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Dr. Ayana Jordan, 2015 Graduate

Ayana Jordan

Why I Chose Yale

I had NO intention of leaving NYC for any reason, not for love, more money or even the pursuit of happiness, so of course DEFINITELY NOT for residency. However, my very wise and most trusted psychiatry mentors at Einstein, Jeffrey Levine who trained at Yale, told me psychiatry training at Yale, was the best experience of his life and encouraged me to apply. So with EXTREME hesitation and I mean EXTREME hesitation, I applied, but honestly deciding to continue my training at Yale has ended up being one of the BEST decisions of my life. Who would have thought this New York City girl could’ve discovered a little piece of heaven in New Haven, CT?

Yale has been an amazing training program, full of life; EXCELLENT mentors and teachers who are genuine thought leaders and world changers. Equally as important is the support I have received in the department to evolve into my best self, full of passion, love for the community, and a love for clinical research that involves the community. Further, this department has a genuine dedication to promote and increase diversity and inclusion among residents and faculty…and for that I am grateful.

So for me, when it was time to look for an addiction fellowship, I knew I would stay at Yale, but the real test came when it was time to negotiate attending positions. I was faced with a huge dilemma. Leave this piece of heaven in Connecticut or return to my hometown of Pittsburgh where I grew up (go Steelers!), where my family currently resides, and where I could work at a prestigious university. Needless to say, I stayed at Yale; again because of the support, dedication and commitment I received from the Chair and countless attendings, residents, and staff in the department!

What I'm Working on Now

If you know me, you know I’m always working on a project to better the community for people of color, namely Black people with drug and alcohol problems, both locally and abroad. I am truly committed to increasing access to evidence based treatment for substance use disorders, and along with my mentors Kathy Carroll and Larry Davidson, I am working to develop this area of community based participatory research and develop into an independent investigator.

Equally important to me, is my love for education and encouraging activism among trainees and faculty alike. To that end, I am happy to be working on the new Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum with many talented attendings and residents. We are streamlining and coordinating all lectures and experiences related to social justice within psychiatry to make it “sticky,” and underscore the need for training in a host of issues, including racism, bias, social determinants of mental health, structural competency, and advocacy, to truly eliminate health disparities in mental health!!

Last but certainly not least, I am working with two very talented faculty members to re-structure the global mental health program, given my ongoing substance use research efforts in Sierra Leone. I only hope to continue my evolution into an amazing physician whose work, research and educational efforts, has a direct impact on patient care with improved quality of lives for the often ignored and marginalized.

Favorite Things to do in New Haven

I LOVE worshiping, singing and fellowshipping with the parishioners and members at Varick Memorial AME Zion Church on Dixwell Avenue. There is nothing better for the spirit and soul, than to be at a Black church surrounded by loved ones who are truly having “church,” and know how to worship. It is truly restorative for my mind, body and soul, and keeps committed and me grounded to DO THE WORK!

With that being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout out to the good folks at Crown 116, for their amazing Margarita Noir…I have enjoyed countless, colorful, stimulating conversations with colleagues and friends in the courtyard over cocktails (of course always sticking to the NIAAA drinking guidelines for females)!

Final Thoughts

I am so happy to be here at Yale, amazed at how long I’ve been here, but couldn’t think of a better place to BE! Thanks to Dr. Krystal for supporting my unorthodox vision/path and to my many mentors, Bob Rohrbaugh, David Ross, Robert Ostroff, Marcella Nunez Smith, Ismene Petrakis, Ted Iheanacho, Mike Sernyak, and countless others for believing in my vision and continuing to support my evolution! I am now an Elm City Soul Sistah.