David Folsom, MD, Director
Dr. Folsom was the first graduate of the UCSD Combined Family Medicine and Psychiatry Residency Program; he joined the faculty in July 2001, and assumed the role of Co-Director in August 2003. Dr. Folsom is a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina. He served as Chief Resident of the traditional Family Medicine Residency during his R-4 year, and Chief Resident of the Combined Residency during his R-5 year. During his final year of residency, he began a series of research projects focusing on improving health care for people who are homeless and mentally ill. In addition to his leadership role in the Combined Program, Dr. Folsom was awarded an NIMH Career Development Award, which is a five year grant. His research involved a case management intervention based at St. Vincent de Paul that seeks to improve the health care and mental health care for people who are homeless and have serious mental illness. In 2007, Dr. Folsom was named "Researcher of the Year" by the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP).
Dr. Folsom comments: "Looking back on the five years of residency, it was an amazing learning experience. Although five years is a long time to be a resident, it gave me several years to really figure out what kind of doctor I wanted to become. The third and fourth years really helped solidify my professional identity as both a family physician and a psychiatrist. But it was in the fifth year that I had the time to develop some of my own projects, including helping develop a curriculum for the psychiatry interns and starting an ongoing research program.
"The unique experiences that only the combined residents get at St. Vincent's are fantastic learning opportunities. The highlights of my residency included: working at a shelter for homeless and runaway teenagers, our annual tent talk (a health fair for the people living in the emergency winter shelter), and being part of an impressive continuum of care at St. Vincent's that helps homeless people get back on their feet. We get to care for a group of patients who are often very ill, and have no other place to go. And we are often looked to for our psychiatric and medical expertise by the staff of the Village, our patients, and our fellow residents. In the end, I feel like I have a very unique and useful set of skills.
"When I finished my residency and looked forward to becoming a faculty member, I saw many exciting possibilities. The two areas that became most important to me were providing health care and mental health care to people who are homeless or uninsured, and providing primary health care to people with chronic mental illness. With these two priorities, I spent the two years after graduation working on a research fellowship and continuing to work at St. Vincent's. I am extremely glad that I took a chance and became one of the first residents in this program. It has been a fantastic learning experience, and has opened so many career possibilities for me."
Selected Articles by Dr. Folsom: