A Day in the Life of a PGY-2 Resident


Kartik Pattabiraman

My background

Welcome! My name is Kartik Pattabiraman and I am PGY-2 in the Solnit Integrated Child and Adult Psychiatry Residency Program. Growing up near the National Institutes of Health (NIH), I was surrounded by science, and became excited about studying the brain in high school. I majored in Neuroscience at Brown University, and completed my MD/PhD at University of California, San Francisco. During my senior year of college and into my first year of medical school, I got swept up in the wave of excitement over adult neural stem cells as a treatment for traumatic brain injury. My plans quickly changed after taking my first graduate school course on Developmental Neurobiology. I was shocked about how little we knew of about development of cerebral cortex. During my PhD, I studied the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms through which different functional regions of the mammalian brain (think rudimentary Brodmann’s areas) were specified during development. My interest in psychiatry developed while shadowing a child psychiatry fellow in a prodromal psychosis clinic, and was solidified during my psychiatry sub-internship. My research interest is understanding the pathophysiology of autism and other developmental disorders. Clinically, I am interested in working with adults with developmental disorders.

Why I Chose Yale

Yale was my first choice throughout the application process. Both the Psychiatry and Neuroscience departments at Yale have several leading experts in both autism and developmental neurobiology. However, the largest draw for me was the Solnit Program itself. It is unique in its opportunity to balance adult and child psychiatry clinical training, as well as engage in intensive research during the six years of the program. During the interview dates, I was impressed by the number of training sites and variety of clinical settings that residents work in. I was especially excited about working in the young child inpatient psychiatry unit. Finally, the strong emphasis on structured residency didactics stood out when comparing programs.

My Schedule

Second year for Solnit residents include both adult and child inpatient and consult and liaison rotations. We also have three months allotted for protected research time. I am excited to have dedicated time to concentrate on setting up experiments and generating data. In addition, the summer of second year is when the bulk of the didactics are scheduled, which range from on-call psychiatry to structural competency. Also in the second year, we begin our weekly supervision with our long term psychotherapy patients.

I am currently rotating at Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC). This unit is very different than most inpatient psychiatry units. Most of the beds are allotted for research patients, while they are involved in clinical trials. It has been a wonderful opportunity to learn about the types of clinical research studies at Yale, as well as some of the methodology. The rest of admissions are reserved for educational cases, in which the residents are allowed to pick from the Psychiatric Emergency Room or referrals to the unit. My therapeutic interventions have ranged from CBT for substance abuse to coaching patients on job applications and interview skills. Being on the unit for three months has allowed me to build strong therapeutic relationships with my patients.

Where I Live

My wife and I initially rented an apartment near the New Haven green. We enjoyed walking to the downtown restaurants, bars, and other venues. It was also a convenient walk to the hospital. In the middle of my first year, we bought a condo in a converted raincoat factory in Wooster Square. We love our new home and building. Wooster Square is a quiet residential area in New Haven about a 15 minute walk from downtown. The main street has multiple Italian/Pizza restaurants, including Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s. There is also a farmer’s market near the main square every Saturday with the best doughnuts and popsicles in the area. The market moves to a nearby high school during the winters.

My Favorite New Haven Restaurants and Cultural Activities

Moving from San Francisco, I was worried about the restaurant/bar scene in New Haven. Within a few months, we found several go-to places to eat and drink. Our favorite pizza place is Delegna’s in East Rock (even though I still think Modern has a better pizza overall). There are also multiple great Indian restaurants in New Haven and the surrounding areas. My favorite bar is Firehouse 12 (they have a solid happy hour, free apps on Friday, and not too crowded). We also play bar trivia at Anna Liffey’s on Tuesdays. New Haven has several hidden gems with my favorites being bagels at Chap’s Grill and the BYOB at Kasbah Gardens.

New Haven is also known for their theatres, and we have seen great plays at the Yale Rep, as well as the local Long Wharf Theatre. In addition, College Street Music Hall gets a solid selection of musical acts and comedians. We got to see John Mulaney and Fred Armisen within the first few months we moved here.

Final Thoughts

I love it here! The Yale Psychiatry community is strong and diverse, and has opportunities regardless of your clinical and research interests. This diversity extends into the residency class, and I continue to learn from the different perspectives and experiences of my fellow residents. I also appreciate the program’s emphasis on the role patient’s communities and backgrounds play in their overall well-being.

For people moving from a big city, New Haven is a big change, but for me, it was a change for the better. It’s really nice to have the opportunity to be a homeowner. Also, New Haven is extremely convenient with most venues located in the concentrated downtown area, as well as being close to local parks and beaches. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at kartik.pattabiraman@yale.edu.