. Her current clinical duties include providing inpatient care on both the acute and residential units at the Lighthouse Care Center of Augusta. She also provides outpatient care to children and adolescents at Transitional Family Services and at the Department of Behavioral Health at Augusta University. Her interests include mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and the influence of culture and spirituality in psychiatry.  


photo of Marshall Bedder, MD

Marshall Bedder, MD

  • Associate Professor
  • Director, Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program

Dr. Marshall Bedder is an Associate Professor and Director of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship program. He is a Canadian born and trained physician, now a naturalized US citizen. He is an ABA boarded anesthesiologist with added qualifications in pain medicine and certification in Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM).  Dr. Bedder is the former head of the Pain Management Center at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) where he established an Anesthesia Pain Fellowship training program.  He also helped to establish the hands-on workshops for implantable therapies, which are now the industry standard.  Dr. Bedder continues to present extensively on pain management topics world-wide.  He has published over 40 original journal articles, reviews and textbook chapters.

Dr. Bedder is a founding member, past Board member, Treasurer and was President-Elect for the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS). He has served on the Editorial Board for the Journal Neuromodulation and is a current reviewer for the journals Neuromodulation and Pain Medicine.  He served as the pain medicine and anesthesia member for the Alaska and Washington Medicare carrier advisory committee (CAC). Dr. Bedder served as Director of Anesthesia Services and Pain Fellowship Director for the Alaska Spine Institute in Anchorage, Alaska.

Dr. Bedder relocated to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 and was Director of Interventional Pain for Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) in Seattle, WA. PacMed is a multispecialty medical group comprising over 150 primary care providers and specialty physicians. As a Direct Commission Officer Commander Bedder served in the United States Navy from 2011 until 2017. He was deployed as a combat anesthesiologist to the Role 3 NATO Hospital in Kandahar Afghanistan in 2014.

Dr. Bedder is a Board member Emeritus for the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience, and continues to serve on the Medical Advisory Board for Boston Scientific Neuromodulation since 2006. Dr. Bedder joined the Augusta Pain Center in 2019 to provide advanced technology solutions for chronic pain patients who have not had success in their individual therapies.


photo of Candace Best, PhD

Candace Best, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Dr. Candace Best is a licensed clinical health psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University. Dr. Best completed her B.A. in Psychology at Hampton University. She then obtained a M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Purdue University. Dr. Best also completed her pre-doctoral internship training at The University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry. Afterwards, she pursued postdoctoral training in The Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Best’s research focus includes improving disparities and ethics in health care. Clinically, she embraces assisting children, adolescents, young adults and their families navigate through the many challenges of life. These challenges often involve life transitions, anxiety, stress, depression, relationship problems, and/or improving academic performance. Dr. Best also enjoys supporting patients and their families as a Mental Health Consultant in the Cystic Fibrosis Child Clinic and other Pediatric Clinics. Using a Cognitive-Behavioral framework, Dr. Best encourages patients and their families to recognize how thoughts influence feelings and subsequent behaviors. Overall, Dr. Best is dedicated to interdisciplinary clinical care and improving the well-being of her patients and those in the greater CSRA community.


photo of Lauren Bigham, PhD

Lauren Bigham, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Lauren Bigham is an assistant professor at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, with appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and the Georgia Cancer Center. Dr. Bigham serves the Director of Psycho-social Oncology and Associate Director of the Psycho-oncology Fellowship Training Program. She earned her PhD in counseling psychology with an emphasis in health psychology from the University of Georgia. Dr. Bigham’s graduate education also includes a master’s degree in kinesiology-sport psychology from Georgia Southern University and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Mercer University. She completed an APA-accredited predoctoral internship in clinical health psychology at the Medical College of Georgia – Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In addition to teaching and completing research at the University of Georgia, she completed additional fellowship training at the Georgia Cancer Center in health psychology/psycho-oncology. As a licensed psychologist in the state of Georgia, Dr. Bigham provides consultation, evaluation, and psychotherapy in both the inpatient and outpatient settings to patients diagnosed with acute and/or chronic medical concerns, with emphasis on oncologic and hematological diagnoses. Her professional interests include health psychology, psycho-oncology, health behavior change, integrated interdisciplinary team-based care, and program development/quality improvement.


photo of Ram J Bishnoi, MBBS

Ram J Bishnoi, MBBS

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Ram J Bishnoi is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University. He received his medical degree from NHL Municipal Medical College and post-graduate psychiatry training from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad in India. He completed general psychiatry residency training (research track) at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and Geriatric Psychiatry clinical fellowship at Saint Louis University. Currently, Dr. Bishnoi provides clinical services at East Central Regional Hospital. His current academic and research focus is identification of neuroimaging and blood-based biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and other aging-related disorders. He has published his research in peer-reviewed journals and presented in scientific meetings. For his early career research, he has been awarded scholarships/awards by University of Texas Health Science Center, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, and American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease.


photo of Jessica Britt-Thomas, PhD

Jessica Britt-Thomas, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Jessica Britt-Thomas is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior. Dr. Britt-Thomas is also a Licensed Psychologist on one of the inpatient forensic wards at East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH). She provides treatment services, conducts forensic evaluations, and supervises trainees. She received her BA in Psychology from Auburn University and her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology (with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology) from Palo Alto University. Dr. Britt-Thomas completed a predoctoral internship at Napa State Hospital, during which she completed major rotations in neuropsych forensic evaluations, Competency Restoration, Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity assessment and treatment, and comprehensive Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).  She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Persistent Seriously Mentally Ill (SSMI psychology through the partnership between Augusta University and East Central State Hospital, during which she completed major rotations in neurocognitive assessments, forensic evaluations (Competency to Stand Trial, Criminal Responsibility, and Violence Risk Assessments), and DBT group therapy.  Her publications span in the areas of forensics, substance abuse, and Neuropsychology Current research interests include evaluating psychological factors related to insanity acquittals and factors leading to recidivism.


photo of Lelan Byrd, MD

Lelan Byrd, MD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Lelan Byrd comes to the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior as an assistant professor in Addiction Medicine. Dr. Byrd is a Diplomat of the American Board of Urology.

