Junior Faculty Profile: Sharon Batista, MD 
Assistant Clinical Professor
Psychiatry

My research and clinical interests focus on understanding the relationships between mental illness, especially addictive disorders, and severe and complex medical illness. Over the course of my career, I have co-authored numerous textbooks, written guides, and presented at symposiums. A list of my publications can be viewed here. My board-certifications include: Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and I am eligible for the Psychosomatic Medicine Board Certification examination this year.

I am also the Medical Director for the Substance Use Programs at the Center for Comprehensive Health Practice, a nonprofit organization offering primary care, addiction, and mental health services to underserved families in East Harlem. In my role as Medical Director, I supervise all treatment services provided including counseling services in addition to the methadone and suboxone treatment for persons dependent on opiates. I also work in a private practice treating adults, with an emphasis on serving patients with complaints related to mood disorders, relationship problems, women’s mental health, eating and weight disorders, and addictions.

What is the most exciting advancement currently under development in your lab/clinical practice?

  • I am currently studying the trends in, and reasons for, premature termination of treatment for persons receiving substance use related services at the Center for Comprehensive Health Practice. We hope that developing an understanding of the reasons for discontinuing treatment will help us develop more effective programming to address substance use disorders as well as concomitant medical and psychiatric illness in this population. Interruptions in addiction treatment can put patients at risk for relapse to substance use, pose worsening health complications, and in the worst case increase the risk of premature death and incarceration.

What advice would you give to a junior faculty/post-doc/student new to Icahn?

  • I would recommend that a trainee or early career faculty member who is new to the institution begin to network with others at Mount Sinai, both people at their own level who may share similar interests, as well as with faculty mentors who can provide essential career advice. I make it a point to check in with my mentors periodically and have found this invaluable – it keeps me on track with regards to my goals and I am always inspired by their own examples of steps they have taken in their own career paths. I would also recommend that the individual seek out a wide network of mentors for support. No one mentor is going to meet all of your needs in terms of the different aspects of your career development and advising and it is good to hear a variety of perspectives.

What/Who are some of the major institutional factors/resources/people that that have supported your career development?

  • I am extremely grateful to the many mentors I have had – they have all been instrumental in my career development in unique ways. Amongst these special people are: Dr. Mary Ann Cohen, my mentor in psychiatry for the past 11 years; Dr. Yasmin Hurd, my research careers mentor; Dr. Gary Butts and Ann-Gel Palermo, just two of my mentors and colleagues in diversity affairs and medical education; Dr. David McDowell, my mentor in the field of addiction psychiatry; Drs. Ronald Rieder and Asher Simon, the directors of the psychiatry residency training program; Dr. Alicia Hirsch, a Mount Sinai faculty member who inspired me to learn cognitive behavior therapy and schema therapy.

If you are currently involved in any initiatives promoting diversity please list them and briefly describe your involvement.

  • I am the Associate Director for Recruitment and Retention at the Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In this role, I collaborate with various departments and committees across the institution to develop programming that enhances the recruitment, professional development, and retention of diverse trainees and faculty. In addition, our focus is to mentor students interested in science and medicine careers, as well as to provide advising and mentoring to students who are preparing to apply to medical school. I also work with department chairs and residency program directors regarding housestaff recruitment and diversity efforts.

Quick Facts

My Research Focus: 
Understanding the relationships between mental illness, especially addictive disorders, and severe and complex medical illness

Education:
MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Residency, Psychiatry, Mount Sinai Hospital
Fellowship, Psychiatry, New York University Medical Center

My Involvement in Diversity Initiatives
Director of Recruitment & Retention, Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs