2021 Annual Psychiatric Update

The Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association will hold its 2021 Annual Psychiatric Update -- Virtually --  on March 26-27, 2021. This year's virtual event entitled: Social Justice in Psychiatry - From Awareness to Clinical Impact will highlight a wide variety of topics of interest to psychiatrists and other practitioners who treat individuals with mental illnesses (including addiction disorders).


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Virtual Meeting

Friday, March 26, 12-5 p.m. and Saturday, March 26, 10-4:30 p.m.



As psychiatrists we come across social justice issues in our daily work serving individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders who are stigmatized and marginalized because of society’s perceptions of their illnesses. We hear stories of trauma, suffering and injustice, and we witness resilience, healing, and recovery. This year’s two-day virtual annual meeting will provide an opportunity for attendees to spend time with professionals who specialize in mental health and social justice.

Topics to be addressed include structural racism, social determinants of health, mental health courts, mental health crisis and police response, trauma, restorative justice, self-care, and treatment of borderline personality disorder. Our goal is to bring social justice issues to the forefront, recognize this important aspect of our work and provide practical information, resources and support to psychiatrists and other behavioral health clinicians.

Planning Committee

Susan Hatters-Friedman, MD, Chair
Sara West, MD, Vice-Chair
Daniel Gonzalez, MD
Karen Jacobs, DO
Victoria Kelly, MD
Suzanne Sampang, MD
Janet Shaw, MBA
Heather Theibert, DO
Elizabeth Tiffany, MD
Kristi Williams, MD
Elizabeth Yoder, MD



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Joshua B. Friedman, MD, PhD

Dr. Friedman is a pediatrician at MetroHealth Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, specializing in child abuse pediatrics. After completing university, he lived on the Masai Mara, Kenya and researched hyena behavior.  He completed his MD and PhD at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.  Dr. Friedman did his training in pediatrics at Case Western. Since completing his training, he has worked at the Indian Health Service (in Montana), and worked in New Zealand. Dr. Friedman has researched topics including shaken baby syndrome, child abuse, and pediatric staff stress, and has published various articles including about the economic and social benefits of shaken baby prevention programs and child murder by parents. He has presented nationally and internationally at conferences. He and his wife Susan are immensely proud of their now grown children who are pursuing their dreams overseas.

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Richard Jackson

Sergeant Richard Jackson is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion and has recently-retired from the Cleveland Division of Police after 30-years of service. He spent his last two years serving as a two term Co-Chair Commissioner of the Cleveland Community Police Commission.  Outside of that, he is a Licensed Private Investigator with a small practice in Westlake, Ohio having obtained a Paralegal undergrad, and Juris Doctor (non-practicing).  Additionally, he is a member of the Executive Board for the Black Shield Police Association, which is an organization built to be the conscience of Police work and the community.

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Victoria Kelly, MD, FAPA

Dr. Kelly is a comprehensive adult psychiatrist who practices in northwest Ohio. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry Program Director, and Vice Chair for Education at the University of Toledo Medical Center, as well as a collaborative care psychiatrist through her joint appointment with the Family Practice Department. In addition, she practices forensic psychiatry at Unison Health, a community mental health center, working with individuals on conditional release. An Ohio native, she completed her undergraduate degree at Kent State University, her medical degree at Northeastern Ohio Medical University, and psychiatry training at the Ohio State University Medical Center. She also has experience in the private sector, where she worked for several years at her concierge practice, Success and Wellness Associates. She is active in community advocacy and education, serving as President of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association, past President of National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Toledo, and educator with law enforcement at Crisis Intervention Team Trainings. Dr. Kelly is a renowned lecturer and has provided her expertise as a public speaker in many settings at the national, state and local level. She is a well-respected educator who also appears regularly on television as a monthly contributor to northwest Ohio’s CBS affiliate discussing various topics related to mental health & addictions to improve education, advocate for effective patient care, and decrease stigma associated with mental health disorders.  

