Current Fellows

CAP 1 Fellows (Class of 2023)

Moshe Bitterman, MD

Bio: Dr. Moshe Bitterman joined us from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine after completing his third year of general psychiatry residency. While in medical school at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Dr. Bitterman presented a poster on the impact of peer-to-peer disclosure of mental illness on medical student’s stigma towards mental health. He also participated as an assistant in an NIH funded study of “Risk and Resilience in Maltreated Children.” In residency, he was an active member of the Wellness Committee helping to create peer mentoring groups and crisis management training for incoming residents. In his free time, he enjoys live music, rock climbing, and traveling.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

I chose to train at Lurie Children’s because the program prioritizes fellow education through a robust and intensive clinical experience. The learning environment is one of academic rigor and great warmth and support among colleagues. I wanted to appreciate a multidisciplinary approach to care, and at Lurie Children’s there is strong partnerships in both the clinical services and didactic curriculum between social work, psychology, and psychiatry. Focusing on family systems is also key in creating change in children’s lives, and this is certainly emphasized in the training at Lurie Children’s. Additionally, Chicago a is wonderful place to live, train, and be a part of a diverse community of both providers and patients.

George Gianakakos, MD

Bio: Dr. Gianakakos joins us from University of Central Florida (UCF)/HCA Consortium where he is a third year psychiatry resident. He attended Northwestern University for undergrad and medical school at University of Illinois in Chicago. After graduation from college, Dr. Gianakakos served for two years as a corps member in Teach for America from 2010-12 and taught as a 7th and 8th grade general science teacher in Bridgeport, CT from 2010-2013. While in medical school at UIC, he received the AACAP Jeanne Spurlock Research Fellowship in Drug Abuse and Addiction for Minority Medical Students and spent his first year of medical school in research with patients at a Chicago methadone clinic and at Children’s Research Triangle. He presented his research findings in a poster at AACAP’s 62nd annual meeting in San Antonio. He also served as a co-president of the Klingenstein Third General Fellowship in Chicago. In his free time, Dr. Gianakakos enjoys gardening, listening to audio books, yoga, Orange Theory fitness, cooking, and watching Mystery Science theater.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

So far, I have really appreciated the emphasis placed on academic rigor in a supportive and understanding environment, whether that be through didactics or our diverse patient cases. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that, despite its size and patient volume, Lurie Children’s is a highly collaborative hospital, with all specialties regularly coming together in the best interest of patients and their families. Located in the heart of Chicago, Lurie Children's sees a variety of patient cases and truly makes a difference in the lives of a multitude of Chicagoans, regardless of where they come from or how much money they make. Best of all, faculty and co-fellows make the work fun, and I genuinely enjoy coming to work knowing we are making a difference in the lives of Chicago’s children each and every day.

Emanuel Martinez, MD

Bio: Dr. Martinez joins us from Citrus Health Network/ Florida International University (FIU) HW College of Medicine residency. He attended Florida International University for undergraduate where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and attended FIU for medical school. While in medical school, he received the Dottie and Ed Grosse Medical Scholarship Fund in 2014. He has participated in research on trauma and length of stay in inpatient units among adolescents. He received the MBRS-RISE Research Fellowship in 2011-2013, Citrus Health Network Resident Teacher of the Year Award from 2018-2019, FIU Resident/Fellow Clinical Teaching Award 2019-2020 and served as a Chief Resident from 2020-2021. He is fluent in Spanish and has a passion for working with Latinx populations. Dr. Martinez enjoys playing soccer, fishing, traveling, and running in his free time.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

I chose to train at Lurie Children’s due to the emphasis the program places on education. The didactic curriculum which is taught by nationally renowned faculty seemed too good to pass up. Likewise, during the interview the welcoming nature of the all the interviewers made me feel comfortable with my choice. The breadth of elective rotations available will allow me to explore areas of interest. I am thrilled to have matched at Lurie Children’s as I believe the training I receive will make me a competent, empathetic, and culturally sensitive child psychiatrist.

Wendy Rocio Martinez Araujo, MD

Bio: Dr. Martinez Araujo joins us from Nassau University Medical Center where she is completing her adult psychiatry residency. A native of El Salvador, she attended Universidad de El Salvador Facultad de Medicina for medical school. She has multiple research experiences, including having worked on studies investigating depression and anxiety among adolescents who use social media as well as Alzheimer’s among geriatric Hispanic populations. She has published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and presented posters at the Institute of Psychiatric services Mental Health Service Conference in New York in 2019 as well as the American Psychiatric Association Annual meeting in 2020. She has presented at The European Academy of Psychosomatic medicine in Vienna, Austria and the Annual Conference of the Prader-Willi Association. She is fluent in Spanish and is passionate about working with and serving the Latinx population. In her free time, she enjoys salsa and merengue dancing, visiting art museums, collecting hand-made artisanal jewelry and backpacking.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

I had many reasons to choose Lurie Children’s: it is the main children’s hospital in Chicago with one of the largest CAP programs, it has a wide variety of psychiatric complex cases, and it is affiliated with Northwestern University, which provides a highly educational environment and didactics taught by well-renowned staff and experts in the field. The staff was welcoming and friendly since the beginning of the interview process and will make you feel part of the team all the time. Most importantly, the collegial environment, which included seeing the fellows happy and heard by the department, was the cherry on top to choose Lurie Children's.

