Psychiatry Resident Abigayle Dolmseth Named Graduate Staff of the Month

A residency in psychiatry offers trainees opportunities to challenge themselves by managing complicated patients and collaborating with other health care professionals. You just have to know when to jump in. First-year Columbia psychiatry intern Dr. Abigayle Dolmseth’s ability to do just that—and more—was noticed by her supervisors on Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s inpatient unit where she was on rotation.

Abigayle Dolmseth

In recognition of her seamless collaboration with other departments and her swift acclimation to a demanding role, Abigayle, who began the Columbia Psychiatry Residency Training Program in July of 2023 and earned her medical degree from Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, received NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia’s Graduate Staff of the Month Award last month.

The award, given by the NewYork-Presbyterian’s Office of Graduate Medical Education, recognizes CUIMC residents who go above and beyond their duties to foster a culture of collaboration and excellence.

Deborah Cabaniss, MD, associate director of the Columbia Psychiatry Residency Training Program, who nominated Abigayle for the award, lauded Abigayle’s capacity to bridge the gap between psychiatry and other medical disciplines, highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation in delivering comprehensive care to patients.

“Abigayle took the lead in navigating consultations with many other medical services in the hospital,” noted her training directors. “Her communication skills were exceptional both in collaboration with specialty services and with families. And she did it with incredible professionalism.”

Abigayle emphasized that she could not have performed her duties with the same confidence without the support of multiple people, including Dr. Richard Lewis, associate unit chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia’s Inpatient Psychiatric Unit and two of the residents on the service with her.

Abigayle, who grew up between Montana and the Seattle area, did not always want to be a physician. Prior to medical school and residency, she pursued a path unrelated to medicine. She completed her undergraduate degree at Claremont McKenna College in California, where she majored in international relations and later earned a master’s in international economic development.

“I considered a career in international development policy, but ultimately decided that working directly with people would be more rewarding,” she said. “I was initially inspired by my sister, who also transitioned to a medical profession later, and quickly found that medicine was a really wonderful fit for me.”

She pursued a pre-medical post baccalaureate program at Columbia beginning in 2018, and continued on at CUIMC for medical school. With much of her clinical education taking place during the height of the pandemic, she saw firsthand the critical need for behavioral and psychiatric care. She found herself drawn to talking with patients about their challenges and wellbeing. A rotation at the Washington Heights Community Service, a community-based program for individuals with serious mental illness, convinced her of her calling.

Abigayle is still contemplating what area of psychiatry she’ll choose. Child psychiatry is high on her list, as is forensics. Regardless of her choice of sub-specialty, she will undoubtedly continue to impact peoples’ lives.