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3.24.2011

University of Miami Hospital Unveils New Mood Disorders Unit

Citing a clear need for more patient facilities, dozens of psychiatrists and therapists gathered on the newly renovated north wing of the 9th floor of University of Miami Hospital Monday evening. Community physicians were eager to see 14 new rooms dedicated as the Mood Disorders Unit at UMH.

“This is a significant step,” said Charles Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, “toward better serving the growing need of psychiatric patients in South Florida and beyond.”

The 14 rooms are being added to the 76 beds already dedicated to mental health at UMH. Stephen Friedman, Ph.D., clinical director of behavioral health services at UMH, says the new area is for high-functioning adults who are battling mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. “There is definitely a need for a high-end inpatient facility with private rooms and this unit fills that gap,” says Friedman. UMH is the only South Florida facility that provides private rooms for psychiatric patients.

UMH will accept referrals, and patients can admit themselves if they feel the need. Edmi Cortes Torres, M.D., medical director of UMH Inpatient Psychiatry Unit, says a unique feature is that physicians on staff will provide much more than the standard medication management. The Mood Disorder Unit will offer a comprehensive therapeutic approach, using group therapy sessions during the day along with journaling, art and other innovative approaches to combat complex mood disorders. Cortes Torres says, “It’s a much more dynamic and interactive way to help the patient beyond just managing their medication.”

The facility can accommodate international patients along with those from South Florida. Nemeroff hopes to add another 20 beds in the future to serve the growing need.

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