Hello! My name is Swapnil Patel and I am a senior majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Neuroscience and Chemistry. Being a member of the 2016 Fall Gil Intern Cohort has been such a rewarding and enriching experience, one that truly defines both my academic and professional involvement here at UNC. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Dr. Buzinksi and Rachael Hall for this incredible opportunity!
This past semester, I have been working with Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill (CPCH). CPCH is an outpatient psychiatric clinic that strives to treat patients with a variety of mental illnesses. The primary mission of the clinic is to provide quality care to all patients that walk through its doors. CPCH assures this level of performance by first and foremost ensuring that each patient will see a board-certified psychiatrist. Additionally, they provide a coordination of care among the practice, local schools/universities, and other doctors in the area. Unlike other practices, CPCH provides a combined approach with psychotherapy and medication. To help their patients outside of the office, CPCH also provides educational tools via research articles, leaflets, and through social media. Some things that CPCH provides to set itself apart from other practices include: not waiting for an appointment, being able to schedule same-day appointments, having the option of Saturday appointments, having the flexibility to schedule early or late appointments (past 5pm), and generally having 24/7 access to a doctor.
My involvement at CPCH included a variety of roles and responsibilities. Under the supervision of Dr. Jennie Byrne, I undertook a research project on the efficacy of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in treating symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) for patients in the clinic. For this study, I was responsible for creating an organized patient questionnaire and later interviewing patients using this questionnaire regarding their experience with TMS treatment. After conducting these patient interviews, my responsibilities largely shifted to analyzing patient data such as demographics, overall TMS experience/satisfaction, post-treatment symptom severity, and PHQ-9 scores throughout the treatment course. After finishing data compilation for TMS patients, it was upon me to quantitatively represent their progress.
I plan to attend medical school to pursue a career in psychiatry. My time at CPCH as a Gil Intern has expanded my research and writing skills, as well as given me tremendous insight into the professional environment of psychiatry. My professional rapport has improved tremendously during the course of this internship as well. I now feel much more comfortable interacting with peers in a professional setting. The Gil internship has also provided opportunity for personal growth and exploration as well, making me optimistic for post-graduate options. I cannot wait to see what the future holds!
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