Residents

Meet Our Psychiatric Professionals

PGY-1

Akin

Carolyn Akin, MD
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Medical School: Mercer School of Medicine - Savannah

I was born in Summit, New Jersey and raised in Marietta, GA. I graduated from the University of Georgia for undergrad where I double majored in Biology and Psychology. After college, I relocated to Savannah, GA to attend medical school at the Mercer University School of Medicine. Outside of medicine, I try to spend as much time as possible with my husband and our two dogs - Rosie, our Australian Cattle Dog rescue, and Riley, our mini Australian Shepherd. I love puzzles, binge-watching tv, watching sports, and playing video games.

I chose Gateway because of its strong commitment to this community. My passion for mental health advocacy and my desire to continue serving the population of Savannah, both in and outside of a clinical setting, made this a perfect fit. The faculty, staff, and other residents have welcomed and supported me since I rotated here as a 4th year medical student. I’m excited and grateful to be a part of this growing program!

Ezeokoli

Adaobi Ezeokoli, MD
Hometown: Mariette, GA
Medical School: University of Nigeria Faculty of Medicine

I was born and raised in Nigeria where I went to medical school. While in school, I developed a passion for community service and was among the pioneers of Medics Frontiers, a non-governmental organization of medical students that organized and carried out medical outreaches to underserved rural communities. For the past few years, I have lived in Birmingham AL where I worked in inpatient Psychiatry at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

I chose Gateway BHS because of its strong impact in community service to the great city of Savannah. Through them I get to work with a diverse population of underserved individuals. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with my family of five, cooking, reading and discovering new places in the beautiful city of Savannah

Halsema

Kaitlyn Halsema, DO
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Medical School: Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

I have had a passion for the field of psychiatry for over a decade. I always loved playing therapist for my friends, and felt truly fulfilled whenever I helped them gain more clarity or solve an interpersonal problem. I attended college at the University of South Florida, where I obtained my BS in biomedical sciences with a minor in psychology. I decided to shake things up by moving to the Midwest, and attended medical school at Kansas City University in Kansas City, MO. Some of my favorite pastimes are reading, watching weird movies with my husband, and palling around with my two sweet kitties.

I was instantly attracted to Gateway because I have dreamed of living in Savannah for many years, but there is so much more to this program than the amazing location. Gateway is a true community program – it is more invested in the community it serves than any other program I interviewed with. Our faculty is composed of some of the most kind, knowledgeable, and approachable people you will ever meet. This is a wonderful environment to learn and grow into a confident, capable psychiatrist.

Hernandez

Luis Hernandez, MD
Hometown: Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
Medical School: University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts

I was born and raised in the island of Puerto Rico in Trujillo Alto. I completed my undergraduate studies in Cellular Biology in the University of Puerto Rico. I later decided to attend medical school in the Caribbean at UMHS in St. Kitts. In my spare time I like to spend time with my family and friends, play with my dog, and watch movies and sports.

I chose Gateway because I wanted to be part of a “new” program that has a commitment to provide care to those that are underserved. I was attracted by the environment of the program, where everyone is close and considered family. During the interviews you could see the enthusiasm and passion that the residents and faculty have towards providing care and this made it an easy choice.

Perry

Daniel Perry, MD
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Medical School: Emory University School of Medicine

I am from Atlanta, GA. I graduated from Georgia State University with my Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and from Emory University with my M.D. and Master’s of Public Health. While my interview with Gateway was virtual, I was attracted to the friendly and collegial atmosphere they cultivated, and so impressed they managed to communicate that even over Zoom. Now that I’m here in person, I’m so happy to find that my initial (virtual) impression was correct. The faculty and upper level residents are wonderful teachers and so welcoming, and I’m grateful to have matched here.

Rivera

Natalie Rivera Matos, MD
Hometown: Naranjito, Puerto Rico
Medical School: University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts

I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a BS in Biology. I studied medicine at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts and moved around the states for my clinical rotations.

Psychiatry was not part of my plan until I did my first psych rotation - which I enjoyed more than eating ice-cream on a summer day in Savannah (and I really enjoy ice cream).

I chose Gateway the day of my interview. Even though we could not be there in person, I felt incredibly welcome. I remember seeing the great relationship between staff and residents and how comfortable everybody was around each other. All of it made Gateway a very easy first choice.

Sloas

MacKenzie Sloas, DO
Hometown: Russell, KY
Medical School: West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

I grew up in a small town in Kentucky. I attended the University of Louisville where I received my bachelor of science degree in Psychology. I completed my medical education at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. My passion for psychiatry is rooted in patient advocacy, and caring for vulnerable populations. I chose Gateway because of their commitment to training community-based physicians, and their dedicated service to the Savannah area.

In my free time, I enjoy all things art and pop culture especially film and tv. But above all, I love sharing a good laugh with my family and friends.

Williams

Kristen Williams, MD
Hometown: Snellville, GA
Medical School: Mercer School of Medicine

I was raised in Snellville, GA and I received my Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hampton University in Hampton, VA. After undergrad I worked in mental health case management before obtaining my Master's degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA and my medical degree from Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, GA. I have always had a passion for community mental health and I chose Gateway for residency because of its community focused mission and excellent learning opportunities.