Dr. Byrd had decades of experience in several medical disciplines.  He competed his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia where he also completed his residency and surgical training. He worked in the renal transplant service at MCG. Later, he went into private practice in Hendersonville, NC at Western Carolina Urological.  He retired from surgery and after seeing the devastation of addiction in friends and family, he decided to return to medicine to complete a fellowship in addiction at the University Of Florida School Of Medicine.  Since completing the fellowship he has served as the Medical Director of Caron Recovery’s Regional office in Atlanta, GA.  He has also served as the Medical Director of Good Landing Recovery, one of the nation’s largest intensive outpatient addiction programs. Dr. Byrd was elected Alpha Omega Alpha at MCG in 1986 and coauthored papers in renal transplant surgery and surgical techniques in urology.

Dr. Byrd’s practice is informed not only by his formal education but by his previous career as a professional athlete and collegiate baseball coach working with people, especially young people, of widely diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.

photo of Richard Camino MD

Richard Camino MD

  • Training Director, General Psychiatry
  • Professor

Dr. Richard F. Camino-Gaztambide

is Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, training director of the General Psychiatry Residency program, and associate training director of the Addiction Fellowship Program at the Medical College of Georgia. Previously, Dr. Camino served as clerkship director and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Mercer University. After finishing his Bachelor in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, he graduated from the Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. He completed his general psychiatry and child fellowship at the University Of Puerto Rico School Of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Camino obtained a Master of Arts in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. He holds board certification in General Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Addiction Medicine. He has been active in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as co-chair Religion and Spirituality Committee since 2015. Dr. Camino practiced for 17 years in Puerto Rico and was recognized by his peers for ten consecutive years in the "Doctor Choice Awards" given annually by Buena Vida Health magazine. As an educator, he has given presentations at national meetings at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and international meetings, including venues like Jerusalem, Aberdeen (Scotland), Buenos Aires, Medellin, Havana, Caracas, Santo Domingo. He has published book chapters and review articles on cultural psychiatry, family therapy, and spirituality in clinical practice in English and Spanish. His interests have been in education, cultural psychiatry, religion and spirituality in clinical practice, evolutionary psychopathology, ADHD and Autism, and addiction disorders.


photo of Tracy Casanova, PhD

Tracy Casanova, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Tracy Casanova is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior. She attended Michigan State University where she received a BS in Psychology. She went on to earn an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology from the University of Cambridge. She concluded her graduate education in Psychology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she received a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology and a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Dr. Casanova completed her pre-doctoral internship at Southern Illinois University Counseling and Psychological Services. She finished her training at Charlie Norwood VAMC with a postdoctoral fellowship specializing in Military Sexual Trauma. Dr. Casanova’s expertise lies in working with individuals who have experienced trauma and the LGBTQ community. She is passionate about social justice and focuses her research on examining intersectional issues of identity. She is currently the President of the Board for the Equality Clinic. Dr. Casanova is licensed in the state of Georgia and an active member of the Georgia Psychological Association.


photo of Asa Cheesman, MD

Asa Cheesman, MD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Asa Cheesman is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Augusta University Medical College of Georgia’s Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior. She received her medical degree from St George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada. Then completed general psychiatry residency Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in affiliation with Weil Cornell Medical College, New York and Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York. Currently, Dr Cheesman is a psychiatrist at East Central Regional Hospital acute mental health unit where she is passionate about supervising psychiatric residents and medical students in helping individuals with severe mental illness. Her academic and research interests involve geriatric neuropsychiatry, and she has presented at multiple American Psychiatric Association and American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry conferences.  


photo of Erin Dexter, MD

Erin Dexter, MD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Erin Dexter is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Dr. Dexter is the treating psychiatrist on one of the inpatient forensic units at East Central Regional Hospital. She works with a multidisciplinary team and supervises trainees in evaluating and managing patients who are navigating the legal system and also in need of inpatient psychiatric care.

She earned a B.S. in Exercise Science and Philosophy from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri and is a graduate of University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas. She completed her internship, general psychiatry residency, and served as Chief Resident during her time at Augusta University. She then completed a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia before returning to the Medical College of Georgia to join faculty. Dr. Dexter’s areas of academic and research interest include violence prevention in the forensic psychiatric inpatient population and detection of malingering in the forensic setting. She is a member of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and is a member of the correctional committee. Dr. Dexter is invested in teaching and enjoys working with trainees at all levels of their medical training.


photo of Christopher F. Drescher, PhD

Christopher F. Drescher, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Dr. Christopher F. Drescher is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and a licensed psychologist in the state of Georgia. He completed his doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship through the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University. He received his PhD and MA in clinical psychology from the University of Mississippi and his BA in psychology from West Virginia University. Clinically, Dr. Drescher specializes in psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and young adults. He directs the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Adolescent Skills Group, and frequently implements DBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for mood and anxiety disorders. He also serves as a mental health consultant for the Augusta University Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center. He is the Component Director for the Holistic Patient Care component of the pre-clerkship curriculum for medical students. He is the training director for the Child Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is the Associate Training Director for the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University/Charlie Norwood VAMC Psychology Internship. His publications span a range of topics; current research interests include positive youth development, LGBTQ mental health, DBT, and ACT. He is President of the Equality Clinic of Augusta. He is also President of the Augusta Area Psychological Association.


photo of Jeremy Gay, Psy.D.

Jeremy Gay, Psy.D.

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Jeremy Gay is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University. Dr. Gay has practiced as a Licensed Psychologist in the states of Georgia and South Carolina. He currently serves as a Licensed Psychologist on one of the Adult Mental Health Units at East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH). He received a BA degree in Psychology and a MS Degree in Clinical Psychology from Augusta University and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (with an emphasis in Rural Psychology and Serving Underserved Populations) from Georgia Southern University, located in Statesboro, Georgia. Dr. Gay completed a predoctoral internship at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and was the first MCG Psychology Intern assigned to the Forensic Emphasis Track. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Forensic Psychology through the partnership between Augusta University and East Central State Hospital.

