The Resource Center has hired Dr. Chinyelu Ada Ikeako as its newest psychiatrist, helping The Resource Center meet the behavioral health needs of Chautauqua County residents.
Dr. Ikeako brings an international flavor to southwestern New York.
"I was born in Nigeria, grew up in Chelsea, London, then went back to Nigeria, lived in the West Indies, then I moved to Colorado, then spent time living in Manhattan, then I moved to Bangor, Maine, and now I live in Jamestown," she said.
Dr. Chinyelu Ada Ikeako
Her travels across the globe are as unique as her name.
"Chinyelu means 'God's gift;' Ada is short for Adobi, which means 'the oldest daughter of the oldest son;' and Ikeako (pronounced "ee-KAH-ko") means 'your strength will not fail you in time of difficulty,'" said Dr. Ikeako.
So, how does one get from Nigeria to Jamestown?
"Well, after living in Manhattan, I was looking for a quality-of-life job, with a New York City flavor," said Dr. Ikeako. "And when I interviewed for the job here, there was vision and there was energy. I liked that."
Dr. Ikeako is a psychiatrist with TRC's Counseling and Psychiatric Services and has an office at the service location on East Fourth Street in Jamestown. She also spends one day a week at the Passages Personalized Recovery Oriented Services location on West Eighth Street and at the Michael J. Raymond Center on Jones & Gifford Avenue.
While living in Manhattan, Dr. Ikeako completed her residency at Columbia University at Harlem Hospital Center. She then completed a fellowship at what is now called the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education, which is affiliated with the School of Medicine at New York University. She then completed a second fellowship in addiction psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. She is board certified in general psychiatry.
With a dual expertise in addiction and mental illness, Dr. Ikeako sees a number of clients on a daily basis, from young children to senior citizens, all dealing with a wide variety of issues. Part of her job also includes conducting initial psychiatric evaluations, follow-up visits and medication management.
"It was hard for a lot of them at first to take to the new person," said Dr. Ikeako. "But I hear them out, listen to them and reassure them."
"We are very fortunate to have a practitioner with such a vast array of knowledge and skills. Dr. Ikeako's integrated approach with individuals who are diagnosed with mental health and chemical dependency issues is exactly what we need in this community," said Michelle Williams, TRC's director of mental health services. "We are seeing many changes in the mental health care delivery system across the state, and our ability to provide such a comprehensive approach to person-centered care is an extremely important part of this new system. We are very pleased to have her as a member of our team."
When she's not at work, Dr. Ikeako enjoys music and art, as well as dancing, studying, meeting new people, traveling, and making new friends. She keeps in touch with many of her friends in the New York City area, especially those recently impacted by Superstorm Sandy. She also has friends in Buffalo and family in Colorado.
"I just love the U.S., from the East Coast to the West Coast. New York feels like home; I've sort of adopted it. I got to open up and express my true self more," said Dr. Ikeako. "And I love Jamestown. It's architecturally beautiful, I love all the brick on the ground, it has an old and new feel to it, and there are so many trees."
As for the future, Dr. Ikeako looks to stay in the Jamestown area, with the hope of one day getting married and raising a family.
She is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
The Resource Center's Counseling and Psychiatric Services offer individual, couples, family, and group counseling to anyone in the community at locations at 344 E. Fourth St., Jamestown, and 186 Lake Shore Drive West, Dunkirk. In addition to psychiatrists, there are social workers, mental health clinicians and nurses on staff. Both locations are accepting new clients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, phone 661-1590 in Jamestown or 366-6858 in Dunkirk.
TRC's PROS programs provide comprehensive, recovery-oriented supports to people with severe and persistent mental health challenges. The programs help people improve functioning, gain employment, pursue an education, and secure housing. For more information, phone 661-1511 in Jamestown or 366-7660 in Dunkirk.
More information on The Resource Center's mental health services also can be found by visiting www.resourcecenter.org.