Hi! My name is Kristina Cieslak and I’m a PGY3 in the research concentration program. I hail from Pittsburgh, PA originally (Go Steelers!), attended the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!), and completed medical school at New York University. I have long found myself drawn towards working with and learning about those with serious mental illness (SMI). Early-on in medical training, this group proved to be the most challenging, yet clinically rewarding population with which I interfaced, and I was struck by the injustices and unique roadblocks this group navigated daily. In residency, I became acutely aware of just how vast a divide has developed. Identifying root causes of this inequity and discovering ways to better implement quality, evidence-based care for this population have become personal and professional goals that I hope to address throughout my career.
Thus far in residency, my efforts have focused on smoking cessation and diabetes management. I began an educational initiative to instruct physicians, nurses, mental health specialists, and patients on safety, efficacy, and feasibility of effective, available smoking cessation aids, with the goal of increasing engagement of patients and providers in smoking cessation treatment. Beginning this year, as part of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute grant, I will be traveling to primary care clinics throughout Greater Boston to provide academic detailing to primary care physicians on effective smoking cessation treatments for those with SMI in hopes of improving provider comfort in treating nicotine dependence in this population. In an attempt to bridge the significant knowledge gap for theory and evidence-based interventions for diabetes management for those with SMI, I coordinated a project, funded by a grant from the MGH Executive Committee on Community Health, to develop and test a behavioral and educational group intervention for individuals with SMI and diabetes. The intervention is now being tested at a community mental health clinic and utilizes reverse integrated care, bringing specialized medical intervention into the community psychiatry setting.
While not at MGH or McLean, I enjoy sampling the many restaurants in Boston, exploring the great outdoors, spending time with my class, heading to a concert (everything from the symphony to Kanye West) or settling down with a good book!