Dr. Gay has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at a number of professional conferences on a variety of topics including factors predicting both initial opinions of incompetency to stand trial and ultimate prediction of competency restoration outcomes; psychopathy; moral decision making; and mental illness stigma. Dr. Gay’s clinical interests include the treatment and assessment of individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness, particularly psychotic-spectrum disorders; third-wave behavioral therapies, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); Personality Assessment; and interdisciplinary consultation, particularly relating to the assessment and treatment of complex cases. Dr. Gay’s forensic clinical interests include the assessment of competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, and malingering, as well as fitness for duty evaluations, particularly for police officers. Although Dr. Gay’s areas of specialization are forensic in nature, he also has a wide variety of clinical experiences and knowledge, particularly in the domains of psychological assessment, psychotherapy, and behavioral assessment. He is a member of Division 41 (American Psychology-Law Society) of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.


photo of Priscilla Gilman, MD

Priscilla Gilman, MD

  • Professor Emeritus

Dr. Priscilla Gilman completed her MD at Case Western Reserve after receiving her BA from Swarthmore College. Her areas of teaching include Psychotherapy (DDBT CCBT systems, interpersonal, supportive, and dynamic), individual, couple, group pharmacotherapy and case management. She has an interest in women's issues and conducts research on agents of change and comparisons of different theories and applications of psychotherapies. Dr. Gilman also has board certification in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology for which she held various academic and military positions for 25 years before retraining in psychiatry. For three years she worked as an Expert Scientist at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health in the Clinical Epidemiology Section with a particular interest in the genetics and etiology of various childhood cancers. She is a retired Colonel from the US Army Reserve where she also was Training Director of the Transitional Internship Program for three years at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. Her clinical activities/interests include personality disorders and treatment-resistant depression as well as patient and family-centered care, and end of life and palliative care.


photo of Cassandra M. Groth PhD

Cassandra M. Groth PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Cassandra Groth is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University. She is a psychologist on one of the inpatient forensic wards at East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH). She provides treatment services, conducts forensic evaluations, and supervises trainees. Dr. Groth received her BS in Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Human Services from Elmira College, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a concentration in forensic psychology, from Nova Southeastern University. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner North Carolina with rotations focused on forensic evaluations and the treatment of chronically ill and forensic populations. Before joining the staff at ECRH, Dr. Groth completed her post-doctoral fellowship in forensics and worked as a licensed psychologist at Larned State Hospital in Kansas. She has published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at professional conferences. Her research interests include intimate partner violence and trauma in incarcerated populations, the death penalty, and false confessions.


photo of Jason Henle, PsyD

Jason Henle, PsyD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Jason Henle is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.  He came to Augusta in 2011 as the Forensic Program Director at East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH) through its partnership with Augusta University. In 2021, Dr. Henle moved his location of practice to the Stoney Building at Augusta University as an Administrator and community psychologist. Dr. Henle received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Psychology from Concordia University, a PsyD from Nova Southeastern University, and Post Doctoral Master’s in Psycho-pharmacology from Nova Southeastern University. Prior to coming to Augusta, he was working at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Ga. in their maximum-security mental health hospital.


photo of Amy House, PhD

Dr. Amy House completed her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Georgia in 1996. She completed internship and postdoctoral fellowship training at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and has been on the faculty since that time. Dr. House's clinical and teaching interests are in the contextual behavioral psychotherapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavior therapy, and specifically in the treatment of borderline personality disorder and PTSD. Dr. House heads the CCBT training program for psychology and psychiatry residents in the department. Dr. House's research interests have focused on the impact of trauma on mental and physical health outcomes. More recently, her research interests have focused on psychological flexibility processes as they relate to issues of stigma in patients with chronic illness, and to burnout and well-being in health care trainees. 


photo of Matthew Kridel, Ph.D.

Matthew Kridel, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Matthew Kridel is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and a licensed psychologist in the state of Georgia. He received his BA in Psychology from Gannon University, and his MS in Applied Psychology and PhD in Clinical/Counseling Psychology from the University of South Alabama. He completed his predoctoral internship at the University of California, Irvine Counseling Center, and his postdoctoral fellowship in HIV/LGBTQ Health Psychology at Augusta University. His professional interests include LGBTQ identity and health, sexual health and functioning, integrated care, hypnosis, effective clinical communication, and clinical education and training. In addition to providing outpatient psychotherapy, he provides psychological services in the Department of Neurology, is a facilitator for case-based learning in the Medical College of Georgia, and serves on the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior DEI Committee. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, trying new restaurants, and participating in the performing arts.


photo of Christian R. Lemmon, PhD

Christian R. Lemmon, PhD

  • Professor
  • Director of Psychology Internship Training

Dr. Christian Lemmon received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Mississippi after receiving his MA in Experimental Psychology from the University of Texas–El Paso and his BA in Psychology from Washington College. Currently, he is a professor and director of the Psychology Residency Program in the Department of Psychiatry & Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. He serves on the Psychology Residency Selection Committee, Psychiatry Residency Selection Committee, Psychology Residency Core Committee, Psychiatry Resident Education Committee, and the departmental Medical Students' Education Committee. Dr. Lemmon has served the Medical College of Georgia on the Medical Students' Admission Committee and is Chair of the Faculty Senate Student Promotions Committee. He serves as the Health Behavior Program Leader for the outpatient psychiatry clinic. Dr. Lemmon’s areas of teaching include eating disorders, obesity, the Psychotherapy Process Seminar and Essentials of Clinical Medicine I and II (ECM-I Small Group and ECM II-Problem-Based Learning). His publications include articles and book chapters in the areas of eating disorders, the psychological implications of bariatric surgery and the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. He has made numerous presentations at national and international professional meetings on the aforementioned topics and he has been a reviewer for several professional journals. As the director of the Augusta University Eating Disorders Program, Dr. Lemmon’s clinical interests include the assessment, and individual, group and family treatment for patients diagnosed with anorexia nervosa bulimia nervosa binge eating disorder, and other feeding disturbances. He is also involved in the assessment and treatment of bariatric surgery candidates.


