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Resident Well-Being

You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

 — Eleanor Brownn

Our Approach

We know that resident well-being is essential for optimal resident learning, competent and compassionate clinical care, and the smooth functioning of both the residency program and department as a whole. For this reason, we have devised a series of experiences that promote a sense of collegiality and enhance our residents' emotional health. Knowing the importance of the above quote for psychiatrists, the UCSD Psychiatry Residency Program both prioritizes a focus on and takes a holistic approach to residency well-being. This approach encompasses:

  • resident involvement in system-level change;
  • a robust wellness committee that offers half-day wellness retreats and wellness didactics built into the formalized curriculum;
  • a Suicide and Adverse Events (SAVE) committee dedicated to providing support to residents when adverse events occur;

Our Goals

Our goals for having such a broad focus on wellness are:

  • to help mitigate against resident burnout and its sequelae
  • to create a culture of support and care, and
  • to ensure our residents are well-positioned to become compassionate, self-insightful, sophisticated psychiatrists who go on to have meaningful careers and lives.

Wellness Committee

We have a robust and active Wellness Committee comprised of engaged, thoughtful, and compassionate residents. The activities of the Wellness Committee include half day wellness retreats, wellness themed didactics, resident birthday poems, snacks on our main clinical services, and advocacy for the promotion of resident well-being. See this link for more details about the work of the Wellness Committee.

Go to Wellness Committee.

Suicide and Adverse Events (SAVE) Committee

 We also have an active Suicide and AdVerse Events (SAVE) Committee dedicated to ensuring optimal support is provided to residents after adverse events occur. See this link to learn more about the meaningful work of the SAVE Committee. Go to SAVE Committee.

Resident Mental and Physical Health

Resident health is a priority in the UCSD Psychiatry Residency Program. Here are some of our offerings to promote resident health:

  • No cost psychodynamic psychotherapy program during the PGY3 year
  • PGY1 and PGY2 year weekly process groups
  • Health system-wide program for mental health screenings and referrals, go to HEAR program
  • 2 protected mornings per year to attend medical appointments
  • Supportive culture for attending medical appointments when needed
  • Free comprehensive health insurance
  • Access to concierge medicine OneMedical with same day appointments
  • Gyms available at both UCSD and VA hospitals for resident use 

Living a Balanced Life

Our wonderful residents come to residency with diverse and interesting hobbies and passions. Residents are encouraged to continue to live balanced lives filled with self-discovery, connection, and engagement-all while taking advantage of the full offerings of living in beautiful San Diego.

Here are some vignettes of our residents' lives:

Day in the Life of Our Residents
Residents' Pet Pals

Volunteer Opportunties

Volunteer work is another important component of resident well-being. Residents are encouraged to participate in various volunteer opportunities, all of which promote their well-being and help them be more connected to their communities. Residents are engaged in a number of volunteer experiences, including:
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • UCSD School of Medicine Free Clinic
  • Running process groups for residents in other specialties
  • Mentoring medical students through the UCSD School of Medicine Psychiatry Interest Group

Mentorship Program

Our program strives for close and collegial contact between residents across all years of training and residents and faculty. Based on their interests, residents are assigned both a faculty and resident mentor before starting their intern year. This mentorship is in addition to clinical and psychotherapy supervision. In the UCSD Department of Psychiatry, we have a diverse host of potential mentors. The mentorship program allows faculty and residents to meet informally one-on-one to discuss career goals, research interests, and/or personal pursuits. Our hope is that each resident will form an early mentorship relationship that can be built upon throughout their residency training.

System-Level Involvement, Advocacy, and Change

Knowing that residency wellness and ultimately physician wellness is an organizational and system-level matter that requires organizational and system-level solutions, our program offers opportunities for residents to be involved in system-level advocacy and change. These opportunities exist within the residency program, across the broader sites and systems in which our residents train, regionally, and nationally.

Resident Training Committee (RTC)

The RTC reviews and discusses virtually every aspect of residency education and is constantly striving to improve and evolve our program. The committee is made up of the residency training director and associate directors, other faculty, chief residents and two elected representatives from each class. Each member has equal voice with full voting power.

UCSD Housestaff Association

Psychiatry residents are asked each year to participate in the UCSD Housestaff Association by sending a representative to its Executive Committee. It really is an excellent way to get involved in the education and training of residents. The Housestaff Association provides a forum for open dialogue between the UCSD administration and housestaff. It has been instrumental in improving residents' benefits, upgrading call rooms, and maintaining good morale.

Resident Check-Ins with Administration

Regular check-in sessions are held with residents and chief residents, residents and the Residency Training Director, and residents and the Departmental Chair. Each is an opportunity for residents to share their observations about what is working smoothly and what could be better optimized in the residency training program.

Psychiatry Residency Selection Committee

Residents are asked to participate in this committee that is involved in all aspects of interviewing and selecting new psychiatry residents. We do everything possible to ensure that the residents selected for admission are a "good fit" with our program.

Organizational Psychiatry

Residents are encouraged to apply for and participate in regional and national fellowship and leadership roles. Through committee work, fellowships, and elected positions, many residents participate in the important work of the San Diego Psychiatric Society and the American Psychiatric Association.

Resident Retreats

In addition to the wellness half-day retreats, the residency program offers two residency focused retreats-a half day retreat in the fall and a full day retreat in the spring. These retreats are designed to allow the residents to reflect on their residency experience, share observations about system-level improvements they would like to see, and summarize these reflections and ideas for residency leadership. These retreats are also an important time for resident bonding, rest and relaxation.