A Day in the Life of a PGY-4 Resident


Kevin Johnson

My Background

Welcome! My name is Kevin, a Yale PGY-4. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and went to the University of Michigan for undergrad (Go Blue!). I double-majored in psychology and neuroscience. After graduating, I took a gap year to work as a career adviser at my alma mater before moving to New York City to attend medical school at Weill Cornell Medical College. There, I fell in love with psychiatry, NYC, and the media industry. I took a year off to work as a writer for The Dr Oz Show, and I edited a textbook called, "Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community."

Why I Chose Yale

When I was looking at programs, I was initially set on staying in NYC. However, part of me also wanted to escape "The City" for a more quiet atmosphere (without it being too quiet). I found this at Yale. I fell in love with the program during my interview day, I met nice residents, welcoming staff, and a beautiful environment. Even while interviewing at other programs afterward, I couldn't get Yale (or New Haven) out of my head.

Other qualities that drew me to Yale: Diversity (racial, LGBTQ, geographic, etc): Of all the programs I visited, Yale valued diversity the most and it showed in their residents, faculty, and staff. Moonlighting: You can moonlight as early as your PGY-2 year. (Loans don't pay themselves!) Psychotherapy training: Yale is very strong when it comes to teaching psychotherapy modalities (psychodynamic, CBT, family, couples, etc); the adjacent New England Psychoanalytic Institute offers highly-experienced supervisors and additional didactic training. Collegiality: The Department of Psychiatry is well respected within the medical school and overall. CASE Selective: I appreciated having three months of protected time in my clinical duties to pursue research. I used this time to work on projects dedicated to transgender health.

My Schedule

The fourth year is sometimes called the "synthesis year," when your knowledge and skills from your first three years of residency start to come together. There are no call duties, and you can create a schedule that best satisfies your interests and enhances the skills you want for your desired career path. I'm currently the chief resident of the psychosomatic medicine service at Yale New Haven Hospital, where I essentially function as a consultation-liaison fellow and attend fellow-level didactics. Additionally, I work at Yale's Gender Clinic one day per week. There, I evaluate transgender-identified children and adolescents for hormone therapy and surgery. I usually work 8am-4:30pm. I also work on a few academic projects that focus on LGBT health. There are also ample moonlighting opportunities at Yale and at other nearby institutions, so I take advantage of them to make some extra cash.

In fourth year, I find myself with extra time that I dedicate to self-care and professional development. I teach medical students and junior residents, and I find it enjoyable and fulfilling. I run, catch up on Netflix TV shows, attend church, and read. I take advantage of my car and take road trips to different parts of New England--including New York City, Boston, Providence, and the Berkshires.

Where I Live

I live with my partner in Westville, which is a neighborhood adjacent to West Rock Ridge State Park. I pay less than $1000 for rent for a nice-sized one-bedroom apartment, which is a 15-20 minute drive from the West Haven VA Hospital. Housing is pretty easy to find in New Haven; the key is finding a neighborhood that fits your personality. I opted for a more quiet, suburban-esque atmosphere.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

I'm a religious person and regularly attend St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New Haven. It's very friendly and welcoming (including to LGBTQ parishioners). I serve on their governing council. I'm also a huge foodie, and I like to take advantage of New Haven Restaurant Week every year. New Haven offers an abundance of different cuisines to enjoy: Thai, Brazilian, French, Japanese, Italian, Cuban, Chinese, and my favorite--gourmet pizza!

Final Thoughts

Selecting where to go for residency can be challenging, anxiety-inducing, and overwhelming. I remember it as if it were yesterday! Whatever decision you make, find the program that fits YOU and your needs (both personal and academic). With that said, I've never regretted choosing Yale for residency. I learned a ton about psychiatry (and myself); I met some amazing colleagues; and I feel well-prepared to continue in my career path after graduation.