To have a passion is one thing; to have a purpose is another. And when that passion is psychiatry, and that purpose is to destigmatize mental health, very few people have the necessary perseverance to fulfill their calling. Dr. Jake Goodman, however, has all the passion, the purpose, and the perseverance, not to mention an impressive 1.3 million social media followers supporting him in his endeavors.
From UGA Dawg to MBA Doctor
Dr. Goodman’s reason for pursuing medicine changed as he aged. Childhood check-ups and a later interest in sports medicine, for example, both eventually led to his undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia (UGA), where he majored in biological sciences on the pre-med track. Still, getting to college was not a simple task. Dr. Goodman explains that he “was never a valedictorian or a star student,” as school just “didn’t come easy” for him; he took the SAT three times to achieve the score that he believed would allow him to get accepted to the University of Georgia. While at UGA, Dr. Goodman found himself dealing with things far more difficult than microbiology midterms. Unfortunately, in the midst of his college experience, one of Dr. Goodman’s friend and fraternity brother died by suicide. This loss, albeit undeniably tragic, helped the aspiring doctor better define his passion and purpose within the medical field: treating mental illness and advocating for mental health.
As Dr. Goodman approached the end of his undergraduate studies, he began applying to medical school. Similar to the perseverance he demonstrated earlier when taking college entrance exams, Dr. Goodman had to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) two times and it took him two years and 25 medical school rejections until he eventually was accepted. During these difficult times, Dr. Goodman worked as an Uber driver, a caterer, and a waiter in restaurants and bars in order to earn enough money to apply to medical school again. Finally, Dr. Goodman was accepted to Thomas Jefferson University’s medical school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As if perfect timing were the reward for resilience, on the very first day of class, Dr. Goodman met the woman who would become his fiancé. After three years at Jefferson, Dr. Goodman briefly returned to UGA for a one-year Master in Business Administration (MBA) program before moving back to Philadelphia to finish medical school. Now, Dr. Goodman and his fiancé are a part of the University of Miami’s four-year residency program at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
A Day in the Life of the Doctor
While studying at Jefferson, Dr. Goodman had the opportunity to explore numerous medical specialties. In particular, he interacted with patients experiencing mental health problems and spent some time working in a methadone clinic. This clinic had a positive impact on the doctor because he found the stories of overcoming tremendous odds to find sobriety so inspiring. When he talked with these patients about their medical histories and diagnoses—when he listened to their stories—he connected with them. These connections helped him identify his goal to change the way people perceive mental health. In his residency program, Dr. Goodman is presently working on his passion and working towards his purpose by specializing in psychiatry.
Just What the Doctor Ordered: Dr. Goodman’s Mental Health Movement
By 2020, Dr. Goodman (@jakegoodmanmd) had built a considerable following on Instagram and TikTok, where he advocates for mental health awareness and empowers those needing support to seek help. With the help of Australian Activist Zachery Dereniowski (@mdmotivator), Dr. Goodman co-founded an organization called Mental Health Movement, a philanthropic campaign dedicated to encouraging honest discussions about mental health. This organization donates its profits to charities and has recently launched scholarships. Mental Health Movement also sells merchandise meant to generate conversation, raise additional funds for mental health advocacy, and remind the community that “you matter most.”
Essentially, Dr. Goodman is attempting (with great success, PositiveVibes might add) to further the social movement currently taking place; individuals are becoming more transparent regarding their mental illnesses, and society as a whole is becoming more willing to accept open dialogue on the topic of mental health. Indeed, he is a good man moved to do great things. For other aspiring Psychiatrists or, more generally, aspiring doctors also moved to do great things, Dr. Goodman advises that you first make sure the demanding profession is for you, so you might consider shadowing established physicians. And, of course, he also urges you to engage in activities such as exercise and meditation to care for your own mental health while you pursue your passion and fulfill your purpose.
Written by Kiersten Wright