Our Residents




Senthil Vel Rajan Rajaram Manoharan, MBBS, MD

Chief Resident


I grew up in the city of Madurai, India and went to medical school at Madurai Medical College, India. During my medical school years, I developed a strong interest towards psychiatry. I went on to complete my psychiatry residency training at Kasturba medical college, Manipal University.  I was involved in research studies on Mood disorders and Addiction at Manipal University. My thirst to acquire more skills and develop expertise led me on the path to move to US in 2014. I have thoroughly enjoyed my training at Rutgers NJMS. My rotations across various training sites and working with diverse patient population has helped me develop a broad understanding of the health care needs of the mentally ill population.  The milieu at NJMS has always been supportive and conducive for learning. This program has helped me sharpen my clinical decision makings skills and critical thinking. I have had the pleasure of being a part of various committees (didactics, website and ED) in the program.

Over the years of my training at NJMS, I have not only benefited in improving my clinical skills but also experienced growth in communication, leadership qualities and building a well-rounded personality. I have a special interest in working with the elderly population and plan to do a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry. My areas of interests include neurocognitive disorders, mood disorders, cognitive remediation therapies, neuromodulation, mindfulness and yoga. Outside of work, I enjoy listening to relaxing music, working out, going on road trips and of course cherish spending time with family and friends.

Xiaojing Shi, MD


My name is Xiaojing Shi and I am a PGY IV psychiatry resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and raised in a family of doctors in China, where I earned my M.D degree and completed three years of residency training in Internal Medicine. My interest in psychiatry started from witnessing many patients with serious medical conditions suffering from psychiatric comorbidities such as depression or anxiety.  I realized that only treating the physical body without addressing mental health is not sufficient for patients' long-term recovery. To further explore my interest in the relationship between physiological symptoms, mental illnesses and the molecular pathways linking them, I continued my education in biomedical research and earned Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. I then pursued Post-Doctoral Scientist training at Columbia University and published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals.

As I have been always interested in exploring the relationship between the human mind and behavior, I decided to become a psychiatrist.  This field allows me to contribute using my diverse experience in research and clinical work, multicultural life experience and my passion for mental health. My areas of interest include mood disorder, C&L psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. As the mother of two children, I enjoy spending time with family, cooking different cuisines, and watching movies in my spare time.

Zain Khalid
, MD
Chief Resident


My name is Zain Khalid and I am a PGY-IV resident. I grew up in Lahore and completed medical school at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. While at Rutgers, I have availed of the many opportunities for personal and professional growth on offer. In addition to learning from a diverse patient population and experienced faculty, I have had the chance to develop complementary academic and scholarly interests, teaching classes on psychopharmacology and anxiety disorders, authoring a book chapter on ‘inpatient treatment of co-occurring disorders’ and presenting research at national conferences.

I have also gained from participation in the Wellness and Ethics committees and continue to cultivate a growing fascination with (Lacanian) psychoanalysis and ethical and forensic issues in psychiatry. When not at work or socializing with fellow residents, I devote time to an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and English Literature, enjoy theatre and cinema and meander flaneur-like in New York City.

Zeshawn Ali, DO


I earned my medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and am currently a fourth-year psychiatry resident at the Rutgers Program. I enjoy relaxing with family/friends, engaging in ironic discussions about life, dancing tastefully in public places, and experiencing serendipitous epiphanies. The workings of the human mind, human behavior, and helping others within this context, while simultaneously growing and learning more about myself are what attract me to the field of psychiatry. I enjoy psychiatry in all of its dimensions. I recently reviewed and presented a poster on exercise as a treatment for schizophrenia, also exploring possible implementation strategies that start with appreciating the culture of exercise. Ultimately the limitations of human consciousness are what fascinate me the most and I feel understanding mental disease requires an understands of the respective social, cultural and historical norms; the overall collective consciousness of the people living at one time, a view that is expressed as a factor but often difficult to gauge in its specificity with respect to patient complaints.

