New Faculty Profile: Department of Psychiatry

This academic year, the Department of Psychiatry hired a handful of new faculty members to begin building the foundation for a world-class department. The faculty will work closely with the El Paso community to identify and address the mental health needs of the population and provide cutting edge care. Please join Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso in welcoming the new physicians.

 

Sarah L. Martin, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Education:
M.D., Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Psychiatry Residency, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship, Walter Reed Army Medical Center
B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz

Expertise:
Psychiatric care of the American soldier and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Why did you decide to move to El Paso?
I was actually transferred to Ft. Bliss when I was an active duty officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

What’s your research focus?
I’m interested in the prevention of psychiatric illness as well as early intervention with children who have psychiatric illness.

What’s been your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishment has been serving in the U.S. Army, which included a deployment to Iraq.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to spend time with my family, read, run, hike, and bike.

 

Ricardo Salazar, M.D.Ricardo Salazar 2
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Hometown:
I am proud of my city. I was born in beautiful Medellin, Colombia, which actually received the 2013 City of the Year award from the Wall Street Journal.

Education:
M.D., Pontificia Bolivariana University, School of Medicine, Colombia
Psychiatry Residency, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio
Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship, UTHSC at San Antonio
B.A., Pontificia Bolivariana University

Expertise:
Emergency psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, organ transplant consultation, and psychosomatic medicine.

Why did you decide to move to TTUHSC El Paso?
I was highly attracted to El Paso’s unique population, which has diverse ethnic groups, particularly of Hispanic and Mexican American lineage. That’s actually the focus of my research; I study Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders in Hispanics.

What’s your research focus?
As a geriatric psychiatrist, my main focus and research interest is the biological underpinning of early neuropsychiatric manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease in Hispanics with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

What’s been your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishment before joining TTUHSC El Paso was helping establish and develop the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) at The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio in 2009. TARCC is the largest research consortium on Alzheimer’s disease that’s focused on Hispanic recruitment. The consortium made it possible for Texas to assume a national leadership role in the underserved area of Alzheimer’s research and has received more than $13 million from the state in funding.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel by car and get to know places and their history really well, so I must be in the right place because the history of El Paso is beautiful from every perspective.

 

Peter M. Thompson, M.D.Peter Thompson2
Professor of Psychiatry
Director of the
Southwest Brain Bank

Education:
M.D., Tufts University School of Medicine
Postdoctoral Training, University of California, San Diego
M.S., California State University, Northridge
B.A., Sonoma State University

Expertise:
Treatment of bipolar disorder and treatment-resistant depression (TRD), and the biology of brain disorders

What’s your research focus?
I conduct postmortem research to study the molecular biology of major mental disorders. I also work to develop improved methods to treat and study mood disorders.

What’s been your greatest accomplishment to date?
I founded the Southwest Brain Bank in 2002 at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio. I also was part of the team that developed the Bipolar Inventory of Symptom Scale (BISS), a scale that measures the spectrum of symptoms seen in bipolar disorder. I was also the first researcher to identify that the protein SNAP-25 is elevated in people with schizophrenia.

 

Silvina Tonarelli, M.D.Sylvinia Tonarelli 002
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Hometown: Cordoba, Argentina

Education:
M.D., National University of Cordoba
Psychiatry Residency, TTUHSC El Paso
Stroke Research Fellowship, UTHSC at San Antonio
Neurology Residency, Italian Hospital of Cordoba
Internal Medicine Residency, Queen Fabiola Clinic

Expertise:
Stroke management and prevention, stroke education and psychiatric disorders.

Why did you decide to move to TTUHSC El Paso?
I was attracted to El Paso because it is a city that combines a nascent school of medicine with Hispanic culture. I also really liked the opportunity to work in a university hospital, plus a state hospital like the El Paso Psychiatric Center. I graduated from TTUHSC El Paso as a psychiatrist and decided to continue on as a faculty member.

What’s your research focus?
My areas of interest are psychiatric disorders and neuropsychiatric diseases, mainly cognitive disorders.

What’s been your greatest accomplishment to date?
I was recognized by the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Psychiatry as best Senior Resident of the year in 2015. I also was awarded research recognitions during my residency.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I really enjoy spending my spare my time with my family; you will often see me with my three boys on the soccer fields.

 

Aghaegbulam Uga, M.D., FWACPAghaegbulam H. Uga 003
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine

Hometown: Afikpo, Nigeria

Education:
M.D., University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
Psychiatry Residency, West African College of Physicians (WACP), Nigeria
Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Fellowship, WACP
Internal Medicine & Psychiatry Residency, Southern Illinois University

Expertise:
General adult psychiatry, primary care medicine, academic hospitalist medicine

 

Why did you decide to move to TTUHSC El Paso?
El Paso offers good, warm weather, friendly people and natural, beautiful scenery. I moved to TTUHSC El Paso because it’s a young medical school that offers great opportunities for professional development and growth.

What’s your research focus?
My research interest is to understand how psychiatry and medical problems interact to affect the patient. I’m also interested in how to provide cutting edge care for patients with psychiatric and medical disorders.

What’s been your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishment has been acquiring the skills necessary to provide appropriate care for my patients.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like spending time with my family, going fishing or hunting and playing volleyball or soccer.