A Day in the Life of a PGY-1 Resident


My Background

We're thrilled to have you visit! My name is Lily Balasuriya, and I'm a first year psychiatry resident at Yale. My family is from Sri-Lanka, and I was the first to be born in the United States. I grew up watching my parents help other new immigrant families adjust to a new way of life, fostering determination and resilience. It was my interest in social justice that drew me to psychiatry. While in college, I completed a one-year internship with Teach For America and found my passion for advocating for underserved populations. I then completed physician assistant school at Saint Louis University and went on to serve the Latino population of inner-city Phoenix. Here, I had the privilege of working at a pediatric clinic for children with and without special health care needs. My joy for fostering relationships with families and children, combined with my interest in the mental healthcare needs of the underserved are why I chose psychiatry. In my free time, I enjoy salsa dancing and thrift store shopping with my phenomenal co-interns.

Why I Chose Yale

There was an authenticity and warmth to this program that was apparent even in the resident biographies read prior to interview day. During my tour the current PGY3s, Chadrick Lane and Jordan Sloshower, delved into their passions for Adele and Latin American suffering, respectively. We had genuine conversation. Individuality and diversity were celebrated. I knew after my interview dinner that I had found my people.

Yale also embodied passion for underserved populations that was palpable. La Clinica Hispana, The West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital and The Adult Refugee Clinic are just a few examples of how Yale shows its dedication to underserved communities. On my interview day, I was inspired by talented leaders who were positively impacting the face of psychiatry in difficult arenas where cultural and social barriers had previously prevailed.

Lastly, the commitment to resident education and enthusiasm for teaching at Yale was unparalleled and continues to amaze me. I recently had the privilege of presenting my patient with malignant catatonia at Case Conference. Multiple experts in the field volunteered their time to teach and provide feedback that directly benefited my patient's care that same week. Leaders in the field become mentors who are dedicated to yours and your patients’ success.

My Schedule

I started intern year on Neurology Floors at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The Neurology residents adopted me as their own and were incredible to work alongside. I worked Monday through Friday and had my weekends off to explore New Haven!

I recently completed two months of child psychiatry. During these two months I spent one evening a week in the CIU, a psychiatric emergency room at Yale. This is an outstanding learning opportunity where you manage psychiatric care in an acute setting and have attending physicians and senior residents at your side to teach.

Where I Live

I live in Madison Towers with a roommate who is an Internal Medicine resident at Yale. A current PGY2, Jessica Isom, helped me find my current apartment and roommate! I live within walking distant to Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale Psychiatric Hospital and St. Raphael's Campus. Two of my co-interns also live in Madison Towers, as well as several other residents from the hospital.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

The savory spicy green curry with eggplant on a bed of steamed white rice is my favorite dish at Rice Pot Thai Cuisine in New Haven. If you're looking for cultural events, The Green is home to Shakespeare in the Park, New Haven Symphony performances, and an array of multicultural events!

Final Thoughts

The residents and faculty at Yale have gone above and beyond my expectations, and I could not be happier with my choice to move to New Haven. My co-interns are not only my second family, but my professional collaborators who push me daily to strive, be bold and advocate for my patients. I hope you find a residency program that inspires and challenges you to reach your highest potential, as Yale has done for me. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out via email: lilanthi.balasuriya@yale.edu.