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Meet Dr. Chantal Young of Keck School of Medicine in Boyle Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Chantal Young.

Dr. Young, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Smart people can be psychologically troubled. The more ambition you have, the harder you are on yourself. The more self-aware you are, the more you focus on your weaknesses and flaws. The more you examine life, the more existential confusion you experience. My experience growing up in Northern Virginia in one of the most competitive school systems in the country shaped me as a human being. I was pushed to get perfect grades, excel in everything I did, and get the highest possible education in the field of my choosing, which turned out to be a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. In my mid-20s, I started to realize how miserable my perfectionism and self-criticism was making me. I went to therapy, started taking care of myself, got deep into a meditation practice, and started retraining my mind to be radically self-accepting and self-loving. Now, my life’s work is to help other high-achieving individuals reshape the way they approach themselves and the world. In September 2016, I accepted my dream job at the Director of Medical Student Wellness at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. My role is to provide wellness programming for medical students, a.k.a. future physicians, who are some of the most driven, intelligent, compassionate people in existence – yet experience high rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, and even suicide. Why are our best and brightest people suffering so much? I work with medical students on how to recognize internal and external pressures, combat negative self-talk, and cultivate a more mindful, balanced, joyful way of living.

Has it been a smooth road?
Medical students are inevitably under many stressors including high debt levels, heavy study load, and the incredible responsibility of caring for their patients’ lives. Despite this, they can thrive if they are given the support, room for error, and time for self-care that they deserve. Trying to change the culture at a medical school is not without its challenges. Many powerful forces are at work, including old cultural beliefs in the field of medicine, such as having to “be perfect,” “tough it out” and “suck it up.” But these young people inspire me! As the face of future public health of our nation, they deserve my best efforts.

Tell us more about your private practice.
I am a clinical psychologist by training. I maintain a small private practice in West Hollywood in addition to my work at the Keck School of Medicine. I utilize a very active style of psychotherapy with my patients by helping them to bear difficult emotions in order to witness growth and change.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Medical schools across the country are finally starting to employ wellness professionals to address long-standing mental health concerns in the medical student population. I envision a national uprising against some of the problems in medical school training, such as the mistreatment/abuse of students by their superiors, the lack of opportunities for emotional processing of patient suffering and death, inhumane work hours and subsequent sleep deprivation, and unrealistic expectations of perfection. Our amazing physicians, who care for all of us, deserve a more humanistic, holistic model of medical training.

Contact Info:

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1 Comment

  1. Victor parra

    October 7, 2017 at 05:33

    Insight and compassion, that is Dr Young for you. A wonderful person to have in my life.

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