photo of Eric Lewkowiez, MD

Eric Lewkowiez, MD

  • Associate Dean of Student Affairs
  • Associate Professor

Dr. Eric Lewkowiez is an assistant professor in the Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. He received his MD degree from the University of South Carolina and an MS in Microbiology and Immunology from the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed a General Psychiatry Residency and Child and Adolescent Fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Lewkowiez came to MCG in 2003, after 3 years of private practice in Columbia, S.C. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., in both adult and child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Lewkowiez was recently appointed Associate Dean in the Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs. He functions primarily as the rotation director of the Community Psychiatry Rotation in the second year. His teaching areas include Basic Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Advanced Pediatric Psychopathology, Development, and ADHD. Dr. Lewkowiez's clinical areas of interest include ADHD, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, and Mood Disorders. He is also very interested in medical student and resident education and advocating for children. Dr. Lewkowiez is currently president of the Georgia Council for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and serves on the Committee on Residents and Students for the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.


photo of Donna Londino, MD

Donna Londino, MD

  • Professor

Dr. Donna Londino is a professor in the Division of Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychiatry at Augusta University. She is a 1995 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine (MCG) and received her residency and fellowship training through the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at MCG.  She is board certified in both general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Londino's clinical interests include acute stabilization of severe mental health disorders in children and adolescents.  She served as the Director of Inpatient Services for close to 15 years until the unit at MCG closed.  She now consults in the emergency room at Augusta University.  Her outpatient interests include the treatment of individuals with high-functioning autism (and those previously diagnosed with Asperger's disorder).  She also specializes in pediatric pharmacology, treatment of early-onset psychotic disorders and therapy for young children and their families.  Her research interests include neurofunctioning and psychopharmacologic treatment of mental health disorders in the pediatric population. Dr. Londino is active in medical education of and curriculum development for medical students and residents and serves on several committees related to the same at the Medical College and nationally through the American College of Psychiatrists.  


photo of Kimberly Loomer, Ed.D.

Kimberly Loomer, Ed.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Dean for Student & Multicultural Affairs
  • Associate Dean for Learner Well-being

Dr. Kimberly Loomer EdD, currently serves as the Associate Dean for Student & Multicultural Affairs as well as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Health Behavior in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta Univeristy.

Dr. Loomer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Masters in Community Counseling from Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. She also earned her Doctorate in Counseling and Psychology from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. Additionally, she earned a Management Development Certificate from Harvard University.
Dr. Loomer is passionate about diversity and inclusion as evidenced by her creation and implementation of courses in Cultural Competence and Health Disparities at two institutions. Dr. Loomer has produced a plethora of scholarly activity, resulting in the publication of 5 textbooks, numerous book chapters, and over a dozen peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Loomer co-authored a textbook about Cultural Competence after noticing a dearth of information on the topic. Additionally, she has given over 50 invited, refereed presentations, and procured grant funding.
Dr. Loomer immerses herself in the community. She serves (or has served) on boards at the local, state and national level, including the Good Neighbor Ministries board in the Harrisburg neighborhood of Augusta, the University of Georgia Camp Kesem chapter, The Pink Pumpkin Party raising money for mammograms, Junior League, National Academic Advising Association, Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Ronald McDonald House.


photo of P. Alex Mabe, PhD

P. Alex Mabe, PhD

  • Professor

Dr. P. Alex Mabe received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Mabe is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior.

His publications include over 60 articles in the areas of clinical child and pediatric psychology as well as other mental health care issues. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and a Fellow of the Georgia Psychological Association. He has been a reviewer for 13 professional journals and has made numerous presentations at national and international professional meetings on topics related to children's mental health, family and parent management training, and the recovery model of mental health services. Dr. Mabe is licensed as a psychologist in Georgia and South Carolina and has been providing clinical psychology services to children and their families in the Central Savannah River Area for 30 years including extensive work with military families on assignment at Fort Gordon, Georgia. His current research interests include parenting and child treatment services. In addition, he is the team leader of Project GREAT (Georgia Recovery-Based Educational Approach to Treatment) that has been developing innovative approaches to transforming an academic psychiatry department to a Recovery model of care. Project GREAT was the recipient of the American College of Psychiatrists' annual award for Creativity in Psychiatric Education in 2012.


photo of Sahebarao P. Mahadik, PhD

Sahebarao P. Mahadik, PhD

  • Professor Emeritus

Dr. Sahebarao Mahadik received his PhD, BS, and MS from the University of Poona. His clinical interests incorporate schizophrenia, neurodevelopmental disorders, and stroke. Teaching areas include neurobiology and psychopharmacology of psychiatric disorders. Dr. Mahadik conducts research in the areas of neurobiology, neurochemistry of schizophrenia and its treatment and neuroprotection after brain injury.


photo of Joseph McEvoy, MD

Joseph McEvoy, MD

  • Professor
  • I. Clark Case Chair in Psychotic Disorders
  • Director of Public Psychiatry, East Central Regional Hospital

Joseph P McEvoy, MD, came to the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in July of 2013 after his retirement from Duke University Medical Center as professor emeritus.  He is a tenured professor of Psychiatry and Health Behaviors and the I. Clark Case Chair in Psychotic Disorders at Augusta University, and also serves as the Director of Public Psychiatry in the Augusta University partnership with DBHDD His clinical work is currently at East Central Regional Hospital. Dr. McEvoy’s research has focused on severe and persistent mental disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder). Dr. McEvoy edited the Expert Consensus Guidelines for the treatment of schizophrenia in 1996 and 1999. He served as Co-Principal Investigator and Project Medical Officer for the CATIE Schizophrenia Trials and for several subsequent trials funded through the NIMH funded Schizophrenia Trials Network, as well as for the industry-funded Comparison of Atypicals for First Episode (CAFÉ) trial. He is currently the principal investigator for the NIMH funded ACLAIMS (A Comparison of Long-Acting Injected Medications for Schizophrenia) trial. He is an author on more than 175 refereed publications and numerous invited publications, including books and book chapters. 


photo of Brian Miller, MD

Brian Miller, MD

  • Professor

Dr. Brian Miller is a professor with tenure in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University. He earned a BS in mathematics from Vanderbilt University, a combined MD/MPH degree from The Ohio State University, and a PhD in psychiatric epidemiology from the University of Oulu (Finland). He completed his general psychiatry residency and fellowship in psychotic disorders at Augusta University, where he served as chief resident, and joined the faculty in 2010. 

