3 Questions with Dr. Patrick R. Aquino, Chair, Division of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine and Medical Director, Ambulatory and Integrated Services

1. Was medicine/psychiatry your first career choice and what attracted you to the field?

I always wanted to be a physician, but didn’t choose psychiatry until later. I was drawn to psychiatry because I wanted to be a part of the frontier of medicine in understanding the mind and brain. I still think it is one of the few specialties where we have a real opportunity to connect with our patients and understand the whole person.

2. Patrick, name one thing that you wish more people understood about the professional role and the daily work of a physician practicing behavioral medicine?

Our time with clients or patients is at the heart of what we do. Yet, there are always increasing demands on providers’ time, and these demands attempt to take away from the time we spend with our clients.

3. How does your past practice and board certifications guide your work in your current role here at Lahey Health?

In addition to training in psychiatry, I also trained in psychosomatic medicine — now called consultation-liaison psychiatry — which focuses on the interface of medicine and psychiatry. I think it helps to reinforce that when we treat a client we are treating the whole person, not just a small segment of him or her. This training has also focused my interests in how psychiatry interacts with the healthcare system. It has motivated me to increase ways for mental health care to be delivered to our clients throughout the community, regardless of where they enter the healthcare system.