Heather E. Goff, MD
I speak: English
My gender: Female
Where I practice
Born and raised in a small town in Connecticut, I earned my Bachelor of Arts at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and went on to medical school at New York Medical College. I did internships at Yale-New Haven Hospital in psychiatry and internal medicine, a residency at the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, where I served as chief during my second year. While I enjoyed big city life, especially in New York and Baltimore, when visiting friends on Maui, I was drawn to the small-town atmosphere that reminded me more of home (but with much better weather than on the East Coast!).
About my practice
My dad’s a pediatrician, so it's not surprising that I ended up in medicine. During medical school I realized that hearing the life stories of my patients and spending time talking with them about their concerns was most gratifying to me. I was also really fascinated by mental illness, the effect of different drugs on people’s mental states, and all the ways that people experience different symptoms. And because I wanted to work with kids and families, child psychiatry was the perfect specialty for me.
My research on eating disorders in children, adolescents, and adults has appeared in publications such as Family Support, Recovery Magazine, The Oxford Handbook of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders, and The Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.
To stay current in my field, I read professional journals, go to medical conferences, collaborate with colleagues, teach, and give presentations. Also, my membership in organizations such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association (for which I’m a fellow), the Academy for Eating Disorders, and the Obesity Medicine Association gives me access to the latest developments and research findings.
In my opinion, collaboration among providers leads to better patient care. At the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group I saw an impressive level of multidisciplinary teamwork, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of this practice.
With regard to treating patients, my belief is to “first, do no harm.” In psychiatry a big part of the job is to prescribe medication; however, it's equally important to determine whether this is the proper treatment for a particular patient and, when appropriate, to include other approaches, such as talk therapy. I feel fortunate to work in a field that gives me a chance to see my patients on a regular basis and to keep up with how their lives are going. I especially enjoy learning about their favorite activities at home, school, work, church, and in the community.
How I thrive
Away from work, I spend quality time with my family and my pets. Regularly scheduled downtime that includes reading, running, cooking, going to the beach, doing yoga, and hiking also help me to de-stress.