Dr. Miller's research focuses on inflammation and immune dysfunction in schizophrenia, and has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Stanley Medical Research Foundation, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications. He has been recognized with several awards, including the 2011 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the 2015 Augusta University Outstanding Young Clinical Science Faculty Award, the 2017 OSU College of Medicine Early Career Achievement Alumni Award, and a 2020 Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has been an editorial board member of Biomarkers in Neuropsychiatry, BMC Psychiatry, Current Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin, and Psychiatric Times. In addition to his research, Dr. Miller provides clinical care for patients with schizophrenia, and supervises and teaches residents and medical students in general psychiatry. 


photo of Michael Mobley, MD

Michael Mobley, MD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Clerkship Director, Southeast Campus

Michael C. Mobley, MD, a native of Burke County Georgia, graduated from the University of Georgia in 1971 and obtained his MD, degree in1975 from the Medical College of Georgia where he completed his residency in psychiatry in 1978. He was on faculty at Medical College of Georgia briefly before moving to Savannah, Ga. In 1981, where he has been in full-time private practice in psychiatry. He became a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry for the Medical College of Georgia in 2009 and is the psychiatric clerkship site director for the SE campus of the Medical College of Georgia. He is married to his wife, Debbie, who is a MCG graduate from the physician assistants school and has two daughters, Elizabeth Mobley, MD a graduate from MCG and a practicing urologist and Susan Mobley, MD, a graduate of Mercer and a practicing OB/GYN.


photo of Joe Morgan, MD

Joe Morgan, MD

  • Associate Professor
  • Clerkship Director, Southwest Campus

Dr. Joe Morgan is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.  He received his undergraduate degree from Valdosta State College in Valdosta, Georgia and his master’s degree in Veterinary Physiology from the University of Georgia.  He is a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia where he also completed a medicine internship and residency in psychiatry.   After serving as chief resident in psychiatry, he was a full-time faculty member and attending physician at the VA Medical Center in Augusta for five years. He has maintained a faculty appointment from the Medical College of Georgia since 1991and has a private practice in Valdosta, Ga. He is currently the Southwest Campus clerkship director for psychiatry. Dr. Morgan is chief of psychiatry service at South Georgia Medical Center, Medical Director for Parkwood Development Center, Unit Director of the Dogwood Senior Healthcare Center in Nashville, Ga., an honorary commander at Moody Air Force Base and past President of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians’ Association (GPPA. He is one of the three Georgia representatives on the American Psychiatric Association Assembly and is co-chairman of the GPPA legislative committee and chairman of the GPPAPAC. He is a 2008 recipient of the Georgia Psychiatrist of the year award and he is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. 


photo of Dale Peeples, MD

Dale Peeples, MD

  • Associate Professor

After completing medical school at USC in Columbia, South Carolina, Dr. Dale Peeples continued his training at MCG in the Department of Psychiatry. He completed his internship, residency, and fellowship in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at MCG. Since staying on as faculty, Dr. Peeples continues to work in both inpatient and outpatient services in the child and adolescent division. He primarily works with a child and adolescent population but does see some adults with ADHD. Further, he continues to work in the field of telepsychiatry and provides services to Georgians in under-served areas in this manner. Dr. Peeples also has an interest in juvenile corrections and currently provides services to the Regional Youth Detention Center of Augusta and the Augusta Youth Development Campus. Additionally, he does occasional work in child custody evaluations. Other areas of clinical involvement include residential care at Lighthouse Care Center of Augusta and student health at the university. In terms of serving the school’s educational mission, most of his work focuses on training the child & adolescent psychiatry fellows as the assistant program director for the fellowship program, & the outpatient director as well. Nationally, he’s a member of the AACAP media committee, & has served as a board examiner for the ABPN child & adolescent boards.


photo of Megan Porter Staats, Psy.D.

Megan Porter Staats, Psy.D.

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Porter Staats is an assistant professor and clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She also works as an inpatient unit psychologist at East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH). She specializes in forensic psychology, and conducts competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, and violence risk evaluations. Dr. Porter Staats received her PsyD in clinical psychology from the University of Indianapolis. She completed an internship with the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University/Charlie Norwood VAMC psychology internship, and stayed on with Augusta University to complete her fellowship year focused on forensic evaluations and training at ECRH. Dr. Porter Staats has published papers focused on predictors of competency restoration, domestic homicide risk factors, and the limitations of neuroimaging as it relates to psychopathy.


photo of Michael Rollock PhD

Michael Rollock PhD

  • Associate Professor

Dr. Michael Rollock is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Georgia. Originally from Barbados, Dr. Rollock graduated with honors from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA with his BSc in psychology and received his MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2010. He completed an APA-accredited doctoral internship at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology (CMTP) at Boston Medical Center and a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in health psychology at Augusta University. Clinically, Dr. Rollock provides outpatient psychotherapy for adults with a wide range of presenting problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, trauma, health-related stress, and adjustment to major life transitions). However, he specializes in evidenced-based psychotherapy and educational approaches focused on enhancing the quality of life, functioning, and overall well-being of adults with chronic pain and comorbid behavioral health concerns. He is a certified Empowered Relief™ instructor, an evidence-based, single-session pain class that rapidly equips patients with pain management skills. In addition to providing outpatient psychotherapy, he conducts presurgical psychological evaluations for patients seeking certain medical interventions in the Pain Clinic, through the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine at Augusta University Health. He provides supervision to doctoral psychology interns, facilitates courses in the Medical College of Georgia, and serves on multiple committees at the departmental and health system level. Dr. Rollock is a Past-President of the Augusta-Area Psychological Association and is a member of the American Association of Pain Psychologists and the National Register of Health Service Psychologists (credential # 53659).


