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Collegial Advice Offered
Psychiatric News
Volume 44 Number 18 page 32-32

Some foreign-born psychiatrists who are now pursuing successful careers in the United States (see Psychiatrists Key Ingredient in Medicine's Melting Pot) offer some advice to foreign-born medical school graduates contemplating entrance into an American psychiatry residency program or to foreign-born medical school graduates who are already enrolled in such a program.

"The [psychiatry] training here is fantastic," Gonzalo Laje, M.D., a Maryland psychiatrist from Argentina, remarked. "It is structured and has embedded quality-control pieces that make it very good.... So for people who want to do it, I would say, definitely go for it. For people who have already started their psychiatry training, I say, follow your dream. If you want to do private practice, you'll have that option. If you want to do research, you'll have that choice. Advocacy, government, military—there are many paths that you can take."

"Hard work pays off; endurance pays off," testified Bengi Melton, M.D., a Houston psychiatrist from Turkey. "If you are here to practice medicine, eventually you will succeed."

"Do not abandon your career objectives even if some failures come up," Vadim Baram, M.D., a St. Louis psychiatrist from Ukraine, advised." Also, establish connections, because networking is very important."

"Look into minority issues and maybe [provide] some expertise in psychiatry from your country of origin," said Saima Shafiq, M.D., a New Jersey psychiatrist from Pakistan.

A number of people from other countries, especially from countries with ancient histories or cultures, look down on the United States, Vladimir Bokarius, M.D., Ph.D., a Los Angeles psychiatrist from Russia, ventured." They think, ugh, Americans are barbarians, and their history is, come on, only 300 years!" In fact, he admitted to harboring such an attitude when he moved to the United States. But if you are planning on living and working in the United States, you should dispense with such arrogance, he counseled. "You have to connect with the culture here." ▪

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