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Residency Training - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Words From Our Graduates

Daniel Chrzanowski, MD

"I graduated from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program in 2007. They were a fast and growthful two years. I entered the program upon completing general psychiatry residency at Columbia University & New York State Psychiatric Institute, where I served as a chief resident. My decision to pursue subspecialty training grew from my work with adolescents and adults, alike. I wanted to learn much more about child and adolescent development, to appreciate how a developmental perspective informs diagnostic assessment & therapeutic work (with people of all ages) and, generally, to grow increasingly comfortable working with kids. In the NewYork-Presbyterian program, I learned a tremendous amount from diverse patient populations, a group of expert & inspiring supervisors, and a class of intelligent & supportive colleagues. Although often demanding clinically, the training allowed for additional endeavors. I enjoyed sufficient time to develop a study of clinicians' decision-making in the management of behavioral crises, to serve as the Resident & Fellow Delegate from the American Psychiatric Association to the American Medical Association, and to co-author a chapter on child development in a psychiatry review book."

Since graduating from the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program, I've had the pleasure of joining the faculty of Columbia University's Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. As Assistant Director of Residency Training, I am involved in the administration and teaching of child & adolescent psychiatry in Columbia's general psychiatry residency program, as well as in portions of the NewYork-Presbyterian child & adolescent program that are sited at Columbia. Also at Columbia, I am one of several child & adolescent psychiatrists now active in a New York State-sponsored telepsychiatry program, the principal goal of which is to provide consultations to underserved New York counties. In the evenings, I have a part-time private practice in which I see children, adolescents & adults.

Chirag Desai, MD

"I was born in Durham, North Carolina and raised in Poughkeepsie New York. It was during high school that I knew I wanted to enter the field of medicine and so I applied to, and was selected for, the Union College-Albany Medical College Medical Education Program. This is typically a 7 year program, but I wanted to spend an additional year at Union to work with a clinical researcher on early detection of breast cancer as I was very interested in Oncology and was considering it as a potential specialty. After my fourth year, I went on to obtain a Master of Science Degree in Biology, cum laude from Union College. While there, I was active in the Southeast Asian Students Association and a running club. I then went on to receive my medical degree from Albany Medical College, where I was first exposed to both psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. By graduation, I was certain that I wanted to pursue child psychiatry as a career. I was accepted for my general psychiatry residency at the New York Medical College and decided to "fast track" my training to be completed in 3 years so that I could begin a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In my first year at New York Medical College, I received the award for "Outstanding Intern of the Year". In my third year, I was honored to be selected by faculty and residents to become a Chief Resident. At the end of my PGY3 year, I matched into the NewYork-Presbyterian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program. While in training, I was fortunate to work with faculty at 3 prestigious institutions and have exposure to many different modalities of individual therapy, psychopharmacology, group therapy and family therapy. I was again honored to be selected as a Chief Resident, this time at the Columbia Campus during my second year of training. Presently, I am a Psychosomatic Medicine Fellow at Columbia, where I am able to have training in both adult and Child and Adolescent psychiatry consults."

Ann Miller, MD, PhD

"I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. I went to the University of Iowa for my undergraduate education, and mainly focused on women's studies, but I became very interested in brain science after working as an assistant in a research laboratory. From there, I went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a Ph.D. in neuroscience. My thesis involved studying the sleep of rats in relation to environmental stimuli. My graduate mentor, Ruth Benca, MD, PhD, was an academic psychiatrist and headed a research lab, as well as practicing sleep medicine in child and adult patients. Experiencing graduate school and working with Ruth led me to realize the synergy inherent in combining clinical work with research. It also piqued my interest in clinical practice.

I next went to medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. There, I continued a small research project looking at the effect of estrogen in the brain and ultimately graduated with distinction for research in neuroscience. My interest in child psychiatry only grew during medical school, and, as I was looking for general psychiatry residencies, I was also checking out possibilities for continued training in child psychiatry and related research. Besides the fact that NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia and Cornell Universities are international leaders in the field of psychiatry and their training programs are state-of-the-art, I think there were a couple of factors that made training at NewYork-Presbyterian the right choice for me.

One of the exceptional features of the new NewYork-Presbyterian child psychiatry residency is that it is designed to address the dearth of research in child psychiatry and the need to train clinician researchers in child psychiatry. To facilitate this, second-year residents have eight hours per week dedicated to research time. I was able to start child-related research during the general psychiatry residency at NewYork-Presbyterian and continue it throughout my clinical training. In collaboration with Dr. Bradley Peterson, director of the Brain Imaging lab and now Director of the Division of Child Psychiatry at Columbia University, I looked at differences in anatomy of the thalamus as seen in children and adults with Tourette Syndrome. One of our findings was that girls with Tourette Syndrome seemed to show big changes in thalamic volume. This was very exciting in light of my growing interest in gender differences in the brain. Moreover, receiving dedicated research time all through clinical training was instrumental in earning the Beatrix A. Hamburg Award for best new research poster by a child and adolescent resident at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Another reason that the NewYork-Presbyterian program was a good choice, given my interest in research, was the plethora of opportunities to continue post-residency training at either Weill Cornell or Columbia. After graduating from the child residency in June 2007, I began the child psychiatry research fellowship at Columbia University directed by Dr. David Shaffer. I this point, I am continuing to work with Dr. Peterson and a second mentor, Dr. Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, in an effort to pursue some of my interest in development and gender studies through brain imaging. Needless to say, having a large imaging project already underway has been quite an advantage in starting the fellowship and preparing for an academic career in child psychiatry.

Finally, from a clinical standpoint, I think one of the best things about NewYork-Presbyterian's child psychiatry residency was the opportunity to develop such a vast network of contacts in child psychiatry. Exposure to so many schools of thought and leaders in the field enriched our clinical skills and forced us to broaden our clinical thinking. Despite traveling between separate sites, the resident in my class were close-knit. We scheduled process group through the second year and did a number of fun things together. We also made plans to continue to keep in touch with each other as professional colleagues. From the vantage point of a recent graduate, I believe NewYork-Presbyterian's child psychiatry program offers unparalleled preparation in becoming a skilled a knowledgeable child psychiatrist."

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