What Residents Say about the Duke Psychiatry Training Program

"Team Isaac" included representatives from Duke Psychiatry GME programs at the Autism Walk/Run 10/11/2014

Why Duke? What Residents Have to Say about the Training Program


Jason Cho
MD, University of Toledo

MA Painting and Drawing, Ohio State University
BA Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University

Third Year Psychiatry Resident

Why Duke?

Durham is an amazing city right now with brilliant young people, great venues, great food and diversity. When I interviewed at Duke, I was impressed with the didactics on academic half day, conferences and grand rounds.  The faculty are dynamic, involved in many research and quality improvement projects. Trainees here come from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. A lot of them know what it's like to overcome adversity. Many have worked around the world.  Overall, Duke is a bright place where things keep on moving!

Feelings about the program:

We work hard at Duke during the first years and fortunately, I've seen a lot of developments, initiated by residents to help each other and help junior residents. Entering my third year, I'm grateful for the many opportunities in research and career development within the wider Duke Community. I've started working with a world-class research group and will be able to work in a Duke student mindfulness program. It's a colorful and dynamic place with unlimited opportunities.  I've seen a lot, I've made it through a lot and I'm stronger because of that.

Most valuable part of Duke’s Psychiatry Residency Program:

At Duke we, residents support each other. My peers are gifted and wonderful people.

Pursuing your passion:

My girlfriend and I love the outdoors and go hiking often. North Carolina is a beautiful state. I meditate everyday, practice yoga and enjoy learning new ways to bring these practices to my patients.

Biggest surprise so far:

Durham is a dynamic city full of festivals, markets, and community events. It's diversity and progressiveness is notable and the Triangle is a wonderful place to live.

Life after residency:

I’m planning on pursuing a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship. I also have a recent interest in college aged, emerging adult population.  I am interested in mindfulness and am working in different ways to incorporate mindfulness into my clinical practice, teaching meditation to patients, and sharing different mindfulness resources. I imagine I'll work in some clinical setting for a time and then start a meaningful project in community psychiatry based on my experiences.

 


Lauren Isbell

MD, University of North Carolina
BS Chemistry, Hampton University

Second Year Psychiatry Resident

Why Duke?

It's awesome!  We get to work at 3 great hospitals - Duke, the VA and Central Regional Hospital; so our patients are economically, racially and geographically diverse.  Also, the tertiary care provided by Duke allows us to participate in interesting and rare cases on our consult-liaison service.  I also love North Carolina - I was born and raised in Raleigh.  I think the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) offers a lot for young professionals.  We have this mantra - "live, work, play" and take the work-life balance seriously here.

Feelings about the program:

I love Duke!  Our attendings and teachers are so supportive.  In med school I always felt like I was just trying to keep my head above water.  Here at Duke I have time to breathe, get to know people and find a mentor.

Most valuable part of Duke’s Psychiatry Residency Program:

I really like the benefits of the Med-Psych program.  Even though I am not a Med-Psych resident myself, I'm often working with attendings that are dual boarded in Medicine and Psychiatry.  They are such amazing teachers!  I'm acknowledging and managing the patient as a whole and looking beyond the psychiatric chief complaint. 

Pursuing your passion:

I really like psychotherapy which is emphasized here at Duke as well as medication management.  During our second year, we begin to learn about different therapy treatment modalities.  We also have a great program in Family Studies that emphasizes couples and family therapy.  As Duke residents, we can take advantage of the benefit of the Psychoanalytic Institute in Durham. 

Biggest surprise so far:

Intern year isn't so much about knowing as it is about doing!  As long as I stayed organized and was efficient, my attendings and residents kept me on track and helped me make sure my patients were getting the best treatment possible.  The environment at Duke is very collaborative.   

Life after residency:

I'm a Carolina girl and would like to stay in the state.  However, I'm not sure if I want to serve in a rural or urban setting.  I see myself working in private practice doing a combination of medication management and psychotherapy in the setting of general adult psychiatry.

 


Hani El-Wafi
MD, Yale University
BA Religion, Duke University

Third Year Psychiatry Resident

Why Duke?