photo of Susan D. Sato, PhD

Susan D. Sato, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Director of the Employee-Faculty Assistance Program

Dr. Susan Sato is an assistant professor and clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She is the Director of the Augusta University Employee-Faculty Assistance Program. Dr. Sato received her PhD in clinical psychology from Washington State University and completed an internship at the Long Beach VA Medical Center in health psychology. She subsequently completed a fellowship in geriatric psychology at the Palo Alto VAMC and an additional fellowship in health psychology at Augusta University. Her professional interests are in employee psychological wellness, severe mental illnesses, geriatric/caregiver issues, and clinical training of residents.


photo of Joseph Seal, MD

Joseph Seal, MD

  • Clinical Director, Rome Crisis Unit
  • Director, Medical Student Clerkship, Rome Regional Campus

Dr. Joseph Seal received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Ohio State University where he also completed his Psychiatry Residency. He served in the United States Air Force Medical Corps for three years, and went on to a 25-year career with the State of Georgia, working primarily in the State Hospital system. His special interests are severe, chronic mental illness, addiction, and undergraduate medical education.  He has been the Clinical Director of the Rome Crisis Unit for the past six years. He also serves as the medical student clerkship director for the Rome Regional campus.


photo of Paul Seale, MD, FASAM, FAAFP

Paul Seale, MD, FASAM, FAAFP

  • Professor

Dr. Paul Seale is a professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University with an appointment in the Institute of Public and Preventive Health and the Department of Family Medicine.  A graduate of the University of Texas (Austin) and Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Seale is board certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine. Since completing an NIAAA-NIDA sponsored faculty development fellowship in 1987-1988, he has been involved in practice, teaching and research related to substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment (SBIRT) for over 30 years. Working with faculty at Johns Hopkins University, Mercer University, Augusta University and U. of Georgia, he has helped provide SBIRT training to over 1,500 primary care providers. With over 14 years’ experience in office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) practice, training, dissemination and mentoring, he has a special interest in bridges and barriers to treatment of opioid use disorder and is conducting a pilot study of opioid use disorder in older adults. His involvement in full-time global health in Asia and the Americas led to the development of resilience and recovery training programs taught through storytelling which are now helping indigenous and other vulnerable populations across Latin America and Africa. He is author/co-author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Dr. Seale’s research has been funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Betty Ford Foundation, the Conrad Hilton Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation.

His research interests include improving and disseminating the use of storytelling approaches for resilience and recovery training, recognition and treatment of opioid use disorder in older adults, substance use screening, and improving delivery of SBIRT and Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) in rural and underserved areas.


photo of Sandra G. B. Sexson, MD

Sandra G. B. Sexson, MD

  • Professor and Chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Sandra Sexson is a professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, as well as Chief and Training Director of the Division of Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychiatry within the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.  Dr. Sexson graduated from the University of Mississippi, College of Medicine and completed postgraduate training in Child Development and Pediatrics (University of Mississippi), General Psychiatry (University of Texas at San Antonio) and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Washington University in St. Louis). Prior to her present appointment, she has served as Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Training Director at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and for 20 years at Emory University.  She is board certified in Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  Her primary professional focus has been in psychiatric education with a clinical and research focus in education and clinical areas of interest.  Dr. Sexson’s focused clinical interests have been in the areas of infant psychiatry and emotional issues of children and adolescents with chronic medical illnesses, although her practice runs the full gamut of child and adolescent psychiatry.

Dr. Sexson has published over 50 articles, 12 chapters and one book.  She has been awarded many regional and national awards.  Some include Atlanta’s Black Psychiatrist of the Year (for her efforts in expanding the number of African American child and adolescent psychiatrists in Georgia), as well as numerous local and regional teaching awards. As an educator, she has trained well over 100 child and adolescent psychiatrists just here in Georgia, many of whom still practice here, including one who is presently the first African American woman to be president of the American Medical Association.  Her goal always has been to expand access to excellent mental health care to children and their families wherever they may live. 


photo of Sarita B. Sharma, M.D.

Sarita B. Sharma, M.D.

  • Associate Professor

Dr. Sarita B. Sharma is an associate professor in the department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She received her medical degree at Lady Hardinge Medical School in New Delhi India. She completed her General Residency and Psychopharmacology fellowship at Augusta University and joined East Central Regional hospital (ECRH) as a psychiatrist and Assistant Clinical Professor at AU teaching students and residents.  She served in various roles at ECRH including being a psychiatrist on the short- and long-term inpatient unit, forensics unit and the admissions area. She rose to the position of the Interim Clinical Director 5 years ago until her retirement. She is now affiliated with DBHDD as the Clinical Director of ECRH through the partnership of AU with DBHDD.

