Women’s Mental Health Fellowship Provides Unparalleled Opportunity

September 7, 2020

Ashley Beaulieu, DO, is the third recipient of McLean’s innovative year-long fellowship in women’s mental health. For Beaulieu and her predecessors, this exceptional experience offered a fascinating 12 months of learning, with exposure to female patients coping with a range of diagnoses in every type of setting—from inpatient to residential to outpatient. The fellowship, said Beaulieu, has only reinforced her passion and the trajectory of her career.

“This experience has been the highlight of my training,” said Beaulieu. “McLean’s Division of Women’s Mental Health is at the forefront of understanding the role gender plays in psychiatric disorders. I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from incredibly talented clinicians and leading experts. It’s been such a gift to be mentored by Drs. Amy Gagliardi and Shelly Greenfield.” Greenfield is chief of the division and Gagliardi serves as clinical director of the division and program director for the fellowship.

After earning her medical degree, Beaulieu had the privilege in residency to work with veterans coping with trauma, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But 85% of her patients were male, and Beaulieu realized she wanted to understand how illnesses differed when present in women.

Women in group therapy

Group therapy at the Hill Center

Fellows rotate through the full complement of services for women and girls at McLean as well as the reproductive psychiatry consultation service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. From treating patients at the Klarman Eating Disorders Center to co-leading the Women’s Recovery Group for substance use disorders, the fellowship offers unique insight into the relatively new field of women’s mental health.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity,” said Beaulieu. “Even with COVID-19, I was able to keep learning and had the chance to work with the Hill Center while they adapted their program to safely treat patients during a pandemic, a truly extraordinary experience.”

The Women’s Mental Health Fellowship was established four years ago through a generous gift from the Kathleen and Ronald Jackson Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to support this fellowship and hope it might be a model for future training programs,” said Nancy Rushton, a trustee of her family’s foundation. “We’re particularly interested in helping to develop clinicians who understand the complexity of treating co-occurring disorders. Having this kind of wide-ranging experience can make such a difference in the lives of patients struggling with more than one illness.”

“It’s been eye-opening,” said Beaulieu. “Early in the fellowship I worked alongside clinicians at the Gunderson Residence for women with borderline personality disorder. The young women were often stuck at a crossroads, and after a couple of months of individualized intensive treatment, were able to restart their lives.”

Beaulieu has accepted a position at McLean as a staff psychiatrist working in the Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Inpatient Program and will begin in her new role this fall.

Please contact Lori Etringer at 617.855.3840 for information about how you can support this important training opportunity.

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