While in residency at NJMS I have gotten to expand my knowledge, arriving at more conviction to this view after seeing patients from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds with similar diagnosis, all processing their stressors in the culture of the postmodern era, the common denominator. Furthermore, attendings have different supervision styles and philosophical perspectives to disease within the context of present day scientific accuracy, allowing one to observe the patient-doctor dynamic shape the phenomenological diagnosis, perhaps changing the course of treatment in subtle ways. The appreciation of such is tantamount with such open-minded thinking ever present within the program and amongst colleagues, with its knowledge tested by students seeking to learn the meaning of psychiatry, a challenge that I am currently still learning to meet but savor nonetheless.




Bishara Bhasi, MD


My name is Bishara Bhasi and I am a PGY III Psychiatry Resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born in Kerala, India and grew up in Muscat, Oman. My mother, who worked as a nurse, was always an inspiration growing up, and I was first introduced to the field of medicine through her work. So, after finishing high school, I returned back to India to do my medical school at Amala Institute of Medical Sciences in Thrissur. When I started my Psychiatry rotations there, I found myself drawn to the field and intrigued by the "whys and hows" of each disorder. Observations at NYSPI, UNMC and Einstein Medical Center, all solidified my interest in the field and I was elated to have matched at Rutgers NJMS.

The diverse clinical exposure, amazing faculty and ability to work in 3 different hospital settings with a diverse patient population, were just a few of the features that attracted me to the program. Growing up in different countries, I always believed home is where friends and family are, and I am happy to have found my new home here at NJMS. I have made great friends and colleagues in the program, which has enriched the experience further. My interests in the field include mood disorders, developmental disorders, psychotherapy, mindfulness and medical education. I want to build a career in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and intend to complete a fellowship in it. When I'm not working, I enjoy exploring NYC and sampling the local cuisine.

Sebastian Cisneros-Trujillo, MD


My name is Sebastian Cisneros-Trujillo and I am a PGY III Psychiatry Resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and raised in Colombia and obtained my medical degree in my home country at the Pontifical Xavierian University. All my life, I have been surrounded by the environment of responsibility, compassion, hardworking and love for medicine instilled from my parents. During medical school, I was thrilled by my behavioral science lectures and my passion for this field was solidified during my psychiatry rotation and the support and courage of my father who took me to my first American Psychiatric Association annual meeting in 2008.  Before starting residency, I worked as a postdoctoral research assistant at New York State Psychiatric institute studying the neurobiology of suicidal behavior, exploring the serotonergic dysfunction, neuro-inflammation and dysregulation in stress response. My determination and dedication helped me to win an award in the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting in 2017 for the best poster in the biomedical and psychosocial category.

Needless to say, that I am excited to do my residency training at Rutgers NJMS! The clinical exposure is outstanding and makes me feel more and more confident with my medical knowledge and patient care. I am delighted to do my residency in psychiatry because we are in a unique moment where mental health and science are evolving fast. Therefore, we have an optimal opportunity to obtain a better understanding of mental illness in order to give the best care possible to our patients. I would like to commit my career to the academia, involving clinical work with teaching and research, working with children and adolescents, contributing in the comprehension of psychopathology and fighting the stigmatization of mental illness. During my free time I play and watch sports including soccer and basketball, I visit museums and parks, and enjoy exploring new restaurants and learning new languages and their cultures.

Robert Rymowicz, DO


My name is Robert Rymowicz, and I am a third-year psychiatry resident at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. I am the current New Jersey Vice President for the Committee of Interns and Residents, and the Rutgers NJMS chapter representative to the New Jersey Psychiatric Association. I graduated from Western University of Health Science in Pomona, California, in 2016. While in medical school, I served as the National President of PsychSIGN, the APA’s medical student interest group. Prior to medical school, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Following residency, I hope to pursue fellowships in forensic psychiatry and addiction psychiatry.

I am happy to be a part of the Rutgers NJMS Psychiatry program because it has afforded me the opportunity to pursue my interests in addiction psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and medical student education and wellness, while training in in a collegial environment, and serving a socioeconomically diverse population. In my free time, I enjoy exploring Manhattan with my girlfriend, and visiting restaurants. I am looking forward to an exciting third year with rotations at the VA, University Hospital, and Greystone Park, and travel to the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and American Psychiatric Association annual meetings.

