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Resident and Alumni Comments

General information

“San Mateo County’s residency program for psychiatry is uniquely designed to create an environment where those committed to the public sector, health equity, and career development can excel. From the curriculum, to the top notch faculty, wide breadth of exposure to various training settings, and ability to pursue professional interests, San Mateo’s program allowed me the diversity of thought and experience to not just become a good psychiatrist, but to grow professionally in ways that often only occur after residency training.”

—Gary Tsai, Class of 2013, Co-Chief Resident, APA/SAMHSA Minority Fellow. Currently Director Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, County of Los Angeles, Dept of Public Health

“I was thrilled to match at San Mateo County for psychiatry residency and my enthusiasm for the program has only grown. There is a genuine, central focus on public psychiatry throughout the residency and broader county — rather than completing brief, sporadic rotations focused on treating traditionally underserved populations, we train within a nationally-acclaimed public mental health system that is specifically designed to support them by providing needed clinical care and addressing social and economic inequities that so often hinder lasting recovery. We are able to connect many of those we work with to wraparound social services, housing support, financial assistance, and legal assistance when needed. We can work longitudinally with people whose substance use or psychiatric needs brought them into contact with the criminal justice system through well-established diversion and re-entry programs as an alternative to incarceration, and so much more. The sense of humanism and solidarity that permeates our system also extends to residents: there is an honest dedication to wellness, evidenced and formalized by the union we share with our attendings and contract protecting our benefits we collectively negotiate with the county.” 

Zach Lenane, Class of 2022, Co-Chief Resident, APA/APAF Edwin Valdiserri Correctional Public Psychiatry Fellow 2020-2022, UCSF Public Psychiatry Fellow

“My journey at the San Mateo psychiatry residency training program was full of gratitude and excitement! Our residency program is exceptional in preparing the next generation of leaders in the fields of community psychiatry, advanced  psychopharmacology and psychotherapy. Our training program provides plenty of room for focusing on individual  interests, be they personal or educational, such as the PGY4 fast track Public Psychiatry Fellowship in conjunction with UCSF, which I was part of and thoroughly enjoyed. In short, this training program has afforded me many opportunities for personal and professional growth.”

—Farah Zaidi, Class of 2017, UCSF Public Psychiatry Fellowship class of 2017. 

“I think we have one of the most unique programs in the country. Our residency is embedded within the public health department of San Mateo county, we have 3 years of outpatient clinic, longitudinal subspecialty rotations, and fantastic psychotherapy training. My favorite parts of the residency so far have been learning from my fellow residents who are inspirational professionally and personally, terrific Attendings who view us as colleagues and fellow learners, and access to additional learning and advocacy opportunities that come from our location in the Bay Area. I am very proud to be a San Mateo resident.”

—Jiaochen Ke, Class of 2023, Current Child and Adolescent Fellow at Univ. of Colorado

“I found that the San Mateo County program prepared me to go from residency right into the working world. I chose to continue working in public psychiatry, but feel just as comfortable moonlighting in any setting or starting a private practice. The comprehensive, ever-engaging residency provided me with the knowledge and clinical background I needed to be the psychiatrist I want to be. Is it normal to miss residency?”

—Neil Sachs, Class of 2012, Co-Chief Resident. Currently, Lead Psychiatrist at West County Mental Health, Contra Costa County

“Community is a foundation of our training and is experienced in so many manners. Firstly, there is a strong community among the residents. It is unique to be a part of such a small, yet close knit, residency program. The small size allows for close relationships among residents of each class. There is also a community among the residents and faculty. Everyone is extremely welcoming and open to mentorship. Also, many faculty members are alumni from the residency program, so they understand what community means! Finally, it has been an honor to become a community member of San Mateo County. It is special to be a community member among our patients and get a glimpse into their lives. As a community member, I also witness the disparities that are present in the community and actively attempt to address them in my role as a resident. In my opinion that makes us better psychiatrists and is at the root of community psychiatry.”

— Anna Madrigal, Class of 2023, Current Community Track Child and Adolescent Fellow at Stanford Univ.

“My residency experience at San Mateo consistently exceeded my expectations. As a resident here, you are offered a truly impressive breadth of experiences in different treatment settings. You are enabled to explore your own interests and have the time and support to do so. Residents are granted significant autonomy from an early stage and this empowers us to take responsibility for our patients. There is a consistently excellent level of supervision that ensures we achieve proficiency in both medication management and psychotherapy. We are privileged to treat patients across a broad range of psychopathologies in the public psychiatry sector and beyond. You will leave here well trained and ready to take on whatever career path you would like to pursue.”

—Tiff Strauss, Class of 2021, Co-Chief Resident, Co-Chief Child and Adolescent Fellow at Stanford, Interim Chief of Emergency Psychiatry Services at Valley Medical Center

“San Mateo County provides a unique opportunity to train in community psychiatry while also having the flexibility to pursue academic research, teaching, and leadership opportunities. Residents have the time and support to delve into areas they are passionate about and to make significant contributions to our residency program, the county mental health system, and to the greater field of psychiatry. I feel very lucky to have been at a program where these opportunities are so encouraged and supported.”

—Karen Bos, Class of 2014, UCSF Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship class of 2016. Currently, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, OHSU School of Medicine

“I am enormously grateful for matching at San Mateo’s psychiatry residency program. This unique program was built with a focus on humanistic values, accessible access to quality care, and training for psychiatrists with an equally progressive, balanced, and respectful structure. Self-directed learning time allows residents to truly process what we are learning. The schedule flexibility allows us to delve deeply into areas of interest. Starting out you are given autonomy, functioning as the treating physician for your patients, with direct attending support. Each resident has their own unique plan for mastering the necessary skills and desired areas of focus, preparing us to be leaders in any domain of the field.”

—Faith Rohlke, Class of 2018. Currently, Outpatient psychiatrist at Coastside Clinic, San Mateo County BHRS

“The training at San Mateo was unique in its diversity of residents and the flexibility of the curriculum. I am grateful for the sense of camaraderie amongst my peers and the dedicated teaching of faculty members. The curriculum allowed me time, support and resources to pursue a wide range of interests and prepared me for various practice models. ”

—Tram Nguyen, Class of 2020, APA/SAMHSA Minority Fellow, Co-Chief Resident. Stanford Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Class of 2022.

“With healthcare reform, community psychiatry becomes even more important to delivering care in an integrated setting. My training at San Mateo County not only prepared and immersed me in integrated, multidisciplinary, community settings, but also offered many leadership opportunities. These opportunities shaped me as a psychiatrist and continue to inform my career.”

—Chris Esguerra, Class of 2009, APA/SAMHSA Minority Fellow. Currently, Chief Medical Officer, Health Plan of San Mateo