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Hamilton Health Sciences Home
July 14, 2016

Introducing… a child psychiatrist

Dr. Bode Akintan is a psychiatrist in the Child & Youth Mental Health Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Favourite colour: blue/ book: The Element by Sir Ken Robinson/ animal: dogs/ vacation spot: Turks and Caicos

What made you enter your field of work?
It’s cliché but I’ve always wanted to be a physician. I did have a two week period when I was ten and I considered being a pilot but my mother shut that down pretty quickly. I am particularly drawn to working with young people and would perhaps have been a pediatrician if I did not discover the magic of psychiatry. Working as a child psychiatrist is a perfect blend of what I find most fascinating in medicine: the developing brain and its impact on behaviour. I am committed to academic medicine for a similar reason. It challenges me to continue to up my game.

What do you love most about your job?
I work with the smartest people I’ve ever met, who are incredibly committed to serving young people. I believe I have the best job in the world and try to express my love for what I do every day.

Describe one of your most challenging days at work.
The hardest days are when I learn that we’ve lost a patient I was caring for. Those days are rare but very difficult. I am a parent and I can imagine no greater hurt than the loss of a child, especially when that child struggled with a mental health condition. I try to remain strong for my other patients, their families and my fellow staff but it is a severe blow every single time. I can’t help but cry.

What do you do after work to unwind?
On the weekends I take a sip of Grand Marnier and during the week I watch or play soccer. My family is very supportive. I have two teenage children who have their own busy lives so of course, some of my time is spent trying to keep up with them.

What is one thing you wish patients or colleagues knew about you?
I used to breakdance and still have some moves. They are archived and, except for top secret video footage, will never be seen again. On a more professional note, I wish my colleagues knew I welcome debate and critique. I may come across as serious but I’m always ready to chat and hear another perspective.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.
A former patient of mine came up to me in the café and told me he was now working and doing well. He had found a vocation that allowed him to contribute to society in spite of his other struggles. He was grateful for the care he had received. I had followed him briefly as an outpatient when he was discharged and knew he was going to have a tough time getting back to his life. Seeing moments of success like this is like rocket fuel and propels me to work even harder.