Jessica (“Jessi”) Gold, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in Saint Louis School of Medicine. She splits her clinical time between the Habif Health and Wellness Center and outpatient psychiatry at Barnes Jewish Hospital. She also teaches and mentors students and trainees, and is a regular writer for many media outlets.
Dr. Gold is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. and M.S in Anthropology and a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in Adult Psychiatry at Stanford University where she served as chief resident from 2017-2018. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her many contributions in the areas of mental health and psychiatry. She is a nationally recognized expert and speaks at national conferences, is interviewed regularly for news outlets, and consults for publishing and media.
Using the Media as Advocacy
Dr. Gold’s areas of interest are in college mental health, women’s mental health and gender equity, physician wellness, medical education, and the between popular media, stigma, and psychiatry. While she has published frequently in the more “traditional” methods of research papers and academic publications, she has also enjoyed teaching about mental health topics and decreasing stigma through writing for popular press outlets. She has been featured in, among others, Self, InStyle, Glamour, and the HuffPost. Some of her favorite articles have included writing about Judge Aquilina’s handling of the Larry Nassar case and its importance for survivors, educating about how to prepare for psychotherapy, and writing first person accounts of sexual harassment in healthcare for the InStyle launch of TIME’S UP Healthcare. Through her advocacy, she has forged connections with other inspirational women in medicine that led to many collaborations on popular media, from interviews, to podcasts, to articles. Two such examples include her interview of New York Time’s Best Selling Author, Dr. Jen Gunter, about her book for InStyle, and writing a piece on the illusory truth effect in the false link between gun violence and mental illness for TIME with Dr. Megan Ranney. It also led to the formation of TIME’S UP Healthcare, for which she serves on the steering committee and is a founding member.
In addition to her writing, Dr. Gold has presented on media as a tool for advocacy, leadership, and a way to combat misinformation nationally. She is very active on social media, particularly twitter (@drjessigold), and was named one of Medscape’s top 20 physician influencers on social media in 2019. She believes in using this medium to connect with and educate her patients on issues surrounding psychiatry and other mental health topics and to put a face to psychiatry that can help destigmatize and humanize the field.
Dr. Gold is also uniquely interested in the role of entertainment media in creating the image of mental illness, both positive and negative. She has written a few pieces on particular television episode’s portrayals of mental illness and has used topics in the media pertaining to celebrities to educate on other topics. For example, she wrote about what it means to “check in” for treatment after the headlines about Britney Spears and her mental health struggles. Dr. Gold has also consulted for television and acted as a sensitivity reader for print publishing. She hopes to continue to help the media craft their message about mental illness and prevent additional perpetuation of stigma in their narratives.
Educating and Mentoring Next Generation Physicians
Dr. Gold is dedicated to and has invested much of her time in helping to nurture, educate, and mentor the next generation of physicians. This interest was sparked when she noticed friends dropping out of premed due to poor advising, poor mentorship, and course requirements that did not line up with a medical career as an undergraduate, and has only become stronger. Since then, she has helped create positive changes and improved 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 career development.
In her quest to foster a more supportive process for future physicians, she was both inspired and angered at statistics about depression and suicide in medical students. This coincided well with her beliefs about changing the way we educate physicians and her interest in the college and graduate student mental health. She researched medical student mental health and access to care both locally at medical school and internationally in China and the Middle East. She has since published this data and continues to research physician wellness and advocate for physician mental health.
Her own personal experiences, those of her peers, and those of her patients inspire everything that she does. She greatly values the role of the narrative and storytelling in medicine. Knowing her and her peers would have benefited from them in medical school, inspired her to create resident-led medical student support groups when she was a resident at Stanford. During medical school her experience with mistreatment on a rotation, led to her writing a piece entitled, “Alligator Hands”, that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and widely shared in the academic community. For her work, she received the Marguerite Rush Lerner Award for creative writing and this experience helped inform her future career, her love of writing, and advocacy on physician wellness and gender harassment in healthcare. It also showed her the power of the written word to teach, inform, and change attitudes.