If my career had turned out the way I had planned it in college, this would be a website for an obstetrician. It all changed when I rotated through Pediatrics as a third year medical student. There was a baby, a precious little newborn, who was admitted for failure to thrive. She was so tiny, and I just wanted to hold her and heal her.
The Pediatrics team learned that this baby’s mother had been admitted to Psychiatry for postpartum depression. After a few days, the wee girl was discharged to social services – her father was not able to take care of her, and her mother remained hospitalized.
I finished my Pediatrics rotation a few weeks later, and went on to my Psychiatry clerkship. Then, I met her – the mother. The little baby who I had fed and rocked belonged to her. She was a very sweet woman, but so quiet and withdrawn; she hardly said anything to anyone. What she did say was disturbing and terrifying. She wanted to die. She didn’t want to take care of her new baby, or her other children. She believed the voice that told her lies about herself.
It was incredibly sad. And it was then that I knew that I must choose psychiatry as my profession.
As a psychiatrist, I work with one person at a time – a person who is loved and needed by a whole group of other people. By helping an individual work through life’s darkest moments, I also can have a profound impact on so many others.
I completed both my internship and my residency at San Mateo County Mental Health Services. Through this program, I worked with people with severe mental illness, as well as with the most privileged members of the Bay Area. This gave me a broad and thorough exposure to the psychiatric issues in our community.
I graduated from New York Medical College, in Valhalla, New York, in 2002. And before going to medical school, I studied music and biology at Scripps College, a women’s college in Claremont, California.