Jessica (“Jessi”) Gold, M.D., M.S., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine where she works at the Habif Health and Wellness Center, teaches in the medical school, and sees patients in the cancer center. Her primary areas of interest are college mental health, writing about mental health and psychiatry for the general audience, mental health and the media, and physician wellness.
Jessi was an undergraduate majoring in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 2009. She also received a Masters in Science in Anthropology from Penn at the same time and used qualitative methods to study premedical education for her thesis work. She received her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine and graduated in 2014. She then completed her residency training in Psychiatry at Stanford University, where she served as chief resident from 2017-18 and received numerous awards including membership into Alpha Omega Alpha, the APA leadership fellowship, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Ginsberg Fellowship for promising clinician-educators.
College Mental Health:
Dr. Jessi Gold has always been passionate about the college population and knew before residency that she wanted to practice as a psychiatrist for this group. While a resident, she spent 6 months rotating at the Vaden Health Center at Stanford and confirmed her interest as every day she went into work excited for the next patient story and to help the next student. She also was fortunate to be able to run a weekly group for Women in Science and Engineering and learned greatly from them about the challenges of obtaining a Ph.D at an elite university. She combines medication management with training in cognitive behavioral therapy as well as time limited psychodynamic therapy to approach each patient holistically.
College is a time of significant transition as students are far from home, away from one’s previous psychiatrist, and away from their old routines. Dr. Jessi Gold hopes to provide a soft landing for students she sees and help them navigate this period with less trepidation and anxiety. In addition, a part of this population that Jessi likes most is the ability to be some students first contact with psychiatry and the mental health system. She values the ability to help destigmatize the field through awareness and psychoeducation and show that mental health is important and needed, not scary. She also spends some of her time working on outreach on campus to further decrease barriers to care and is excited about any opportunity to get further involved!
Writing about Mental Health and Psychiatry for the General Audience:
Dr. Jessi Gold was a humanities major (Anthropology) in college and has always valued storytelling and narrative. In medical school she began writing as an outlet and was fortunate to publish some pieces on kevinmd.com. She then wrote a piece about mistreatment that she experienced on a rotation entitled, “Alligator Hands”, that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and widely shared in the academic community. For this piece, she received the Marguerite Rush Lerner Award for creative writing and also helped educate the medical community about continued bullying and harassment that occurs for students on rotations.
In residency, Dr. Jessi Gold expanded her writing outlets. She began to write for the HuffPost, as well as Glamour on issues ranging from emotional support animals and inpatient psychiatry, to the challenges for women in the health care work place. Some of her favorites have included writing about Judge Aquilina’s handling of the Larry Nassar case and its importance for survivors and helping to collate a collection of first-person narratives about women’s experiences in medicine. She also won the 2016 Psychiatric Times essay contest for her piece about a physician patient undergoing electroconvulsive therapy entitled “The Mirror”. Dr. Jessi Gold continues to write frequently and is always looking for more opportunities to use her voice to educate beyond academia.
Writing for the general audience has allowed Jessi to be an advocate for her patients and to educate the public about mental health and psychiatry. She very much believes that the popular press is where most patients and family members obtain their mental health information and feels it is critical she is a voice that helps shape that information and further destigmatize the field. She has presented on media as advocacy nationally at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.
Dr. Jessi Gold has a passion and desire to educate and mentor the next generation of physicians. This interest was first sparked in undergraduate when she noticed her friends were dropping out of premed due to poor advising, poor mentorship, and course requirements that did not line up with a medical career. She realized then that to help nurture and develop the best physicians, something needed to change in how we were teaching and what we were valuing in the education process. From that time on, she has been vocal and creative in curricular developments at the undergraduate, medical school, and psychiatry residency levels. She has also taken on leadership and mentorship roles to help support others in their own career development.
Jessi has invested time in additional training to become a better educator. As a medical student she took a medical education elective where she honed her presentation skills and teaching in various time-limited medical settings. In residency, she was a part of the Clinical Teaching Seminar Series Honors Certificate Program and graduated on the Clinician-Educator track of her psychiatry program. She additionally served as chief resident of a busy inpatient psychiatric service for a year and learned first-hand through weekly teaching sessions with residents and administrative roles how to be a leader in education. It is perhaps because of her background and true love of teaching that Jessi was one of only 6 residents in the entire Stanford Hospital to be awarded the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award by the Stanford medical students. Jessi also believes in the importance of evaluation and publication of teaching related endeavors and has published on many of her initiatives in international journals.
