MIT Column: Transitions

Published Thursday, June 21, 2012
by Laurie Boore, MD, MIT Representative to AAGP Board of Directors
Laurie Boore, MD

The summer brings about many transitions for trainees. Some are rising up to the next level in training while others are graduating from their training programs. Transitioning to practice after training is one of the most exciting, yet one of the most ambiguous, times in a trainee’s life. As AAGP member-in-training Alex Threlfall, MD, of San Mateo, California, reflects, “It's certainly a personal choice for deciding which area to choose and what combination of services to take on. That's always going to be a personal choice based on past experiences and future goals. Luckily, we're able to choose from a vast pool of options that are very open to flux.”

Geriatric psychiatry is one of the most versatile careers in medicine. We practice in a variety of situations and no two geriatric psychiatrists are alike. While one attending may choose entirely outpatient work, another may do some inpatient work, consult to nursing homes, and be involved in research. Some transition from purely community to academic settings, or vice versa. Many of us see our attending psychiatrists in several settings and wonder where we ourselves will practice. The incredible flexibility and scope of practice can be mind-boggling at times, though.  MIT Steve Koh, MD, of San Diego, California, points out, “Since there is so much need, I end up doing many different things.”  He is currently involved in research, teaching and supervising trainees, and clinical care.  Beverly Chang, of Fresno, California, a third-year resident, observes her attendings in such diverse roles, and she is considering community nursing home consultation as a result. 

Project: Trainees Section of the AAGP Website

In the previous edition of this newsletter, the projects started at the March meeting were detailed. Our biggest one is redesigning the trainee portion of AAGP’s website. We’re currently in need of volunteers to help develop some web content on educational topics such as delirium, dementia, and depression. We hope to make the website a resource for you.  If you are interested in helping or would like more information on what it entails, please contact me or Sophia Wang at

For a list of current projects, please see the Spring 2012 edition of Geriatric Psychiatry News or e-mail me at

When deciding how to practice geriatric psychiatry, things to consider include your preferences for geographic location, type of service (or services) with which you would like to be involved, research, work/life balance, and the usual business aspects of salary, benefits, and expectations. Our attending psychiatrists are excellent resources and are willing to assist us on our career paths, as is AAGP. The mentoring program in AAGP, which can be accessed through our website, is available to all trainees and is one of the organization’s biggest assets. 

I wish you all the best as you reach the next chapter in your career!

Laurie Boore, MD, is the Member-in-Training Director on the AAGP Board of Directors, serving as a liaison between the Board and the MIT membership. She is a geriatric psychiatry fellow at the University of Michigan Medical School.


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