My advice for trainees and recent graduates would be to spend time thinking about where you want to live and work and what you really want to do. In reality, you can have a successful career pretty much anywhere in the country. You also have a broad range of options. Don't feel obligated to stay in a position you don't enjoy. Also remember that careers take many interesting twists and turns. It's never too late to learn new skills or explore different opportunities.
I went to medical school at Yale and did my residency at the University of Vermont in Burlington. After completing my fellowship at Cambridge Hospital, I returned to Vermont to establish a group practice with several friends. Over the years, the practice has grown to include multiple offices, several intermediate level programs and contracts with numerous hospitals, agencies and community-based services. Twelve years ago, we started a licensed alternative school with two Community Mental Health Centers, which currently serves over 500 adolescents a year. We also have a contract through the state, which funds the co-location of child and adolescent psychiatrists in local pediatric practices. I continue to teach at UVM, where I serve as the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for the Vermont Center for Children Youth & Families. I also testify at state and federal hearings on issues pertaining to children.
At various points in my career, I've had a full-time clinical practice, I've served as a consultant to schools, state agencies and residential facilities, I've been actively involved in research, program development and administration, and I've done forensic work. I've also written several books for kids, parents and health care professionals. Although I live in Vermont, I find myself in Washington at least once a month, and I've consulted, testified or presented in over 30 states. I've never had second thoughts about the decision to go into child and adolescent psychiatry, or the decision to settle and practice in Vermont. I've had an interesting, diverse and rewarding career, and I've also been able to live in a beautiful area with wonderful friends and colleagues.
David Fassler, M.D.