Ketan Hirapara, MD


My name is Ketan Hirapara, and I am a PGY III Psychiatry Resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and raised in India. After completing my medical school in India at SMIMER, I decided to come to USA to pursue my graduate degree. During my journey from medical school to this residency program, I have gone through many ups and downs, which has solidified my intense desire to be good physician. The journey began when I started working as a research volunteer in ECT research and worked with depressed and psychotic patients. Excellent research experiences at Hillside hospital and Rutgers NJMS helped me to match at this program and I was thrilled when I matched here.

This program offered me a very well-balanced work environment between my work and home. Not just giving me great friends and colleagues, this program also gave me opportunity to explore psychiatry in detail, which has enriched my experience further. My interests in the field include mood disorders, developmental disorders, addiction, psychotherapy and medical education. I plan to pursue fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. When I am not working, I enjoy playing with my son, going out with family and friends, listening to music and last but not the least, cooking.

Banu Karadag, MD


My name is Banu Ozkan Karadag. I am a PGY III psychiatry resident at Rutgers University, NJMS. I am originally from Turkey, where I completed my medical training. I developed some awareness of mental illnesses during my childhood as a daughter of a psychiatry professor. This awareness has become a more focused and refined interest for me as a growing young adult and I had decided to go to medical school to become a psychiatrist. Pursuing my passion and joining the Rutgers Psychiatry family to complete my psychiatry training in the US is a very exciting experience for me.

My specific interest is clinical research in first episode psychosis and I worked as a postdoctoral associate at Yale University at 'Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis' clinic. My other area of interest is geriatric psychiatry since I have always been fascinated by the broad life experience and wisdom of elderly people. During my spare time I enjoy being with family, cooking and baking, watching movies and yoga.

Usman Ahmad, MD MBA


My name is Usman Ahmed and I am a PGY III Psychiatry Resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born in Karachi Pakistan, after graduating from medical school, I worked in Pakistan for few years, I came to USA for my MBA in Business of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

I did my prelim PGY I  in internal medicine in Brooklyn New York, where dealing with patients, makes me realize that a strong mind in a weak body can strive against difficulties in a better way than a diseased mind in a strong body, and has infused in me passion for psychiatry.  

I am confident that my Psychiatry training at prestigious Rutgers will enhance my horizon and my career pathway uniqueness will help me to step into a psychiatrist and administrator shoes and tie their perspective together. My hobbies include traveling all over the world, meeting different people, and learning about their cultures. I have explored China, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Portugal, Paris, United Kingdom, Canada and several states in USA, Africa is my future destination.

Gezel Saheli, MD 


My name is Gezel Saheli and I am a PGY III psychiatry resident at Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School. I was raised in Iran and graduated from Tehran University of Medical Science. I did two years of categorical Internal medicine residency where counseling anxious patients and effective patient centered individualized communication turned out to be the most rewarding part of my residency. I decided to pursue psychiatry because it allows me to realize my desire to be active and vigilant with respect to the health problems in my community and provide the best healthcare service without limitation.

During my journey from medical school to residency training, I have worked as a research fellow where I had great research experiences at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. My specific interest is clinical research in Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy and PTSD. I am happy to be a part of the Rutgers NJMS Psychiatry program because it has offered me well balanced work and a friendly academic environment.
My hobbies are hiking, dancing, volunteering in fundraising events for charities and schools.




Samar Alimirzaei, MD


My name is Samar Ali Mirzaei and I am a PGY II psychiatry resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and raised in Iran where I finished medical school. I found psychiatry fascinating as it is one of the last truly enigmatic branches of medicine, dealing with the mysterious and mostly unexplored frontier of the human mind. I also find it fulfilling to improve mental health of individuals, which contributes to their overall well-being. The holistic approach, one of the fundamentals of psychiatry, requires knowledge in a wide array of scientific disciplines, ranging from medicine to anthropology and sociology- transcending the divide between life and social sciences. I also love the fact that psychiatry requires a focus on aspects which make us uniquely human. My brief experience in research, exploring the effect of different neurotransmitters on neurocircuitry of nicotine addiction, exposed me to the huge potential of neuroscience applications in mental health and substance-use disorders.
I am very excited about the opportunity to train at Rutgers NJMS.I feel confident that here, I have all the resources, mentorship and encouragement that I need to pursue my goals of becoming a well-rounded psychiatrist; capable of forming a sound therapeutic alliance with my patients, while contributing to research exploring the neural correlates of mental illnesses that will hopefully lead to novel treatments.
In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing Flamenco guitar, doing Yoga and meditation and watching thriller/mystery movies.

