Home / Topics / Career Advancement / Career Paths / "I'll Give This a Shot"

"I'll Give This a Shot"

Posted on December 3, 2007

A serendipitous job offer led Roger D. Weiss (bio) from general psychiatry to addiction research.

 

My career path comes through addiction. I completed my residency and was starting in a path toward being a general psychiatrist. Didn’t particularly like that very much, was offered a position opening up a drug dependence unit at McLean Hospital just outside of Boston where I did my residency.

And even though I didn’t know much about, I didn’t know anything about addiction, I thought, “I’ll give this a shot.” And that’s what I’ve been doing my entire career. When I started working in the field of drug dependence there was a major divide between psychiatry and addiction. The two fields were essentially at odds with each other, and I had always thought that I wanted to use what I knew about psychiatry to help inform me in working with people who were addicted.

And so I was particularly interested in co-occurrence of psychiatric illness and substance abuse. So I’ve always been interested in that, and I started as a clinician who did a little research, and little by little I did more and more research and less clinical work. Although I still run the treatment program, I do primarily research now and started doing treatment outcome research and specifically got interested in treatment for patients with bipolar disorder and substance abuse.

I liked general psychiatry. I didn’t like the actual general psychiatry job that I had. And the particular situation was not a good situation, and I thought I should do something different.

And then I told myself I would take the first job offer I got. And when addiction was it, I said, all right that’s what I would do. It sounds linear, but I had never had any intention of having a research career. I never had any research, formal research, training. I kind of learned as I went along and picked things up here and there.

And got into some multi-site trials where people with very different levels of expertise in different areas all contributed things, and I contributed certain things. But I learned a lot from those multi-site trials. I picked it up slowly but surely and liked it more as I went along.

Viewing Preferences

 

Downloads

 


Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 International Conference on Bipolar Disorder in Pittsburgh, PA.

Feedback

Please note that the feedback is viewed only by 4researchers staff and is not intended for communication with individual contributors.

 

Use the form below to submit feedback about this article. If you would like a response, please be sure to include your e-mail address.


More About "Career Paths"

1:43

"You Should Be a Psychiatrist"

4:13

A Career in Crisis Intervention

Show All...

 

More From Roger D. Weiss (bio)

2:44

Community-friendly Interventions

1:29

I've Never Felt Burdened

Show All...