Dr Aneeta Shah Summers
I initially applied to medicine due to my interest in psychiatry, which stemmed from seeing close friends go through mental illness. Along the way I got a bit distracted by the huge number of fascinating specialties in medicine, but my placement in psychiatry in fourth year rekindled my interest. Taking part in a 5 week elective in psychiatry, mainly in liaison but with tasters in perinatal, CAMHS, EQUIP and old age psychiatry, really solidified my aspirations; the chance to talk to patients for longer than a few minutes, and to really listen to them and get a wide picture of their lives, was what I enjoyed most.
I'm particularly interested in improving access to psychiatry worldwide; studying global health for my intercalated degree made me much more aware of the challenges that this will bring. A specific area of interest for me is the cross cultural limitations of psychiatry. I find thinking about psychiatry through a social constructivist approach is really important as the biases prevalent in our society also apply to psychiatry. Writing my dissertation about post-traumatic stress disorder and female genital mutilation/cutting helped me to think more deeply about the limitations of diagnosis and how different cultures can affect how illness is managed. I hope that the Fellowship will allow me to advocate for increasing the visibility of global psychiatry and increasing the scope of research, especially to include more qualitative and cross cultural research.
I would encourage anyone interested in psychiatry to apply; even the application process is useful in terms of reflecting on your career ideas and thinking about the future.