Michigan Medicine's House Officer Mental Health Program has been in existence since 1996, providing a range of mental health services to a large number of house officers in all disciplines. We are committed to supporting house officers during this significant, rewarding, and often stressful stage of life. We evaluate and treat a broad spectrum of mental health needs, including: depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, ADHD, stress management, interpersonal difficulties, and work-life balance issues, to name a few.
How to Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an evaluation, contact April Wesner, our program’s administrative assistant, at (734) 763-9853 or by email at [email protected].
April is typically available during regular business hours. If she is unable to answer the phone when you call, please leave a voicemail with your full name and phone number. We know that it can be extremely challenging to find time to make phone calls during the day, so we also offer the option of scheduling via email.
When you call or send an email, identify yourself as a house officer and we will help you make an appointment via video visit or in person. For in person visits, our offices are located on campus in UH South (between UH and Mott) or off campus at the Rachel Upjohn Building, adjacent to East Ann Arbor.
What to Expect When You Make an Appointment
Our attending psychiatrists are available to see house officers quickly for a free of charge and confidential initial evaluation (insurance is not billed and the visit is not documented in MiChart). This initial visit is typically about 60 to 90 minutes in duration.
If ongoing treatment is recommended you will be able to continue seeing the attending psychiatrist who conducts your initial evaluation, and subsequent visits will be billed and documented in the usual fashion. If a house officer prefers to be treated outside of our health system, we are happy to provide referrals for experienced, reputable community-based psychiatric and psychotherapeutic providers.
Who We Are
Jennifer Votta, D.O. – Director, House Officer Mental Health Program
My story is quite similar to that of many of the house officers that I take care of, having dealt with depression, anxiety, and burnout at various points throughout my own medical training. Medical training is a unique experience that is simultaneously highly rewarding and highly challenging, and I understand on a very personal level how much of an impact mental health has on the overall experience. I look forward to helping support you during this incredibly unique journey!
While I treat the full array of mental health difficulties, I am particularly passionate about working with house officers who are struggling with depression, burnout, imposter syndrome, ADHD, and all of the challenges surrounding pregnancy and parenthood during medical training. When I am not in my office in UH South, you can find me in Mott where I work on the Nyman inpatient child and adolescent psychiatry unit (8CAPH) and the child and adolescent psychiatry consultation/liaison service.
I grew up in New Jersey and completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at Rutgers University. I then spent a year traveling abroad doing volunteer work before medical school. I graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012, and then went to the University of Virginia for general adult psychiatry residency. I completed my fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Michigan State University, and while I have been working at U of M since 2018, I will always be a Spartan at heart! My favorite way to “fill my cup” is by spending time with my husband, our two children, and our dog.
Sarah Bommarito, M.D. – Faculty Psychiatrist
During medical school, psychiatry called to me through its emphasis on connecting with others and creating space for true understanding, ultimately leading to meaningful change. My work in this clinic has been particularly rewarding as supporting medical trainees in their personal and professional growth can be transformative. Medical training poses significant challenges that often cause us to feel isolated and to leave behind aspects of our individual identities, contributing to symptoms of burnout, depression, and anxiety. I aim to listen, understand, and collaborate with you to identify your personal values and develop an individualized treatment plan that honors and works toward those values, cultivating a greater sense of fulfillment during this uniquely demanding time.
I was born and raised in Michigan. I studied English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, then attended Wayne State University for my master’s degree in Basic Medical Sciences and medical school. I returned to the University of Michigan for my general psychiatry residency, during which I also completed a one-year psychoanalytic psychotherapy fellowship through the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. My main clinical interests include medical trainee and physician mental health, anxiety disorders, and burnout interventions. In addition to my work in the House Officer Mental Health Program, I also serve as one of the faculty psychiatrists in the Anxiety Disorders Clinic, and I develop and facilitate wellness interventions for our psychiatry residents. Outside of work, I enjoy baking, reading, and spending time with my friends and family, including my very sweet cat and dog.