Most importantly, I knew that at Duke I would have the opportunity to learn to be a great psychiatrist. The program emphasizes mastery in psychotherapy, robust knowledge of psychopharmacology, understanding scientific evidence for clinical interventions, substance use disorders treatment, and community psychiatry just to name a few. Furthermore, Duke Hospital is one of the best in the world.  Our colleagues across all specialties are top notch and great to work with. My wife and I have a young family, and moving to Boston, NY, or San Francisco was not realistic for us. The entire Triangle region (Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh) is family friendly, safe, affordable, and provides easy commutes, great schools, museums, restaurants, and more. And the weather is about as good as it gets, if you also like to experience true seasons. And of course, when you want to get out of town, either driving three hours east or west gets you to amazing beaches or scenic mountains.  For more adventures there aren't many airports as convenient or easy to get to as RDU Airport.

Feelings about the program:

Our program director, Dr. Jane Gagliardi, is not only tireless but also dedicated to making this program one of the best.  She emphasizes quality improvement focused on providing patients the care they deserve while also protecting residents from undue hardship. The future is definitely bright here at Duke!

Most valuable part of Duke's Psychiatry Residency Program:

The most valuable part of this program is its people: Dr.Gagliardi and our current chiefs, as well as all my colleagues. The teaching attendings at both Duke Hospital, the Durham VA, and the state hospital are fantastic across the board.

Pursuing your passion:

We work a lot during our first two years (although frankly, many if not all of my friends at other top-notch programs report experiencing similar challenges during the first half of their training). However, the second two years of the program afford much in the way of flexibility to pursue passions within the broad confines of psychiatry. Electives are offered in many subspecialties such as substance use disorders treatment, ECT, TMS, as well as more psychologically-minded approaches such as motivational interviewing, CBT, DBT, ACT, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). And there are many research opportunities both within the department and at respected places such as the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

Biggest surprise so far:

How optimistic I've become regarding the future of psychiatry, and the potential to help people make truly transformative changes in their lives. 

Life after residency:

I will likely stay in the area and pursue a practice that relies more heavily on therapy modalities, as it's become more and more clear to me that helping people to make truly transformative changes involves so much more than simply prescribing medications. The Triangle area is truly vibrant, and a great place to raise a family. We're looking forward to many more years.

 


Kafui Dzirasa
MD / PhD, Duke University

BS Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland

Fourth Year Psychiatry Resident

Why Duke? 

I went to medical school here and loved the environment. This is where I got interested in psychiatry. I also love my wife who trained here in psychiatry, so it felt like the right place for me.

Feelings about the program: 

I have received excellent training at Duke and feel well prepared to develop and deliver the treatments of the future for psychiatric illness.  The program is forward thinking which is important to us in this specialty at this time:  The future of psychiatry will be dictated by the rapid changing neuroscience landscape. It’s exciting to be standing at the boundaries of this new frontier. 

Most valuable part of Duke’s Psychiatry Residency Program: 

I loved the Duke Emergency department rotation. Seeing mental illness in its most acute state served as a clear and painful reminder of how devastating these illnesses are, and how they affect entire families. It was humbling to sit with families as they maintained hope in even the most dire of situations.

Pursuing your passion

Be yourself. You can't be special otherwise. The Duke program has allowed me to pursue a full-time research career while at the same time completing residency.

Biggest surprise so far:

The power of psychotherapy

Life after residency

Tenure

Check out Kaf on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK8OhChQlLI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-otRubJgRv8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4PEB_qeUe4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TscBzliPbh0

 


Jacob Feigal
MD, University of Minnesota

BA Psychology and Spanish, Hamline University

Third Year Internal Medicine-Psychiatry Resident

Why Duke?

I was looking for a combined program with strong medicine and psychiatry education.  In particular, I wanted a psychiatry program that emphasized psychotherapy.

Feelings about the program:

Duke offers very solid foundational learning, with innumerable opportunities to pursue interesting clinical and research opportunities.

Most valuable part of Duke’s Psychiatry Residency Program:

High quality and highly available faculty  

Pursuing your passion:

Durham and the surrounding area allow for lots of opportunities to eat real good food.

Biggest surprise so far:

My peers are so passionate and interested! I did not realize that I would be more inspired by my co-residents than by accomplished faculty members.

Life after residency:

When I grow up, I want to help develop and lead an integrated behavioral primary care clinic.  I would love to strike a balance between medicine and psychiatry, while integrating some teaching and possibly health systems research.  And also I want to get better at surfing, which is possible in North Carolina.

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