Originally from Toronto, I completed medical school at the University of Toronto in 2012, after completing my undergraduate degree at Brown University in 2008. Before clinical rotations in medical school, I thought I would pursue a career in Internal Medicine, and had been very involved in basic science research in cancer biology during my pre-clinical years. After discovering a clinical passion for psychiatry (especially medical psychiatry and psychosomatics), I changed my course in third year medical school and have not looked back since! I entered the RCP as a PGY3 resident, after becoming more involved in clinical research during my PGY2 year, and realizing that I wanted to plan for a career as a clinician-investigator. I am interested in clinical research at the interface of psychiatric illness, medical illness and mind-body medicine. I am working with the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at MGH (BHI), under the supervision of Dr. John Denninger. Eventually, I plan to study the impact of mind-body techniques on resiliency in medically-ill populations with psychiatric co-morbidity. This year, I am working on a research project that integrates my interest in graduate medical education with my research interest in mind body medicine. I adapted the BHI’s Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) Program into a curriculum for first year residents in the departments of Medicine and Psychiatry (SMART for Residents; SMART-R). Last year we completed a pilot cohort study which examined the effect of the program using validated survey instruments, as well as continuous remote physiologic and health-behavior tracking using the commercial device, Basis. I am currently in the process of analyzing this large data set. Our hypothesis is that the SMART curriculum will enhance residents’ emotional and physical well being, reduce reports of stress, anxiety, depression, and physical complaints, as well as increase overall resiliency. To test this hypothesis, this year we have implemented a multi-site wait-list controlled trial of the SMART-R curriculum for residents in diverse training settings (MGH Pediatrics, MGH Neurology, MGH Psychiatry; NYU Langone Internal Medicine and Psychiatry; Cornell Weill Medical College Internal Medicine and Psychiatry). We are using validated survey instruments as well as continuous remote physiologic and health-behavior tracking to evaluate the outcome of physician burnout and wellness.
The RCP has expedited my path towards becoming a clinical researcher. Through the RCP, I have gained the necessary mentorship, resources and time to develop a career path in research and academic psychiatry. I have tailored my PGY4 schedule to accommodate my research responsibilities. Of note, there is flexibility in the research concentration program to opt for additional clinical and administrative opportunities if you choose – for example, I am the Administrative Chief Resident at MGH this year. During my research time, I conduct intervention sessions for my study, coordinate study tasks with our research coordinator at the BHI, conference with our collaborators at Basis in San Francisco, also at NYU Langone and Cornell Weill Medical College, as well as analyze data, write, prepare posters, and other academic pursuits. I meet with Dr. Denninger and our research coordinator weekly for “lab meeting”. The RCP has provided me with funding for research coordinator time, which has allowed me greater productivity. In addition, I completed a 35 week course in applied biostatistics, to further develop analytic skills for data interpretation and study design. Through the support of the RCP, I am able to engage in productive research projects, while also deliberately honing skills necessary for a future as a clinician-investigator.