Mohammad Ali, MD


My name is Mohammad Ali and I'm proud to be a PGY-II resident here at Rutgers NJMS Psychiatry. Originally, I grew up in Texas and later moved to Washington, D.C. to study Biochemistry at Georgetown University. I later completed my MD degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School. I decided to pursue Psychiatry so that I can improve my patients' mental health and help them restore wellness in their lives. I firmly believe that through a strong, transparent, and collaborative patient-physician alliance, it is possible to relieve the debilitating burden of psychiatric illnesses and achieve a healthy state of mind. With greater national attention towards mental health and the dissipating stigma around mental illness, I'm excited to play a role in advancing the revolution we are seeing in mental health, especially with regards to research and development of new treatment modalities.   Apart from Psychiatry, my personal passions include traveling, photography, and music.

Rober Aziz, MD


My name is Rober Aziz and I am a PGY II Resident at Rutgers NJMS. Growing up in Bergen County, earning my bachelor’s degree in psychology at the nearby Rutgers-Newark, and volunteering at what was formerly known as UMDNJ has given Rutgers-NJMS a special place in my heart.  Being a resident at Rutgers-NJMS has provided me with the opportunity to serve the community that I have known and loved since my childhood. I earned my MD from the American University of Antigua where I received the Medical Scholar Outstanding Leadership Award for my work as the lead teacher’s assistant and served as chief student during the psychiatry clerkship.  I also chose to do my electives in a variety of psychiatric settings including clinical research, forensic psychiatry, and a CPEP.

I decided to specialize in psychiatry because no two patients are the same. Every patient has unique biological, psychological and social factors requiring a personal treatment plan.  This makes the specialty particularly fascinating and catapulted my rising interest in Forensic Psychiatry. Human behavior and the mind as well as teaching have always been my two passions. Along with being a successful psychiatrist, it is a career goal of mine to be involved in academic medicine. I have enjoyed my first year at NJMS and our unique population has strengthened my aforementioned reasons for choosing this program and specialty.  My interests outside of work include spending time with my family and traveling. This year, I am most looking forward to a trip to South Africa.

Lukmanafis Babajide, MD


My name is Lukmon Babajide and I am a PGY II at Rutgers NJMS. I was born in Houston, TX and completed undergrad in North Carolina at Davidson College where I majored in Sociology. Though I have always known that I wanted to be a physician, my experience in Sociology in college helped me decide that I wanted to be a politically active psychiatrist. I believe that, within psychiatry, having a socio-political or socio-cultural framework is imperative since pathology is defined by the lack of social functioning in one’s environment. This unique detail that affects everything about us (and is apparent in all medical disciplines to varying degrees) is what makes psychiatric work fascinating, valuable, and essential to the well-being of patients. How an individual functions in tandem and conjunction with multiple social system can have such an intricate and profound affect (positive or not) on their psyche. Sharing in this journey with the patient towards stability and understanding is my main drive to continue in medicine.

I am very excited to join Rutgers NJMS as I begin my journey to becoming a full-fledged psychiatrist. I believe that a place like Newark is a great place for me to cultivate the skills I need to become a great psychiatrist while also being politically active. In my free time, I like to play basketball, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball. I also enjoy traveling, documentaries, listening to music, and occasionally writing.  

Rafael Coira, MD JD


My name is Rafael Coira, I am a PGY II resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in New York City and Bergen County, New Jersey. I attended college at Montclair State University where I majored in biology. After college, I earned my Juris Doctorate with a concentration in Intellectual Property from Seton Hall University School of Law. I had the privilege of serving as a Judicial Intern at the Superior Court of New Jersey, as well practicing as a litigation attorney at a private law firm. I attended medical school at St. George’s University where I was a member of the international honors society and Vice President of the Student Government Association. I also received a Distinction in Research for work in anatomy and psychiatry, with a particular focus in equine therapy.
At Rutgers NJMS, I am training to fulfill my dream of becoming a third-generation psychiatrist. Through my experiences in the law and medicine, I have developed a strong sense of social justice, and believe that access to high quality healthcare is a fundamental right of every human being. I live in Bergen County where I love to spend all of my free time with my beautiful wife and daughter.