Karla Blackwood, M.D. – Faculty Psychiatrist
Although it’s been over 20 years since I started my residency training, it still feels like it was yesterday, and I remember it quite vividly. Physician training is a unique, rewarding, challenging, and sometimes isolating time in our lives. I strongly believe that it is important to have as much support as possible. It is for this reason that I feel honored to be able to provide support during this part of your journey. I graduated from residency in 2000 and have worked in a variety of settings before I joined the faculty in 2009, but no other setting has been as deeply rewarding.
I received my undergraduate, medical school, residency and fellowship degrees from the University of Michigan. I am board certified in General Adult Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry. My clinical interests include: young adult and college student mental health issues; perinatal and women’s mental health issues across the lifespan; and medical student and house officer mental health issues. In my spare time, I enjoy photography, reading, traveling, and spending time with my family.
There was something else that my mother did that I’ve always remembered: ‘Always look for the helpers,’ she’d tell me. ‘There’s always someone who is trying to help.’ - Fred Rogers
April Wesner – Administrative Assistant
I am the Administrative Assistant for the Mental Health Program. I have been working at Michigan Medicine for over 6 years, the entirety of which has been spent working at the Rachel Upjohn Building. I am passionate about working in mental health and really enjoy being able to help people and patients however I can. When I am not working, I enjoy travelling in and out of the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it confidential?
The initial evaluation is not documented in MiChart and your insurance is not billed for the visit. Additional visits within our department will be billed and documented through MiChart with all HIPAA regulations strictly enforced. We do not share any information with program directors or GME unless you give us explicit instruction and permission to do so.
How much does it cost?
The initial evaluation is free of charge. Ongoing treatment is subject to standard insurance copays. For UM Premier Care, the most common form of resident insurance, this is $25 per appointment.
Will medical students or residents be involved in my care?
No. You will be seen by an attending physician.
Do you have flexibility in scheduling?
While we do not have evening or weekend appointment times, we are available to see you virtually or in a confidential setting within the hospital, eliminating any additional time needed for travel. We are also happy to provide resources for community psychiatrists who may offer evening and weekend availability.
Mental health treatment is available outside of the health system, if preferred. You can use the Psychology Today ‘find a therapist’ website to search for local providers, though here are some group practices in Ann Arbor that we have referred to and who accept UM Premier Care:
Huron Valley Consultation Center (psychiatry and therapy)
734-662-6300, extension 12
*Leave a voicemail message at extension 12, which is the director’s personal line, and be sure to identify yourself as a house officer. Alex Martinez, the director, sees many house officers and will often be able to see you quickly and with a flexible schedule.
Heron Ridge Associates (psychiatry and therapy)
*The specific psychiatric providers who we would recommend without any reservations are Dr. Lisa Tseggay, Dr. Ashwini Gulwadi, and Brenda Pontillo, NP.
Grove Emotional Health Collaborative (psychiatry and therapy)
Lotus Consulting (therapy)
Identity Counseling (therapy)
Integrative Empowerment Group (therapy)
Cypress Counseling Center (therapy)
Everwell Health and Counseling Services (therapy)
The Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute Mel Bornstein Clinic (psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy)
A helpful resource is a directory of mobile apps as listed by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The ADAA does a wonderful job rating each app based on ease of use, effectiveness, personalization, interactive/feedback and research evidence. https://www.adaa.org/finding-help/mobile-apps
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns – teaches essential cognitive behavioral skills for mood and anxiety management
Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn – teaches essentials of developing a mindfulness practice, proven to be helpful for stress reduction
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff – teaches how to limit self-criticism and offset its negative effects, enabling you to achieve your highest potential and a more contented, fulfilled life
Taking Charge of Adult ADHD by Russell Barkley – teaches coping strategies for managing ADHD as an adult
Kristin Neff also has an excellent website worth checking out, including guided exercises: http://self-compassion.org/
Urgent / Emergency Services
If you are experiencing active suicidal thoughts or feel unsafe in any way, immediately call 9-1-1 or proceed to the nearest emergency department.
U-M Psychiatric Emergency Services: (734) 936-5900 (available 24/7)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (available 24/7)
Other resources available free of charge to House Officers for wellness and counseling include:
The Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience: (734) 763-5409
Provides 24/7 mental health support for Michigan Medicine employees on the medical campus
The Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (FASCCO): (734) 936-8660
Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC): (734) 936-3333
Provides free and confidential intervention and/or support for survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, or sexual harassment