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.”
FacultyOur 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.
The McLean Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (MCDI) was initiated in September 2015 following the recommendations of the McLean OCAO task force on diversity, and serves as a hospital-wide resource, with representation across McLean’s mission elements, professional disciplines, roles, and dimensions of diversity.
The MCDI advises leadership responsible for diversity and inclusion initiatives and educational programming and aims to provide diverse perspectives and feedback about diversity and inclusion-related needs assessments, planning, goals, strategies, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives. The MCDI acts as an umbrella committee to all diversity and inclusion matters hospital-wide and joins and aligns with a number of subcommittees and task forces.
The Implicit Bias Task Force is charged with reviewing the wealth of existing literature in implicit bias and considering how findings might be applied across McLean’s clinical, training, and research mission elements. The LGBTQ Task Force is charged with reviewing the wealth of existing literature, working in concert with Partners Health Equity and Quality (HEQ) committee on their initiatives, and considering how findings might be applied throughout the hospital. Recommendations from these in-depth reviews are presented to the MCDI for consideration and advancement to the President’s Cabinet.