I am married, with two young children. My husband and I are enjoying exploring Savannah and all it has to offer our family, especially our proximity to the beach. I also enjoy running, reading and traveling.

PGY-2

Arroyo

Lorelys Arroyo Rivera, MD
Hometown:
Camuy, Puerto Rico
Medical School:
University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts

I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico where I received my Bachelor of Science in Cellular Molecular Biology. I attended medical school in the Caribbean and received clinical training in various states. I made Augusta, Georgia my home ever since, where I fell in love with the warmth, kindness and cuisine of the south. I knew then, that I wanted to care for the Georgian population. I enjoy caring for my patients and popular culture. I have full confidence in the opportunities this program has to offer, and I’m eager to nurture my abilities to better serve the community and the family at Gateway Behavioral Health, CSB.

Babalola

Modupeluwa Babalola, MD
Hometown: Peachtree City, GA
Medical School: Medical College of Georgia

I am originally from Nigeria. I moved to the United States in my pre-teen years and I have lived in Georgia for most of my time here. I completed my undergraduate studies at Georgia College and State University, received my MPH degree from Georgia State University, and received my medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. Apart from medicine, I enjoy music, traveling, staying active, movies, and learning new things.

I chose Gateway because of the program's emphasis on community psychiatry and also because I got an overall good feeling of the program during the interviewing process. Living in Savannah, GA has been a bonus; I especially like that it is close to the beach. I am pleased to be joining the Gateway psychiatry team and I look forward to working with the diverse patient population.

Fitzgerald

Caitlyn Fitzgerald, MD
Hometown: Wall, NJ
Medical School:
University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts

Originally from a coastal town in New Jersey, I obtained my BA in Psychology from New York University and Medical Degree from UMHS St. Kitts. While I have been committed to advancing the treatment of mental health since high school, my specific areas of interests include adolescent psychiatry, addiction medicine, and emergency crisis intervention. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with my husband and family, reading, traveling, cooking, practicing yoga, bike riding, and relaxing at the beach.

I chose Gateway BHS because I was excited at the prospect of being part of a new program committed to providing psychiatric care to an underserved community in need. I was impressed with their commitment to all levels of community care, particularly with their initiative of getting out into the community to provide hands on relief for those who need it the most. I look forward to serving the people of Chatham county and I am thankful to Gateway BHS for giving me that opportunity to do so.

 

Gunadeva

Naomi Gunadeva, MD
Hometown: Snellville, GA
Medical School: Medical College of Georgia

I am from Snellville, Georgia. I graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with my Bachelor’s degree and the Medical College of Georgia with my Medical degree. When I first came to Gateway, I was impressed by how friendly everyone was and how they made their interviewees feel at home. Their kindness, emphasis on resident wellness, and passion for the program made me excited for the opportunity to continue my medical education here. I believe that Gateway will give me the chance to work with a diverse patient population and explore my areas of interest in psychiatry further. I enjoy traveling, coffee shops, hiking, backpacking, camping, and exploring all that Savannah has to offer.

MARY ASHLEY MERCER, MD

Mary Ashley Mercer, MD
Hometown: Pawleys Island, SC
Medical School: Medical University of South Carolina

I was born & raised in SC. For the past decade I’ve called Charleston (SC) home, where I’ve attended the College of Charleston for undergrad & majored in Psychology/Neuroscience, and then hopped down the street to MUSC for medical school. I have quite the unconventional path to where I am today. I worked in research for several years before applying to med school, then took a gap year to be a mom while my husband was called to duty in the military. Nonetheless, I am grateful for my unique journey & excited to continue in Savannah to focus on my passion for community psychiatry. I have interests in preventative /integrative medicine, nutrition/wellness, veteran/women’s health, addiction, as well as the evolving field of interventional psychiatry (TMS/ECT). I am mom to a 2yo ‘wild child’ we call Sully and our rescue staffie, Bowen. My family and I love all things outdoors and adventure- like boating, the beach, and traveling to new places! I grew up in a small town, and thus fell in love with the ‘small town feel’ of the program and the close-knit vibes among its staff.

Murchison

Jasmine Murchison, MD
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Medical School: Morsani College of Medicine-University of South Florida

I was born in Tucson, Arizona. But growing up as a military brat, we moved around a lot, so I don’t feel like I have just one hometown. I completed my bachelor’s degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a Master’s in Public Health at the Medical University of South Carolina, and my medical degree at the Morsani College Medicine-University of South Florida. If you can’t already tell, one thing I love is learning! Other loves of my life include reading, going to farmer’s markets, playing with my doggies, and spending time with my family.

I choose to come to Gateway because of the immediate friendliness and caring I felt while visiting. Also, Gateway is a very community-focused residency program, and it is important to me that I am well trained to serve my community. In the future, I would love to work in a community-based practice and also implement health promotion programs targeting mental health and wellness in the community.

