Heather Goff is the medical director of the Intensive Outpatient program at the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt Health System. Goff knew early on that she wanted to be a doctor, later deciding to pursue psychiatry.
Goff received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Swarthmore College and later attended medical school at New York Medical College. She followed this with a residency in adult psychiatry at Yale University and then a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Yale Child Center.
What are the responsibilities of your current role?
“I am the medical director of our Intensive Outpatient Program where I lead a multidisciplinary treatment team caring for patients in one of our day programs. This includes seeing patients on an individual basis as well as collaborating with other treatment providers to provide psychiatric care and support. The other part of my time is spent seeing kids and adolescents in The Center’s outpatient office, where I administer psychiatric assessments and provide ongoing treatment and medication management for patients.”
What is your favorite part about your daily duties?
“To be an effective child and adolescent psychiatrist, you must enjoy working with families and other supports. Kids come with lots of care providers—parents, extended family, pediatricians, school, and a big part of my job is to help connect and coordinate all those people in caring for a child. But of course, my absolute favorite part of the day is working directly with patients, getting to know them over time and seeing them learn and grow.”
How has your education/training prepared you for your current role?
“I was privileged to receive a truly excellent education. And between college, medical school, residency and fellowship, I had a lot of years of schooling! A huge part of practicing psychiatry, however, is ‘on-the-job’ training and experience, including seeing patients, working with other providers and receiving guidance from mentors. Prior to joining The Center for Eating Disorders, I worked in general child and adolescent child psychiatry. Becoming a doctor meant committing to ‘lifelong learning,’ and at The Center, I am constantly working to stay up to date with new research so that I can support my patients in the best way possible. I attend conferences and read journals, but also believe that one of the most effective methods of learning is through teaching others. Luckily, I have the opportunity to work with the residents and fellows from the University of Maryland when they rotate through The Center for Eating Disorders as part of their training.”
Do you have any advice for others looking to enter this field?
“Entering any field, no matter what you choose, may not be easy, but at the end of the day, it should leave you feeling rewarded.”
Laura Catherine Hermoza has a lifelong love for writing. In addition to serving as a contributor to various media publications, she is also a published novelist of several books and works as a proofreader/editor. LC resides in Baltimore County.