When Jonathan Yahalom, PhD, graduated from college, he was determined to live a meaningful life and help others do the same. He decided to pursue a career in mental health, attended graduate school in Pennsylvania and later joined the doctoral internship in clinical psychology at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital.
The internship program provides aspiring psychologists with a yearlong, in-depth training experience. Interns are part of the treatment teams in the acute care, inpatient, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs, and serve patients of all ages with a range of mental health concerns.
"During my training, I recognized the importance of approaching psychology as a human science, which prioritizes person-centered care," Dr. Yahalom says.
He credits his experience at Sharp with informing the daily care he now provides patients at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles and in his private practice.
"This person-centered approach has been invaluable as an early career psychologist," Dr. Yahalom says. "I learned to not just talk about concepts in psychology as if I were reading a textbook, but instead to translate them to everyday language that is relevant to people's lives."
As an intern, he applied this approach to a successful program launched in partnership with his geriatrics clinical supervisor, Dr. Dara Schwartz. Recognizing that both geriatric and adolescent patients experienced feeling isolated and underappreciated, they brought the groups together in their Intergenerational Group Therapy Program - featuring collaborative art projects, music and the sharing of important perspectives from their lives.
"Both generations felt valued," Dr. Yahalom says. "They were reintegrated with the broader community, and embodied the true, inspiring spirit of recovery."
In addition to supporting research and education programs such as doctoral internships, flu vaccines and health screenings; Sharp gives back to the community by donating time and volunteer support for events like Stand Down for Homeless Veterans and Feeding San Diego; no-cost support groups for new parents; and uncompensated care for patients who are unable to pay for medical services provided by Sharp hospitals. In fiscal year 2018, unreimbursed care totaled more than $437 million.