The Iona College Campus Quad

Rodney A. Villanueva, MD '91

Recipient of THE 2021 BROTHER ARTHUR A. LOFTUS AWARD
FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT

Dr. Rodney Villanueva is from Staten Island and upon graduation from Monsignor Farrell High School, he enrolled in Iona College as a Biology major. While at Iona, he was a founding member of the Loftus Society, a student-run arm of the Office of Admissions and was also a member of the Honors Degree Program. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1991 and was awarded he Sullivan Awarded and the Tr-i Beta Biology Medal.
After graduation from Iona, he taught high school Biology and Mathematics at La Salle Military Academy in Oakdale, NY until 1993.

In 1993, he began medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland. USUHS is the only Federally funded medical school in the US and trains physicians for the U.S Military. Upon acceptance into medical school, Dr. Villanueva was commissioned As a Second Lieutenant in U.S. Army. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1997 and did a residency in psychiatry at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii which he completed in 2001.

His first assignment after residency was as the psychiatrist for the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, New York. As Division psychiatrist, he was responsible for the mental health needs of the 10th Mountain Division and in additional to clinical care, he advised unit commanders on mental health issues that directly affected their soldiers.

In 2003, he returned to the Washington DC area after acceptance into a Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship training program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which he completed in 2004. He was then assigned as the Chief of Psychiatry at Moncrief Army Community Hospital in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, which was then the Army’s largest basic training post.

In 2004, Dr. Villanueva was deployed to Iraq with the 261st Area Medical Support Battalion from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. In Iraq, he was stationed at Logistical Support Area Anaconda, north of Baghdad. He served as the Battalion’s task force psychiatrist, providing psychiatric care to troops during active combat. Upon return from his deployment in 2005, Dr. Villanueva returned to Ft. Jackson, where he remained until he completed his military service in 2009, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Dr. Villanueva then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and joined Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas Healthcare System) as an inpatient and outpatient psychiatrist. In 2010, he went to the Charlotte Veterans Affairs Clinic as an outpatient psychiatrist and in 2014, he retuned to Atrium Health as an outpatient psychiatrist working with severely mentally ill patients as well as the lead psychist for a partial hospitalization program.

Dr. Villanueva then became very involved in medical education, both at the medical student level as well as the resident level. He was the founding associate program director for the psychiatry residency program at Atrium and still serves in this role. Additionally, he serves as the director of medical student education in psychiatry and is responsible for the psychiatric clinical and didactic education of medical students at Atrium. He is also a founding medical director of Atrium’s Advanced Practice Prover Fellowship program, which trains psychiatric nurse practitioners and physicians assistance in the field of psychiatry.

Dr. Villanueva is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in healthcare, with particular interest in LGBTQ mental health. He holds a certification in LGBT Health from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He has spearheaded efforts to raise awareness in LGBTQ health such as establishing an annual LGBT healthcare symposium with the Charlotte Area Health Education Center. He has spoken nationally and internationally on LGBTQ mental health as well as on the topic of minorities in clinical trials. He has served on the Board of Directors of Time Out Youth, the Charlotte area’s LGBTQ Youth Center. On a national Level, he serves on the Diversity Equity, Inclusion, and Access Task force of the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry.

Dr. Villanueva is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry. He is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Carolinas Medical Center, Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Clinical Adjunct Faculty at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

His military awards include the Army Commendation Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

He lives in Charlotte with his husband, Jeremy.