by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Who were some of the people who influenced you to become a psychiatrist?
Dr. Green: My interest was initially sparked by a high school AP Psychology class. The course instructor was a very personable Teacher who inspired me to understand the history of the field and evolution of its foundational theories and principles as an extension of the European Age of Reason. It was fascinating to think that there could be discernible logics to human thought and behavior, especially to an adolescent who quietly wondered why there was such diversity in forms of expression among peers and adults within my community. I went on to major in Psychology in college and my academic advisor, Dr. Russell Jones became a mentor who nurtured encouraged me to develop this curiosity further.
Gordon: At what university did you earn your degree and what are some of your fondest memories there?
Dr. Green: I earned a bachelors degree in Psychology at Virginia Tech. My fondest memories were all related to perceiving the campus as being open and nurturing in the exploration of student curiosity. It fascinated me further to discover the common ground between myself, fellow students, and faculty despite the latter two being from various parts of the country and world. I also was encouraged to discover that being active among the student body, active in academic and social skill development, and active as a reader, not just of literature required for class yet also in leisure reading, all worked to enhance life quality, and raised my expectation for what is possible.
Gordon: What was your first position and what do you remember most about your work there?
Dr. Green: There were many firsts. From the age of 15 through college, part-time employment taught me that being mentally present, humble, attentive, and adherent to formal and informal role expectations made my efforts both progressively easier and funner, and that I or anyone could operate within a diversity of settings. In college I also mentored Middle and High School students, worked as a Research Assistant in the Psychology Department, and as an Officer within a number of student organizations. These also reinforced the idea that the pursuit of curiosity leads to growth and development.
Gordon: Where did you serve as Research Fellow and what did you enjoy most about your work?
Dr. Green: I served as a research fellow on a number of studies in college, medical school, and medical residence. In college I aided projects within the Department of Psychology, in medical school during a research year within the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory University, and twice during my post-medical school residency training, at both Cornell Medical Center and within the Mount Sinai Health System of New York. These projects were instrumental in teaching me never to underestimate the amount of time and effort required to learn and be proficient in discussing anything. To be confident that one truly knows something can require a lifetime of meticulous study and self-scrutiny.
Gordon: When did you serve as Resident Physician at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center and what were your primary responsibilities?
Dr. Green: Prior to choosing Adult and Child Psychiatry as a profession, I was enamored with the idea of being a surgeon and more directly serving economic vulnerable communities within New York City. Prior to this, I studied and worked within the largest hospital systems in New York and while grateful for the academic climate, I longed for a radically different setting and challenge. That was definitely the case at Brookdale, where as a surgery intern, given the socioeconomic climate and dynamics, it was immensely hands on and an institution where one truly felt needed.
Gordon: What did you learn while serving as Physician Health Curriculum Developer at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions?
Dr. Green: This position reinforced my understanding that the role of an educator is a position of immense importance and privilege. It reminded me that an educator must be humble and regularly self-scrutinize to ensure that they are teaching others, information of true value.
Gordon: What were some of your most memorable cases when you served as Resident Physician - Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals
Dr. Green: All were highly influential. A synthesis of the thousands of training hours informed various foundational principles. I was ever humbled by immense diversity of the lived experiences of people that taught me to never hold any assumptions of others as absolute.
Gordon: What courses did you teach while you were Physician Team Curriculum Development and Teaching Assistant at Kaplan?
Dr. Green: I served a number of roles in this position. I developed courses for Medical Students studying for the three parts of the United States Medical Licensing Examination which is an incredibly challenging series of multiple-hour tests, taking through out medical school and in the first part of a medical trainee's post-graduate residency training. I was also a Teaching Assistant for First Year Medical School courses in Physiology, Pathology, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology.
Gordon: When did you start working at Mount Sinai Health System and what are your primary responsibilities?
Dr. Green: I worked at Mount Sinai initially as a post-medical school Resident trainee within the Adult Psychiatry Residency, which is a four year pursuit of specialized training to certify expertise in Psychiatry. These experiences distinguish Psychiatrist from other mental health clinicians. After completing the Residency program, I've continued working within the health system, providing physician psychiatric care within the psychiatric inpatient and emergency room settings.
Gordon: What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had upon your practice?
Dr. Green: The pandemic accelerated the development and deployment of technologies and systems to deliver psychiatric care remotely via video, as well as physician care in general. This vehicle of care delivery was rigorously researched for years prior to the pandemic, yet it provided the conditions for operationalizing this at an international scale. As a Psychiatrist with expertise in both adult and child psychiatry, I have also been at the forefront of a field wide effort to support patients navigating this once in a lifetime psychological challenge, while simultaneously aiding the field and our country’s efforts to understand what we are seeing and experiencing. This ranged from helping others understand and process existential crises, various forms of grief, and reevaluations of life's value and purpose(s).
Gordon: You also work at Catholic Health Services. What do you enjoy most working there?
Dr. Green: I provide Psychiatrist consultation for a number of hospitals within the system, and I enjoy most, the collegiality among clinical care teams and a strong shared sense of pride in providing the best care possible within any given circumstance.
Gordon: what work do your do at The Mind Collective?
Dr. Green: I formed this company to serve as an incubator in the development of ideas, talents, and projects within the nexus of Western and non-Western Psychologies, Spirituality, and the varied arts of living. My clinical practice is through my company Thrive Mind Psychiatry.
Gordon: You also serve as a Child And Adolescent Psychiatrist at at The Children's Village. What are the challenges of treating a child and adolescent with with Covid-19 and how do you also care for their families?
Dr. Green: The challenges are varied, as the organization is critical in providing care and support for the New York City metropolitan's most vulnerable children and families. The children and adolescents almost universally are experiencing or at some stage of emergence from significant traumas, and my and all of our organization's service lines play immensely important rehabilitative roles for them. The covid-19 pandemic presented many challenges. One, as many parents and school educators discovered, has been the difficulty keeping children focused during remote learning sessions. We all were reminded that the competition for child and adolescent attention spans, posed by entertainment, is immense, as these various entertainment outlets are carefully and expensively crafted to win every time. Another challenge, worsened by the pandemic, has been supporting the development of their personalities on and off-line, in the setting of mandated social isolation which was difficult enough for adults, yet correlated with significant increases in anxiety, depression, and self-harm among children and adolescents.
Gordon: What advice would you give to young students entering medical school?
Dr. Green: The academic climate is academically, emotionally, and physically rigorous, and remains so for many years, as society trusts physicians with the responsibility of managing the care of those at their most physically and emotionally vulnerable states. The years of training however is both absolutely necessary as well as deeply satisfying as you begin to understand the true value of dedicating one's life both to deep knowledge and deep service to others. As a practicing physician I could never imagine a life not spent dedicated to mastery, and be it in medicine or any other profession, art, or trade, I firmly believe that life long growth and development, as well as sharing the art of mastery with others is one key of finding satisfaction in life, and an important buffer against all of life's uncertainties. I would strongly encourage students of medicine or any profession or trade to face all challenges intrinsic to the learning process, as doing so teaches that both setback and failure are necessary in our journeys to discover the value and beauty in this gift of life and consciousness that we are given.
Gordon: Thank you for an inspirational interview.