Jessi has been fortunate to have mentors that have supported her in implementing curricular changes at different educational levels and allowed her exposure to many different teaching experiences. In medical school, she spent a summer teaching high school students Medical Science at Oxbridge Programs in Oxford, England. This was the first time she was able to develop a course from start to finish, and she has been hooked ever since. She is particularly passionate about psychiatry education in medical school, knowing that while not every student will become a psychiatrist, it is important that all physicians in any field understand and appreciate mental health. She developed and taught two courses to the medical students, one on stigma and mental health and another on the medical-psychiatry interface. She utilizes interactive teaching methods, including patient panels, case discussions, and discussions on podcasts, and minimizes the use of lecture. Both courses were well received and evaluated and she was asked to teach them for multiple years in a row. She also has taught the psychiatric interview to every new clerkship student at Stanford and to small groups of first and second year students who are learning to interview their first patients. At the residency level, she created a course called Mind over Media (explained in Mental Health in the Media Section), taught residents clinical skills and note writing in an outpatient teaching clinic for first year residents, and redesigned the inpatient didactics to better integrate with resident’s clinical work. One addition that she was particularly enthusiastic about was allowing residents of all years to sign up to teach their fellow residents on a topic of their choosing. This is one of the few formal opportunities for residents to teach and she was excited to create it. Due to her innovative ideas and excitement about teaching, she was awarded the Ginsberg Fellowship for promising clinician-educators.
Mental Health in the Media
Dr. Jessi Gold has always loved watching television and movies, in fact, she used to do her homework as a child in front of the TV. As she began to learn more about psychiatry, she became more and more aware of just how much popular culture and media influences (often stigmatizes!) patient’s perceptions of mental health and mental health providers. Patients would come in and ask her about a television episode or a NYTimes article (not a journal article) and she realized more attention needed to be paid to these sources of information in psychiatric and medical education.
As a result, Dr. Gold started a monthly lecture series in her residency entitled Mind Over Media during which time residents, faculty, and medical students discuss a piece about psychiatry in the media (news, television, movie, even a song). Topics ranged from discussing gun violence to humor to the genetics of schizophrenia and often experts were present to enrich the discussion. She also incorporated media into her stigma course for medical students, utilizing a This American Life Podcast, and into her small group section that she TA’d of a Stanford undergraduate course called Psychosis and Literature. The course focused more on older literary works and she was able to supplement the discussion with more modern popular press pieces and podcasts. The students greatly enjoyed the conversations and were able to apply what they learned in conversations with friends and family.
She also focuses some of her scholarly work in this area. She has published an article on media education in psychiatry and has presented on similar topics of media literacy nationally at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting. Dr. Gold hopes to be further involved as a consultant in the shaping of media-whether it is TV or movies-and welcomes opportunities for collaboration.
Physician Mental Health and Wellness
Coming from a medical family, Dr. Gold has always been interested in how doctors train. As an undergraduate, when she saw many of her friends who were humanistic and would have made great physicians drop out of premed for other careers due to the curriculum and poor advising, she decided to study it. This became her Master’s thesis in Anthropology (An Anthropological Approach to Premedical Education) as she used qualitative research and interviews to better understand premeds as a culture and the significant attrition rate. She remains interested in premeds and will further study them and support them through her work on campus.
As a medical student interested in psychiatry, her interest in the medical training process only furthered. She read statistics about depression and suicide in medical students and found herself inspired and also angered. She did research on medical student mental health and access to care both locally at her medical school and internationally in China and the Middle East. She published this data and continues to do research on physician wellness at Wash U. She has also experienced bullying, mistreatment, and burnout first hand and written about it. Her own experiences and the experiences of her peers inspired her to create resident led medical student support groups while in residency. She started the program from scratch and it has expanded to multiple groups of first and second year medical students who want to continue biweekly meetings facilitated by residents. Her own group started as second years and continued as students went onto the wards and into their Ph.D years regularly and continues to this day. She is working on publishing data on these groups and hopes to help start some similar wellness initiatives at Washington University as a faculty member.