Skip to Main Content

Why I Chose Yale

My Background

My name is Zach and I am a Psychology Fellow with a primary placement at the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit (SATU) and secondary position in Adult Community Mental Health (ACMH) at CMHC. I grew up in New Jersey with two brothers, and was raised a committed, yet disappointed, Mets and Knicks fan. I enrolled as an undergraduate psychology major at Virginia Tech, where I began studying correlates of substance use and misuse, an academic interest that fostered my curiosity in the field of clinical psychology. Following my senior year, I enrolled in the University of Florida’s Clinical and Health Psychology program where I maintained my research and clinical interests in the area of substance use, with a particular focus on working with underserved and underrepresented populations, including Veterans, adults living with HIV, and retired professional athletes. After internship, I will be continuing this line of work during my postdoctoral studies on a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded T32 in the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.

Why I Chose Yale

Throughout graduate school I worked with underserved adults, many of whom were struggling with substance use challenges. My primary goal for internship was to expand my clinical competencies in EBPs for substance use, as well as continue to pursue clinical research among adults with SUDs. When conducting initial research of internship programs, it was evident that Yale would be able to provide excellent resources and opportunities in each of these areas, and this belief was further reinforced following my visit to the University and SATU. The staff, current Fellows, and supervisors were warm, welcoming, and interested in getting to know me as a future colleague. My visit to Yale provided me with the reassurance that I was in the right place to be able to meet my professional goals, and in an environment where I would be well supported. Now that internship is almost complete, I can confidently say that the faculty at Yale, SATU, and CMHC have been instrumental in my development from a graduate student to an early-career scientist practitioner.

My Professional Activities

My professional activities are comprised of three general areas: clinical care, scholarly project, and didactics/supervisions. As a primary SATU Fellow, much of my time is dedicated to conducting individual (app. 10-15 clients/week) and group therapy for adults with SUDs. In addition to individual work, I co-lead a Relapse Prevention Group which has been a great learning endeavor. Supervision is also an instrumental part of the clinical experience, and the faculty at SATU offer guidance through different therapeutic modalities, including CBT and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. These modalities are also discussed, and new principles taught and reinforced, in a weekly Case Conference where the Psychology Fellows, Psychiatry Residents and Fellows, and practicum students gather together to present and discuss clinical case material.

As a CMHC, ACMH secondary placement Fellow, I see approximately 4-5 outpatient clients with a diverse range of presenting concerns. Additional opportunities at CMHC include group therapy, weekly supervisions, case conference, and team meeting where Fellows are the psychology representative on a multidisciplinary team comprised of social workers, psychiatrists, vocational counselors, and peer support specialists, among others. This offers a unique and important opportunity to share insights from the perspective of a clinical psycThe Yale Internship Program also affords Fellows the chance to participate in empirical research with a mentor that is selected by the Fellow at the start of the year. I am conducting a scholarly project with Declan Barry, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. My project is a secondary data analysis examining the intersection between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and body image on mental health symptoms and quality of life among treatment seeking adults with Opioid Use Disorder. Time each week has been dedicated to study conceptualization, data analysis, and manuscript writing.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

I love a good pizza and have spent many a weekend exploring the vast number of highly rated pizza places in the New Haven/Hamden areas. Though New Haven is a relatively small city, there are plenty of outdoor, recreational, and leisure options across the area that have made the “life” aspect of “work-life” balance very enjoyable. New Haven is also relatively close to New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia, making it easy to travel to other destinations.