About Alejandra Morfin-Rodriguez, MD

Resident Perspective

Hi ya’ll! My name is Alejandra Morfin Rodriguez, and I want to tell ya’ll a little about my plans for next year! To tell ya’ll a little bit about where I hope to go this year, I want to first tell you about where I have been! I am originally from Pihuamo, a small town in Jalisco, Mexico (Viva Mexico!). My family and I came to the US when I was 5 and settled down on the southeast side of Houston (H-town, get down!). I grew up in a tight-knit immigrant community in which most of us were undocumented, and all of us came to this country with nothing but a heart full of dreams. The value of community and perseverance was etched into the fabric of my being, and so when I started to notice patterns of trauma, illness, and suffering come down on my community, I became curious. I observed the patterns were exacerbated and repeated due to external factors including poverty, lack of access to food, education, or healthcare. I decided I wanted to try to break the cycle, and the only way that was accessible to me was through education. I was a “first-generation everything” student and, over time, started learning the academic labels for the things I had witnessed first-hand, the so called “social determinants of health.” With my community as my inspiration and my support, I decided to pursue medicine to enact change.
Throughout my medical school education, I was constantly interfacing with the injustices of both our laws and our medical systems, both of which directly led to health disparities. Whether it was local uninsured patients or patients who were brought in from the border, all were suffering greatly. My initial strategy to combat these health disparities was to become a primary care physician, but I soon realized that there was even more of a dirth of bilingual, bicultural, psychiatrists, which is how I got to MGH/Mclean Psychiatry. To say that I would’ve never in a million years expected to be at this program would be an understatement. The structured rotation experiences have taught me psychopharmacology, psychotherapy skills, leadership skills, etc. But By coming to this program, I have been able to have a multitude of opportunities I may not have had access to otherwise. Over the course of the past three years, I have continued to learn more about Global Mental Health and have participated in a research project focusing on adolescent mothers and their infants.
This coming year, as part of the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP), I hope to dive in even deeper! Speaking of the PSTP, I applied for this program as a PGY2 (without a PhD or formal research training) with the hope that I will be able to further my skills and become an independent researcher with the help of a whole lot of mentorship. Keeping with my commitment to my community, I am also embarking on a formal mentored research experience with the Center for Health Disparities at MassGeneral with a project that focuses on mental health interventions specifically geared to latino/a adults. I also participate in the American Psychiatric Association Leadership Fellowship, where I  learn how to better advocate and create change in our field! As a UiM woman, these opportunities feel simultaneously incredibly intimidating and also like such a gift. The activity that I look forward to the most next year and hold the closest to my heart is the ability to participate in Asylum evaluations through the MGH Asylum clinic. Through this experience, I have had the privilege of meeting with and advocating for fellow immigrants through a forensic psychiatric evaluation, honoring them and standing by them by helping write medicolegal affidavits or competency to stand trial letters. Being able to support their cases has sincerely felt like a dream come true. Overall, much like when I first came to the US, I came to MGH with a heart full of dreams and am thankful for the opportunity to train at a place that allows me to pursue them.
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