House Officer Mental Health Program (HOMHP)

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, simply contact April Wesner, our program’s administrative assistant at 734-763-9853 or by email at alpate@med.umich.edu.

Identify yourself as a house officer and she will help you make an appointment, either at the University Hospital or 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 typically takes about 60-90 minutes.

If ongoing treatment is recommended, this may take place in our department, and subsequent visits would be billed/documented in the usual fashion. If a house officer prefers to be treated outside of our health system, then 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  

Medical training is a unique experience that is simultaneously highly rewarding and highly challenging, and it is my pleasure and privilege to be a part of the support network for our house officers during this time. Treating young adults has always been a passion of mine, as this is a time in life when focusing on personal well-being and mental health is extremely important. I look forward to helping support you during this exciting and challenging time!

I grew up in New Jersey and received my undergraduate degree at Rutgers University. I went to medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, followed by residency in general/adult psychiatry at the University of Virginia and then fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Michigan State University. My primary areas of clinical interest include medical trainee mental health, psychiatric illness in the transitional period of early adulthood, and treatment of children and adolescents with acute psychiatric illness.  In addition to the House Officer Mental Health Program, I also work on the Nyman inpatient child and adolescent psychiatry unit (8CAPH) and the child and adolescent psychiatry consultation service in Mott Hospital.  Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, 1-year-old daughter and dog, as well as cooking and reading.

Loreen Pirnie, M.D. – Faculty Psychiatrist

It is a privilege to work with fellow doctors and student doctors during what can be the most challenging time in their lives: their training. Medical school and residency is unlike any other experience, and presents a very unique set of demands as well as rewards. I want to provide support so that you can be the best doctor you can be, and so that you can enjoy your life outside of medicine to the fullest.

I am originally from New Hampshire and have lived all over New England. I went to medical school at the University of Connecticut and graduated from my psychiatry residency at Brown in 2017. I am now getting to experience the Midwest with my husband, who is currently a resident here at Michigan Medicine. My areas of interest include student, resident and physician wellness, young adult mental health, emergency psychiatry, and consult-liaison psychiatry. When I am not working with medical trainees, I currently work in our Adult Partial Hospitalization Program and Psychiatric Emergency Services. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time outside with my family, biking, and listening to podcasts.

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

Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D.  - Associate Professor

Srijan Sen is the Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Professor of Depression and Neurosciences. Dr. Sen’s research focuses on the interactions between genes and the environment and their effect on stress, anxiety, and depression. He also has a particular interest in medical education, and leads a large multi-institution study that uses medical internship as a model of stress.

April Wesner – Administrative Assistant

I am the Administrative Assistant for the Mental Health Program, as well as The Nyman Unit and C/L Child Psychiatry.   I have been at the University of Michigan for over 9 years and still find reasons why I love working in the healthcare field.  I am a people person and very passionate when it comes to helping others.  I find great pleasure being able to put a smile on someone’s face and giving them a better outlook on the day.  When I am not at work I enjoy hanging out with my husband, our two energetic kids and our wild dog!

I am always willing to help, please contact me directly at 734-763-9853 or by email at alpate@med.umich.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it confidential?

The initial evaluation is not documented in MiChart and your insurance is not billed for the visit.

How much does it cost?

The initial evaluation is free. 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 in a confidential setting in the hospital itself, eliminating any additional time needed for travel.  We are also happy to provide resources for community psychiatrists who offer evening and weekend appointment times.

Local Resources

Mental health treatment IS available outside of the health system, if preferred. Here are 3 group practices in Ann Arbor that have both psychiatrists and psychotherapists available, and accept UM Premier Care:

An additional local psychotherapy only (no psychiatrists) group practice that many residents have utilized is:

Self-Help Resources

Digital

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

Free Headspace Subscription for House Officers

Headspace is an app that offers guided meditation and mindfulness techniques. The app starts with an introduction course to meditation and mindfulness, followed by hundreds of guided meditations on subjects like focus, exercise, and sleep, with an entire segment dedicated to sleep hygiene and improving sleep overall. 

The GME Office is offering a free 1-year subscription to Headspace for all House Officers starting in June 2019 (subscription ends June 30, 2020).

  1. Go to: work.headspace.com/michiganmedicine/join
  2. Use your med.umich.edu email address for FREE access
  3. Click “Get Started”

If you have trouble enrolling or any technical issues, contact teamsupport@headspace.com

Books

Urgent / Emergency Services

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 Resiliency: (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

In the News

Trainee Testimonials

Hear their stories: https://physiciansconnected.org/isolemnlyshare/

Here is some of the feedback we have gotten from residents who have accessed our services in the past:

“Easy to access and schedule appointments. The provider I saw was very empathetic, insightful, and helpful.”

“I really appreciated the timeliness in which I was seen, the confidentiality, and the quality of care.”

“Very quick process, great providers.”

“I talked to a psychiatrist who was readily accessible in the hospital and she referred me to continued care.”

“Excellent. Couldn't have asked for more.”