As a young med student, Dr. Marcy Verduin never thought she would enjoy her psychiatry clerkship much less pursue a career in mental health. But it was during that clerkship that she discovered her passion for psychiatry and its ability to transform lives. A little over a decade later, she is now a psychiatry professor, the UCF College of Medicine’s associate dean for students and was recently elected as president of the Association for Academic Psychiatry at the association’s annual meeting.
The AAP represents physicians who study, practice and teach psychiatry, providing a forum to exchange ideas on teaching techniques, curriculum, and emerging. More than 300 physicians who teach psychiatry in medical schools and residency programs in the U.S. and Canada are active members.
“It’s a tremendous honor to me,” Dr. Verduin said of her election. “There are people who I respect very much who have held this position and have achieved much more than I have in my career, so I feel like I have big shoes to fill.”
Dr. Verduin joined the College of Medicine in 2007 as director for the psychosocial issues in healthcare module and director of the psychiatry clerkship. In 2008, she was appointed as assistant dean for students, then associate dean in 2010.
She believes her recent accomplishment authenticates the excellent work being done at the College of Medicine and will help cement the med school as a leader in medical education and research.
“I think this appointment will help put UCF College of Medicine’s name on the map in psychiatry,” she said. “When our students go to apply for residency, especially in psychiatry, most of the residency program directors would have heard of us, particularly those involved in AAP and I think it shows that we’re doing some great work here.”
As a member of the AAP since the early 2000s, Dr. Verduin has held leadership positions for the last five years, first as associate program chair for annual meetings, then vice president, president-elect and now president.
Currently an attending psychiatrist at the Orlando VA Medical Center’s Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program, Dr. Verduin first discovered her passion for psychiatry and working with marginalized populations while in medical school at University of Florida.
“When I started my psychiatry rotation I realized that I couldn’t wait to read more about my patients’ symptoms when I got home,” she said, “and then I couldn’t wait to get back to the hospital in the morning to see what happened with them overnight and how they were they doing.”
After receiving her M.D., she went on to the Medical University of South Carolina and completed her psychiatry residency and later a post-doctoral research fellowship and an addiction psychiatry fellowship.
“Looking at my career, I think I have always been drawn to populations that are often marginalized,” she said. “When I first got into psychiatry, there was a big stigma around mental illnesses, and I felt like patients weren’t really being given a chance. But I have watched people’s lives really be transformed and I felt like I could really make an impact there. For this same reason, I chose to work with persons with addictions and now the homeless.”
During her yearlong tenure with the AAP, Dr. Verduin will be responsible for leading the association’s strategic efforts and administrative functions as well as hosting the next annual conference slated for September 2018. She will also lead the charge in revamping the association’s website to make it more functional and serve as a repository for educational materials and resources for members.