Psychiatry Residency Graduates Its First Class

by Sharon Glazer, MPH | July 01, 2013
2013 Baystate Psychiatry Graduates
L to R: Program Director Steven Fischel, Graduates Yu Dong, Valerie Sharpe, Ramanpreet Toor, and Nelson Tauro, and Department Chair Benjamin Liptzin

The Psychiatry Residency, established in 2009, held its first graduation ceremony on June 18, 2013 at the Log Cabin. Graduates from the inaugural class were Yu Dong MD, PhD, Valerie Sharpe MD, Nelson Tauro MD, and Ramanpreet Toor MD.

The Psychiatry Residency Comes of Age

Steven Fischel MD, Psychiatry Residency Program Director, relates that 5 years ago the program "existed only on paper and in our dreams," and says that the residents " have brought those dreams to life beyond our expectations."

He calls the graduates' professional growth "breath-taking," citing their many accomplishments at a national level as well as their outstanding clinical abilities. In addition, he credits them with inspiring "everyone in the Psychiatry Program to be the best clinicians, mentors and supervisors that we can be."

According to Dr. Fischel, the graduates are all moving on to fellowships or permanent positions next year. "They leave behind a vibrant program that they have played an integral part in shaping.”

Graduate Watched Program Grow From 1 Class to 4 Classes

Valerie Sharpe MD says she is proud to be part of the inaugural graduating class. She admits that even though she was apprehensive about "entering a brand new program and not having senior residents, I knew that I would receive a rich educational experience from the accomplished faculty here."

Dr. Sharpe will be joining the Psychiatry Department on July 1. "I’m so excited now to have the opportunity to continue working with my mentors and to teach."

Groundwork Laid 20 Years Ago

According to Psychiatry Department Chair, Benjamin Liptzin MD, the elements needed for a residency were not in place when he started at Baystate in 1990. But 15 years later, the proposal for a psychiatry residency was strongly supported by Baystate's senior leadership, and the Psychiatry Residency Review Committee approved their application on its first submission.

"Under Steve Fischel’s outstanding leadership the program has developed and thrived, even getting a commendation and full 5 year accreditation when reviewed again by the RRC," says Dr.Liptzin. "The program has been immensely gratifying for the faculty but it was also striking at the graduation how many nurses, counselors, social workers and other staff attended and shared in the pride we all feel at the accomplishments of our residents.”

Graduation Ceremony Honors

Lesha Shah MD and Jimena Tuis Elizalde MD, who were accepted into Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowships upon completion of their PGY3 years, were also honored at the graduation ceremony. Benjamin Liptzin MD was recognized for his vision and leadership in the creation of the residency program, and Bruce Waslick MD was recognized for excellence in teaching.