Learned Lessons: Practical Career Tips From Psych Congress Experts

March 21, 2017

Catherine R. Judd

Psych Congress Steering Committee member Catherine R. Judd, MS, PA-C, CAQ Psychiatry, DFAAPA, relayed her path to becoming Senior Physician Assistant, Mental Health & Behavioral Medicine, Parkland Health & Hospital System, Jail Health Program, in Dallas, Texas.

Catherine Judd
    Catherine R. Judd, MS, PA-C,
    CAQ Psychiatry, DFAAPA
    Credit: proimagesphoto.com

After college, Judd spent time in Europe, worked at the Dallas Independent School District, and took graduate courses for a PhD in education before going to school to become a physician assistant.

She then worked in schizophrenia research, geriatric psychiatry in Tampa, Florida, and primary care in Egypt before taking a job at the Dallas County Jail, thinking it would be a temporary stint. That was 15 years ago, and she is still there.

The jail at that time was the seventh deadliest jail in the country, Judd said.

“When I walked into that place I thought I don’t think I can work here,” she said. She quickly discovered how the conditions in the jail were, and how much of a difference she could make.

“Working there, with that population, became a calling. It truly became a calling when I realized we can make a difference in the lives of patients just by showing up, by treating them, respecting their integrity, respecting their humanness, and listening to their stories,” she told the audience at Elevate.

Judd urged the attendees to be willing to realize when doors are opening for them and to take advantage of opportunities which become available to them.

“Our careers can be like boxes, but we need to be willing to step outside of those boxes,” said Judd, who is also Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, School of Health Professions, Dallas.