Ramchander

Nisha Ramchander, DO
Hometown: Daytona Beach, FL
Medical School: Lake Erie College Of Osteopathic Medicine

I attended the University of Florida for undergrad where I completed Bachelor’s degrees in Microbiology and Religion. I received my medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida. In my free time I love trying new foods and cooking, binge-watching tv, spending time outside, and anything to do with the arts – I’ve been painting, drawing, and singing since I was young.

I chose Gateway because from the first moment I came here and interacted with the faculty and residents, I could feel the genuine warmth and support everyone had for each other, the patients, and the community. I am so excited to be a member of this team. Additionally, I have visited the beautiful city of Savannah many times and am so happy to now be able to call it home!

Valle Blas

Zuleimye Valle Blas, MD
Hometown: Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Medical School: University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts

I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus. I attended medical school at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts and at the same time completed a Master’s in Public Health from Walden University. Both degrees strengthen my interest of empowering the community with mental health wellness, especially during stressful times as it has been the COVID-19 pandemic.

My interests are photography, DIY’s, planning, and interior design. I love spending time with my family and my chihuahua Púa. Savannah caught my eye a couple of years ago, since it’s one of the most romantic cities in the USA. Other than its beautiful scenery, Savannah has Gateway Behavioral Health Psychiatry program. Gateway’s Community Based Program allows me to practice my interest in serving the community by providing excellent care through my knowledge of both medicine and public health.

PGY-3

Aquadro

Emily Aquadro, MD
Hometown: Albany, GA
Medical School: Medical College of Georgia

I am originally from Albany, GA, I graduated from Georgia Tech (Go Jackets) in Atlanta for my Bachelor’s and Medical College of Georgia for my medical degree. I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible program and couldn’t enjoy living in Savannah more. I spend most my free time with my husband, son and canine companions, but also enjoy studying Japanese language/culture, various music and workouts, and getting together for game night with my awesome colleagues. I look forward to getting up every day to be a part of a program that cares so genuinely for its patients and is continually making profound advancements in mental health resources. I have always enjoyed connecting with patients and helping them find the resources they need to recover. After my interview, I saw how much Gateway had to offer and could not feel more privileged to be a part of this team.

Erusiafe

Yvonne Erusiafe, MD
Hometown: Benin, Nigeria
Medical School: Madonna University School of Medicine

I was born and raised in Nigeria. Over the last several years, I lived in Atlanta, Georgia. I enjoy music, poetry, and trying out new restaurants. Most of all, I love spending time with my husband and our two children.

The first time I came to Gateway. It felt like home. Everyone I met was kind, genuine and very dedicated to the residency program. Additionally, I get to live in the beautiful city of Savannah and serve a diverse patient population.

Hill

Domonic Hill, MD
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine

I was born and raised in Tampa, where I completed my undergraduate studies at University of Tampa. My interests include sports, comedy, videogames, cooking, hiking/fishing, traveling, gym and playing with dogs.

I chose Gateway because of its strong commitment to community health, and its forward thinking when it comes to solving community problems. Gateway empowers not just the individual patient but it also empowers the community to play a role in its own community health. Also, Me being “A Florida Boy”, the fact that there is a beach nearby is a huge plus.

Malik

Sitwat Malik, MD
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
Medical School: Jinnah Sindh Medical University

I am from St. Louis, Missouri; I was born, raised, and attended medical school in Karachi, Pakistan. Outside of medicine, I love spending time with my family, biking, and cooking. I chose this program because it immediately felt like home due to the welcoming interview experience and the possibility of being mentored by highly experienced faculty. And I am glad and excited that I was right! Gateway is an awesome program to get trained by. It’s a honor for me to be a part of the inaugural class!

JOHNATHAN PIERSON, MD

Johnathan Pierson, MD
Hometown: Henderson, KY
Medical School: Louisville School of Medicine

My name is Trent and I was born and raised in rural western Kentucky. I received my Bachelor's degree in biology at Murray State University and my medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. After completing my medical school training I did a year of research on the topic of suicidality in the veteran population. My main passion in psychiatry involves helping the underserved, rural and military populations.

In my spare time I enjoy a plethora of activities consisting of, but not limited to, hiking, kayaking, camping, playing hobby board games, landscape photography, finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants, landscaping, taking care of my awesome dog, going to yard sales, cooking, and listening to bluegrass & folk music.

I believe Gateway will give me the opportunity to explore my areas of interest in psychiatry while also giving a great quality of life balance.

Zohoori

Shahin Zohoori, MD
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine

I was born in Iran and relocated to the United States to begin high school. I lived in California before coming to Georgia. I completed my undergraduate studies at UCLA with a bachelor of science degree. I attended medical school at Ross University School of Medicine in Caribbean, Dominica West Indies. I enjoy a variety of sports; I like to walk and hike as well as participate in yoga. I do set aside time to bike, swim, cook, play card games, go to the beach, watch movies, hang out and go camping.

I chose this particular program because of the fact that it is community-based and I’m familiar with that infrastructure. I like the fact that it is brand new and while very much organized some flexibility is also welcomed. I also admire the city and believe in the program’s mission.