Skip to main content

Resident Spotlight

Get To Know Our Residents

'Resident Spotlight' text on background of dark blue curtains

Get to know our residents and what a typical week might look like for you as part of our residency family! Learn about our rotations, work hours, and also how we spend our time outside of work.

Intern Spotlight

Get to Know Pooja

Background and Educationpooja.jpg

I grew up in Los Angeles and studied Biology, Global Health, and Spanish at USC. I took two gap years prior to medical school where I spent time working for the Global Medicine program at USC, volunteering in LA, and doing harm reduction work at the Tijuana-San Diego border. I then went to medical school in Portland, Oregon where I continued my work in immigrant health and started the OHSU Human Rights Clinic. Early in medical school I decided I wanted to specialize in Psychiatry and became involved in neuromodulation research (specifically TMS) and research in child and adolescent psychiatry looking at non-pharmacologic interventions for ADHD. I still have a diverse set of interests within psychiatry and am excited to be at an institution that has so many different opportunities in nearly every area of psychiatry. Added bonus, I couldn’t be happier living in San Diego, it feels like the perfect place to train, and I feel grateful every day to live in this beautiful city.


Career Goals/Interests Within Psychiatry

  • Personalized Mental Healthcare
  • Psychotherapy
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy


PGY1 Clinical Rotations
UCSD Hillcrest Inpatient Psychiatry (3 months)
VA Inpatient Psychiatry (2 months)
Neurology/Child Neurology (2 months)
Emergency Medicine (1 month)
Inpatient Medicine (2 months)
Outpatient Pediatrics (1 month)
Night float/buddy call at UCSD Hillcrest (5 separate weeks all during inpatient psychiatry months)
Vacation (4 weeks)


Typical Week


I usually do something active in the morning like surf or go to yoga before heading to Wayfarer for some baked goods or to our favorite breakfast burrito spot for THE BEST breakfast burrito in town. Then I’ll spend the rest of the day prepping for the week, getting groceries, meal prepping etc. Some Sundays are more fun than others—this Sunday my partner and I saw one of our favorite DJs at this awesome venue in San Diego.



Morning: I’m currently on inpatient Psychiatry at NBMU which is the Hillcrest location of the hospital. I love the diversity in training sites we have at the program. On Mondays, rounds are at 9AM so I leave my place at 7:30 AM to get to the hospital at 8AM which leaves me plenty of time to pre-chart and see my patients.

Afternoon: I always look forward to our Monday didactic Psychopharmacology lectures from Dr. Jonathan Meyer who is a psychopharmacology expert! Today it was on “How Antipsychotics Cause Parkinsonism”.

Evening: Go on a sunset run after work, cook dinner, and catch up on any organization tasks if the weekend is busy.



Morning/Afternoon: On Tuesdays, we have informal rounds so often we use the flexibility in our schedule to spend extra time with patients and do some teaching with our inpatient attending at NBMU, Dr. Khafaja, who is amazing.

Evening: Usually I have plenty of time after work in the evening. So, I head to the gym from work, then watch the sunset by the beach near our place and cook/eat dinner with my partner.



Morning/Afternoon: Wednesdays are very similar to Monday mornings with formal rounds at 9 am. At noon, we have our weekly journal club at NBMU – lunch is always provided and this is a great time to review a new paper and hear everyone’s thoughts/discuss!


Evening: Depends on the Wednesday, but since we get to sleep in a little more on Thursday mornings (thanks to virtual didactics), usually will plan something fun or relaxing in the evening. This week, I went on a run right after work and got dinner with my neighbors.



Morning: Thursday morning didactics are the best! Every Thursday morning, we have Zoom didactics which are always such incredible learning. An added perk is getting to sleep in :)


Afternoon: Head to Hillcrest for inpatient psychiatry at NBMU at 1 PM. Dr. Khafaja, our attending at NBMU is amazing, and will often see our patients and write our notes before we even arrive on didactic days. This means extra time to chat with patients without the pressure of documenting. I usually head home at 4 pm unless it is my day to be late-stay (we each do once a week when on NBMU and stay until 6  p.m.).


Evenings: On Thursday evenings a few of my co-interns and I will always try to go to evening yoga at Riff’s Yoga Studio followed by a wine bar at our favorite spot across the street.



Morning: Same as Monday and Wednesday mornings!


Afternoon: This afternoon we had wonderful medical student presentations on the treatment of Bipolar disorder during pregnancy and Post-Partum Psychiatric disorders (inspired by a very interesting patient we are taking care of on the unit). Often we will do these more informal presentations outside in the sunshine.


