Core Faculty

General Psychiatry Core Faculty

Julie Dickson, MD

Julie Dickson, MDJulie A. Dickson, MD, is a graduate of the Creighton University School of Medicine. She completed residency at the Creighton University Psychiatry Residency Training Program. She is a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Omaha. She is a past president of the Nebraska Psychiatric Society and is board certified in psychiatry.



Praveen Fernandes, MBBS

Praveen FernandesDr. Praveen Fernandes is the director of Outpatient Mental Health at the Omaha Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Creighton. He graduated medical school from St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, India. He completed residency training in Psychiatry at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. 

In addition to serving as core faculty for the residency program, He functions as a course director for medical student education. Dr. Fernandes' interests include mood disorders and clinical systems redesign. He directs the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) clinic at the VA.

Sharon Hammer, MD

Sharon Hammer, MDDr. Hammer is a psychiatrist specializing in women's mental health. She began her career at Methodist Health System in Omaha in 1992. She spent 14 years in outpatient psychiatric practice working closely with family physicians, obstetricians and therapists in the Omaha community. Her interest in women's mental health evolved from her collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists helping women with depression and anxiety throughout a woman's life-cycle including such risk times as pre-menstrual, postpartum, and perimenopausal phases of life.

Dr. Hammer joined the UNMC department of psychiatry in 2006. She is the psychiatric consultant at the Olson Center for Women's Health, where she sees women for assessment and treatment of mental health problems during and after pregnancy. Peripartum psychiatry is a specialized area for women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy and need or desire collaboration between a psychiatrist and obstetric provider. Dr. Hammer collaborates with other providers of women's health care at UNMC and is a member of the women's health training course for fourth year medical students.

Her professional interests are improvement of access to mental health treatment for pregnant and postpartum women, as a mother's mental health impacts her ability to care for her infant and affects her experience of motherhood. She is a member of Postpartum Support International, The Governor's Council on Women's Health and Baby Blossoms Cooperative. Dr. Hammer is married to Dr. Martin Wetzel, who is also a psychiatrist. They have 3 children.

Shannon Kinnan, M.D. (add pic and bio)

Shannon Kinnan, MD

Dr. Kinnan is a proud Nebraskan who grew up in the Omaha area. She attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln for her undergraduate studies and participated in the Humanities in Medicine scholarship program, completing a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She spent a semester abroad in Xalapa, Mexico, where she fell in love with learning about other cultures. During medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she organized Spanish courses, participated on medical mission trips, and was also the president of the psychiatric interest group. She has served as an associate chief resident and chief resident for the combined Creighton University and University of Nebraska Medical Center Psychiatric Residency Training Program.

Her professional interests include medical student education, Hispanic mental health care, treatment of ADHD, and clinical research in schizophrenia. In her free time, she plays sand volleyball, coaches a six-year-old girls' soccer team, and stays involved in her church.

Paula Jo Malin, MD

Paula Jo Malin, MDDr. Malin is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Creighton University School of Medicine (CUSOM). Since 2003, Dr. Malin has served as the director of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Creighton University Medical Center and as a medical director there as well.  A passionate student and resident educator, Dr. Malin serves as the associate chair for Medical Student Education, the Psychiatry M3 Clerkship Director for Creighton University medical students, and rounds as a teaching attending for Psychiatry, Family Medicine, and Neurology residents as well.

Dr. Malin obtained her undergraduate degree from Creighton University in 1991.  She subsequently completed post-baccalaureate work in biology at the Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha. Dr. Malin graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine in 1999. She completed her psychiatry residency training at the combined Creighton University and University of Nebraska Medical Center Psychiatric Residency Training Program in 2003. Dr. Malin is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.  

Dr. Malin's most recent publications in peer-reviewed journals include treating bipolar disorder in patients with comorbid breast or prostate cancer, and new advancements in treating Major Depressive Disorder with escitalopram.

Originally from Pella, Iowa, she was raised in a small Dutch village. A passionate animal advocate, she volunteers extensively for humane causes and animal societies. Mentoring students, both young and older, in Christianity has also been an ongoing passion. Deeply spiritual, she volunteers in many church related activities and attends Lifegate Interdenominational church in Omaha. In her spare time she is a "professional fan" of many sports and uses vacation time to travel to support her teams. She describes her favorite things in life as: peonies, pearls and anything Kate Spade.

