The human mind is still very mysterious to scientists and psychologists, though we have come a long way as a society since the Victorian days of treating “hysteria.” Mental health is becoming just as important and accepted for treatment as getting a physical or flu shot, and psychiatrists are at the forefront of this change. Jared Heathman, M.D., talks about his career in psychiatry.

(Photo Courtesy of Jared Heathman, M.D.)

(Photo Courtesy of Jared Heathman, M.D.)

What does your current job entail?

“I opened a private practice called Your Family Psychiatrist, PLLC, that is located in northwest Houston. I get to work with three of my closest friends; Dr. Matthew Hinthorn and Dr. Wilfrido Dominguez completed their five-year training in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry with me, and I put Chelsea Gregurek in charge of office management; I’ve known her since elementary school, and I trust her completely. Together, we are able to treat a variety of mental health conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and many other psychiatric illnesses.”

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

“For parents, starting a child on a psychiatric medication can be an agonizing event. Our practice is structured to calm parents’ fears and only recommend medications if necessary. The initial interview involves speaking with the parent(s) and child separately before providing education on any diagnosis(es) and treatment options. We allocate 90 minutes to the first session, so that we can obtain a thorough history, provide education in person, and answer questions. It is incredibly rewarding to see a family begin to understand mental illness and make informed decisions together.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“The psychiatry faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) are exceptional. They taught us the importance of getting to know our patients. When I began interviewing for jobs, I realized that many clinics were focused on how many patients I could see rather than the quality of care I could provide. Instead of taking one of these jobs, the lasting impressions of the UTMB faculty helped inspire the creation of Your Family Psychiatrist to allow us to provide more personalized care.”

Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?

“I believe that the hardest part of medical school is getting accepted to medical school in the first place, so work hard to build your resume in college. Acceptance to medical school has become very competitive. Once you are there, most schools are focused on helping students succeed. Then, choose the specialty that makes you the happiest. No one ever regrets being happy.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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