Evening: Depends on the Friday. Often I meet up with friends/co-residents for a happy hour to try a new restaurant in SD or go to a show/concert. On other Fridays I might be leaving town for a weekend getaway.



One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday is to play spike ball on the beach or paddleboard. Other times my friends and I will grab brunch at a new spot we’ve been wanting to try in SD and then head to the beach or breweries after. Some other times I am traveling – my partner and I recently went to Todos Santos and next on our list are Oaxaca and Guadalajara. One major perk of living in San Diego is how easy and affordable it is to fly nonstop to so many amazing places in Mexico.


Evening: If I have a weekend call one potential shift might be 8 PM-8 AM Saturday. One nice thing about calls at UCSD is “Quiet Hours” where we do not get paged unless it is a psychiatric emergency between 11 PM-6 AM. This has decreased the toll of calls as I often get at least 5 hours of sleep during night float and individual overnight call shifts on the weekend.



PGY2 Spotlight

Get to know Stephanie 


PGY2 Clinical Rotations

  • Inpatient Psychiatry VA (4 months)
  • Inpatient Geropsychiatry (1 month)
  • Alcohol and Drug Treatment (1 month)
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (1 month)
  • Eating disorders (1 month)
  • Psychiatry Emergency Clinic (2 weeks + 2 weeks) Night float (2 weeks + 2 weeks)
  • Consult/Liaison psychiatry (2 months)

Average weekly hours

  • PGY2 on-service: 45-55 hrs/week

Night and weekend call duty

  • 4 total weeks of night float at the VA (82 hr/wk)"
  • ~14 weekend shifts total in a year, 2-3 holidays worked


Typical Week



This is my “catch up on life and do normal people things” day, consisting of preparing breakfast, completing chores, and lounging around with my partner and our two sweet kitties. In the afternoon, we like to enjoy some sunshine  since it's summer now, we love swimming in the ocean! One of our favorite places to swim out from is the Marine Room in La Jolla. It's also a great place to snorkel, and if we get lucky, we might even see a leopard shark or two! Afterwards, we go home, make dinner, and wind down with some TV, or sometimes I'll draw a bath. We're in bed by 9:30-10 pm because we love sleep around here.



Morning and Afternoon: I wake up around 7 am and enjoy a cup of coffee. I’m currently on the UCSD Hillcrest Consult-Liaison (CL) rotation, and since I live <15 minutes away in Mission Valley, I head out around 7:30.


At 7:45, I meet the night float residents in the Hillcrest ED for sign out and to grab the CL pager. Then, I meet my attending and the rest of the CL team, which consists of med students and nurse practitioners. We go over the list together, and divvy up patients to be seen. After morning paper rounds, the medical students and I begin chart checking and note prepping – then, we pre-round together around 10 am. At noon, we take a break for lunch (sustenance is very important), and then meet with our attending to round at 1 pm. Afterwards, we spend the rest of the afternoon finishing up notes, relaying our recommendations to the primary team, seeing new consults, and doing some teaching if there’s time. Something I really appreciate about this rotation is that my attending kindly holds the CL pager and keeps me in the loop throughout the day for any new consults they would like me to see. My patient cap on this service is 6, so I take 1-2 new consults throughout the day as they come in.


Around 4-5 pm, the attending heads out for the day and I am responsible for holding the pager for the last couple hours of my shift. Things usually slow down around this time, but if I do get any new consults, I use my best judgement to decide if I have enough time to see them during the remainder of my shift, or if it would be better to roll them over to the night team. At 6 pm, I meet the night float residents at NBMU (our inpatient psych unit at UCSD) for sign out.


Evening: My partner and I like to spend our Monday evenings grocery shopping for the week – our go-to’s are Costco, H-Mart, or Trader Joe’s, depending on what we’re feeling. Afterwards, we make dinner, tidy up, then relax on the couch with some TV. 



Morning and Afternoon: Day flow is pretty similar to that of Monday’s, with the exception that we have protected time for process group in the afternoon, so I leave for the day at 4 pm.


Evening: Process group is reserved for the PGY-2s and typically held by a licensed therapist. While we do not have formal process group right now, the time is still protected, and we are encouraged to process in whatever way we deem appropriate. So, my co-residents and I like to meet for our own version of process group. Tonight, we’re having a picnic at Sunset Cliffs, where we enjoy each other’s company, watch a stunning sunset, and talk about how the year is going so far for us. I got very lucky with my class  not only are they wonderful colleagues, but they are also my best friends.



Morning and Afternoon: Work flow is the same as Monday’s!


