Alpert JFS is excited to announce that Psychiatrist Willy Philias, M.D., is now a member of our Behavioral Health Team.
Dr. Philias says there are four professions young Haitian men consider—lawyer, economist, engineer, or doctor. “I chose medicine because I wanted to help people.”
Unlike many of his peers growing up in Port de Paix, Haiti, Dr. Philias spent a lot of time at the local library. “I read everything—books about geography, philosophy, and history. I’m still a voracious reader.”
In addition to his early thirst for knowledge, he was also fascinated by the doctors he’d see coming and going from the hospital next door. He originally dreamt of becoming a surgeon, but the education tract took much longer than what he wanted, plus there were other benefits, like the ability to have deeper connections with the patients he treats.
“As a psychiatrist, I spend more time with my patients,” he says. “Because you’re dealing with another person’s emotions, it’s very personal, and you can see progress. I really get to know them. Other types of doctors don’t have this opportunity.”
After starting his training in Haiti, Dr. Philias moved to Miami in 2002, where he observed Neonatalist Dr. Charles Bauer at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was then encouraged to train in psychiatry in New York, at Harlem Hospital under Columbia University, achieving chief residency after only three years. Upon completing a geriatric fellowship at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, he committed to working with older adults as a sub-specialty.
“At first, I thought about child psychiatry, but my geriatric rotation convinced me otherwise. Older adults need someone to listen to them. Family members are unavailable or live out of state. They know they can reach out to me when they need help or want to talk.”
When he moved back to Florida, Dr. Philias became an attending physician at JFK Hospital, receiving an Outstanding Physicians Award after only six months on the job.
Looking to expand his roots in Palm Beach County, Dr. Philias was excited to see that Alpert JFS had a psychiatry position open.
“I enjoyed my time working at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, so it seemed like a good fit.”
Since joining the behavioral health team, Dr. Willy appreciates the tight-knit, family-like atmosphere at Alpert JFS. And it’s the kind of environment that allows him to continue what has been a long-held professional philosophy.
“I approach patients as if it could me, my friends or family members on the other side of the desk. I put myself in their shoes—what would I be doing for myself, friends or family?”