Three UCF-HCA Healthcare psychiatry residents recently matched into some of the nation’s top sub-specialty programs. The three physicians care for patients at the Orlando VA and Osceola Regional Medical Centers.

Dhara Shah, a member of UCF’s inaugural class of psychiatry residents, matched at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for a consultation-liaison fellowship, a subspecialty that focuses on the care of patients with comorbid psychiatric and general medical conditions. Akash Jaggi matched at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Waqar Zuberi matched at USC in Los Angeles. Both are third-year residents going into child and adolescent psychiatry, a fellowship that accepts residents early during their four-year training.

“These are among the top psychiatry programs in the country and I am so happy and proud of these residents who will be spreading their wings and pursuing their dreams,” says Anuja Mehta, the residency’s program director.

The 2014 Florida Physician Workforce Analysis forecasts a 55% deficit of psychiatrists in Florida by 2025. A National Council for Behavioral Health report suggests that nearly one-in-five Americans have a mental health condition and the number of patients going to emergency rooms for psychiatric services is increasing nationwide. The need for psychiatrists is heightened with the nation’s substance abuse epidemic and as more people seek professional help to improve their mental health.

UCF-HCA began the psychiatry residency in 2018 to help address that need. Within days of its announcement, the new program received 1,700 applications for six available positions.

Psychiatry Program Chair Martin Klapheke, who was instrumental in getting the residency established, says he was thrilled with the fellowship matches and hopes many UCF-HCA physicians will return to Florida after their training. after completing further training.

“UCF is so fortunate that four years ago these individuals chose to come to our brand-new psychiatry residency,” he says. “Each of them has helped faculty and staff build the program and work toward continued excellence in clinical care, education and scholarly work. Their influence will be felt here for years to come, plus they will no doubt be wonderful ambassadors across the country as graduates of UCF’s graduate medical education program. If we are lucky, one or more might find their way back to Central Florida in their future practice.”