Resident Life

Tina Thomas with her husband and two of her three children

About me
Hello everyone! I’m Tina Thomas and I am a rising PGY4. I am a mother of three children, one of whom I had during my PGY3 year. My husband works full-time and so you can imagine, we lead a very busy full life! I’m here to say that residency and work-life integration are possible at UT Houston. In addition, it is possible to “thrive, not just survive” in residency with the support of this wonderful program.

Why I chose UT Houston
For myself and my family, UT Houston was a natural choice for residency. I loved the welcoming collegial environment I experienced when I interviewed here. From the start I found the faculty to be very encouraging and my co-residents to be collaborative. We celebrate each other’s personal and professional achievements and we have made it through Hurricane Harvey and now, COVID-19. Knowing I have a group of residents who support and promote one another has been invaluable.

I also love that the program leadership is very accommodating to each individual’s potential, as well as wanting to identify new potential. For example, I was able to find several faculty willing to mentor me on a project I wanted to do on forced medication which went on to win an annual resident paper award. I never considered myself a researcher but was offered a spot on the research track which has opened great new experiences for me that I’ve really enjoyed. My professional interests in forensic and cultural psychiatry were supported by allowing me to develop curriculums for both subjects and do rotations tailored to those interests. I have found if you have a seed of interest and a little initiative, this program will give you the soil, sunshine and water for growth!

Why I like Houston
I have enjoyed living in this diverse city. I appreciate the diversity in population that we also benefit from experiencing during rotations such as HCPC, the jail, NPC and Healthcare for the Homeless. Eating out is my number one hobby so I love all the diverse cuisine!  The ability to live in the suburbs with my children but still enjoy a lot of city life is also a big benefit. And I cannot forget, waking up to palm trees, sunny skies and warm weather is just good for my mental health!

– Tina Thomas, class of 2021

Jeffrey at his research lab at NASA

Hi I’m Jeffrey McBride! The most important consideration for me when creating my Match list was to prioritize the program that would allow me to pursue my specific interest within Psychiatry. Every program can say they have friendly residents with helpful faculty, but only a few can provide the supportive environment that allows gifted residents to flourish. When I told the interviewers at McGovern that I wanted to pursue Aerospace Psychiatry, the directors for the program asked how they could assist me in achieving my goal. The dedication of this program to me and the other residents is why I chose to come to McGovern. Only this program allowed me to complete all clinicals while still giving me time and opportunities to continue my research with NASA and to find my own niche within psychiatry. Don’t get me wrong, McGovern has absolutely everything you are looking for on your checklist for residency programs: great city, amazing residents, incredibly intelligent attending physicians, strength in diversity, massive inpatient psychiatric experience, exemplary research, first-hand ECT experience, and it’s a part of the largest medical and research center in the world. Yet, it was the ability to utilize and incorporate each of these strengths into a world-class program that made it the program for me. I wake up each morning confident in a new day of amazing psychiatric education, and I go to sleep knowing that I am one day closer to my dream of working in aerospace psychiatry.

– Jeffrey McBride, class of 2023

Scott, his wife Madison, and their dog Jen

UT Houston Psychiatry’s diverse patient population and amount of exposure to interesting patient cases caused me to apply. Being on call in the second largest free-standing psychiatric hospital in North America has allowed me to learn to function in high acuity settings independently. The breadth of experience available here allows you to experience the full depth of psychiatry- forensics, ECT, Ketamine, DBT, Child and Adolescent, Early Onset, TMS- our program has it all. I enjoy working in the most diverse city in the nation, with the breadth of socio-economic spectrum, getting to develop novel ways to treat mental health issues in a variety of unique situations. I am interested in pursuing a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship so that I can treat the full breadth of the lifespan. I am particularly interested in underserved and corrections populations and am excited to see where my career will take me.

– Scott Swain, Class of 2022

About me:
We are an academic family through and through. Since becoming parents in 2014, my husband and I have read a ton of books about parenting philosophies to help us carve our own path. Becoming a parent coincided with the completion of my PhD so it was the perfect time to start delving deep into a fresh topic. In our attempt to do some evidence-based parenting, we are inculcating our son into books, bikes, podcasts, yoga, dance, nature walks, gardening, talking about feelings, and …..Star Wars. Well, Star Wars was just for fun but we sure find that it generates a lot of discussion on our walks.

Gauri exploring the natural bridge caverns with her family

Why I chose UT:
First and foremost, for the warmth. Before applying for residency, I shadowed Dr Selek during clinical rounds and attended conferences at UT. What struck me was how

friendly and warm everyone was. UT was clearly a great place to work and this was reflected in how colleagues treated each other, with respect and collegiality.

Academics are a strong focus in our program for both the residents and the faculty. Lectures and case conferences are enlivened with plenty of questions and discussions. Our faculty are constantly seeking feedback about the didactics and seek to improve the content and format to ensure that we are learning the breadth and depth of psychiatry. A highlight of first year didactics was Milestones, in which we discussed historical perspectives, neuroscience methods and cutting-edge research in psychiatry.

In the first year, our rotations at HCPC (Harris County Psychiatric Center) afford us a unique experience with managing high acuity mental illness, spanning the child and adult population and a wide variety of clinical diagnoses. Internal medicine, neurology, emergency medicine and family medicine rotations at other hospitals in the Texas Medical Center (TMC) train us to help our patients with all aspects of their health. As a psychiatry intern on these services, we are an integral part of the treatment teams and learn alongside our colleagues of other specialties. Supervising faculty in these departments are not only excellent clinicians but love to teach. Win-win!

Why I love Houston:
Definitely the trees, the space, and the food! In that order. We live in Kingwood which is called “the living forest” (yes, this is written in stone and concrete at various spots in my neighborhood). Our living forest is traversed by a “greenbelt”, a network of trails, which total to more than 75 miles. We don’t let the mosquitoes scare us away from these beautiful paths on which we stumble upon a creek, wildflowers, and occasional fairy gardens thanks to our creative neighbors. Having a huge population in Houston that celebrates Indian festivals also means that I don’t have to miss my beloved festival Navratri.

The plan ahead:
In the second year, I want to learn more about psychopharmacology, and also about integrating psychotherapy in my daily patient encounters. I look forward to finding out more about what might be the best fit for my career, in terms of the kind of practice, age group and subspecialty within psychiatry. What is certain is that academics and learning will continue to feature in my personal and professional life.

– Gauri Wable, class of 2023

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