Hi, I’m Alicia, and I am a fourth-year psychiatry resident at Yale. I grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and attended Los Andes University for medical school. During medical school I did an elective rotation at the mood disorder unit at Mayo Clinic and another in child and adolescent psychiatry at UCSF. I worked in different research projects related to the impact of media on substance use in early adolescents as well as and the development of online programs that foster psychosocial skills and emotional wellbeing in this age group. After medical school I worked for the Colombian Ministry of Education implementing an online course to teach mental health skills to teachers working in public schools around the country. During my time at Yale I have been collaborating with faculty to develop an online curriculum that can be used to teach young adolescents social and emotional skills. Currently, I am in the process of applying to a child and adolescent fellowship and rotating as the inpatient chief at the adolescent unit of Yale Psychiatric Hospital.
Why I Chose Yale
Yale offered everything I looked for in a training program. I was impressed with the variety of systems of care and populations (with a VA hospital, state hospital, and standalone psychiatric hospital). I was also very impressed by the three month CASE (Clinical and Academic Skills Enhancement) rotation during second year, which you can use to work on any project of your choice. Finally, and most importantly, during my interview, I felt very comfortable with the faculty and residents who seemed down to earth, interesting, kind and open minded people. Now I can happily say, these people have become some of the most significant individuals in my life.
My fourth-year schedule is mostly split between being program wide chief resident and working at the young adolescent unit at Yale Psychiatric Hospital seeing patients and mentoring younger residents. I rotated there as a first year, and chose to come back for my final year because I loved it. My time on the unit is spent seeing adolescent patients, running family meetings, and supervising hard-working and talented PGY-1 residents and medical students. In the second half of the year I will be working at the Connecticut Mental Health Center hoping to acquire experience treating serious mental illnesses in a community setting. My time as chief is spent attending meetings with program directors, coordinating events and problem solving.
During fourth year we create our own individual schedules and opportunities. There is no call and life is generally very good! Many fourth-years electively serve as chief residents of different rotations including the inpatient units and intervention services. Others work at Yale’s University Health Services, or have taken early fellowship opportunities. So far, my own fourth year has been significant in terms of adapting to my role as a mentor and support for younger colleagues, as well as reflecting on and solidifying the skills acquired throughout my time in residency.
Where I Live
I live in downtown New Haven in a comfortable apartment conveniently close to all the hospitals and training sites. I love to bike to work which is why living close was important. I am about a 10 minute walk to Yale Psychiatric Hospital, Yale New Haven Hospital, and Connecticut Mental Health Center and about a 10 minute drive to the VA Hospital in West Haven. The building is also home to many other residents, and some good friends.
My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven
What I like most about the restaurants and activities in New Haven is the variety of excellent and affordable cuisines. If I had to choose, my favourite restaurants are Lao Sze Chuan and Mecha. I also enjoy spending time roaming around the Yale Art Gallery and the British Art Gallery which after three years still impress and surprise me.
My co-residents are diverse, kind and talented people who have become some of my best friends. I have learned immensely from them, not only about mental health but also about friendship and life. These social connections with such wonderful individuals have been, no doubt, the best part of training at Yale.