News: Miami psychiatrist commissions as Army officer
Story by Lisa Simunaci
MIAMI - A psychiatrist who works with military veterans saw such a need for his services that he decided to join the Army himself.
Dr. Richard M. Dreize will keep his full-time job at the Miami VA Medical Center, but he will also spend one weekend each month and approximately two weeks each year as a psychiatrist in the Army Reserve.
Dreize, 42, took the oath of office and pinned on the rank of captain in a quiet ceremony Sept. 26 at the Army’s Miami Medical Recruiting Station.
In doing so, Dreize is following in the footsteps of his late father who served honorably in the Army during the Vietnam era and also worked as a psychiatrist at the Miami VA Medical Center. “Serving in the military is something I always wanted to do,” Dreize said. “However, with my medical educational and training, the timing just didn’t seem right until now.”
With his extensive education behind him, Dreize said he is now in a better position, both professionally and personally, commit to this endeavor. His wife, Dr. Magdalena Perez-Rivera, is a rheumatologist and they have two children, ages 6 and 3 months. “As two practicing physicians, we’ve learned how to balance ourselves and our family,” he said.
Going through Army training and wearing the uniform of a soldier is something Dreize said may help his patients better relate to him. “Many times psychiatrists who treat veterans are civilians,” he said. “I think having this experience may help soldiers better relate to their provider and seek available treatments.”
The Army continues to seek medical professionals to serve in behavioral health positions including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and behavioral health nurses. “The Army recognizes the critical need for behavioral health professionals,” said Sgt. 1st Class Henri Nance of the Miami Medical Recruiting Station. “We offer incentives for service, but most working healthcare professionals come to the Army out of a sense of duty or desire to give back.”
In exchange for his eight-year service obligation, Dreize is entitled to a $250 thousand loan repayment and a $75 thousand bonus.
For more information on Army medical opportunities, visit www. healthcare.goarmy.com.