Lunch is always something to look forward to on hump days, because we have Journal Club at NBMU, where lunch is provided! Journal Club is hosted by the PGY-1 Chief, who prepares a lunch talk for us AND food. Today, she’s going over the biopsychosocial model, and we’re having Pop Pie (a beloved Hillcrest delicacy).


Evening: It’s summertime, so that means the San Diego Zoo closes at 9 pm. Since my partner and I are annual passholders (as are many of our friends who live in SD), we try to go at least once a week after work to decompress, enjoy a walk among the thick foliage, or ride the SkyFari at sunset – oh, and see the animals of course! My favorites right now are the snow leopards – I love watching them play; they’re not unlike my own kitties at home. :')



Morning: Arguably the best morning of the work week, as I get to stay home for Zoom didactics and exist in the same space as my partner (who works from home) and cats for the first half of the day. I like to prepare a breakfast while tuning in to the 8 am full residency didactic, and then post up at my desk for the subsequent PGY-2 specific didactics that run until noon. For the past few weeks, we’ve been doing a series on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – learning the in’s and out’s, and practicing under the supervision of a licensed therapist.


Afternoon: I arrive at Hillcrest at 1 pm, and meet with my attending to go over the list. I see my assigned patients on my own (no medical students today as they have their own full day didactics), staff as needed, and then sign out at 6 pm per usual!


Evening: After eating dinner and tidying up, my partner and I like to go for an evening stroll. We're very lucky to live next to Civita Park, which is a big, beautiful park located in the middle of our neighborhood. I love our walks so much, and the park is one of the reasons why we chose to live in this part of town. 


Morning: Back to regular scheduled programming. I typically am not assigned any unseen consults, as I have clinic in the afternoon! I aim to wrap up around noon so that I have time to grab lunch before heading over to La Jolla.


Afternoon: This year, I am part of the PCMHI (Primary Care Mental Health Integration) Clinic at the VA. This clinic is unique because it utilizes the collaboration care model, and my role is to provide consultation with primary care providers and facilitate management of mental health conditions.


Evening: We made it to the end of the week! Relaxation is in order, and I like lounging by the pool or going for a dip in the jacuzzi. For dinner, my partner and I pick up In-n-Out, which we take to Civita Park to enjoy atop a hill on a picnic blanket. We're creatures of habit, but we also love trying new places a couple times a month, and there is no shortage of tasty places to try in San Diego.



As a PGY-2, I take solo call at the VA about once a month. I’m responsible for covering 2S (our inpatient psych unit at the VA), ED consults, floor consults, and Code Greens (psychiatric emergencies) during these 12 hour shifts.

 On a weekend day shift, I arrive at the VA at 8 am to receive sign out from the night resident. At 9 am, I meet with the 2S charge nurse and my attending to go over the unit list. Then, I see patients on the unit and write notes. Consults, calls, messages, and codes are bound to come in throughout the day – I triage as best I can, go about my work, and staff with my attending as needed. The shift ends at 8 pm, when I sign out to the oncoming night resident. I go home, decompress, and fall asleep to the sweet, sweet thought of knowing that I’ve made it through another call day.

PGY3 Spotlight

Get to know Jack

Background & Education


I am proud to originally hail from Seattle. Growing up in the misty, drizzly Pacific Northwest inoculated me against bad weather and also provided good fodder for my current love of coffee and seafood. After high school, I headed out into the wider world, heading down to Stanford where I studied human biology, and psychology and pursued my passion for classical music by playing the French horn in several campus ensembles. After graduation and two years of struggling to figure out the rest of my life,  circumstances (i.e. the love of my life) took me to the Midwest for the next decade. Our first stop was Ann Arbor, Michigan where I worked for a research lab studying neurodegenerative diseases in mouse models and volunteered for a youth crisis hotline and the American Red Cross while my partner completed an MPH. My next stop was Madison, WI, where I joined the MSTP at the University of Wisconsin, completing an MD and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology over the next 8 years. In the meantime, my wife completed a Ph.D. in Social Welfare, we became homeowners, we had a couple of kids, and survived a pandemic along the way :).  I was thrilled to return to California as a member of the UCSD Psychiatry Research Track Residency program.

Career Goals

I am very interested in studying the intersections between social determinants of health, neurobiology, cognition, and psychiatric illnesses during the aging process. Clinically, I am particularly passionate about working with older patients and am considering specializing in geropsychiatry.

PGY3 Clinical Rotations

  • Outpatient psychiatry at OPS (12 months)
  • Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary (12 months)

Average weekly hours

  • 40-45 hours/week

Night and weekend call duty

  • 4 total weeks of night float at UCSD Hillcrest Hospital (84 hrs/week)
  • ~ 14 weekend shifts total in a year, 1-2 holidays worked


AM: I usually wake up early with my two kids, ages 2 and 5, make some breakfast, and plan an outing for the day while my wife catches up on sleep.  Favorite destinations include the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park (yes, there are two incredible zoos in San Diego!), or one of the many amazing San Diego area beaches (we love Ocean Beach, Powerhouse Beach, and Fanuel Park).

