IOL Residents 2022-23Welcome to the Institute of Living’s Adult Psychiatry Residency Program!

In 2022, the Institute of Living (IOL) will be celebrating its bi-centennial. The IOL has a storied history of advocacy and service. Our organization has been a national and international leader in clinical care, education, and research. Above all, we strive to uphold the dignity and humanity of those we serve while co-creating a thriving organization for our residents, staff, and teaching faculty. As we honor our past and re-orient towards our future, education is an essential part of what we do and who we are.

Our program offers a unique experience. We have a diverse depth and breadth of three clinical training sites conveniently located within walking distance in the greater Hartford area. We have a large group of diverse faculty working in several specialty areas. Our faculty is dedicated to fostering the growth of our residents, while connecting them to opportunities that advance their career. 

The choice of a psychiatric residency program can profoundly affect the personal and professional life of a physician-in-training. You are about to make one of the most important decisions of you professional life. We encourage all individuals seeking a psychiatric residency of the highest quality to explore the Adult Psychiatric Residency Program at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital.

Adrienne Bentman, MD
Director of Residency Training
Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital
Javeed Sukhera, HBSc, MD, PhD, DABPN, FRCPC
Chair of Psychiatry, Institute of Living
Chief of Psychiatry, Hartford Hospital

Dear Prospective Candidates,

Welcome to the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, or as we call it, the IOL.

The Institute of Living is located on 35 beautiful acres designed by renowned landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted. The rich heritage of the IOL can be traced back to 1822 when it began as one of the earliest psychiatric institutions in the country and the first hospital of any kind in the state of Connecticut. The Institute has been on the forefront of advances in psychiatric care since its inception as an early proponent of the moral treatment approach to implementing some of the first trials of revolutionary medications such as Lithium.

The Institute of Living Psychiatry Residency epitomizes excellence in teaching while providing patients with superb psychiatric care. The program achieves this whilst respecting the individual, personal lives of its residents. Residents at our program have varied interests and hobbies that they are encouraged to pursue along with fostering relationships with their friends and families to become well-rounded psychiatrists. While the residents reflect a mix of MD's, DO's, IMG's, ethnicities, ages, and life experiences, there are a few things that we all have in common. We are intellectually curious without being competitive, we believe in empathetic and informed patient care, and we believe that a key to being a good physician is taking good care of ourselves and each other. Being a small program (6 residents per class) allows for a supportive and cohesive environment.

You will learn more about all of the varied services and opportunities here at the IOL during your virtual tour and interview day but it is worth highlighting some unique strengths. First and foremost, the teaching staff and supervisors are all invested in the residents’ education and are highly approachable. Many of them teach in both the clinical and didactic role and serve as mentors and psychotherapy supervisors as well. Residents have daily interaction with in-house teaching attendings, a diverse caseload chosen from a large pool of patients, and supportive teaching and supervision.

We have an active residency council and strong commitment within the program to have residents’ voices take part in shaping the residency experience and curriculum. Our on call shifts are highly educational and supported by a resident supervisory system.  Call is on a non-sleep deprivation call schedule, leaving residents feeling engaged for all of the learning that takes place during the day. 

Another strength is our close proximity and collaboration with Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children's Medical Center where there is an atmosphere of mutual respect between psychiatry and other medical specialties.  We also co-inhabit the IOL with the Psychology Internship and Post-doctoral Training Programs which results in ample educational interaction between our fields.

While the overarching framework of our education is based in a integrated concept of the mind and all of its structural and functional complexities, we are grounded in psychodynamic principles including bimonthly resident groups, weekly meetings to process patient interactions, formal supervision within rotations to manage the complex and feelings which sometimes develop, and impromptu discussions with other residents and faculty as interesting issues arise. For residents here, this really elevates the way we approach all of our patients. We also receive impeccable, nuanced education in psychopharmacology, neurobiology, ECT, and supportive modalities.

At the IOL, residents rotate through the inpatient units, outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, the Emergency Department (at Hartford Hospital) and more. This leads to frequent collaboration between residents and allows for great continuity of care. On campus, there are numerous specialty clinics which address anxiety disorders, peri-partum mood disorders, schizophrenia rehabilitation, and addiction recovery to name a few. We are encouraged to explore and become involved in areas of our interests including research opportunities available through the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center (cutting edge fMRI studies), psychopharmacology and clinical trials of new medications, and clinical genetics among others.

On the lighter side, we have many organized and impromptu gatherings throughout the year, from a welcome picnic and a holiday party to simply going out for dinner after a late afternoon class. We also have three retreats annually that provide a mixture of wellness and educational activities. In light of the unique challenges residents faced this past year during the pandemic, the program supported us in adding a third retreat to further promote wellness and camaraderie. In the age of COVID, we have worked hard to stay connected in safe and socially distanced ways.

Just as we have all made adjustments in the time of COVID-19, the IOL residency has been careful to follow state guidelines and hospital recommendations. Our didactics and some patient care have moved on to Zoom when necessary. Our inpatient units have taken precautions for both staff and patient safety – pre-admission covid testing and a covid unit - and we continue to learn and evolve.

Hartford is a great small city, offering the creature comforts of city life like theater, art, concerts, and fine dining.  Being a hub for education also lends a college town feel to the area while offering great schools for families with children. Simultaneously, Connecticut is perfect for the outdoor lover with both ski slopes and beaches an easy day trip away. If you're more the urban sort, Boston and New York City are only a 1.5-2.5 hours away by car. And when it comes time to take one of your four weeks of vacation or conference time, Bradley International Airport is only 20 minutes away to carry you anywhere in the world.

Choosing the right residency can be a difficult task as you decide on your areas of interest and tease out the details that are important to you in a program. We hope that we have given you an idea of what living and working with us would be like here at the IOL. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. We hope that whether it is here with us or at another program, that you find a good fit for you and have happiness and success in this exciting and rewarding field.

Farah Tabaja, M.D.
Chief Resident
Pragya Kalla, D.O.
President, Resident Council