Dr. Shadi Zaghloul, Medical Director of Behavioral Health at Baystate Wing Hospital, has been an Adult, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist with the Baystate Health organization for nearly 11 years. He recently transitioned from practice at Baystate Medical Center to Baystate Wing Hospital and has great perspective on providing psychiatric care in both an academic and community setting.
His interest in psychiatry began in Jordan where he saw a definite need. “I come originally from Jordan and Jordan has about 100 psychiatrists for a population of about 8 million people. When I left 20 years ago, I believe they had one or two child psychiatrists for the whole country with about 5 million people living in Jordan. It was a very underserved area and people didn't have access. It was just a fascinating field and I had a very nice, good professor in medical school who actually graduated from residency in the United States and he came back to teach. I thought that one day I was going to go back as well, 20 years later, I'm here, so I didn't go back obviously,” he joked.
Dr. Zaghloul continued, “I just really enjoyed psychiatry when I got into it. I did a year of residency back in Jordan and I had a great mentor and teacher. He graduated in the UK, and he is one of the hundred psychiatrists or so that practice in Jordan now. When he came back from the UK to Jordan in the early 80’s, he was really one of a handful.”
Dr. Zaghloul said, “Interestingly, people in Jordan often don't think of psychiatry as medicine, but that's changing. With the wave of mental health advocacy, the legitimacy is rising every day. That stigma was a big part of the reason that made me do a combined internal medicine and psychiatry residency. So, I became boarded in both.”
One of the reasons he enjoys our community hospital practice setting is that it allows him to focus on human connection. He said, “For me, the main draw to psychiatry is the deeper connection to patients -- why people do things -- what makes them act differently than others.” When speaking about the working environment he noted, “I’ve been here at Baystate for 10, going on 11 years and there are two things that make me enjoy practicing at Baystate Health. One is that the people here are really nice and down to earth; and I’m not just saying that. The staff, the psychiatrists -- they are all very kind. It’s a small enough program that there’s intimacy. It’s not a huge psychiatry department with 50 psychiatrists where no one knows anyone. Also, things are happening. For instance, over the past 7 years we started a general psychiatry residency program and in 2020, there’s going to be a Child Psychiatry Fellowship program starting! It’s exciting. It's the perfect place if you're a clinician educator track physician.”
Transitioning to Baystate Wing Hospital has been a great experience for Dr. Zaghloul. “There’s a cozy, warm feeling to it. It’s not as overwhelming as it is being a part of a bigger hospital. It fits my personality. The support staff and colleagues are excellent. People and patients are appreciative too. We’re fun! You develop this closeness with people and you do become a small family. My team is very experienced. Some people have been here for many years. The MAs, the counselors the APRNs, one of whom has been here for 30 years, are all supportive, fun and friendly.” Dr. Zaghloul explained.
There are many places to settle in the Pioneer Valley, but Dr. Zaghloul and his family chose Westfield. He said, “Westfield was a good fit for my family. We checked out Amherst, Northampton and Longmeadow, but Westfield was a nice community that fit our needs. We love Boston, but it’s hard to live there. Western Massachusetts is good for being accessible to bigger cities but also it’s more affordable and you can have a backyard and a house without breaking the bank. People from different walks of life settle here and many of the local people who are here, they don’t want to leave. There are a lot of people with roots here. It’s a good place to raise a family. It’s a place where you can provide a good living for your family, the cost of living is affordable and the schools are generally good. And there are many private schools if the public schools aren’t something you feel you want your children in –some public schools in the area are on par with the best in the State. You also have a short commute and good work / life balance.”
Dr. Zaghloul made a point to highlight the outdoor aspects of the region. He explained, “…I like the fact that there are a lot of Red Sox fans here…. I like the outdoors. I like the seasons, I like the fall here. I sometimes take my daughters who are now 9 and 14 out hiking, especially in the fall and the spring. Bash Bish Falls was one of our favorite hikes.“
Dr. Zaghloul’s leadership at Baystate Wing Hospital is a great part of what makes practicing psychiatry so rewarding at Baystate Health. His commitment to his patients, colleagues and community is inspiring.