Kelly Akah, MD
Undergraduate: Howard University
Medical School: Medical University of Lublin
Interests: Public Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Bio: I grew up in North Jersey but have spent a good chunk of my life living in D.C, the Bahamas, England, and Poland. I have always been passionate about working with underserved and marginalized communities and can talk about it all day if given the opportunity! Philadelphia is such a charming city and being at Einstein is an absolute dream because it allows me to work with the community I care about most. Outside of Psychiatry - I enjoy backpacking, international travel, running, collecting postcards, and filling my home with plants!
Allison Chambers, DO - Administrative Chief Resident for Medical Students
Undergraduate: The Johns Hopkins University
Medical School: Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Interests: General Adult Psychiatry, particularly mood and personality disorders
Bio: My experiences growing up in rural Pennsylvania and later living in both Baltimore and Philadelphia gave me a lot of exposure to the realities of those attempting to access healthcare in underserved areas. I'm thrilled to be addressing those inequities at Einstein and serving our local community! Philadelphia became my home during the 7 years I spent working as a clinical researcher here prior to medical school, and I'm thrilled to be beginning my psychiatry training in this city. Without soundness of mind, it's difficult to have everything else in life that we, as humans, typically want, and as psychiatrists, we get to help our patients work towards having the lives they desire every single day. Outside of the hospital, I love traveling, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying everything Philadelphia has to offer!
Reha Dharmaraj, MBBS - Administrative Chief Resident for Conferences
Medical School: Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences and Research
Interests: Addiction Psychiatry, Emergency/Crisis Psychiatry
Bio: I'm a self-proclaimed adventurer - mostly in the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Nonetheless, adventures (and sometimes misadventures) led me from India to Philadelphia and ultimately to Einstein and Psychiatry. I'm hopeful that my next adventure will be in Addiction Psychiatry. As recipients of the esteemed Albert Einstein Society (AES) Innovative Grant, my team was able to provide all Einstein Emergency Medicine providers free Narcan to use in the community and we are hopeful to expand this endeavor to all departments at Einstein. We also developed a process for "warm hand-off" from the emergency room to the Einstein MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) Clinic for patients with alcohol use disorder to receive a long acting injectable that has proven to be effective in reducing cravings - another project funded by the AES society. Apart from my interest in addictions, I also enjoy the fast-paced environment of the crisis center. My experience at the Einstein Crisis Response Center made me fall in love with the line of crisis work. In my spare time, you'll see me spending time with my pets while dreaming about all the other pets I could adopt, hitting up some metal concerts, doing something D&D related and tending to my plants.
Natalie Katchmar, DO, MBA - Administrative Chief Resident for Medical Students
Undergraduate: Cornell University
Medical School: Kansas City University
Interests: Child and adolescent psychiatry, psychotherapy, medical education, mental health advocacy
Bio: A crazy cat lady at heart, I'm a former bioengineer turned psychiatry resident with a passion for baking (with help from my two sous chef cats!) I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and majored in biological engineering. After college, I began working at Penn in a neuroimaging research lab where we focused on motivational deficits in mood and psychotic disorders. I fell in love with Philly during this time, and I am thrilled to be at Einstein for my psychiatry residency. There are many things I love about Einstein, but I really love the strong emphasis and training in psychotherapy. I hope to pursue a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship, and Einstein has a wide variety of unique experiences in the field. Beyond the broad experiences Einstein psychiatry provides, the people in this program are truly the best part! Outside of medicine, you can find me exploring hiking trails with my dog, or if it's raining, working on various jigsaw puzzles that I'll frame for my house. I also love working out, especially when all three of my pets join me for yoga and weightlifting (though they might be more distraction than help!)
Ali Khalil, MD, ABP, CPHQ
Medical School: Assiut University, Egypt
Interests: Forensic Psychiatry, Community Psychiatry, mental health promotion and advocacy
Bio: Before joining our residency program, I completed a psychiatry residency and forensic psychiatry fellowship at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in Qatar and obtained the Arab Board of Psychiatry. In my previous institution, I was appointed as the chairman of assessment of patients chapter of Joint Commission International (JCI). In this capacity, I drafted and amended many policies and was recognized by my department for my contributions in obtaining the JCI accreditation. I was elected by my colleagues as the chairman of the Trainees Council, representing over 1300 residents and fellows in 30 departments across HMC. For my contributions in the training and education of medical students, I was awarded with the ‘House Staff Teaching Award’ by Weil Cornel Medical Colleague in Qatar and was also appointed as the deputy director for training in forensic psychiatry for the students of College of Health Sciences at Qatar University. Motivated by my passion for promoting mental health, I founded and lead the Wellness Ambassadors project; an evidence-based project aiming to improve mental health literacy and reduce mental illness stigma in Qatari high schools.