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Judge Steve Leifman

Judge Leifman is the Associate Administrative Judge of the Miami-Dade County Court – Criminal Division. From 2007 – 2010, Judge Leifman served as Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental Health for the Supreme Court of Florida.  He currently chairs the Steering Committee on Problem Solving Courts for the Supreme Court of Florida and the Mental Health Committee for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Judge Leifman is the co-chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Mental Health Committee and co-chair of the Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative. He is also a Gubernatorial appointment to the Florida Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse and a member of The National Institute on Drug Addiction’s (NIDA) Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network. Judge Leifman is a lifetime member of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP), a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Voluntary Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami School of Medicine and on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. More recently, Judge Leifman was appointed to serve on the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts' Response to Mental Illness and the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) established by the 21st Century Cures Act. 

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Erik Messamore, MD

Dr. Messamore is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University and serves as the Medical Director for the University’s Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment Center.  He holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Southern Illinois University, was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Karolinska Institute, earned his M.D. from the University of Illinois, and completed psychiatric residency at Oregon Health & Science University. His research has focused on cognition-enhancing drugs and on biomarkers of schizophrenia. He teaches medical students and residents and is a sought-after consultant in cases that involve questions of diagnostic clarification or inadequate response to treatment.

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Benjamin O. Sperry, PhD

Dr. Sperry is an educator, historian and writer with a particular interest in race and mass incarceration. He has a background as a political campaign organizer, magazine and newspaper journalist, classroom teacher (in social studies and writing) in the Cleveland public schools, college professor, and teacher in a prison setting. In his academic career, he has taught at universities in Mississippi, China, and Ghana. The seminar he has taught since 2013 at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), titled The Effects of Race, Class and Education, is an outgrowth of his interest in civil rights and his longtime work in jails and prisons. He has been an adjunct professor of history at Cleveland State University since 2007. He has taught courses there in African-American history, among other topics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Connecticut College, a master’s in liberal studies from Wesleyan University, a master’s in literature and creative writing from Bennington College, and a PhD in history from CWRU.

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Philip Saragoza, MD 

Dr. Saragoza is a board-certified forensic psychiatrist and an adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry. He is a threat assessment consultant at Work Trauma Services, Inc., where he conducts assessments, case consultations and threat assessment training for corporate and campus clients. Dr. Saragoza has a private practice as a clinical and forensic psychiatrist in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he also conducts assessments related to fitness for duty, workplace violence risk, claims of workplace harassment, psychiatric disability and criminal charges of stalking, threats and violence. He teaches and supervises residents and fellows in forensic psychiatry.

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Altha Stewart, MD

Dr. Stewart is Senior Associate Dean for Community Health Engagement and Associate Professor in Psychiatry at University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee.  She also serves as Chief of Social/Community Psychiatry and Director, Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth (Center) in the Department of Psychiatry where she manages community-based programs serving children impacted by trauma and mental illness and their families.  Prior to joining the UTHSC College of Medicine faculty, she served as Executive Director of Memphis’ federally funded System of Care program for children with serious emotional disorders and their families.  Dr. Stewart is the former Executive Director of the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency, one of the largest public mental health systems in the US.  She served as Deputy Commissioner and later Interim Commissioner of the former New York City Department of Mental Health, and CEO/Executive Director in other large public health and mental health systems in New York and Pennsylvania, overseeing the management and development of programs for persons with mental illness, substance use disorders, and justice system involvement.  Dr. Stewart received her medical degree from Temple University Medical School, completing her psychiatric residency at what is now Drexel University.
In 2017, Dr. Stewart was elected the 145th President of the American Psychiatric Association, the first African American ever elected to this position in the 175-year history of the organization. She is also past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America, the Association of Women Psychiatrists and the American Psychiatric Foundation.  She has received numerous awards and honors including honorary degrees, visiting professorships and honorary membership in the South African Society of Psychiatrists. 
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Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, JD, Retired

Justice Stratton came to the bench by a very different route. Born to missionary parents in Bangkok, Thailand, Stratton spent her childhood in Southeast Asia. She attended boarding school in South Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War and later in Malaysia, visiting America on occasion with her parents. At age 18, she returned to America alone with only a few hundred dollars in her pocket. Working her way through school, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University College of Law. She began her legal career as a trial lawyer in the courtrooms of Central Ohio. In 1989, she was the first woman to be elected Judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where she became known as “The Velvet Hammer” for her approach to sentencing in serious felony cases. Her success on the trial bench led to an appointment in 1996 to the Supreme Court of Ohio, where she was elected to a third term in 2008. She retired in 2012.

