Nicole Helmke Promoted to Director of Med-Psych Residency Program

By Susan Gallagher

After a national search, assistant professor Nicole Helmke, MD, was promoted to director of the internal medicine-psychiatry (med-psych) residency program, effective November 15. 

In 2020, Helmke was hired as associate program director in medicine-psychiatry. Beginning in July 2023, she served as the interim program director after Jane Gagliardi, MD, MHS—who led the program from 2019 to 2023—stepped down from the role to become the associate dean for learning environment and well-being at the School of Medicine.

In her roles as associate director and interim director, Helmke showed vision, clarity of thought, excellent leadership, and exceptional organizational skills. As program director, Helmke will be responsible for the organization, implementation, and supervision of the training program, including oversight of educational and clinical activities, whole program and individual trainee evaluation, and faculty education work for the internal medicine-psychiatry training program.

Helmke works in multiple clinical settings, including the Duke Outpatient Clinic (primary care), the Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic (psychiatry), the Healthcare for the Homeless Clinic at Lincoln Community Health Center (integrated primary care and psychiatry volunteer clinic), the Gen Med 12 unit (inpatient med-psych), and Duke Primary Care/Behavioral Health Primary Care (collaborative care).  

Helmke earned her medical degree from the Duke University School of Medicine and completed her residency training in medicine-psychiatry at Duke in 2020. In 2019, she received the Fenton Resident of the Year Award from the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry. Helmke is a respected clinician and exceptional teacher, with a classroom focus on the cultural contexts of substance use disorders. In addition, she takes an active role in mentoring mentors residents and medical students. 

“I’m excited to continue working with the best med-psych residents and faculty in the country, amazing clinician educators in the internal medicine and psychiatry programs, and medical students aspiring to a career in our specialty. Every day I see the benefits that med-psych’s whole-person care can offer to patients, and it’s wonderful to help develop the next generation of med-psych doctors.”
Nicole Helmke, MD