APA Mentorship Program: Honoring Mentors

In 2017, APA’s Division of Diversity and Health Equity launched the APA Mentorship Program for 2nd year APA/APAF Fellows. The program aims to mentor Fellows in their transition from leaders as Resident-Fellow Members to leaders as Early Career Psychiatrists in APA and APAF. Twenty-two inaugural Fellows were carefully matched with psychiatrist mentors from across the country.

Almost a year into the program, we asked Fellows to reflect and share their experience:


My mentor is Eric Williams, M.D., who is an assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina. After our initial introduction via email, it was heartwarming to get a call from him where he asked what I was seeking in a mentor. He has been a wonderful teacher and a friend so far. He has been kind enough to share his experience with me and review my first job contract. He was able to guide me through the right path, and I will always be thankful."

Fernand Osuagwu, M.D.
2016-2018 APA/APAF Diversity Leadership Fellow
Central Michigan University, Saginaw, MI


I have really enjoyed my experience in the APA Mentorship Program. APA did a great job matching me with a mentor with similar career interests. At the time I started the program, I was considering my career options after residency, one of which included completing a Geropsychiatry Fellowship. My mentor Alicia Romeo, M.D. took the time to answer any questions and concerns I had about completing a fellowship. I have now made the decision to complete a Geropsychiatry Fellowship next year and am grateful for her advice and hope to continue to have her as a mentor in the future."

Laura Pientka, D.O.
2016-2018 APA/APAF Leadership Fellow
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN


It's been a pleasure finding someone like my mentor Phillip Murray, M.D. He shares my passion of community service and bringing a world's perspective to local communities. His humility and practical approach to developing community academic partnerships is refreshing and innovative. He has also provided me with great ideas and feedback in developing my research. Having found someone with the same interest and vision of giving back to under resourced communities in cities and rural areas is truly priceless. I'm happy to say that I started this mentorship program with an exceptional mentor and have now developed a lifelong friend."

Carlos Fernandez, M.D.
2016-2018 APA/APAF SAMHSA Fellow
University of California Los Angeles- Kern Medical, CA


When I found out that Kimberly Gordon, M.D. was my mentor, I could not be more excited. I thought it was a great pairing. I had heard of her from the work she did with the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association, where I currently serve on their board. I first met her at the 2016 September Component Meeting. It was my first meeting as a Fellow and I was undoubtedly anxious. We immediately bonded over our commonalities. She also told me about the work she had done. At the end of the meeting, we exchanged contact information and remained in touch.

As my mentor, she has taken more time to know me both on a professional and personal level via phone conversation, emails, and the most recently in person at the IPS: The Mental Health Services Conference in New Orleans. She understands and can relate to the challenges I face as an African American female psychiatrist. We talked about the ways to overcome those adversities. She assigned me to write down my short and long-term goals—what I need help with the most and my professional interests after residency. Despite her very busy schedule, she found time to discuss those goals with me.

I have found Dr. Gordon to be available whenever I need her. She has given me guidance without enabling me. She's supportive and charismatic. I admire all her leadership, her passion for her work and commitment not only to her patients but to her community as well. She's a true inspiration. I could not be happier to have her as my mentor."

Carine Nzodom, M.D.
2016-2018 APA/APAF Diversity Leadership Fellow
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

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APA/APAF Mentorship Program

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