Stratton believes that the courts, in partnership with the mental health system, can affect positive change in the lives of many defendants whose mental illness has led to criminal activity. For eight years, she and former Attorney General Mike DeWine served as co-chairs of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Mental Illness and Criminal Justice, who are law enforcement and criminal justice professionals dedicated to mental health initiatives in the court system. She has now been appointed to now Governor DeWine’s Ohio Recovery Advisory Council, which will advise the governor on addiction and mental health policy issues.

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Megan Testa MD

Dr. Testa graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 2007, and subsequently completed a residency in psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland (2011), followed by Fellowships in Forensic Psychiatry (2012) and Community Psychiatry (2013) at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Testa is currently an Assistant Professor at University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, where she teaches and supervises residents, as well as fellows in forensic and community psychiatry. She spends her clinical time providing psychiatric care to individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, addictions, and criminal justice involvement at community mental health agencies in Cleveland. She provides forensic consultation at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare and the Cleveland Municipal Court Psychiatric Clinic. Dr. Testa has a strong interest in health policy and is engaged in advocacy for health justice and criminal justice reform. She is currently President of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association, and President-Elect of the Midwest Chapter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. She serves on the Cleveland Community Police Commission.

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Ashley H. VanDercar, MD, JD

Dr. VanDercar began her career as an attorney and risk manager, working as in-house counsel for a pain management practice in Tampa, Florida. In 2012, becoming increasingly concerned by the burgeoning opioid epidemic, she decided to go to medical school and enrolled at the University of Miami. After graduation she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, for her psychiatry residency, and is now a Forensic Psychiatry Fellow at University Hospitals – Cleveland Medical Center / Case Western Reserve University. Dr. VanDercar has a special interest in the outpatient management of severely mentally ill individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system. She also provides direct teaching to local police through the ADAMHS board Crisis Intervention Training program.

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Ken Yeager, PhD

Dr. Yeager is a Professor, Clinical, in the College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. He also serves as director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) program at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. The STAR program recognizes the importance of addressing experiences of trauma with evidence-based, trauma-informed practices. The program, received grant money as part of the “Ohio Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative.” Within the STAR program, Yeager has developed The Ohio State University Medical Center Trauma Recovery Center, which provides psychological and psychiatric care for victims of violent crime. Yeager, also holds an endowed professorship as the David E. Schuller Professor for Patient Compassion, has numerous publications in the areas of crisis intervention; resilience building; treating co-morbid substance abuse and mental illness. He is a member of Oxford Bibliographies Online editorial board and a treating clinician for the National Football League Program for Substances of Abuse.




Friday, March 26


Noon - 1 p.m.

  • Medical students will gather in their own breakout session
  • Informal networking among participants (optional)
  • View poster presentations

Visit with exhibitors and sponsors in the virtual exhibit hall

1 to 5:30 p.m.

Structural Racism, Academic Psychiatry and Lifelong Learning: A Path Forward for a Diverse Workforce in Psychiatry

Altha Stewart MD, Associate Professor and Chief, Social and Public Psychiatry, Director, Center for Health In Justice Involved Youth, University of Tennessee Health Science Center - Memphis

Addressing structural racism in psychiatry is one the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Around the globe social justice issues, including health equity, are being raised by marginalized and disenfranchised populations.  In the United States, this has become evident in response to the historic inequity of our health care systems, including training programs at academic medical centers.  Trainees and junior faculty are joining our professional ranks at a time and in an environment that is significantly different from that of the generations that came before them.  Corporate model health care systems, lack of mental health parity in coverage and reimbursements, and inadequate funding of psychiatry in academic centers all combine to create challenges for those that see health and mental health as social justice issues and are working to create an equitable mental health system. The presenter will review the history of psychiatry in the US and how the impact of structural racism on mental health care delivery systems has been amplified by recent events, share examples of learner experiences with structural barriers, and discuss models being used today to address these issues with recommendations for other policy and practice changes.

