This website has been developed by a group of residents for whom minority identities (including sexuality, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, race, disability, country of origin, language, socioeconomic status, etc.) have affected our daily lives, clinical experiences, and comfort when seeking a training program. We would like to share some of the reasons that MGH/McLean has uniquely succeeded in providing a home for us!
The residents in this program are a special group! We are committed to celebrating our differences, interpersonal growth, and engaging in critical discussions that expand our understanding of and comfort with the diverse experiences of each other. While some of these conversations have occurred in the context of formal didactics (see below), many occur in less formal resident forums such as noon conferences. In the past year, residents openly led and attended forums on the deaths of Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, police officers in Dallas, and the Orlando Pulse Night Club massacre. We are dedicated to better understanding our local and global environments and searching for opportunities to further justice in our communities.
Beginning in 2015, MGH/McLean residents have spearheaded the Resident Advocacy Committee, a group dedicated to challenging systemic disparities in our hospitals and communities and promoting activism and service. With support from program administration and faculty in Community Psychiatry, the RAC residents created two impressive didactics series focused on the topics of racism and advocacy. These curricula have since been presented at national conferences.
Resident Profiles: (Please hover over to read)
Cary Crall, Class of 2020
“To me, a commitment to diversity means more than a laissez faire attitude of tolerance to those from different life circumstances, it involves actively prioritizing work that benefits the underserved. As a gay man with an interest in LGBT mental health, I chose the MGH/McLean program because I sensed a commitment from program leadership to promote my interest in learning how to best work with a community that has often been neglected.
Cary Crall, Class of 2020:
So far, three months into my intern year, I have already had this sense validated in many ways. Whether it was finding a way for me to present research at an international conference on transgender health (involving a precious break from clinical time in order to visit Amsterdam!) or inviting me to present to staff from one of our inpatient units on culturally competent care for sexual and gender minorities, this aspect of my professional identity has flourished with the support of program leadership. There is a sense that my diverse life experience is valued—not only as something that makes me unique but that makes the whole of our residency program stronger.
It is my sincere hope that diverse applicants considering the MGH/Mclean residency program will feel confident that their life experience will be counted and valued just as much as their experience with research, service, or leadership. I believe we will continue to fail to meet the mental health needs of underserved minority groups until the demographics of our work force, especially those in positions of power, resemble those of our patient populations. By training at MGH/McLean, I am confident that I can be a part of this transformation moving forward.”
Christine Crawford, Class of 2018
“As a child growing up just outside of Hartford, CT in a lower middle class community with a predominantly Jamaican population, I never considered the possibility of becoming a psychiatrist. I would often hear people in my community having conversations about various physical ailments and the necessity for seeing a medical provider however I would never hear people talking about their emotional ailments and the need to seek out mental health care. Over time as I moved forward in my academic career, I became increasingly interested in the stigma of mental health particularly within the Black community. As a graduate student at the Boston University School of Public Health with a focus in Social and Behavioral Sciences, I started to develop a deeper understanding of the tremendous impact that untreated mental illness has on the socioeconomic and physical status of members within the Black community. My passion for educating the Black community about the utility of mental health care fueled my desire to de-stigmatize mental illness through pursuing a career in psychiatry.
Christine Crawford, Class of 2018:
Given my strong desire to address mental health stigma within the Black community, it was important for me to find a residency program that would provide me with an opportunity to work with faculty members who were also passionate about improving the mental health of communities of color. It was also imperative for me to be part of a residency that possessed a myriad of opportunities to provide clinical care within ethnically diverse communities. As I was researching various psychiatry residency programs as a fourth year medical student at the University of Connecticut, I came across MGH/McLean’s Public and Community Psychiatry curriculum which provides residents not only with a robust didactic series regarding various topics pertaining to the mental health of underserved and vulnerable populations but also provided a breadth of clinical experiences for residents to work with patients of color. Despite the misconception that Boston lacks diversity, I was quite surprised when I learned about the incredible number of clinical opportunities that the residency program offers within Boston’s diverse neighborhoods.
As a current PGY-3, I continue to be impressed with the numerous opportunities to work with patients from a wide range of socioeconomic statuses as well as ethnic backgrounds. From working with middle class patients at McLean Hospital, to performing outreach on the streets of Boston to homeless individuals with severe mental illness through Boston Healthcare for the Homeless all the way to working with inmates of color at the Nashua Street Jail, I feel incredibly satisfied with the countless opportunities that I have to work with a variety of patients. Since the start of PGY-3 year, I have been working at the Dimock Center which is a community health center located in a predominantly Black community that has fully integrated behavioral health care into pediatric and adult medicine. As an aspiring community psychiatrist, it has been incredibly educational to experience first hand the tremendous impact that behavioral health integration has on the quality of care provided to patients as well as the effect that this model of care has on stigma reduction.
In addition to being satisfied with my clinical training, I have also been impressed with the MGH/McLean Residency’s commitment to improving the overall experience for its residents of color. The residency encourages and fosters discussions about race and culture amongst faculty members and residents through its Sociocultural Series and Racism curriculum, which are part of the core didactic series.
Based on my experiences thus far, I am confident that I will leave the MGH/McLean Adult Residency Program with the clinical expertise necessary to continue my work on addressing mental health stigma based on exposures to a vast diversity of patient populations.”
