Doctor Sam is a board-certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist practicing in South Florida. She serves as a voluntary assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Doctor Sam was originally from Highland Park, Illinois. Always having a passion for helping others, she was accepted to and completed the 7-year honors program in medicine at the University of Miami. Doctor Sam graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Miami and with research distinction from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She served as chief resident of her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship and was senior administrative liaison of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She has received some of the highest honors and awards in medicine including induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. She was an Area V award winner, received the humanitarian award, the senior research award, the Elliot Stein Award and several other honors. She is extensively published both in academic journals and local newspapers. She has co-authored a chapter in Kaplan and Sadock, which is one of the most prestigious textbooks of psychiatry. Her expertise has been shared with her community on the radio and on television. She is passionate about psychiatry, mental health and the overall wellness of other people.
“Psychiatry is my calling. To each of my patients, thank you for your trust in me and for your commitment to creating a fulfilled life.”
Many ask why I went into psychiatry. Patients come to me asking for advice on how to live life. We talk about relationships, self-esteem, challenges, and fears. At the end of an intense session one of my patients asked me a question that has continued to resonate with me: “Why do you care about me so much?” The question is simple, yet the answer is rather complex.
Since the time of Freud in the early 1900s, psychiatrists and psychologists have emphasized the importance of the therapeutic alliance, or the relationship between the patient and the provider, and its effect on treatment. Meta analyses, including one completed in 1991 by Horvath and Symonds, and another completed in 2000 by Martin et al., have shown that the therapeutic alliance impacts the outcome of the patient and their condition. As the patient gets involved in treatment, the patient learns to trust their psychiatrist. The psychiatrist, and those who do therapy, in turn becomes privileged with a unique responsibility, to form a relationship with another person and make the goal of that relationship solely to better one individual. There is no other relationship between humans where this is the goal.
It’s therefore the task of the psychiatrist who does therapy to remove their personal values, beliefs and ideals from the relationship. Rather, the patient and the therapist together analyze how the patient’s actions perpetuate or interfere with their ultimate goals and desires. It’s inevitable that the doctor begins to identify with the patient and have empathy for the obstacles the patient faces. The physician becomes the patient’s teammate and together they succeed.
If patients understood that when they commit to me, I commit myself equally to them, perhaps they would understand why I care so deeply and why I chose the field of psychiatry. Those who have provided me with the privilege of being on their team, have also honored and humbled my desire to serve my patients in a field that in many ways is more intimate than any other field of medicine. I have never considered psychiatry my career. Rather, I consider it my calling and I thank patients who have entrusted me with their deepest feelings.
Hodgins G, Saltz SB, Gibbs E, Gonzalez R, Regan J, Nemeroff C (2018). Steroid-Induced Psychosis in the Pediatric Population: A New Case and Review of the Literature. Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology, doi: 10.1089/cap.2018.0017.
Newport, D.J., Saltz, S.B., Padron, K., Loyd, R. (2016). Melatonin Receptor Agonists: Ramelteon and Melatonin In B.J. Sadock, VA. Sadock, & P. Ruiz, Kaplan & Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Tenth Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Xantus A, Saltz SB, Shaw JA (2015). The Relationship between Social Media Bullying and the Adolescent's Self Report of Emotional Health: A Study of Urban Youth on an Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. J Depress Anxiety 4: 1000186. doi:10.4172/2167-1044.1000186.
Block SG, Nemeroff CB. Emerging antidepressants to treat major depressive disorder. Asian Journal of Psychiatry. 12C:7-16, December 2014.
Prendes S, Block S, Lopez M, Kovacevic. A case of recurrent catatonia gone undiagnosed for too long. American Journal of Psychiatry – Psychiatry Online, 2014
Lariche CL, Prestia D, Block S, Nemeroff CB. Pathophysiology of Mood Disorders: Neuroendocrine Mechanisms. In B.P. Guiard and E. Dremenkov (Eds), Neurobiology of Mood Disorders (174-209). Bentham Science Publishers, 2014.
Caperton C, Block S, Valins W, Viera M, Berman B. Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study Assessing the Effect of Chocolate Consumption in Subjects with a History of Acne Vulgaris. Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology. 7(5):19-23, May 2014.
Richmond NA, Lamel SA, Braun LR, Vivas AC, Cucalon J, Block SG, Kirsner RS. Primary nonadherence (failure to obtain prescribed medicines) among dermatology patients. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 70(1):201-3, January 2014.
Block S, Valins W, Caperton C, Viera M, Amini S, Berman B. Exacerbation of facial acne vulgaris after consuming pure chocolate. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 65(4):e114-5, October 2011.
Viera M, Amini S, Huo R, Konda S, Block S, Berman B. Herpes simplex virus and human papillomavirus genital infections: new and investigational therapeutic options. International Journal of Dermatology. 49(7):733-49, July 2010.
Berman B, Amini S, Valins W, Block S. Pharmacotherapy of actinic keratosis. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 10(18):3015-31, December 2009.
Berman B, Patel JK, Perez OA, Viera MH, Amini S, Block S, Zell D, Tadicherla S, Villa A, Ramirez C, De Araujo T. Evaluating the tolerability and efficacy of etanercept compared to triamcinolone acetonide for the intralesional treatment of keloids. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 7(8):757-61, August 2008.