Mental Health Crises and Interfacing as Psychiatrists with Law Enforcement
Ashley H. VanDercar MD JD, Forensic Psychiatry Fellow at University Hospitals –Cleveland Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University; Richard Jackson, Retired Cleveland Police Officer and Co-Chair Commissioner, Cleveland Community Police Commission and Megan Testa MD, OPPA President

As mental health professionals we often encounter patients in crisis. When office-based de-escalation techniques have failed, resolution of these crises is often only possible through police intervention. As psychiatrists, we receive little to no training about interacting effectively with police officers, who we rely upon to respond to our clinics, interface with our patients, and transport patients in crisis to emergency rooms or crisis units. This presentation will focus on providing mental health providers with concrete skills for effectively resolving mental health crises which necessitate police involvement. Seargent Richard Jackson will help participants understand how the average police office views "mental health calls," give perspective on office experiences with mental health crises and interactions with our patients, and will help us to gain and understanding of how we can better engage with police as mental health professionals. We will discuss the importance of recognizing the "curse of knowledge" and gain skills for effectively communicating with law enforcement professionals to ensure that interactions involving our patients and police proceed in an efficient way for professionals and are conducted in a trauma-informed manner for our patients.

3 - 3:30 p.m. Visit with exhibitors and sponsors in the virtual exhibit hall

Mental Health and Crime Diversion

Judge Steve Leifman, Associate Administrative Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

It is estimated that almost two million arrests in the United States each year involve people with Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI) – half of which are homeless at the time of their arrest. As a result, untrained and unprepared stakeholders in the criminal justice system have been forced to navigate an increasingly scarce system of care for people with mental illnesses. Jails have become places where a disproportionate number of people with SMI spend significant amounts of time; their ties to the community severed, their treatment needs unmet, and their illnesses made worse. Judge Leifman will discuss his journey into the mental health system, the legal and medical history that led to America’s mental health crisis and the essential elements necessary to create an effective system of care that ultimately will transform the mental health and criminal justice systems and make jail the last option for people with serious mental illnesses, not the first.

Restorative Justice: Developing Alternatives to a Troubled System
Benjamin O. Sperry PhD, Benjamin O. Sperry PhD, SAGES Teaching Fellow, Case Western Reserve University

The concept of restorative justice is gradually being accepted in criminal justice systems and institutions around the world. In the U.S., restorative practices address the failures of our current justice system that continues to rely heavily on retribution and mass incarceration. Many of these failures are historically racist in nature. Thus there is a connection between restorative justice and reparation as it relates to the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination. For example, in both cases there is an underlying belief in dealing with trauma, and its consequences, rooted in the past. Drawn in considerable measure from Native American practices, as well as from the successes of group psychotherapy, restorative principles focus on putting right the wrongs while respecting all parties, including the individual harmed, the individual responsible, and the community. This presentation features the work of students at Case Western Reserve University who have developed restorative justice models for use in a prison setting in Northeast Ohio.

5:30 - 6 p.m. Visit with exhibitors and sponsors in the virtual exhibit hall

6 - 8 p.m. - Virtual Happy Hour and Trivia!  6 to 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 27

7:30 - 8 p.m. Visit with exhibitors and sponsors in the virtual exhibit hall

8:30 - 10 a.m. OPPA, OPPAC and OPPF Annual Business Meeting and Award Presentations

1 to 5:30 p.m.:

Mind Virus: Our Pandemic of Conspiracy Theory and Extremism
Philip Saragoza MD, Adult Psychiatrist, Ann Arbor Center for the Family  

The global pandemic, national political climate and widespread civil unrest in the United States in 2020 contributed to an unprecedented surge in the adoption of conspiracy theories, extremist beliefs, and related violence. This presentation will explore these phenomena and address the roles of mental illness, social media and other factors rendering people susceptible.                   

Understanding Mechanisms of "Compassion Fatigue" and Building Reslience
Ken Yeager PhD, Director, STAR Program, Associate Professor, Clinical, Director of Quality & Safety, Ohio State Harding Hospital

Compassion fatigue is real and occurs in approximately 46% of American Physicians. This presentation examines the presence of complex factors contributing to compassion fatigue with emphasis on methods to increase resilience far beyond most commonly outlined mindfulness techniques to combat compassion fatigue. Participants will build on their years of clinical practice to develop conceptual frameworks supportive of resilience in clinical practice settings.

Child Protection
Joshua Friedman MD PhD

In their practices, psychiatrists may treat children who they are concerned are victims of abuse or neglect, or parents who they are concerned about risk. This presentation will discuss the risk factors and common factors associated with child abuse and neglect, as well as child fatalities. Psychiatrists are mandated reporters of child maltreatment, as are all physicians. Mandated reporting will be described. Finally, we will discuss some targeted child abuse prevention programs, and the assessment methods used. Psychiatrists should feel confident in their knowledge about child maltreatment and reporting. 