Bavani Rajah, MD

Bio: Dr. Rajah joins us from Loyola University Medical Center she is a third year psychiatry resident. She attended undergrad at the University of Akron and medical school at Northeast Ohio Medical University as part of an accelerated BS/MD program. While in medical school, she participated in a research study at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and reviewed data from over 3000 pediatric patients to investigate the impact of 2014 updated guidelines on palivizumab prophylaxis in premature infants hospitalized for RSV bronchiolitis. She presented her findings at the 2016 Pediatric Academic Society’s meeting in Baltimore and was published as first author in the Journal of Pediatrics in the fall of 2016. She has served as a cabin counselor at Flying Horse Farms where she worked with children with congenital heart disease. In residency, she serves on the GME Housestaff Governance Committee and was appointed as the psychiatry chief resident. She received the Loyola University Medical Center Magis Star Award in October 2018 for excellence in patient care. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, metal music, golfing, drawing and video games.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

As a Midwest native and after training in Chicago for residency, I knew I wasn’t ready to leave! However, when applying for CAP fellowship programs it was important to me that I would receive a high quality education in a supportive environment with knowledgeable faculty and enthusiastic peers. I have been so happy with my choice to train at Lurie Children’s as the balance of my clinical responsibilities, supervision and structured didactics have made such a positive impact on my learning. It is a privilege to work with some of the most prominent experts in our field and to experience a variety of complex cases at a large academic center.

Jonathon Wanta, MD

Bio: Dr. Wanta attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, and completed residency at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He has garnered a number of awards including the American Psychiatric Association Child and Adolescent Fellowship 2020, Ellen Irving Rothchild Medical Student Award for Excellence in CL Psychiatry 2018, and the CWRU Pride LGBT Ohio Leadership Award 2015. He is the resident member of the AACAP Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues Committee (SOGIIC) and the resident board member on the Executive Board of AACAP’s PrideCAPA. Dr. Wanta has 9 publications including in Frontiers in Psychiatry and Transgender Health. He has presented at the AACAP Annual meeting in 2020 and 2021. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, laying out at the beach, and finding new restaurants for brunch.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

Lurie Children’s CAP Fellowship offers all the strengths of a nationally renowned academic institution without losing the warm, supporting environment that is so important as a trainee. As a fellow, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, many of whom are literally writing the textbook on any given subject matter. At the same time, I’ve had ample interface with attendings all the way up to the Department Chair which in my opinion fosters an environment in which I feel included and valued not only as a trainee but more importantly as a physician colleague. Ultimately, I think this combination of a rigorous but supportive environment is best suited to help me reach my career goals moving forward!

CAP 2 Fellows (Class of 2022)

Abdullah Bin Mahfodh, MD

Residency: University of Missouri, Kansas City
Medical School: Jordan University of Science and Technology

Bio: Dr. Bin Mahfodh joined us from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he completed his third year of psychiatry residency. He attended Jordan University of Science and Technology. Prior to residency, Dr. Bin Mahfodh completed one year of research with Dr. Christoph Corell at Hofstra/Northwell where he served as a clinical research trainer, training team members to conduct diagnostic interviews including the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 and two semi-structured prodromal symptom interviews, one for psychosis and one for bipolar disorder. He participated in several clinical research studies while on Dr. Corell’s team, including the Adolescent Mood Disorder Study (AMDS), Fluoxetine-Aripiprazole Competitive Trial (FACT), and Adjunctive Vortioxetine in Schizophrenia (AVIS). He has presented ten posters at national conferences and served as the graduate medical education (GME) representative for the UMKC department of psychiatry. He has an interest in research and his presentation on the use of clozapine in children was selected to be presented as part of a “research pipeline” symposium chaired by Dr. Tim Wilens from MGH/Harvard at the annual American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) meeting in Oct 2019.  In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, cooking, and exploring new restaurants.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

I am excited to join Lurie Children’s hospital for CAP fellowship! The faculty seemed to be dedicated to providing an excellent educational experience, and the program offers a range of clinical and academic opportunities that would help me to achieve my goals. Training in a big children’s hospital in a diverse city like Chicago promises a robust clinical experience that will help grow my knowledge and prepare me to pursue my interests in the field. Last but not least, faculty, fellows, and staff were friendly and supportive.

