Facing the First Days of the Pandemic: A Conversation With David Chong, MD, and Sara Nash, MD


When COVID-19 hit New York City, psychiatrists and other clinicians braved uncertainty and danger. Hear their stories on the PsychPearls podcast.


During the first wave of COVID-19 cases in New York City, physicians of all kinds took on unfamiliar roles and, in many cases, potentially risked their lives to help their patients.

In this edition of PsychPearls, a quartet of doctors remember the early, uncertain days the pandemic. Hosts Angela Coombs, MD, and Jennifer Sotsky, MD, talk to Sara Nash, MD, and David Chong, MD, about their personal experiences, how the challenges of the pandemic have evolved over time, what has kept them going throughout the year, and why preexisting social inequalities made the pandemic even deadlier in some communities.

Dr Nash is assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and program director of its fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine. Dr Chong is associate professor of medicine and program director of the Internal Medicine Training Program at Columbia University Medical Center.

About the hosts: Dr Coombs is a board-certified psychiatrist and assistant professor in Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She serves as the medical director and team psychiatrist at ONTrackNY Washington Heights Community Service clinic. She completed her public psychiatry fellowship and adult psychiatry residency at Columbia University where she was a chief resident and co-organized the curriculum on racial/ethnic mental health disparities. In addition to her clinical work in the public sector, she also works in Columbia's psychiatric emergency room and has a private practice in Upper Manhattan. Dr Sotsky is a fellow in consultation-liaison psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center with a part time private practice. She was formerly a chief resident at Columbia’s psychiatry residency program. Before medical training, she received an MS in Narrative Medicine, an interdisciplinary field that studies illness through a humanities lens. She is co-author of Conquering Lyme Disease: Science Bridges the Great Divide and has interests in medical education, psychotherapy, and medical humanities.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Columbia University Department of Psychiatry for allowing us to present the Breakthrough Session podcast with experts in the field of psychiatry.

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