Resident's Corner

March 25, 2015

Dr. Ravi Shah: Columbia for Residency? It Was a No-Brainer

Ravi Shah, a third year resident, is hoping to leverage his business degree into improving systems for patient care. But before that happens he’ll start planning a wedding – all while transitioning into his final year of residency and making the most of his new position as Resident-Fellow Member Trustee Elect of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Dr. Shah, who was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, ran for the APA position during his second year as a resident  at the suggestion of Deborah Cabaniss, MD, Associate Director of Residency Training, someone who he said “made a big difference in my trajectory in residency.“  The entire department, including department chair Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman rallied around him.


“People throughout the department really helped me through the whole process…It isn’t a small thing to run for this position, and I was certainly nervous about it. Still, the feeling that people are behind me and supporting me made me feel like I can do this. It really helped push me forward.”

That support has made a strong impression on this southerner who migrated north for college at Princeton, followed by medical school and business school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he pursued a joint MD/MBA. When it was time to apply to a residency program, he said “For me it was a no-brainer to come to Columbia. I felt that it was a huge institution that had a long tradition of excellence.” He added, “So much of this work is an apprenticeship model where we learn from our supervisors and people who have done this for years and years. And, you want to pick a place where you feel like that kind of experiential learning is going to be extremely important.”

That he matched at Columbia is probably due in no small part to his desire to improve the doctor-patient relationship and his interest in the business of healthcare. Prior to residency, he worked in a variety of business roles, including investment management at Bridgewater Associates, medical finance at Mt. Sinai, and health care consulting at McKinsey & Company. But Dr. Shah decided to forego a career in finance for medicine, a field where both his sisters and mother found their calling.

“Seeing the way psychiatrists and therapists engage with their patients and the way you can really help people improve their lives in a subjective and really meaningful way, there was something about that that really struck me.”

Dr. Shah noted that his training was a stimulating process of both learning (from expert psychiatrists on the faculty) and teaching (first- and second-year residents). While his own experience as a resident at Columbia was largely positive, his appreciation of the demands of residency likely informed his contribution to the Viewpoint article in the latest issue of JAMA Psychiatry. Undoubtedly, he will ably represent trainees as the APA Board’s youngest member.




Departmental News, Education & Training, InPsych - March 2015