Guest Blog: Varying Perspectives from the West Hudson Mentorship Program

As a part of PRMS’ ongoing commitment to behavioral health, we invited Russell Tobe, MD, and Suhal Shah, DO, to contribute as guest bloggers this month, reflecting on their experience as a mentor and mentee in the West Hudson Psychiatric Society’s (WHPS) Mentorship Program.

Russell Tobe, MD – Department Director, Clinical Evaluation Center at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and West Hudson Mentor

I was drawn to psychiatry to better understand empathy, interpersonal relationships, and mentalization.  Early on, I gravitated towards understanding and helping those with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), in which many experience core challenges with social cognition.  I have been fortunate to run outpatient services at a psychiatric research institute since completing my child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship approximately 10 years ago, and it is there that I run numerous studies across the lifespan in treatment and neurobiology in ASC while supporting research in typical development and specific diagnostic areas.  Though academically affiliated, we do not have clinical programs or large cohorts of trainees.  I am able to round out my clinical exposures through practice outside of my research institute, and I enjoy the WHPS mentorship program as a nice opportunity to pass on knowledge to our next generation of psychiatric providers. 

The mentorship experience provides interested trainees with unique clinical and research exposures that I hope will sculpt their future practices – it has even facilitated a research elective for a particularly motivated trainee – and all mentees have maintained routine connection with mentors for years after the program.  Through this, I hope trainees have gleaned additional insights into balancing multiple work fronts, family, and ongoing personal growth.  I work to stay well-rounded in my scopes of practice, integrate into multidisciplinary collaborative teams to advance my fund of knowledge and clinical thinking, remain active in the American Psychiatric Association and the West Hudson Psychiatric Society to contribute to our field while providing a professional community, and, of course, maintain my outside interests while spending as much time as possible with family.    

Suhal Shah, DO - Garnet Health Medical Center Resident and West Hudson Mentee

My name is Suhal Shah, and I’m currently a 3rd year psychiatry resident at Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown, NY. I grew up in New Jersey and completed my undergraduate degree in cellular biology and neuroscience with a minor in psychology at Rutgers University. I wanted to become a doctor ever since I was a kid, and I was determined to work in pediatrics. But during my medical school days at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, NY, I discovered my love for psychiatry. The ability to understand my patients on a deeper level, working with an interdisciplinary team, and learning evidence-based medicine was the perfect combination. Thus began my general psychiatry training at Garnet Health Medical Center in 2018. Of course, my passion to work with children remained strong, so I am currently mid-season in applying for a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. Along with child psychiatry, my current interests include medical education, psychotherapy, global mental health, and college mental health. With all that said, my mentors have always tried to encourage and model a proper work/life balance to promote physician wellness and prevent burnout. Residency can be tough at times, but I make it a priority to engage in my hobbies and spend time with family and friends.

Being that I am from a relatively new residency program, mentorship has played a vital role in my career development. We are assigned supervisors to meet with on a regular basis, but I have strived throughout my training to develop a close relationship with many of my attendings. Joining WHPS provided a phenomenal opportunity to participate in a mentorship program that matched residents at my program with exceptionally accomplished – and very humble – attending psychiatrists. I was fortunate to be partnered with a child psychiatrist who continues to play a pivotal role in my residency training. My mentor even organized a unique research rotation, which involved learning the basic process of clinical trials and observing the various evaluations of autistic adults and children, something I recognize is an extremely rare opportunity for a psychiatry resident. I am especially grateful for all of his help and support during the application process for fellowship – he took the time to conduct a mock interview, review my personal statement, and write a letter of recommendation. I look forward to continuing this mentor-mentee relationship in years to come as I move forward in my career. 

PRMS is pleased to be a Platinum Partner of the WHPS. In 2017, we showcased the newly established psychiatry residency program at Garnet Health (formerly Orange Regional Medical Center) in this guest blog.


To learn more about the superior psychiatry-specific insurance program and comprehensive services offered by PRMS, click here.