Our faculty demonstrate a consistent desire to support the experiences of the residents and to improve and expand upon the diversity already robustly represented in our curriculum. Strong mentorship is a core feature of our program, and our mentors and supervisors are committed to our individual personal development as physicians with diverse backgrounds and experiences. For example, residents are developing a book based on their racism curriculum with Dr. Jerry Rosenbaum, the Chief of Psychiatry at MGH. Faculty members with their own minority experiences have been particularly helpful in providing insight into our growth as we navigate this path to becoming psychiatrists. We enjoy picking their brains in supervision, but can attest to even more fun had over dinner, while traveling on global trips, while planning for residency didactics or national workshops, or through monthly meetings of the Centers for Diversity at both MGH and McLean.
In 2015, MGH opened the Disparities Research Unit headed by HMS Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Margarita Alegría. This interdisciplinary unit is funded by multiple NIH grants to generate innovative mental health services research that impacts service delivery for multicultural populations. Residents have enjoyed both mentorship and participation in this group’s research.
As always, our patients are our greatest teachers. They represent an enormously diverse group with respect to race, ethnicity, country of origin and immigration status, language, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, education, etc. We get to know them in multiple settings, from the outpatient clinic to the emergency department to the inpatient surgical services. Residents very much appreciate the breadth of patients to whom we are exposed and provide care.
When residents develop interest in a particular patient population and desire further exposure, the program is incredibly supportive in facilitating the opportunity to develop a tailored clinical experience to promote the resident’s expertise and work to further develop the hospital’s capacity for treating that population. For example, a recent MGH/McLean graduate, Alek Keuroghlian, developed a clinical interest in transgender patients, tailored his clinical experience to support his interest, learned and grew from the experience, and has since facilitated both other residents’ and faculty’s continued interest in providing informed care for this psychiatrically underserved population.
Trainees directly examine issues of culture and diversity during the core longitudinal Sociocultural Psychiatry seminar series. Topics include culture as a multidimensional construct, exploring our own multidimensional cultural identity, social determinants of psychiatric illness, case discussions stressing DSM cultural formulation, spirituality, the history of mistakes in psychiatry, minority stress theory and intersectionality, sexuality and gender identity, and global psychiatric epidemiology, among many others. The Sociocultural Content Team that develops and modifies these didactics is comprised of both faculty and residents, thereby enabling rapid identification and implementation of changes and updates in response to evolving resident and community interests and needs. Residents are appreciative of both the concrete topic content presented through lectures as well as the opportunity to engage in exploratory conversations during these seminars.
|Sociocultural Didactic Series||Community Psychiatry Didactic Series|
We are thankful for the strong support of administration and faculty in developing resident-led advocacy and racism didactics that also span all four years of the residency curriculum. In addition to facilitating knowledge transfer, this has expanded opportunities for interested residents to take on critical issues in diversity as part of their growth as clinicians and medical educators.
Residents are nurtured in our pursuit of diverse clinical and non-clinical interests spanning community psychiatry, medical education, spirituality, neuroimaging, psychotherapy, health policy, global health, women’s health, and specialized work with minority communities such as LGBTQ and racial/ethnic minorities, just to name a few.
We are thankful to receive generous support in our professional development from faculty mentors. It is not uncommon to receive information about awards, grants, and fellowships for which faculty would like to support our applications, from internal travel grants to national fellowships. One indication of the excellent mentorship on clinical and academic work they provide is the large number of our faculty alumni have gone on to become clinical directors, department chairs, and national leaders.
- Ranna Parekh, Director of APA’s Division of Diversity and Health Equity
- Dave Henderson, Chief of Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center and Co-Director of MGH Psychiatry’s Global Division T32 Fellowship
- Chester Pierce, former Harvard Professor of Psychiatry and prominent scholar on race
- Stephan Heckers, Director of Vanderbilt University’s Early Psychosis Program
- Tristan Gorrindo, Director of Education for the American Psychiatric Association
- And many others!
We are proud of our community rotations that provide us the opportunity to work with underserved populations, including through the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program, Mass Mental Healthcare, Revere Counseling , South Cove Community Health Center, and at the various MGH-affiliated community health centers in Revere, Chelsea, East Boston,and Charlestown. We have been expanding these opportunities on the basis of specialized resident interest to include Codman Square Health Center, Dimock Community Health Center, and Fenway Health.
Many of our trainees expand their expertise beyond the Boston area into the realm of global psychiatry in the 3rd and 4th years. Others use the practices and principles of global psychiatry to focus on global communities right here in our own backyard — for example, researching barriers to care through church outreach among African immigrants in the nearby town of Lowell, MA, or addressing disparities in mental health service utilization among immigrants in Boston’s Chinatown.
Institutional Commitment to Diversity:
MGH’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) actively fosters community for underrepresented minorities across specialties through community service, social events and opportunities for mentorship, which brings together residents and faculty. The MGH Department of Psychiatry also has its own independent Diversity Center that hosts monthly lunch meetings and events including the yearly Diversity Dialogues. The McLean Committee on Diversity and Inclusion is the umbrella organization for a number of subcommittees including the LGBTQ and Implicit Bias task forces that review existing literature for application among clinical, training, and research mission elements of the McLean mission.