Hello! My name is Amalia and I’m a third-year psychiatry resident in the Solnit Integrated Child & Adult Psychiatry Residency Program. I’m originally from Medellin, Colombia, and came to Miami, Fla., as a teenager. I studied neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and attended medical school at Stanford University. The brain has captivated me since I was a child: how does it develop and makes us the complex beings that we are with emotions, thoughts, and behaviors? I have a particular interest in infants and young children and their development. However, all of psychiatry is fascinating because we are constantly developing and changing. My research interests are varied, but I have worked in basic and clinical neurodevelopment identifying factors that affect our development and lead to mental health disorders. I am also passionate about diversity and inclusion.
Why I Chose Yale
I chose Yale because it has excellent clinical and research learning opportunities, and the flexibility to develop your own personal and professional interests. Yale also has a diverse group of residents, mentors, and faculty who really care about resident development and training. The faculty and program directors are open to resident feedback and incorporate it into the training. The leadership is open-minded and thoughtful about the residents and residency. They really care about your well-being as a person and as a professional, and that matters! They will be an excellent support system when difficult times arise. Prior to coming I was set on specializing in children and research. I found the perfect match for me in the Solnit Integrated Program because it individualizes the training to have adult psychiatry, child psychiatry, pediatrics and research training throughout six years.
My day starts at 8 am from Monday to Wednesday for my half time at the West Haven VA outpatient psychiatry clinic. The VA is only 10-15 minutes from downtown. I see patients of all ages, diagnosis, and backgrounds. I usually finish with my notes and encounters by 4-5 pm. During my time at the VA, I attend POD (which is a group supervision), and I also meet one on one with my dynamic supervisors and CBT supervisors. I also had the exciting opportunity to get training in Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD and couples therapy. The schedule at the VA is flexible and it allows you to delve into your own interests. On Thursdays, I have didactics in the morning with the adult residents. The rest of the time I work at the Yale Child Study Center, either seeing child cases or doing research. During the year, I also have call in the psychiatric emergency department. Despite initially being anxiety provoking, it is a fun and exciting place to learn how to care for patients that are suffering from acute illness, triage them, and provide them with the appropriate care that they need. It is a very gratifying experience.
Life as a Third Year Resident
Life as a third year is wonderful. You are finally at a point where you have a lot of knowledge and enough experience to truly delve into your own interest, and harness your clinical and research skills. You are caring for your own set of patients, making clinical decisions with the support of supervisors but primarily on your own. You are learning different pharmacologic and therapeutic modalities with your patients, and trying to see which one will benefit the patient the most. During didactics we are learning the nuances about pharmacology and therapy. I am looking forward to learning more about outpatient care, longitudinal care of patients at the West Haven VA. I am also looking forward to learning more in the psychiatric emergency department during call. I enjoy the flexibility of this year. As a Solnit Integrated resident, I do half time at the VA with adult patients, and half time at the Yale child study center seeing children and conducting research. It is great to be able to fully integrate all these components during this year.
Where I Live
The first two years I lived in the heart of the city in downtown. For my third year (now that I have a dog), I chose to move five minutes away from downtown to a neighborhood called Wooster Square. Wooster Square is a lovely neighborhood that feels a bit more family friendly than the busy downtown, with the perks of having the excitement of downtown, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and didactics within walking distance. I love this neighborhood because it has a nice green park where I take my dog for walks, or just sit down to read a good book. There is a Saturday farmers’ market and some of the most delicious Italian food in town. This neighborhood is the home of New Haven’s little Italy, and the Italian influence is still quite visible. We have great pizza and cannoli. This neighborhood is also close to the harbor, so I can go for 30-minute runs by the ocean shore. Nothing like a nice place to come home to after work!
My Favorite New Haven Restaurants and Cultural Activities
New Haven has a great variety of restaurants. Recently I found a new Peruvian restaurant called Ceviche 181 in downtown, which has amazing ceviche and other Peruvian food. I also love a good Tom Yum during the winter at York Street Noodle House near the hospital. That soup will make your heart happy when it’s cold outside. Now that I live in Wooster, I also go frequently to Pepe’s for a delicious pizza, and across the street to get cannoli for desert. For some delicious boba tea, I found ViVi’s right by the New Haven Green. I usually drink one of those when I am going to call and it makes my call days happy.
For cultural activities, I took a lindy hop class taught by undergrads. I also enjoy going to yoga. I love going to concerts on the Green during the summer. I am looking forward to Shakespeare in the park and the Yale’s theater season this fall/winter. I have to say, more than cultural experiences, I love that Connecticut is full of natural beauty. I enjoy going hiking and to new outdoor places with my family and my boxer puppy, Mia.
Living in warm weather for most of my life, as a first year, I was worried about winter and intern year. I have to say that the transition was big, but as I have lived longer in New Haven, and been part of the program, I am absolutely sure I made the right choice. The seasons grow on you, and you start finding your place in the community. Having supportive mentors and community has really made a big difference in the training. I really appreciate that work-life balance is a priority of the program, and that we all matter as individuals to the program. I am so lucky to be part of a group of intelligent, dedicated, thoughtful and diverse group of people. I am looking forward to my years ahead at Yale, and look forward to meeting you during the interview trail or when you are a PGY1, when you join the program. If you have any questions about the PGY 1-3 year or life at Yale, or anything, do not hesitate to contact me.