Dr. Sharma’s career has been focused on the treatment of patients with severe and persistent mental illness both inpatient and outpatient. She currently also provides care to patients at the VA, American Works, ACT team, CSU and has worked with Substance abuse and Geriatrics in the past.


photo of Reddy Shashank, MD

Reddy Shashank, MD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Reddy Shashank is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and East Central Regional Hospital. Dr. Shashank before joining here finished his General Psychiatry residency at St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. While at St. Louis University got special training in caring for the geriatric population with mental health needs and received extensive training in EECT He went to medical school in Simferopol, Crimea, Russia. Dr. Shashank before joining residency had extensive experience working with the geriatric population with mental health needs in long term care facilities. He also completed extensive reach in neuroradiology at the University of Pennsylvania as part of his interest in Neuroscience. His clinical and research interests include working with the geriatric population, EECT PTSD, Bipolar disorders in the elderly, and Dissociative disorders. His passion includes working closely with residents and medical students and training them to become successful future Physicians.


photo of Jasmine Shell, MD, MPH

Jasmine Shell, MD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor
Dr. Jasmine Shell is an Assistant Professor in Addiction Medicine with a passion for correcting health inequities in her home state of Georgia. She attended Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge where she received her bachelor's in Biochemistry after which she completed a Doctor of Medicine degree at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. Board Certified in Preventive Medicine, she works toward bridging advocacy with health care policies and clinical duties to improve access to mental health and addiction services in Augusta, GA and statewide.

photo of Vanessa Spearman-McCarthy, MD

Vanessa Spearman-McCarthy, MD

  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Dean for Learner Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. Erin Vanessa Spearman-McCarthy is an Associate Professor at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University who holds dual appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and Internal Medicine. A native of Augusta, she was educated in the Richmond County Public School System, graduating with honors from John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. Upon completion of her secondary education, she attended Spelman College (Atlanta, GA), where she earned a BS in Biology with Latin and College-wide Honors. Dr. Spearman then attended medical school at Augusta University. Upon completion of medical school, she trained in the Combined Internal Medicine and Psychiatry Program at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) (Charleston, S.C.), where she served as Chief Resident during her last year of training. In 2010, she was named MUSC Department of Geriatrics and Internal Medicine Outpatient Resident of the Year and the MUSC Reynolds Aging Q3 Project Resident of the Year.

Dr. Spearman's areas of interest and clinical expertise are that of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Outpatient Internal Medicine, and Medical Student Education. Her research interests include the effects of depression on diabetes and hypertension management as well as the effects of undiagnosed anxiety and depression on the academic performance of medical and other health professional students. 

When not involved in patient care, Dr. Spearman enjoys spending time with family, mentoring, volunteering at her church, creative writing, public speaking, and performing music with local concert bands and choirs.


photo of Lara M. Stepleman, PhD

Lara M. Stepleman, PhD

  • Professor and Chief of Psychology

Dr. Lara Stepleman, Ph.D. is a professor of Psychiatry & Health Behavior, licensed psychologist, Chief of Psychology and Director of the MCG Office for Faculty Success. She graduated with a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During this time, she became proficient in career guidance and coaching and has continued to develop and apply this expertise with MCG faculty, fellows, residents, and students. Within the Psychology internship program, she is the Chielf of the Psychology section, director for the HIV & LGBT Health Disparities Track. Her clinically-focused research and training interests are related to sexual health and functioning, LGBT health disparities, gender-affirming care, and the intersection of chronic physical and mental illness.  


photo of Sandarsh Surya, MBBS

Sandarsh Surya, MBBS

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Sandarsh Surya is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta. Dr. Surya is an attending psychiatrist at the East Central Regional Hospital acute mental health unit and will be involved in the training of residents and medical students. His clinical and research interests include geriatric neuropsychiatry and therapeutic brain stimulation in psychiatry. He completed medical school training in Bangalore, India and post-graduate training in Psychiatry at Wake Forest University and Augusta University. He served as Chief Resident during his training at Augusta University. He then completed Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship training from Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Penn. 


photo of Holly E. Tabernik PhD

Holly E. Tabernik PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Holly Tabernik is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Dr. Tabernik is also a Licensed Psychologist on one of the inpatient forensic wards at East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH). She received her BA in Psychology from the Westminster College in New Wilmington, Penn., her MA in Clinical Psychology from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, and her PhD in Clinical Psychology (with a concentration in Forensic Psychology) from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Dr. Tabernik completed a predoctoral internship at Fulton State Hospital in Fulton, Mo., during which she completed major rotations in Forensic Evaluations/Competency Restoration and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Forensic Psychology through the partnership between Augusta University and East Central State Hospital. Dr. Tabernik has published in several peer-reviewed journals and presented at a number of professional conferences. Dr. Tabernik’s research interests include Malingering; Borderline Personality Disorder; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; and The Assessment of Competency to Stand Trial. 


photo of Ashwin Tiwari PhD, MPH

Ashwin Tiwari PhD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Ashwin Tiwari is an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University with an appointment in the Institute of Public and Preventive Health.  She received her HonBSc at the University of Toronto and her MPH, MS, and PhD in public health at Georgia State University.  She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in 2019.  Dr. Tiwari's research program is focused on reducing health disparities among high-risk and victimized populations in a family violence context.  Her work focuses on biobehavioral trajectories and responses to trauma-based prevention and intervention efforts while considering the impact of non-modifiable contextual stressors and intra-individual variation.  She has a special interest in stress physiological and genetic profiles among victimized youth populations who receive trauma-based care.  Her recent research has focused on understanding the implementation, barriers and effective components of trauma-based treatments for youth victims of sexual abuse in community settings.  Dr. Tiwari is also a section counselor for the mental health section of the American Public Health Association.


photo of Linda Vitacco, PhD

Linda Vitacco, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Linda Vitacco is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She is the Mental Health Program Director at East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH) through its partnership with Augusta University. Dr. Vitacco received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Doctorate of Psychology from Argosy University. Dr. Vitacco completed her clinical internship working for the United States Department of Justice at Butner Correctional Complex. She worked in treatment facilities in both Massachusetts and Wisconsin providing intensive treatment to sexual offenders before joining the staff at ECRH.


photo of Michael J. Vitacco, PhD, ABPP

Michael J. Vitacco, PhD, ABPP

  • Professor
  • Board Certified in Forensic Psychology

Michael Vitacco, PhD, ABPP is a board-certified forensic psychologist who serves as Professor in the Institute of Public and Preventive Health with his home department in Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. He earned his BS in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Texas. Dr. Vitacco completed a predoctoral internship at a program dually sponsored by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the United States Department of Justice. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine. Dr. Vitacco has published on topics related to mental health and the law, with emphases on psychopathy, risk assessment, forensic assessment, and malingering. He is licensed to practice psychology in Georgia, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