Shane Burke, MD

Residency: University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria
Medical School: St. George’s University

Bio: Dr. Burke joined us from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria where he is completing his third year of residency. Prior to attending medical school at St. George’s University, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in social work at New York University. He received the Legacy of Excellence Scholarship in medical school. While in residency, he published an article in Current Psychiatry titled “The Importance of Engaging with Local Mental Health Organizations”, has presented posters at the American Psychiatric Association national meeting, presented a talk at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Tri-County Illinois Educational Meeting and participated in the residency recruitment committee. In his free time, he enjoys running a half marathon every year, watching movies and spending time with family.

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

I sought to complete my child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Lurie Children's due to the comprehensive training experience it provides. Both the breadth and the depth of experience provided spoke to me throughout the interview day. I additionally was impressed by the faculty I met within the program as well as hearing multiple faculty members speak at the annual meeting of AACAP. I am looking forward to having a comprehensive experience in child and adolescent psychiatry and also more advanced training in school consultation and forensic work, all of which I am confident I can achieve within this stellar program.

Courtney Heim. DO

Residency: Lutheran General Hospital
Medical School: West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

Bio: Dr. Heim joined us from Lutheran General Hospital where she completed her third year of psychiatry residency. She attended West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. While in college at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she obtained a BS in Communicative Disorders, she was the lead researcher on a study that focused on children’s emotional development and psychopathology using fMRI. She also has prior experience providing home therapy for children with autism through the Wisconsin Early Autism Project.  She was the resident representative from Lutheran General to the Illinois Psychiatric Society. In her free time, she enjoys long-distance running, competitive tennis and cooking. 

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

I wanted to come to Lurie Children's because I felt it would provide top-notch academic opportunities and clinical experiences. There was a sense of excitement and energy on my interview day that was unlike other programs I interviewed at. The faculty and fellows I met were all friendly and welcoming. The fellows communicated how the hospital culture exceeded their expectations in how they felt listened to and supported in each of their individual goals. Lastly, coming to this program would allow me to stay in the Midwest close to all my family and friends!

Mike Mehta, DO, MBA  

Residency: Ohio State Wexner Medical Center
Medical School: Ohio University Heritage College of Medicine

Bio: Dr. Mehta joined us from Ohio State Wexner Medical Center where he is attending his third year of psychiatry residency. He attended Ohio University Heritage College of Medicine and obtained an MBA at Oxford between his third and fourth years of medical school. He has received the Outstanding Volunteer Award by the American Osteopathic Association and the Ohio University Research Fellowship Grant. He has presented posters at AAMC Integrating Quality Conference in New York as well as the 2019 AACAP meeting in Chicago. He has an active interest in quality improvement, has completed research in this area and served as the Resident Quality Improvement Chair at Harding Hospital (the psychiatric hospital affiliated with OSU). In his free time, he enjoys travelling (has visited over 30 countries and lived in five), rowing, snowboarding and the arts. 

Why did you choose to train at Lurie Children’s?

Coming into child fellowship, I want to be able to explore all the various avenues this sub-specialty has to offer. Lurie Children's allows me to do that with its wide range of strong clinical experiences and diverse patient population. Their commitment to education is evident by the stimulating didactic curriculum and up-to-date, thought provoking grand rounds held throughout the fellowship. Most importantly, the faculty and fellows were all super welcoming and it felt like the right fit.

Sonya Sandhu, MD

Residency: Jackson Memorial Hospital/ University of Miami
Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine

Bio: Dr. Sandhu joined us from Jackson Memorial Hospital/ University of Miami where she completed her third year of residency. She completed her medical school at Wayne State University SOM where she participated in research in the Department of Psychiatry on several research projects using fMRI. She is the recipient of numerous university-based research grants including the Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship and two Wayne State Undergraduate Research Awards, the 2013 Fiat Chrysler Academic Award and the Wayne State Presidential Scholarship 2009-2013. She received the Resident Recognition Award 2018 in residency. In her free time, she enjoys interior design, cooking, and spinning.

Why did you choose Lurie Children’s?

I chose to pursue a fellowship at Lurie Children's because of the vast number of both clinical and academic opportunities the program offers to their fellows. This program offers equally strong inpatient and outpatient training experiences, along with a rich variety of psychopathology, cultural diversity, and resources available to its patients. With an interest in outpatient adolescent psychiatry in an academic setting, I am confident that upon completion of this fellowship I will be able to serve my community as a knowledgeable, capable, and competent child psychiatrist. Also being originally from the Midwest, I am thrilled to return to in the wonderful city of Chicago!

Fellow Life