- What made you choose Duke?
Once I decided to do a fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry, I began with the ACGME website to see a list of all the current available programs. I was looking for one with an excellent academic reputation, a breadth of variety in training settings, outstanding teachers and access to top researchers in the field. Duke certainly met all these criteria. Furthermore, my wife and I wanted to live in a part of the country where we would enjoy being for a year but also consider staying afterwards. The Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) is absolutely wonderful. It has four seasons, a low cost of living and quick access to beaches and mountains. We have sincerely enjoyed our time here.
- Most valuable part of Duke’s Gero Fellowship Program?
One of the many strengths of the program is the opportunity to gain experience in so many different types of Geriatric Psychiatry. It’s important not only to learn to treat the different kinds of patients, but also to experience for yourself what type of practice you may or may not want to engage in upon graduation. At Duke, you see patients the University, Veterans’ and state mental hospitals in inpatient, outpatient and consultant settings. You can also rotate through nursing homes, home health, brain stimulations, neuropsychology, neurology and geriatric medicine.
- Biggest surprise so far?
I was surprised to learn just how well organized was Duke’s training in medication education. All year long, the Geriatric Psychiatry fellows attend didactics with interdisciplinary peers in geriatric medicine, pharmacy, nursing and physical therapy. We also take courses on how to become better instructors ourselves, as we move to become faculty who will be mentoring our own students and residents.
- Life after residency?
The demand for Geriatric Psychiatrists is great and the training at Duke makes you extremely valuable. Upon completing the fellowship, I was able to get offers to join faculty at several Universities, and we could have easily settled down in the Triangle area or gone into private practice virtually anywhere. However, my wife and I decided on a very competitive job on the beaches of Florida where I will be teaching and seeing patients.
- Other thoughts?
Completing a fellowship is a wonderful opportunity. You are able to hone your skills under experienced mentors and test run several varieties of practice without getting bogged down by the overnight call, evenings or weekends that often come during residency. I would do it over again and choose Duke every time!