Dr. Vitacco is involved in research collaborations with faculty from Iowa State University, University of North Texas, Medical University of South Carolina, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Current research projects involve biological mechanisms associated with psychopathy, correlates of psychopathy, improving quality of forensic examinations, and how intellectual disabilities may influence forensic examinations.     


photo of Lori Welch, PhD

Lori Welch, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Lori Welch is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University. She completed a Bachelors of Science in Psychology at Florida State University; a Masters of Science in Applied Psychology at Augusta State University (now Augusta University); a Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology at Fielding Graduate University; and her PhD in Clinical Psychology, with specialization in Health Psychology, at Fielding Graduate University in 2004. She has been licensed as a psychologist since 2005, and she provides clinical supervision of staff, predoctoral psychology students, and Clinical Psychology Residents on the campus of East Central Regional Hospital.

Dr. Welch also has held faculty positions at Liberty University, Ball State University, and Indiana/Purdue University (IIUPUI. She has provided clinical and administrative services in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, including private and public inpatient psychiatric facilities, university hospitals, and private practice. She has earned post-doctoral certifications in Executive and Management Coaching from the College of Executive Coaching in Pismo Beach, Calif., and Coles Business School at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Ga. She is currently engaged in the Augusta University Educational Innovation Institute (EII) Teaching Scholars Fellowship, a program designed to optimize faculty effectiveness in health science education.


photo of Lindsey West, PhD

Lindsey West, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Dr. Lindsey West is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. West graduated from Brown University with an AB in Psychology and received her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. West completed her predoctoral internship training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga.  She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Augusta University.  Dr. West’s clinical interests include CCBTwith underserved populations, including the application of mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies with diverse individuals and groups, and multicultural therapy. West’s research has focused primarily on enhancing the mental health and quality of life of individuals from diverse backgrounds. In the department, Dr. West serves as the course director for psychotherapy and provides lectures in psychotherapy, cross-cultural psychiatry, and women’s issues for psychiatry residents. In addition to being licensed in the state of Georgia, West is a licensed psychologist in South Carolina. Dr. West is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and is a member of APA’s Division 35 (Psychology of Women) and Division 45 (Society for Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues).  


photo of David Williams, MD

David Williams, MD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. David Williams is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Associate Director of Resident Education and Training, and Medical Director for Outpatient Services at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. He obtained his medical degree from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and a BA in Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. He completed his internship and General Psychiatry Residency Training at Augusta University and joined the faculty in 2014. His areas of clinical involvement include adult outpatient care and resident supervision in the Health Behavior and Women’s Health Clinics. Dr. Williams’ interests include mood and anxiety disorders, resident wellness, and pharmacogenetics.


 Joint faculty

photo of Christina Bancroft, Ph.D.

Christina Bancroft, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Bancroft is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior. She is a licensed psychologist in the state of Georgia. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Child Clinical and Pediatric Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, where she also completed her doctoral internship in Child & Family Psychology. She holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and she earned a Master's degree in Community Counseling from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Clinically, Dr. Bancroft specializes in integrated pediatric primary care, psychological assessment, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy for children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental and mood disorders. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, including the divisions of Health and Pediatric Psychology. Her research interests include scale development, conflict management, and integrated behavioral healthcare.


photo of Michelle Nuss, MD

Michelle Nuss, MD

  • Professor of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine
  • Campus Dean for Graduate Medical Education
  • Of the Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership

Dr. Shelley Nuss is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.  She completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Pharmacy at Purdue University, and her MD at West Virginia University.  Dr. Nuss completed a combined residency program in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry at West Virginia University and later became the Program Director for the Med/Psych and Internal Medicine programs at WWVU Dr. Nuss had an active faculty practice in Psychiatry and Internal Medicine before coming to Georgia.  
Dr. Nuss was recruited to the Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership campus in August 2010 as the Campus Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education. Her primary focus will be developing new residency programs in Athens and Northeast Georgia.


photo of William H. Salazar, MD, FACP, FAACH

William H. Salazar, MD, FACP, FAACH

  • Professor of Medicine, General Internal Medicine
  • Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior

Dr. Salazar is a professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University Augusta, Medical College of Georgia.

Dr. Salazar is double board-certified in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. He trained in Internal Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital an affiliated of the University of Rochester in New York. He did Psychiatry training at NYU Bellevue Medical Centers. He also pursued a Fellowship in General Internal Medicine with an emphasis in Psychosocial Medicine and Adult Education at NYU Bellevue Medical Centers. 

Dr. Salazar is active at a national level with the American Academy of Health Care Communication (AACH) where he serves as a national facilitator for faculty development in Psychosocial Issues and Medical Interviewing. He also works with the Society of General Internal Medicine where he is a member of the committee for Psychosocial Medicine’s workshops and abstracts. He is also a member of the committee of doctors of color.

Dr. Salazar areas of interest are Teaching and Faculty Development, Ambulatory Education, Cross-cultural issues in Medicine and Psychiatry, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Depression and Anxiety in Primary Care, Sexual History Gathering and Sexual Dysfunction, and The Medical Interview.


photo of Melanie Wilcox, Ph.D.

Melanie Wilcox, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Melanie Wilcox is a licensed psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Public and Preventive Health, and Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University at Albany in 2015 after completing her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center. She has previously served as the director of doctoral training in the APA-Accredited Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at Oklahoma State University, and as the director of the doctoral training community clinic at Louisiana Tech University. She currently serves on the American Psychological Association’s Board of Educational Affairs, of which she served as Chair in 2020. Her research is comprised of three primary pillars, woven together with the threads of racial and economic justice: (1) Culturally responsive psychotherapy and psychotherapy training; (2) Racial and economic inequity in higher education; and (3) Whiteness, racism, and antiracism. Her clinical specialties include substance abuse and addiction, trauma, racism-related and other sociocultural issues, working with LGBTQIA+ clients, and psychological assessment.