PM: Family nap hour is usually a crucial part of the afternoon followed by preparing for the week ahead – prepping/cooking meals, cleaning the house, and getting the kids ready for the coming school week. After putting the kids to sleep, my wife and I will usually curl up with a good (or trashy) show on Netflix or HBO to chill out in anticipation of the week ahead.


 Morning: The PGY2 year is a bit of a clinical grab bag and varies quite a bit depending on which rotation I am currently on. On a “typical” VA inpatient psychiatry rotation I’ll get up around 6:15, help get the kids ready for school and out the door, grab a coffee and some breakfast, and get to the VA around 8 to start pre-rounding on patients and preparing notes.  Interdisciplinary rounds provide a great platform to put together a more comprehensive inpatient treatment plan and discharge plan in coordination with our excellent colleagues from social work, nursing, and pharmacy. 

Afternoon: I will often take a walk over to the UCSD Jacobs Medical Center, where we can spend our hard-earned meal allowance on a pretty decent lunch at the hospital cafeteria or Farmasea, the secret café in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center building with AMAZING fresh juices, smoothies, espresso drinks, and acai bowls. The rest of the afternoon is spent finishing documentation, completing discharges and admissions, and doing some teaching with the stellar UCSD medical students.

Evening: About one day a week, I can expect to stay late to take care of unit issues and admissions until 6 p.m. while my co-residents enjoy a well-deserved end to their day around 4:30. My wife will have picked up the kids and made dinner, so is in dire need of relief.  After dinner, it is time to get the kids ready for bed, clean up the kitchen, and prepare for the next day.


Morning: Tuesday mornings are usually more laid back since rounds are more informal “card-flip” style with one of the three fantastic VA attendings followed by the typical discharges, admissions, or testifying at the occasional legal hearing (one of my least favorite parts of inpatient psychiatry but a necessity for the safety of our sickest patients).

Afternoon: Because the mornings tend to be less complete, Tuesday afternoons are often great for circling back and spending more time with patients. We don’t get a ton of formal therapy training during our first year, but what skills we do learn improve through practice with our veteran patient population.

Evening: On Tuesday evenings, we try to meet up with friends at Civita Park for dinner from one of the many delicious food trucks that rotate through each week and have an evening stroll while the kids play.


Morning: Same as Monday mornings!

Afternoon: On Wednesday we have lunch provided from a delicious nearby spot along with a learning session on some clinical topic, often a medical student presentation. After lunch, it is time for an outpatient clinic. PGY2 year we have a couple different options for clinic and I opted for the geropsychiatry clinic at the VA.  This year, we got our first taste of supervised therapy visits as well as conducting medication management visits.

Evening: I try to get home earlier to help cook dinner and play with the kids. We might go for a walk after dinner and watch one of the beautiful San Diego sunsets from nearby Murray Ridge Park before heading to bed.


Morning: Ahhhh, the sweet bliss of didactic mornings! After getting the kids ready for school/daycare there is usually room for a leisurely morning of an extra 30 min of sleep or some much-needed jogging/yoga before Zoom didactics start at 8 AM. Didactics vary from resident-led “professor rounds” to sessions with various UCSD experts in all psychiatry-related topics.

Afternoon: After lunch at home, I drive over to the VA to finish out the afternoon on the inpatient unit.  Rounds are again informal and attendings will sometimes help share some of the documentation burden, leaving a bit more time for patient care, teaching, and learning.

Evening: After work, I’ll help prepare dinner and hang out with the kids.  After putting them down for sleep, I try to slip into some right-brain mode for a while on my electric keyboard before enjoying some dessert and a streaming show with my wife.


Morning: Same as Mondays!

Afternoon: Friday afternoons are generally spent wrapping up any loose ends from the week and preparing for the weekend ahead (any anticipated discharges, changes to treatment plans, touching base with patient family members, etc.).

Evening: Fatherhood is amazing, but also challenging and time-consuming, so most Friday evenings are spent similarly to other evenings… playing with the kids, getting them fed and ready for bed before collapsing on the couch/bed. However, on the off-chance that we have a grandparent in town or a babysitter on hand, my wife and I will head out to one of the many amazing restaurants that grace the San Diego landscape. You can find just about any cuisine (along with great beer and cocktails) you could want at reasonable prices, and nothing beats an after-dinner walk by the ocean.


