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Department launches Women in Psychiatry Faculty Mentoring Lunch Series

July 20, 2016

The Yale Department of Psychiatry’s new Women in Psychiatry Faculty Mentoring Lunch Series held its first meeting July 8. The event was the first in a series of planned luncheons intended to promote mentoring by senior women faculty for junior women faculty and students.

Rajita Sinha, PhD, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Chief of the department’s Psychology Section, was the invited senior faculty guest. She provided a thoughtful perspective on building an academic career as a woman in psychiatry.

“Her comments were not only immensely helpful, but she also facilitated an excellent discussion that was both intimate and candid,” said Nakia Hamlett, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, and facilitator of the luncheons.

The lunch series was developed as a way to promote dialogue between one invited senior faculty woman and interested junior colleagues.

As part of a diversity curriculum planning initiative, a sub-group of the psychology training program discussed the desire and need for senior women faculty members to mentor junior women faculty. Rather than ask a senior woman faculty to commit to long-term mentoring of one person, it was suggested that mentoring could be provided by one senior faculty to a group of junior women colleagues.

A rigorous academic and clinical career requires discipline, focus, and steady, consistent productivity.

Nakia Hamlett, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry

Hamlett said the demands of being a research or clinical professor require an ability to plan and work strategically, to multitask, and work collaboratively with others in complex systems of care.

“Moreover a rigorous academic and clinical career requires discipline, focus, and steady, consistent productivity,” she said. “While these are common challenges of professorship across genders, women in academic settings are likely to have unique perspectives and varied needs in contrast to their male counterparts.”

All women faculty and students in the department are invited to attend the luncheons. Hamlett said the discussion format is open-ended, and the invited senior panelist is encouraged to discuss their career trajectories, challenges faced (particularly as women in their chosen fields), strategies for achieving work-life balance, and suggestions for strategically building a solid career in academia.

The next luncheon will be November 4 from 12 to 2 p.m. The invited senior faculty guest will be Carolyn Mazure, PhD, Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychology, and Director of Women’s Health Research at Yale.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on July 20, 2016