A Day in the Life of a PGY-3 Resident


Aaron Alexander Bloch

My Background

Hello, applicants! I’m Aaron, a third year psychiatry resident in the Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP). I grew up in Los Angeles and went to Harvard for college, the University of Cambridge for a PhD in neuroscience, and UCLA for medical school. I have always been especially interested in the connection between the mind and the brain, but I wanted to do something that would help individual people, so psychiatry has always interested me. My research focuses on brain imaging (MRI and fMRI) of healthy development and schizophrenia. Yale has been wonderful both for clinical training and for scientific mentorship.

Why I Chose Yale

New Haven is strategically placed between my wife’s and my family in Boston and in New York. What struck me most when I interviewed here was the general sense that the residents felt they had made the right decision. I was also impressed by the obvious thoughtfulness of the department and program leadership. The NRTP offered more support and protected time for research than most other programs. Finally, although I’m particularly interested in research and biological psychiatry, I really appreciated the diversity of the program’s strengths, including community psychiatry and psychotherapy training, which makes for a group of residents with a great mixture of interests, backgrounds and strengths.

My Schedule

Third year is a switch from primarily inpatient to outpatient psychiatry, and to caring for the same group of patients over the course of the year. These clinics are either at the VA, the Connecticut State Mental Health Center, or at Yale Health, so the class’ training experiences have started to diverge based on our interests. Some people are fast-tracking into child psychiatry and looking at programs across the country, while others are settling in for the long-term at Yale. There are extensive moonlighting opportunities inside and outside the Yale system.

This is the first year when my schedule as an NRTP resident has been different from my other classmates. I work clinically at the VA every Wednesday, seeing outpatients for psychotherapy and medication management. We have didactics (which are excellent) for several hours a week, and I continue to work in the long-term psychotherapy clinic (where we see two or three patients for up to three years). Approximately three total weeks of call in the psychiatric emergency room are spread throughout third year. The rest of my time, at least three days a week on average, is protected for research. Currently, I am working on combined imaging and genetics studies of schizophrenia risk with Professor David Glahn and other collaborators.

Where I Live

I lived in downtown New Haven for the first two years of residency. I always walked to work, whether I was working at Yale New Haven Hospital, Saint Raphael’s Hospital, Yale Psychiatric Hospital, or the Connecticut State Mental Health Center. (I took the shuttle or drove when working at the VA hospital in West Haven.) I just signed a lease to move to an apartment in Wooster Square, which is one of my favorite parts of the city.

My Favorite New Haven Restaurants and Cultural Activities

My favorites in New Haven are the Sichuan dishes at Taste of China, South Indian dosas at Thali Too, sandwiches from Nica’s Market, and Arethusa ice cream. My wife and I love going to Hammonassett beach in the summer, and we see friends or family in New York about once a month. The Yale University Art Gallery has an outstanding collection, and exhibits that are always beautiful and fun (and free).

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to measure, but the residents are generally happy here. There is a good work-life balance and support for residents’ individual interests. I’ve made wonderful friends and met inspiring colleagues, and I hope keep in touch with them in the years after residency.