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Wasser Appointed Director of Yale Psychiatry Residency Program

August 02, 2022

Tobias Wasser, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, has been appointed director of the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program.

Wasser, a 2014 graduate of the program, has served as associate program director since 2020. He will work with Richard Belitsky, MD, interim residency program director, to develop and implement a smooth transition of residency leadership beginning in September 2022.

Wasser will also become the department’s deputy chair for education, succeeding Robert Rohrbaugh, MD, who formerly directed the residency program and is now deputy dean for professionalism and leadership at Yale School of Medicine. Wasser will assume that role in January 2023.

”I am truly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve in this role and give back to a program and department that have been so pivotal in shaping my career trajectory," Wasser said. "I am also grateful to be able to build upon the work of incredible mentors and colleagues who came before me to hone this program’s commitment to so many important values. I look forward to working in collaboration with our amazing residents and talented faculty as we strive to identify areas for ongoing growth and development.”

Wasser was chosen from a pool of finalists developed by a Search Committee led by Ismene Petrakis, MD. He has been a member of the Yale Department of Psychiatry community since 2010, when he joined the residency. In the 2013-14 academic year he was a program-wide chief resident. After graduating from the program, he completed fellowships in forensic psychiatry and public psychiatry, and joined the faculty in 2016.

Since 2017, he has served in important leadership roles for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), first as medical director of the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital and then as chief medical officer for Whiting Forensic Hospital. During this period, he deftly managed many significant challenges facing the state and helped work with DMHAS to initiate significant change efforts in the state’s forensic hospital system.

In parallel, Wasser emerged as an educational leader. Prior to becoming associate program director of the residency in 2020, he served in educational roles at the Connecticut Mental Health Center, as associate program director of the Yale Public Psychiatry Fellowship, and he led the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety curriculum of the residency. In 2021, after Rohrbaugh stepped down, he worked alongside Belitsky and served as interim deputy program director. In this role, Wasser led the successful recruitment of the department’s outstanding PGY-1 class.

Wasser was promoted to associate professor in 2021. He has over 70 publications, including a book, Psychiatry and the Law: Basic Principles. In addition, he has developed educational materials on topics related to residency education including the safety of psychiatry residents, confidentiality, violence assessment and management, patient advocacy, and physician leadership. His articles address topics including ethics, safety, educational models, and administrative leadership as well as topics in forensic psychiatry. He has received multiple awards and recognitions both locally and nationally in the areas of medical education, mentorship, forensics, and ethics.

The department continues to recruit multiple new associate program directors to work with Wasser and two experienced associate program directors, Esperanza Diaz, MD, and Katherine Klingensmith, MD.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on August 02, 2022