VaKara Meyer-Karre, M.D.

VaKara Meyer KarreDr. Meyer-Karre was born in Rapid City, SD. Her family moved to Bellevue, NE, when she was in elementary school. Dr. Meyer-Karre completed her undergraduate degree at University of Nebraska at Lincoln and did medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. She then moved to Milwaukee, WI for her general adult psychiatry training as well as a fellowship in psychosomatic medicine. Dr. Meyer-Karre worked at MCU for a year before moving back to Omaha.

Dr. Meyer-Karre's clinical interest includes Consultation/Liaison (C/L) psychiatry, with particular interests in Transplant Psychiatry, Psycho-oncology, and Perinatal Psychiatry. She also has a strong interest in the training of medical students and residents. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. She is married to Dr. Brian Karre, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Methodist Physicians Clinic; they have 2 young children. Dr. Meyer-Karre spends her time away from work with her family, enjoying the outdoors, being active, and traveling.

Vidhya Selvaraj, MBBS

Vidhya SelvarajVidhya Selvaraj, M.B.B.S., is a board-certified psychiatrist, currently practicing as a perinatal psychiatrist at Women's Health Center at Creighton University Medical Center, CHI Alegent Creighton Clinic and a psychiatrist at the Partial Hospitalization Program at Immanuel Hospital.

Dr. Selvaraj serves as an associate professor of Psychiatry and associate professor of OB-Gyn at Creighton University School of Medicine. She is the site director at Creighton Psychiatry Clinic where she runs the Psychiatry Residents' outpatient clinic. She is a pioneer in Primary Care Mental Health integration at Omaha. She successfully created and ran integrated mental health clinics at Omaha VA and CUMC medical center.

Dr. Selvaraj is among very few providers who is certified in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Her research interests include women's mental health, atypical antipsychotics induced weight gain and psychopharmacogenetics. She is a great mentor to psychiatry residents and medical students. Dr. Selvaraj developed several clinical and educational quality improvement projects. She is the primary author of "Psychopharmacology: 501 Questions to Help You Pass the Boards", a book manuscript published by Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. She is also published in peer-reviewed journals.  

Dr. Selvaraj completed residency in psychiatry at the Creighton University/University of Nebraska's Psychiatry Residency Program. She was also trained at North West Wales NHS Trust hospitals in Bangor, Wales, U.K. She earned her bachelor of medicine/bachelor of science degree from Stanley Medical College in Chennai, India.

She is a classical dancer and holds a degree in the ancient Indian cultural dance form called Bharatnatyam. She loves cooking and owned three Indian restaurants in the recent past in Omaha and Minneapolis. Dr. Selvaraj's favorite thing to do is to travel with her husband and daughter.

Martin Wetzel, MD

Martin WetzelMartin Wetzel, MD is currently chief of psychiatry at the Nebraska Department of Correctional services, and joined NDCS in 2011 as the psychiatrist for the Mental Health Unit at Lincoln Correctional Center. He is also an associate clinical professor for the University of Nebraska Medical Center, assistant professor at Creighton University School of Medicine, and UNMC core faculty in Forensic Psychiatry for the Psychiatry Residency Program. 

Dr. Wetzel received his Medical degree in 1988 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and post-degree training at Washington University. He has extensive research experience and holds several consulting positions.  Dr. Wetzel is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology from 1994 to present.

Rebecca Wysoske, MD

Rebecca WysoskeDr. Wysoske practiced internal medicine and infectious disease for 10 years, in both academic and private practice settings. She was associate program director for an Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Odessa, Texas, and enjoys teaching residents and students. During her years of treating acute and chronic medical conditions, she recognized the role that mental health plays in the lives of patients with medical issues. She returned to the Omaha area and completed a second residency, this time in psychiatry, in order to be able to address these needs.

Dr. Wysoske is director of the UNMC Department of Psychiatry outpatient clinic, where she sees adult patients with a wide variety of diagnoses, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders and psychiatric problems associated with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Wysoske supports Hearts United for Animals, a no-kill shelter in Auburn, Nebraska that rescues dogs from puppy mills, shelters that euthanize unwanted animals, and natural disasters such as the Joplin tornado and the Missouri River flooding. She believes, "In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog."