Harjot Sekhon, M.D.

Early life

I spent my infancy through preschool years in Dublin (Ireland), after which my family moved back to my hometown in the Province of Punjab in Northern India. I feel blessed that I was enriched by the learnings from a multicultural society while being able to study in an English based Catholic school in my hometown that put me on the path to where I’m now. Early academic success and an inquisitiveness to learn and understand more about nature, and particularly the human body, led to an easy decision for me to pursue the field of medicine.

Education

After completing my basic schooling at Sacred Heart School and Guru Nanak Public School, I continued my higher education at Dayanand Medical College where I received my Doctor of Medicine degree. It was whilst in medical school, and especially during my psychiatry training months that I was first exposed to the vast breadth and magnitude of psychiatric and neurological ailments affecting us. I was also saddened and frustrated by the societal rejection and overall dearth of care in this much needed field. In addition to studying psychiatric ailments in adults, I was drawn to mental health in children who aren’t able to advocate for themselves. In pursuit of better training in the field, I ended up moving to England after finishing up medical school. There I felt privileged at being given the opportunity to work with the Learning Disabled during my brief time at Hillingdon Hospital, West London. I started my Senior House Officer training through West London Mental Health Trust & finished a 6 month psychiatry academic course at Oxford. I also worked as a Senior House Officer in Forensic Psychiatry at the Broadmoor Hospital working with the severely personality disordered and mentally ill in a high security prison hospital.

Residency and Fellowship

I moved to the United States to complete my formal training in Psychiatry at University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA). I followed that by also completing my Fellowship at University of Virginia and was the Chief Fellow in the Child Psychiatry Program for my senior year. My research during fellowship included studying the effect of ADHD stimulant medications on the brains of young adults. I also presented a poster on the topic at the American Academy of Child Psychiatry annual meeting.

I’ve always been motivated by the saying: “It’s Easier To Build A Child Than Repair An Adult”

My treatment philosophy

I feel that my philosophy in how I approach mental health is reflected by experiences gained through growing up in different cultures in different parts of the world and through shared experiences through my patients and mentors. I strongly believe in a multidimensional approach to treatment. In addition to a possible genetic predisposition, neuro-psychiatric symptoms can happen at different stages of development due to environmental hardships and stressors that affect normal coping mechanisms. It becomes paramount for evaluators to help identify the problem, try to modify the environmental factors (if possible), and treat symptoms in an attempt to maintain homeostasis.

Neurosciences have taught us how brain chemistry is altered during neuro-psychiatric distress states, and our expanding and rapidly growing knowledge of psychopharmacology has provided us with valuable treatment options such as psychopharmaceuticals. Electromagnetic induction can be used for treatment with new & emerging techniques like TMS. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to a person’s genetic makeup.

I am a firm believer that there are no easy fixes in life. I usually want most, if not all, of my patients to be involved in psychotherapy to work on coping mechanisms, lifestyle modification, stress management, mindfulness and other ways to gain better control over their lives and the ways they interact with others.

Professional

  • Board Certified through American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN)
  • Fellowship Trained in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Professional Affiliations with Sutter Health Systems & Dignity Health (Woodland Memorial Hospital)

I’ve always been motivated by the saying: “It’s Easier To Build A Child Than Repair An Adult”

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