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Why I Chose Yale

My Background

My name is Tania Chowdhury. At Yale, my primary placement was in the Adult Community Mental Health (ACMH) at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), where I worked in both outpatient and inpatient services. I am completing my doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology at New York University. Originally from New Jersey, I received my B.A. in Psychology and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University and M.A. in Clinical and Counseling Psychology at William Paterson University.

I am interested in immigrant and Muslim mental health, specifically in examining psychological outcomes at the intersection of multiple, marginalized identities. I am also interested in translating research into practice and policy with a broader, more central goal of promoting mental health advocacy and social justice.

During my predoctoral training, I took on multiple leadership positions at NYU and the national level and became involved in various advocacy efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. I was a 2020 Fellow in the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program (APA MFP), selected to promote culturally competent behavioral health services and policy for ethnic minority populations. Aligned with my interest in working with underserved and underrepresented communities, I co-founded a multi-issue, nonprofit organization that seeks to promote and meet the needs of immigrant Bangladeshi women, youth, and families in N.J.

This fall, I will start a postdoc at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, where I will provide clinical services to graduate students in the health professions.

Why I Chose Yale

The impetus behind applying to and choosing Yale’s Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Community Psychology was its training model, philosophy, and high-quality training opportunities with marginalized and vulnerable populations. Interested in working in the public mental health sector and with adults with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI), I was drawn to the placement in ACMH at CMHC as it provided opportunities to gain additional experience in these areas. At the core of the training experience is the emphasis on community mental health, wellness, and the person-centered, recovery-oriented treatment model, which were values aligned for me, given my interests in mental health equity and social justice. I would be remiss if I did not mention that conversations with prospective supervisors during the interview process, which provided insight into the interpersonal climate of the training program, sealed the deal for me!

My Professional Activities

My primary placement was in Adult community mental health (ACMH) track at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), which included outpatient and inpatient services to individuals with serious and persistent mental illness and complex needs. I had a caseload of 8-10 adult outpatient clients, most of whom I met with on a weekly basis, and a caseload of 2 patients on the inpatient unit, who I met with approximately 4x/week. On the outpatient unit, I was responsible for the delivery of comprehensive therapeutic and case management services to individuals with SPMI and multiple comorbidities. On the inpatient unit, I provided long-term individual therapy to my assigned patients and conducted group therapy using an evidence-based, integrative treatment model for those with PTSD and substance use disorders. On both units. I worked on interdisciplinary teams and attended team meetings on a biweekly basis to coordinate care. On the inpatient team, I also attended weekly Behavioral Rounds to support clients with specific behavioral needs.

The remainder of the work week involved six hours of supervision, core and site-specific seminars, and working on my scholarly project. For my scholarly project , I worked with Dr. Michelle Silva to provide psychological consultation services to direct service providers at a local nonprofit organization serving immigrants, asylees, and refugees to:

  1. identify needs of direct service providers working with traumatized populations;
  2. evaluate organization readiness to mitigate risks of burnout and vicarious trauma;
  3. implement evidence-base interventions to promote employee wellness, and
  4. offer recommendations for practices to promote health and wellness of employees across all levels of the organization.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

During my internship year, I lived in the downtown New Haven area, which provided access to all that Yale and the surrounding area have to offer (in the context of an ongoing pandemic). I lived very close to the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art, which I visited from time to time. I also enjoyed hikes in East Rock Park and visiting West Haven Beach, both of which were within driving distance. Also within driving distance are Long Wharf Theatre, which offers great shows and events, and the Stony Creek Town Dock, where you can catch a sightseeing cruise of the Thimble Islands. New Haven has a vibrant food scene. September in Bangkok, Pacifico, Hot Haven Chicken, Da Legna (pizza), Zenelis (pizza), Ashley’s Ice Cream, and Libby’s Italian Pastry Shop (for gelato and Italian ice) were some of my favorite spots. I also enjoyed visiting the line of taco trucks in Long Wharf and going to Bar with my cohort for a night out and, of course, pizza.

Final Thoughts

The most notable aspect of the training experience at Yale is the outstanding supervision offered. All my supervisors always supported and empowered me, which helped me navigate this challenging yet edifying year. Any words of appreciation would fall short of the praise they deserve. They not only contributed to my growth personally and professionally but helped me reimagine the type of psychologist I want to be. I also felt supported by the broader training program, especially Dr. Amber Childs, who was champion for fellows.