Wes Lewis, DO
Undergraduate: California State University Sacramento
Medical School: Touro University California
Interests: Forensics, Psychotherapy, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), Trauma
Bio: Having a family background in criminal justice helped inspire me to study psychology during undergrad, where my interests expanded to pharmacology, psychodynamic therapy, and research related to personality theories. Following undergrad, I served as an AmeriCorps with the American Red Cross in Northern California, during which time I worked in disaster cycle services, and worked with under resourced communities. My interests during medical school expanded to forensic psychiatry, as well as ECT. Since at Einstein, I have continued to gain further exposure to reinforce these interests as well as see a variety of unique cases. After residency, I hope to pursue a fellowship in forensics. Outside of work, I enjoy running, hiking, cooking, writing/producing electronic music, audio engineering/sound design, and spending time with family.
Jonathan McLaughlin, DO
Undergraduate: Saint Joseph's University
Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Bio: I was born and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs and went through all of my higher education here as well. I absolutely love it here. There is always something new to do or explore. Even though my Philly roots run strong, I love to travel and go on road trips. In the Summer, you can find my wife and I taking our dog, Murphy, to the beach and in the winter you can find us skiing all over the country. I also love cars, Philly sports, animals, cooking, and whiskey tasting. I chose Einstein because from top to bottom, it is an absolutely stellar program. From the high quality curriculum and welcoming culture, to the supportive senior residents and esteemed attending physicians, I genuinely loved coming to work during my audition rotation and that in itself speaks volumes. When it comes to why I decided to pursue psychiatry as my field of choice in medicine, there are a variety of reasons. I have loved psychiatry for my whole life (I was a psych major with a neuroscience minor in undergrad). I love the collaborative nature of the field and how psychiatrists work with other doctors and other professionals to get the patient’s whole life back on track. Most of all, I love how the field of psychiatry is centered around treating the human condition and the person’s orientation to reality, rather than just one physical niche of the human body. If your mental health or orientation to reality deteriorates, so does your quality of life. The field of psychiatry helps remedy your well being in a way that no other specialty can.
Christopher Rakay, MD, M.Ed
Undergraduate: Lehigh University
Medical School: Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
Bio: Originally from the great Garden State of New Jersey, I have been living, working, and learning in Philadelphia since 2009. Prior to medical school I earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology and worked in mental health and addictions for over ten years. I liked it so much I decided to learn more skills and go into psychiatry. I chose Einstein because of the diversity of clinical experiences and populations, the focus on psychotherapy and psychodynamics, and because the residents were genuine and engaging. Also, I can ride my bike to work. My interests include addiction psychiatry, mood disorders, personality disorders, disadvantaged communities, psychotherapy, and psychedelics as emerging tools in psychiatry. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, running, cycling, and reading Dr. Seuss with my two little kiddos, spouse, and dog. And of course, toddler dance parties.
Andrea Weir, DO
Undergraduate: University of St. Thomas (Houston, TX)
Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Bio: I grew up between Houston (TX) and Port of Spain (Trinidad, WI); however, my entire family is from the Northeast- so I was eager to have the chance to move to the region! Medical school at PCOM afforded me that opportunity. I was a non-traditional student, who had a prior career working as a chef and enjoyed traveling to different countries to learn about other cultures and cuisines. What I love most about psychiatry is the opportunity to explore the depths of our humanity- and to discover what makes each of our journeys in life unique as well as meaningful. I was especially interested in Einstein after rotating here as a medical student and meeting the caring, as well as supportive, residents and faculty associated with the program. I was especially attracted to the ability that residents had to become involved with the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, playing with my dog (Nikola Tesla, aka Tessie-bear), spending time with friends, cross-stitching, discovering quirky restaurants/coffee shops, and camping.