Trainee Spotlight: Raj Shah, M.D.


More than half of individuals on the autism spectrum have additional mental health care issues, such as anxiety or depression. Ideally, all have equal access to child-development and autism expertise providing high-quality care to help. In reality, persistent disparities and provider shortages exist worldwide. The Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, a part of the Duke University School of Medicine, offers a unique blend of clinical practice and clinical research to post-graduate medical students who are working to change that. Post-doctoral resident Raj Shah, M.D., now a child psychiatrist at Eastover Psychological & Psychiatric Group, joined the Duke Autism Clinic team as a post-doctoral fellow, working with children and families seeking help with psychiatric concerns, behavioral issues, anxiety and other mental health care challenges.

“I had a chance to work with so many great families, and my time with them helped me truly appreciate the need for an individualized, child-centered approach to effective treatment,” said Dr. Shah. “Collaboration was a central piece of my work—not only with our families, but also with the clinic’s faculty and staff. The support of the entire team— and our dedication to the highest level of care—helped make visits with patients and caregivers meaningful and effective. Once we transitioned to virtual visits, the ability for additional providers to join visits and provide help with just the ‘click of a button’ was priceless.”

This year, Dr. Shah began treating children in private practice near Duke University, in Durham, NC, and calls his experience at the Duke Autism Clinic “invaluable.”

“My post-doc work at the clinic cemented the fact that there really is no such thing as a ‘onesize-fits-all approach.’ Whether it is a new patient evaluation, a follow-up patient who requires additional diagnostic clarity, or a long-term patient who is returning for a routine visit, the knowledge and understanding of autism that I have taken away from my time at Duke is priceless. My hope is that the experience I’ve gained will directly translate to an improved ability to care for my patients here in Durham.”

The Duke University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Fellowship Program trains leaders in clinical and academic psychiatry with an emphasis on integrating an evidence-based approach to care for children and adolescents. Fellows benefit from exposure to a variety of clinical settings and specialty clinics, involvement in cutting-edge research, and mentorship by faculty who are invested in their professional development.