AM: Finally a day of rest!  Assuming I don’t have a call shift, my wife will wake up with the kids while I catch up on sleep.  We might head to a county park or the San Diego Botanical Gardens for a hike before coming home to play some Switch with the kids. Once again, family nap time is critical to everyone’s sanity!

PM: Weekends are great times to get a jump start on food prep, so my wife and I usually make a big meal or two to eat throughout the week.  Afterward, we might plop the kids down in front of the TV for some episodes of Bluey (the best kids show around, believe me!) while we enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine.


PGY4 Spotlight

Get to know Jessicajkrikpaddleboat

Background and Education:  

I grew up in north county San Diego, studied psychobiology at UCLA for my undergraduate degree, and then took two gap years while I worked as a teaching assistant for several bioethics courses in Los Angeles. I then moved back to San Diego for medical school at UCSD during which time I was involved in the student-run free clinic, student government, and neurology research. I was drawn to psychiatry due to my desire to foster deep connections with patients, and to learn about - and from - the stories that they trust us with.  

Career Goals/Interests within Psychiatry: 
Reproductive Psychiatry 
Medical Education  

PGY4 Senior Position: 
NBMU/Hillcrest Chief  
Women’s mental health elective (1/2 day/week) 
Interventional psychiatry elective (1/2 day/week) 
Therapy elective (1/2 day/week)  

Average weekly hours: 
40-50 hours/week 
No weekend call or night float (heck yeah!) 
Schedule for the week
I will wake up ~5:30 am and exercise before starting my day. Then I will commute to NBMU - the inpatient service at Hillcrest Hospital and an easy 10-minute drive from where I live downtown. I spend the morning reviewing clinical updates from the weekend, helping the interns with any patient-care questions they may have, and coordinating our admissions for the day. At 9 am, we have formal interdisciplinary rounds with our attending, as well as medical students, nursing colleagues, social workers, and pharmacy. At noon, the residents on service usually eat lunch together and watch our weekly psychopharmacology lecture from Dr. Jonathon Meyer, an esteemed educator in our department. In the afternoons, I will help the interns with admissions and discharges. Sometimes we will discuss a challenging clinical case we encountered. I really enjoy this flexibility in my schedule. 
I usually get home by 5 pm. My priority on Monday nights is usually staying up to date on whatever reality TV show I am watching at the moment. This week it is the Bachelorette.  
We do informal rounds on Tuesday mornings and our attending Dr. Khafaja often uses the flexible structure to do some teaching. In the afternoon, I have my therapy elective. During this time, I see two patients for psychotherapy. Afterward, I meet with my own psychodynamic therapy supervisor, Dr. Bruns, who shares his insights and helps me develop my own therapeutic repertoire.  
With plenty of time left in the day before sunset, Sydney and I will usually take a walk to the local dog park or Starbucks (for a puppucinno, of course)  
Very similar to Monday mornings! Then at 11 am, I attend the NCRP fellowship didactic in reproductive psychiatry. At noon, we have our weekly journal club at NBMU – lunch is provided! Sometimes I will lead the discussion and other times we have a guest speaker. In the afternoons, I see patients at the Women’s Mental Health clinic. This is my second year in the clinic and I loved it so much last year I came back for more! The attendings at the clinic, Drs. Reminick and Clark, are excellent teachers and mentors.  
Wednesday night is didactic eve, so I will usually go to happy hour with a friend. This week I went to Coasterra (a spot on the harbor with views of downtown) with friend/co-resident, Sahana.  
Thursday mornings are very luxurious because we have didactics from home via Zoom. I like to sleep in, take Sydney for a long walk, and drink coffee on my couch while I listen in. In the afternoons, I am back at NBMU to help the interns wrap up any tasks left over from the morning. 
Usually home by 5 pm and Thursdays are a bit of a grab bag. Sometimes I will lounge at my friend’s rooftop pool, or go for a walk around Mission Bay or La Jolla. 
In the mornings, I am in the interventional psychiatry clinic. This month, I am at the La Jolla clinic learning about TMS. There is a lot of time for reading and learning, and the schedule is quite flexible. In the afternoons, I am back at NBMU with the interns making sure that patient care is prepped for the weekend teams. 
I like to do something fun but low-key, like going to the movie theaters or taking my cornhole set to a local park.  

Some weekends I moonlight at a local hospital. When not moonlighting, one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is at the Little Italy farmers market. Some other favorite Saturday activities include brunch, renting a boat on Mission Bay, seeing live music or visiting with my family in North County. Other times, I am out of town on a short weekend trip. Some local favorites are Palm Springs, LA or Temecula.