Mayowa Olusunmade, MD MPH


My name is Mayowa Olusanmade, and I am a PGY II Psychiatry Resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and raised in Nigeria where I earned my medical degree from the University of Ibadan. After graduation, I worked in an underserved area in rural Nigeria as a medical officer and, seeing how the system functioned, became interested in community health and health systems which led me to complete a Master’s Degree in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

I am particularly interested in depressive disorders, the non-pharmacologic management of pain and in childhood trauma and addiction. My research interests center around depression and chronic pain. Outside of psychiatry, I love to spend time with my wife who is unavoidably far away in Columbus OH pursuing her residency in OBGYN. I also like to try out new recipes from different cuisines around the world (thanks to YouTube) and am always on the lookout for new exciting fragrances to add to my ever-growing collection of colognes, perfumes, attars etc.

James Sherer, MD


My name is James Sherer and I am a PGY II Psychiatry Resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born in New York City but have lived in New Jersey most of my life. I grew up around psychiatry and medicine: my mother is a licensed clinical social worker and my father is an infectious disease physician. Despite this, I always saw myself becoming a lawyer.  I studied English Literature and Law at New York University. During college I worked for The Legal Aid Society of Manhattan and New York City Council. After graduating from college, I worked as a paralegal for a commercial litigation firm, working on pro-bono cases for individual clients at night. Throughout my legal experience, the most rewarding parts of my day were working one-on-one with people in tough situations. Soon after graduation, I realized law school wasn’t for me, and began shadowing my father and learning about medicine. I was immediately hooked.

I attended Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School, where I received the Psychiatry Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement. I have presented posters at several annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association and am the co-author of the review book Ward Wisdom: Psychiatry Questions for Medical Students, Written by Medical Students (2017). During my first year of residency I have become fascinated by addiction psychiatry and look forward to eventually completing an addiction psychiatry fellowship.




Muhammad Aadil, MD


My name is Muhammad Aadil and I am a PGY I psychiatry resident at Rutgers University. I was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, where I graduated from FMH College of Medicine and Dentistry. During undergrad, I developed a passion for working with the underserved population. I did extensive volunteering at multiple community organizations to promote health and education in underserved communities. 

I had a keen interest in studying human behavior and evolutionary psychology and found my psychiatry rotations to be absolutely fascinating. I liked the idea that a psychiatrist had to take into account each and every aspect of his/her patient’s life while devising a tailored treatment plan. After graduation, my interest in psychiatry was deepened further by working at an addiction treatment center and during volunteer research work in a clinical study to understand the interplay of spirituality and mental health. I have published multiple peer-reviewed papers and have presented posters at local and international forums. My review paper on mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy as an adjunct treatment for ADHD won the Jay G. Hirsch Award by Illinois Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for best review paper in 2017. 

I further devote my time to “ResearchHub”, a forum I created to guide and promote scientific research among young medical students around the world and mentor them in their projects.

I am super-excited to have joined Rutgers-NJMS where I have the opportunity to pursue phenomenal training and my academic interests. Outside of work I love playing cricket, existentialism philosophy, horror movies, trying out new restaurants and hanging out with friends.

Zahra Basseda, MD


My name is Zahra Basseda. I am a PGY-I psychiatry resident at Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School. I grew up in Iran and studied medicine at Tehran University of Medical Science. Since high-school, I pictured myself as a neuroscientist who will devote her life to help patients by discovering better treatment options for major psychiatric and neurological illnesses. Even at medical school, my focus was on research and joined a pharmacology lab to study the psychopharmacology of addiction. The turning point in my career was my first psychiatry rotations where I felt the great joy of working with psychiatric patients, and the essential role of an excellent psychiatrist on patients' lives. I realized pursuing psychiatry would be the perfect opportunity for me to combine my interest in neuroscience and directly helping patients with major psychiatric disorders. I moved to USA for better training and research opportunities in the field of neuroscience and psychiatry, and worked as a researcher at Columbia University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Dartmouth College before I started my residency at Rutgers.

