Young Adult Services Medical Track

Medical Track Being a young adult in today’s society presents many challenges.

Young adulthood can be a time of difficult transitions to adult roles, including shifting responsibilities and relationships. When young adults are also managing physical health conditions, they face challenges that are highly unique and can be difficult to manage. Many people with physical health conditions also experience mental health challenges. Left unaddressed or inadequately treated, this combination often leads to worsening psychiatric symptoms. Similarly, worsening mental health issues can make it harder to ensure that physical health needs are met.

We support young adults who are coping with chronic illnesses or adjusting to new medical diagnoses. We assist patients in exploring the impact of their physical health condition on functioning and treatment adherence. We recognize that many of our young adults struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems which may cause them to face the difficult decision to leave work or school. They often experience strong feelings of shame and guilt. We assist our young adults in navigating their mental and physical health conditions as they pursue meaningful, fulfilling lives.

The Program

Young adults (ages 18-26) with physical and mental health issues can find the care they need at the Young Adult Medical Track, a unique and compassionate intensive outpatient program offered at the Institute of Living.

This is primarily a group therapy program that also offers individual therapy, family meetings and medication management tailored to the needs of each patient. Young adults will find support from peers facing similar struggles, and can explore any losses and limitations caused by their physical health conditions, while staying focused on the future.

One of only a few such programs in the country, the Young Adult Medical Track program is staffed by a skilled team of psychiatrists, psychologists, clinicians, and nurses trained to tailor treatment to the physical and emotional needs of each client. From admission to discharge, the team works collaboratively with the young adult’s existing medical and mental health providers and connects the patient with follow-up care if needed.

Patients attend three days a week for six to eight weeks. Program days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Supporting Young Adults with Physical Health Conditions

We are here to help young adults who are adjusting to new physical health diagnoses or navigating chronic physical health conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Bariatric surgeries
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Concussions
  • Diabetes
  • Endocrine disorders
  • GI disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Migraines
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Physical injuries
  • Rheumatologic and autoimmune diseases
  • Seizures
  • Transplant surgeries

Or any other physical health condition affecting optimal functioning or relationships

What our patients are saying

Quotes from some of our patients upon discharge:

This program has been amazing. To meet other people like me, that have physical illnesses, has helped me so much. I always felt so alone. But now I know there are other people like me.
quotequoteIn this program, I’ve been able to talk about things that are meaningful and important to me. I’m going to miss this and all of you so much. This has been like a little family for me.
quotequoteThis has been the best group I have ever been in. I keep thinking about how much more independent I am now. Each and every one of you has definitely impacted me. It’s hard to leave this group. I do want to give someone else a chance to take my spot even though it’s really hard.
quotequoteI feel like I’ve learned so much. I don’t want to leave but know it’s time to move on and the program will be there if I need it in the future. I’ve really grown and I’m so grateful for everyone there, especially the other young adults like me because they really make groups as amazing as they are. I can honestly say they saved my life.

The Team

Elizabeth Alve-Hedegaard

Elizabeth Alve-Hedegaard, APRN

Eliza is an advanced practice registered nurse specializing in psychiatry with a Master’s in Nursing degree from the University of Saint Joseph. Eliza has been with the Institute of Living since 2012, first as a nurse on the inpatient units before transitioning to the Young Adult Services division. Prior to joining YAS, she worked as a nurse on the Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital. In addition to her role in the Medical Track, Eliza also works at Trinity College and Connecticut College, managing psychiatric medications for students.

David Bendor

David Bendor, PsyD, clinical coordinator

A licensed clinical psychologist with Young Adult Services since 2011, Dr. Bendor received his doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. He completed his internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the IOL. Before joining the IOL staff, he worked at Riverside Community Care in Newton, Mass., where he treated children, adolescents and adults in an outpatient setting. Dr. Bendor is a recipient of the Arne Welhaven, M.D. Memorial Award, given to a staff person within the Department of Psychiatry who best exemplifies genuine concern, respect and generosity toward patients and a quest for excellence in mentorship or education.

Emilie Butler

Emilie Butler, MS, practicum student

Emilie is a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Boston University, and her master's degree in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut. She has experience providing outpatient individual and group therapy for children, adolescents and adults. Emilie will remain at the Institute of Living as a child/adolescent psychology intern for the 2023-24 academic year.

Lorraine Moustakis

Lorraine Moustakakis, RN, nurse/case manager

Lorraine is a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara. She has a background in non-profit administration and community outreach, and she has worked as a public schools educator. Lorraine’s medical background includes working at Hartford Hospital and on the psychiatric child and adolescent inpatient units at the IOL. She received the Professional Practice Award in Ethics from Hartford Hospital.

Constance Shean

Constance M. Shean, LCSW, lead clinician

Connie is a licensed clinical social worker, who received her master’s degree from the New York University School of Social Work. She has extensive experience working with children and young adults in both in-patient and out-patient settings, as well as working with children, adolescents, and adults with significant physical health symptoms. She has also lectured on topics of family therapy with children in substance abusing families, attachment issues, and multicultural and ethnic influences in treatment. Connie is a recipient of the Institute of Living’s Linda J. Stacey Award for Service Excellence.

Contact Us

Young Adult Medical Track
The Institute of Living
Netherwood Building
200 Retreat Ave.
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: 860.545.7008

Young Adult Services Tracks