Resident Spotlight: Dr. Charles Ho, PGY2, Psychiatry

Throughout his medical education at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. Charles Ho was introduced to the field of psychiatry and quickly became fascinated with what it had to offer. Now a second-year resident with the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Ho finds inspiration by witnessing his patients’ growth and working with them through their joys, tears, loves and losses.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Hong Kong, but lived in British Columbia for the majority of my life.

What degrees do you have, and from what universities?
I received my bachelor's degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, and my medical degree from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

What special interests or hobbies do you have?
In my professional life, I have an interest in psychotherapy as well as psychiatric teaching. In my personal life, I regularly invite friends over to try out new board games and I am always looking for new recipes to try out in the kitchen.

Why did you choose to pursue your residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
Drs. Carla Garcia and Sandra Northcott introduced me to psychiatry in medical school and showed me that it could be fun and have a huge impact on patients. They also introduced me to other psychiatrists, some of whom became my mentors and helped me become a better psychiatrist. I owe most of my skills and knowledge to the psychiatric community at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. It was the community that welcomed me and made me feel like I belonged. I’m not sure I would have had the same positive mentorship experience if I went to train somewhere else.

What inspires you in your work?
Exploring someone's life with them and witnessing their joys, tears, loves and losses is probably one of the most incredible experiences in this job. Together you can uncover the self-defeating habits patients engage in and support them in finding healthier ways to live.

It’s also impossible to do this type of work and not have respect for the difficult decisions patients have to make and the tough situations they have had to cope with. When I am working with patients to overcome these issues, the hard work they put into getting better inspires me to work hard as well.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your residency?
I worked with a patient for six months, and we spent that time optimizing her medication, working on her marriage that was under strain and developing a plan to help her change jobs and cut back on her alcohol use that was becoming problematic. We experienced a lot of ‘ah ha’ moments together which led to newfound knowledge that could improve her life. She reached a lot of milestones through our work, which was very rewarding. It made me realize that in psychiatry you not only see people get better, but also flourish with the right combination of medication and psychotherapy.