I am excited to start my career as a psychiatrist here at Rutgers, with several great opportunities to learn and serve the community, and I am looking forward to enjoying every moment of it.

Diego Garces Grosse, MD


My name is Diego Garces and I am a PGY I Psychiatry Resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and raised in Lima, Perú; where I completed medical school at Cayetano Heredia University. Since the very beginning of my medical career I developed a great interest in psychiatry and the mysteries the mind holds, later on, every rotation in psychiatry just helped me consolidate my decision to come into psychiatry.

After finishing medical school, I worked in rural areas of the Peruvian Amazon Jungle treating isolated communities and realized how mental health is many times overlooked, which has given me a growing interest in global mental health and public health. There is a lot more ahead to keep learning from psychiatry and I am ready to acquire this knowledge to help my patients and to develop a passionate career for myself.

In my free time I like working out, reading fiction and watching thrillers and horror movies.

Faisal Kagadkar, MD


My name is Faisal Kagadkar and I am a PGY-I resident. I was born in and spent my early childhood in Saudi Arabia, before moving with family to India for middle school and onwards. While in medical school at Terna Medical College, Navi Mumbai, I got drawn towards Psychiatry and mental healthcare. Psychiatry offered me the unique opportunity to hear my patients, their stories (including ambitions, desires and the lack of) and leave a profound impact on them and their families.

I traveled to the US as a final year med student and my experiences here in Psychiatry made me decide to pursue residency in the US! Thus begun a beautiful journey, traveling across the US, meeting and working with fantastic mentors, gaining clinical and research experiences in various sub-specialties and hospitals, and eventually Residency at Rutgers-NJMS! My research interests include Diagnostic decision making in psychiatry, Tardive dyskinesia, mood disorders and schizophrenia. I am interested in Child-Adolescent Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry, and am looking forward to exploring these interests as well as developing new ones here at Rutgers-NJMS.

Besides psychiatry, I’m a big Real Madrid fan! Hala Madrid! Also love to bike and hang out with friends and family.

Aitzaz Munir, MD


Hi, I am Aitzaz Munir and I am a PGY I psychiatry resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and raised in Pakistan where I completed my medical education before coming to USA. My father, a physician, has always been my inspiration. During my medical school rotations, I came across various scenarios where mental health of a patient was ignored because of the stigma attached. I have always believed in complete wellness where healthy mind is an integral part.  Human brain is a complex world to understand with several answers yet to be discovered.

I have a strong interest in mood disorders along with novel treatment modalities for these disorders. I have training in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy and have been a part of several research projects, at Howard University Hospital, targeting the development of new treatments for Treatment Resistant Depression.

My passion for mental wellness and the associated research in psychiatry lead me to Rutgers NJMS. I am very excited to begin my new journey at this wonderful institution with diverse patient population and several learning opportunities which will help me grow professionally and become a well-rounded psychiatrist.

Lancer Naghdechi, DO


Hello there! I’m Lancer Naghdechi, first year psychiatry resident at Rutgers NJMS. Since high school I have been interested in human psychology and behavior. While studying psychology as an undergraduate at UCLA, I decided to go the route of medicine to become a psychiatrist. While applying to medical school after graduating from UCLA, I earned a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at Rosalind Franklin University of Medical Sciences in North Chicago, IL. I moved back home to L.A. to attend medical school at Western University of Health Sciences.

My interests include psychotherapy, neuromodulation, forensic psychiatry, and sexual medicine. I am excited to begin the last step in my journey to become a psychiatrist at Rutgers NJMS.

Tooba Qadir, MD


My name is Tooba Qadir and I am a PGY I resident at Rutgers, NJMS. While growing up in one of Pakistan’s largest metropolitan cities, I always felt very strongly about eradicating the stigma against mental illnesses. I graduated from Dow Medical College in Karachi, and since then have been working towards training in psychiatry. Now as a PGY I at Rutgers, I feel like I’m on the right path to do so much more. This is a great time to be involved in psychiatric healthcare. We’re doing more and more each day, and treatments today have never been more advanced.
My interest specifically lies in forensic psychiatry. I feel that there is a great need for effective liaison between mental health professionals and legislators, for the purpose of imparting justice to those who might be suffering from psychiatric disorders. I am especially interested in suicide and the biochemical and social factors leading up to it, and how we as psychiatrists can work to detect and prevent it. Eventually, I hope to contribute to improving psychiatric care in developing countries.
I love cooking and hosting and can’t wait to try out new recipes on my Rutgers family! I love watching stand-up comedy and love suggestions on new comedians to follow.  I’m thrilled to begin training at Rutgers NJMS and making the big move to Jersey!

