May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge the fundamental importance of mental health to overall wellbeing. Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions impacting Americans, and Dr. Vivek Murthy, the US Surgeon General, recently called attention to a public health crisis of loneliness and isolation, which he links to both physical and mental health challenges for individuals.
Psychiatry is one of the top specialties utilized by Sitka partners. Our network of specialist physicians includes three psychiatrists who are passionate about collaborating with primary care providers (PCPs) to deliver mental healthcare. I recently had a chance to chat with one of these physicians, Dr. Rachel Goldberg, about her experience as a Sitka specialist.
Dr. Goldberg is an accomplished psychiatrist with subspecialties in general psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and psychosomatic medicine. She began her career in private practice after graduating from Emory University School of Medicine and completing a fellowship in consultation-liaison psychiatry at George Washington University. While she finds her practice greatly rewarding, she’s eager for opportunities to collaborate with other healthcare professionals—and this is why she was thrilled to discover Sitka.
Sitka enables Dr. Goldberg to share her expertise with PCPs in a variety of care settings, thereby impacting a wide range of patients. The most common conditions addressed during Sika psychiatry consults are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. In an average week, Dr. Goldberg might consult with family practitioners treating any one of these, while also assisting our I-SNP partners caring for complex patients with multiple chronic conditions and medication interactions.
Psychiatry is a medication-heavy specialty, and 96% of Sitka psychiatry consults involve medication management. Dr. Goldberg often helps PCPs titrate medications they may not have prescribed before or be fully comfortable with. “I can provide tips and insights based on my experience, such as starting at a lower dose than what the official prescribing information may recommend. This kind of collaboration can make a huge difference in a patient's ability to tolerate and benefit from their medications.”
Dr. Goldberg regards Sitka as an opportunity for continued growth and learning. When she receives a consult regarding a condition she hasn't evaluated or treated in years, it encourages her to stay up to date with the latest research. But what really stands out about her work with Sitka is the appreciation she receives from the PCPs with whom she consults. More often than not, her consults end in some expression of gratitude and mutual respect, which strengthens her sense of community.
This is all possible without taking on the responsibility of an ongoing patient relationship. “When I'm at capacity, in terms of my private practice, it doesn't mean that I have nothing more to offer. Sitka enables me to help more people and keep strong peer-to-peer relationships with others in the medical field. Both have been immensely rewarding.”