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About 

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Dr. Starr Montalvo DNP, MSN, MA, PMHNP-BC is a doctoral-prepared, licensed and board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She has served as a clinician at NYU Langone Medical Center, NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation, and Northwell Health Hospital. It was at her extensive nurse practitioner training at NYU-Winthrop Hospital where she developed her interest and compassion to sub-specialize in CL-Psychiatry. She currently practices at a renowned NYC cancer hospital in the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry/Psycho-Oncology department. C-L Psychiatry is a branch of medicine which focuses on the interface of general medicine and psychiatry, in an effort to treat mental health symptoms in medically ill patients. Holding this unique experience allows her to understand the complex relationship between physical health and emotional well-being and how they may overlap or interfere with your daily functioning.  She believes in nurturing sleep hygiene, healthy eating and engaging in creative outlets in an effort to support a person’s cognitive and emotional reserves.

She maintains a faculty position as a Clinical Adjunct Professor at Pace University, NYC campus, for the graduate department in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. Her healthcare experience ranges from emergency medicine, substance use, general psychiatry, and consultation liaison psychiatry. She has expertise in treating patients with various psychopathologies. She specializes in treating anxiety, depression, sleep-related disorders, and adjustment disorders. She also has experience working with individuals coping with grief and loss, delirium and other neurocognitive disorders. Her vast and diverse  background, coupled with her clinical experience helps her to navigate the cross-cultural mental health issues experienced by people of multi-cultural origins.

She is a native New Yorker from lower Manhattan, who took a circuitous path to her second career in nursing. During her early career she crafted her skills by obtaining both, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology and worked as a mental health, addiction/CASAC counselor and an auricular acupuncturist in NYC hospital and clinical settings. After many years of counseling experience, she later returned to complete her undergraduate studies in nursing.  As a nurse practitioner, she is academically trained in psychiatry from Stony Brook University with a second master’s degree. She graduated Cum Laude with a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Chamberlain University. She has over 20 years of NYC experience in the mental health sector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Soul Health Psychiatry?

 

Soul health Psychiatry was founded by Dr. Montalvo to provide expertise in psychopharmacology (the art of prescribing medication in the field of psychiatry). My therapeutic approach is to support my patients in identifying the symptoms that are interfering with their lives and to provide feedback and guidance for treatments to help patients effectively address their personal life challenges. I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all treatment approach, but rather an integrative and personalized approach to best meet the needs of my patients. Psychopharmacological intervention helps to reduce symptoms and improve your overall sense of physical and emotional well-being. The purpose of medication management is to prescribe medications to effectively treat psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, sleep or focusing issues and ensure your medications and dosages work effectively to help you manage that condition. I am highly trained and familiar with the different medication options available, and typically will use the lowest doses of medication possible to restore balanced functioning. I believe that the mind, body, and soul are connected and play a significant role in one’s overall physical, mental and emotional well being. Not only do I believe in helping my patients to heal, but I also seek to help them evolve.

What is the 'Soul' in the brain?

The etymology of "psychiatry", derives from the Latin root, and translates to “A healing of the soul.” The pineal gland is often referred to as the "soul of the brain". The pineal gland plays a role in regulating hormones and functions in the body to regulate mood, energy levels, and immune system function. The pineal gland is fundamental to the proper function of sleep. The pineal gland secretes neurotransmitters such as Melatonin, which is the sleep hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It also secretes Serotonin, known as your happy hormone which is responsible for regulating your mood, learning, cognition, memory and digestion.  Serotonin is found in both your gut (gastrointestinal tract) and your brain. Serotonin is essential to sustaining contentment and optimal well-being. As the sun sets, the necessary serotonin that the pineal gland produces during the day shifts into melatonin. Lack of melatonin can cause sleep to become disrupted and fragmented.  Additionally, low levels of melatonin play a role in stress and mood disorders. Low serotonin levels contribute to depressive symptoms and melatonin deficiency.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's) aka antidepressants are often prescribed to help regulate the brain and body, because lower than normal levels (serotonin deficiency) can cause or contribute to a wide range of symptoms to include depression, anxiety and mood lability. Higher than normal levels of serotonin are dangerous too, and is referred to as serotonin syndrome or serotonin toxicity, and is typically caused by taking multiple medications that cause serotonin to build up in the body. In order to mitigate the abovementioned complications, it is important that I fully assess any other prescribed medications that you are taking for other medical conditions and that routine labwork is collected annually. I frequently prescribe Melatonin or Ramelteon (natural substances found in the brain) as adjuncts to SSRI's to target improvement of the sleep-wake cycle. Soul Health Psychiatry's goals are primarily concerned with correctly managing your symptoms in order to support your optimal mental health.

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