Geoffrey Talis, MD


Hello! My name is Geoffrey Talis. I’m a New Jersian, born and raised. Quite honestly, I had a very elementary understanding of what exactly a psychiatrist actually was before my clerkship rotation. I came into medical school thinking I would be a family doctor, but given my incredible experiences in my psychiatry rotations and my own experience in therapy pushed me in this new direction.

I received my MS degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from Georgetown University and developed a strong interest in mind-body medicine and physiology. Connecting this interest with my ongoing work in enhancing student wellness over the past 10 years, I co-founded the Integrative Health and Medicine Club at St. George’s University in 2015. I personally led meditation sessions for my classmates and faculty for about two years and began a meditation facilitator training initiative that continues today. I am also creating an online medical student community called Med Student Health for the purposes of bringing students together and raising awareness for supporting each other’s self-care habits.

I am extremely excited to begin residency at Rutgers NJMS because I quickly gathered the Psychiatry Department’s interest in promoting teaching, research and mentorship opportunities. I also look forward to connecting my experiences and evidence-based knowledge of Integrative Health and Medicine with conventional Psychiatry and student wellness at Rutgers NJMS!

Chun Tong, MD


My name is Chun, and I havejoined the Rutgers NJMS Psychiatry Residency Class of 2022 as a PGY I resident. I grew up in Hong Kong, China and moved to the United States when I was 12 to live with my aunt and uncle. I graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ in 2012 with a Bachelor in Chemistry, and worked in XenoBiotic Laboratories as a scientist for two years before I enter the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Class of 2018. Having grown up in a large family of accountants and engineers, my decision of applying to a medical school had raised a few eyebrows. However, I was given unconditional love and support from my aunts and uncle, and for that I am always grateful.

In NJMS, I got to work with our wonderful faculty and staff here in University Hospital while exploring different fields of medicine. This is where I developed a strong interest in psychiatry, particularly in the field of Addiction Psychiatry, thanks to my exposure of such diverse populations here in Newark. I saw, personally, how our work as psychiatrists were able to make a difference in our patients’ life, in ways that are more impactful than mere medical procedures and medications can provide. I took additional psychiatry electives and worked on a case report on orthorexia nervosa during my fourth year, which was presented in APA annual conference. Fascinated by the whole experience, I held no doubt in my mind that psychiatry is where my calling comes from.  I sincerely look forward to continuing my training in Rutgers and working with my new colleagues here in NJMS.

Heather Wurtz, MD


My name is Heather Wurtz and I am a PGY I resident at Rutgers NJMS. I was born and grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I was first exposed to the field of medicine by my father, a neonatologist. I attended Grinnell College, in Iowa, where I majored in psychology, while completing premedical studies as well. Since college I have had the opportunity to live in Durham, North Carolina; Pasadena, California; and Zurich, Switzerland, before landing in Pennington, New Jersey in 2004.

I attended medical school here at Rutgers NJMS where I enjoyed serving the community as part of the Student Family Health Care Center and being part of the team working to publish a second edition of Ward Wisdom: Psychiatry Questions for Medical Students, Written by Medical Students. During my time at NJMS as a medical student, I was excited to work with the excellent faculty and staff in the NJMS Psychiatry Department and am eager to continue learning from them as a resident. At Rutgers NJMS, I know that I will get exposure to diverse patient populations and psychopathology, as well as first-rate teachers and mentors, and enthusiastic and caring residents. I am particularly interested in child and adolescent psychiatry and look forward to learning more about the specialty.
Outside of the hospital I especially enjoy spending time with my husband and three children. Exercise and being outdoors are passions of mine, and when I get the chance I like to compete in triathlons and running races. I also love reading contemporary fiction and catching up on the latest on Netflix.