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Director’s Welcome

Welcome and thank you for your interest in pursuing your psychiatric residency training at Dell Medical School. Though Dell Med is a relatively young medical school, the Psychiatry Residency here in Austin has a very long history. Originally founded in the 1950s as a community residency program at Austin State Hospital, the program has grown and changed over the course of the last several decades and has been affiliated with Dell Med since the school’s inception in 2015. Along with the new affiliate, we have seen the creation of a robust research department and a wealth of additional academic opportunities. In 2016, we welcomed Stephen Strakowski, M.D., as the inaugural chair of our department, and in spring 2019 we welcomed Robert Feinstein, M.D., as our inaugural associate chair of education. I am delighted that our department has the support of leadership who value teaching and residency education.

A unique aspect of training here is our approach to early outpatient clinical exposure, in which the PGY-2 year is an entirely outpatient year of training. This allows for earlier exposure to psychotherapy and greater time of continuity with outpatients over the course of three years of training. I am also strongly committed to promoting a collegial environment where diversity and people’s unique strengths are valued. I am very proud of the training we offer here, including our strong clinical and academic curriculum. As our research department continues to grow, we are pleased to have ever-increasing opportunities for residents to become engaged with research. My goal is to continue to shape outstanding clinical psychiatrists who make their mark on both local and national levels as leaders within our field. As an alumnus of this program, I have seen a tremendous amount of growth and change as it evolved from a community-based program into the academic program that it is today. I invite you to apply to be part of this vibrant, exciting community. We very much look forward to meeting you!

Sussann Kotara, M.D.
Program Director

Sussann G. Kotara is a Texas native, born and raised in the Dallas area. After graduating from medical school at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, she completed both her psychiatry residency and a psychosomatics fellowship in Austin and has been a part of the Dell Med Psychiatry Residency ever since.

Chief Residents’ Welcome

Christine Dozier, M.D., and Jasmine Stephens, M.D.

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Psychiatry Residency at Dell Medical School! We invite you to explore our website and become familiar with what our program has to offer.

We are a fast-growing academic facility with a variety of training environments and patient populations. Our program strives to create well-educated and forward-thinking graduates who pursue a variety of fellowships and post-residency training programs and ultimately go on to enjoy successful academic and private-practice careers. We constantly challenge ourselves and our program by joining in Dell Med’s work of rethinking everything. Our program has undergone quite a bit of change in the past four years, much of which has been driven by resident feedback. Our program has a history of commitment to its residents, with two annual resident retreats, a competitive game to prepare for PRITE and a respect for work-life balance with a very reasonable call schedule.

We pride ourselves on recruiting residents from a variety of personal and professional backgrounds, resulting in a well-rounded and diverse environment. The program actively encourages academic endeavors and research, with regular attendance to present research at national conferences, including (but not limited to) the American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry and International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation. Most importantly, our greatest strength is the camaraderie and close-knit bond that develops between our residents during our four years together.

We take full advantage of living in the best city in Texas. Located in the beautiful Hill Country, Austin and its surrounding area allow us to enjoy hundreds of acres and miles of parks, Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs, all kinds of fantastic food, the best barbecue in the country and a multitude of live music and festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest.

We think you’ll be impressed with what we have to offer. We look forward to meeting you!

From the Residents

Resident contributor: Nicole Scott, M.D.

I was drawn to Dell Medical School psychiatry for many reasons. There is a wide variety of patients seen by Shoal Creek and the Ascension Seton system as a whole; it doesn’t represent just one pocket of the population, which I felt would be good training for whatever my future job may hold. I also felt a welcoming sense of camaraderie among the residents; they support each other, help the team whenever necessary and genuinely are friends outside of work! And of course, who wouldn’t want to be in Austin and experience all that “keeps Austin weird?!” Best. City. Ever.

The schedule of an off-service internal medicine resident looks something like this:

  • All teams, 5:45–7 a.m.: Arrive at Dell Seton Medical Center and read up on the overnight nursing events and morning labs on your patients (typically between three to six patients, depending on the team and the day).
  • 7–7:15 a.m.: Meet in the doctor’s lounge for sign-out from the overnight cross-cover residents to hear about any acute issues that needed a physician’s attention last night.
  • 7:15–8:30 a.m.: Pre-round on your patients.
  • 8:30–9 a.m.: Quickly run the list with your upper-level resident, addressing any immediate issues and discussing plans.
  • 9 a.m.–noon: Round with the attending.
  • Noon–1 p.m.: Conference with a doctor from one of the many internal medicine subspecialties (and the free food never hurts).
  • 1–4 p.m.: Complete floor work, meet with the multidisciplinary team to discuss discharge and social barriers and admit any new patients your team receives.
  • Non-call teams, 4–5 p.m.: Sign out your patients to the overnight cross-cover team so they’re prepared to answer any questions that arise.
    • 5 p.m.: Your pager stops beeping! Head home!
  • Call team (occurs every six days), 4–7 p.m.: Admit new patients: This can take a couple of extra hours to finish, depending on the timing of the admits.
    • 8–9 p.m.: Sign out to the overnight cross-over team. Head home and sleep like a rock!

Resident contributor: Jasmine Stephens, M.D.

I was attracted to the program for the early exposure to psychotherapy, the opportunity to work at a psychiatric hospital and the variety of attendings. I really liked that the program placed value on training us in psychotherapy and encourages residents to use it in their practice. Working at Ascension Seton Shoal Creek, we get to see a higher volume of patients and a wider range of pathology. And of course, living in Austin has perks, too! It really makes a difference in resident life to live in a city with lots of fun things to do away from work.

What I like about the program: So far, I have enjoyed working with upper-levels, attendings and med students. Learning from everyone’s experiences and different approaches to psychiatric care has been very beneficial. I also feel I am at a program that values resident wellness and gives a lot of support to the residents. I have enjoyed working in the variety of clinic settings, i.e. Medical Park Tower, the VA and Texas Child Study Center.

An average day as a PGY-2 is primarily in a clinic setting, seeing an average of six patients a day. The majority of the days are spent at Medical Park Tower. The schedule includes one full day of lectures, conferences and meetings, which is nice because we don’t travel a lot to different locations and can focus on academia. Call as a PGY-2 is all home call Monday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., receiving zero to three pages throughout the week for a total of six to seven weeks throughout the year.

Resident contributor: Jordan Stone, M.D.

I was interested in our program for a few reasons, but the biggest that stood out to me was that there was a broad amount of training diversity that was comparable with other large psychiatric residencies in the country, but with a smaller, more close-knit feel. The fact that we have a dedicated inpatient psychiatric hospital that serves as a safety-net hospital and acute substance detoxification facility, two medical hospitals, ECT, child and adolescent inpatient and outpatient clinic, geriatric clinic, etc., was impressive. I felt like I would be able to get a comprehensive, well-rounded training education here, and the program being in Austin didn’t hurt, either.

My typical day on inpatient psychiatry at Shoal Creek is that I get to the hospital at about 7 to 7:15 a.m. and check in with my intern and medical students, and then I check in with nursing and social work staff. Morning report with the interns and medical students is at 8:30 a.m., and then we have hospital huddle at 9 a.m. We meet with our attending at 9:15 a.m. and then do multidisciplinary rounds, see follow-ups and write orders or do discharges. We see new patients during the morning if possible, but we often use the afternoon to see and assess new patients, accept new patients for admissions and work on discharge planning, obtaining collateral or teaching the students and interns. I have clinic in the afternoon twice a week, and we are usually done by 5 p.m.