Noon - 12:30 p.m. - Visit with exhibitors and sponsors in the virtual exhibit hall

It's (Past) Time to Rethink Borderline Personality Disorder
Erik Messamore MD, PhD     

Since its third edition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has aspired to be atheoretical and agnostic in its naming and describing of psychiatric disorders. Over time, terms that were stigmatizing or that suggested knowledge of underlying cause have been removed or replaced. Hysteria, Manic Depression, and Dysthymia are some examples.In this presentation, I will assert that that the diagnostic term “Borderline Personality Disorder” should be similarly reconsidered. The term immediately implies unfounded knowledge of causation, is extraordinarily stigmatizing, and has led to a series of unintended consequences that have harmed many patients. Rather than a disorder of personality, it will be more useful to describe this condition as an emotion regulation disorder with discernible abnormalities of neurochemistry, genetics, and brain function.

Wake Up, Step Up and Speak Up: Making a Difference Through Advocacy
Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, JD, Retired
Victoria Kelly, MD, Past President, OPPA

With the unprecedented challenges Ohioans have faced, mental health clinicians are uniquely positioned to contribute to advocacy that will lead to change. As experts in the field, psychiatrists must become involved in finding solutions to address the social justice and mental health needs of our patients. Identifying and implementing pathways to advocacy can have longstanding positive effects.

4 - 5 p.m.

Visit with exhibitors and sponsors in the virtual exhibit hall

Medical Students - Post Event Debrief



The preferred method of registration. Click HERE to register now.

If you register by mail, please complete the Registration Form and send with payment to:

Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association
3510 Snouffer Rd., Ste. 101
Columbus, OH 43235-4217

Registration Prices

  Regular Rate Late Rate after Mar. 1
OPPA Member $95 $125
OPPA Resident-Fellow Member $35 $55
Non-Member Psychiatrist, other Physician, or Psychologist, Nurse, Counselor, Social Worker or Physician Assistant $225 $250
Non-Member Resident-Fellow $95 $125
Medical Students $25 $25

OPPA's 2021 Annual Psychiatric Update

Front Cover Exhibitor Prospectus Psychiatric Update 2021
The OPPA will hold its 2021 Annual Psychiatric Update

Virtually on March 26-27, 2021.

Social Justice in Psychiatry - From Awareness to Clinical Impact

Will highlight a wide variety of topics of interest to psychiatrists and other practitioners who treat individuals with mental illnesses (including addiction disorders).

Although the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us do business, participating in this virtual opportunity will continue to be an excellent opportunity for your company to interact with and/or make your products and services known to hundreds of psychiatrists, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals, including some
of Ohio's most prominent psychiatric physicians.

Thank you Sponsors:

       Platinum Level

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Thank You Exhibitors:


  Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company


         Professional Risk Management Services

Register Online 

Supporter & Exhibitor Benefits

  • Direct and targeted access and visibility to physicians who specialize in psychiatry and decision makers from across Ohio.

  • Build visibility for your company in a competitive marketplace by being included on the OPPA website and handout materials.

  • Develop new and strengthen existing relationships with Ohio’s psychiatrists, many of whom are in a leadership role.

  • Introduce new products and services and highlight the value of your products and services.

  • Generate new sales leads and/or leverage new partnerships and build new alliances.

The OPPA offers a number of different levels of support opportunities in addition to being able to exhibit at its annual event, to fit the specific needs of the companies/organizations with whom we collaborate. OPPA welcomes the opportunity to work with you to customize a package that fits your specific needs and budget.

For detailed information about the supporter levels, see the Supporter & Exhibitor Prospectus

Benefits of a Virtual Exhibit

Simple and more of everything!

  1. Saves money!                            There are no costs associated with travel, lodging, meals, shipping, etc.!
  2. Saves time!                                     Again, without travel, there is little to no time away from home!
  3. Increases interaction!                 You can interact personally with more people via chat or one-on-one videos - rather than simply having traffic walk by your booth!
  4. Increased exposure!                    Virtual educational events tend to have more attendees (especially during this time of the coronavirus)!
  5. Better reporting & analytics!    You have access to so much more information than simply who attended the event!