Residents Pitch a Career in Psychiatry to Local Youth

05/12/2011: The New Haven Health & Science Career Fair had a new participant this year—Yale's Department of Psychiatry. The Department's table, featuring brains, medical equipment, and interactive computer games, was visited by many of the eight hundred middle and high school students in attendance. Third-year resident Dr. Tichianaa Armah joined the Fair's planning committee earlier this year intent on increasing awareness about mental health in the community and exposing youth to the exciting field of Psychiatry.

Second-year resident Dr. Nedson Campbell and third-year resident Dr. Genevieve Henry joined Dr. Armah to answer questions about becoming a physician, the field of psychiatry, depression, and more.

At the Department’s table, students could touch models of the brain and compare them with brain sections on display, see a working Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) machine, watch video of patients discussing their experiences with depression and of psychiatry residents conducting culturally-sensitive interviews, and play a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" like interactive game on depression.

Equipped with a PHQ9 questionnaire, more curious students engaged in role-play, portraying a psychiatrist screening for depression. In each case, a resident depicted a depressed teen resistant to being interviewed.

"Overall the day was a big success," Dr. Armah remarked, "Psychiatry residents are eager to attend again next year and we received invitations to speak to even more students at individual school programs."

The table remained busy for the duration of the fair, thanks to the engaging presentation and the treats for winners of the "Millionaire" game provided by Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC).

The annual event, held this year on Friday, May 6th, is co-sponsored by the Greater New Haven Branch NAACP, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and Pfizer. The fair provides students with "hands on" experiences and career opportunity presentations from medical professionals and local colleges.

A special thank you to Gary Smart at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Chair of the Health & Science Career Fair, to Yale's Pathology Department for making the models and brain sections available; to Dr. Robert Ostroff and Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital for video and the use of the ECT machine; and to Dr. Janet Hafler and Dr. Esperanza Diaz for video of residents conducting culturally-sensitive interviews.