Resident Life

Life In Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a vibrant, diverse city with unparalleled opportunities to explore food, music, museums, cinema, nightlife, and outdoor activities. The weather is consistently balmy and beautiful, and residents eat lunch together in an outdoor courtyard year-round.

For active outdoor residents, the Los Angeles General Medical Center campus is a short drive from Griffith Park, home to the famous Griffith Park Observatory. There are hiking opportunities throughout the city including Temescal Canyon, Runyon Canyon, and Santa Monica Mountains. Six National Parks & National Forests are within a two-hour drive of the city. A beautiful botanic garden and art museum, Huntington Library, is a short drive from the hospital. Residents enjoy getaway weekends to Joshua Tree, Big Bear, Idyllwild, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara. The coastline presents endless opportunities for surfing, swimming, beach volleyball, snorkeling, and sunbathing.

The city is home to countless museums (e.g., The Getty Center, The Broad, LACMA, MOCA), sports stadiums (e.g., Staples Center, Dodger’s Stadium), and concert venues (e.g., Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Forum, Troubadour, The Wiltern, The Coliseum). For film buffs, outdoor movie screenings take place at the legendary Hollywood Forever cemetery and on rooftops throughout the city.

Residents arrive to Los Angeles from all parts of the United States and rapidly dive into the culture of the city. The majority of residents live on the east side of the city in Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Highland Park, and Pasadena, though several residents with significant others at different west side programs (or a strong love of the ocean) live in west side neighborhoods including Culver City and Santa Monica. Residents often meet up after work for Happy Hours or nights out dancing in West Hollywood, the city’s largest LGBTQ+ neighborhood. There is a strong community of psychiatry residents and a sense of camaraderie among residents across specialties. Residents frequently cite the close sense of community among their peers as a highlight of this program.

Connections With Diverse Communities

Although Los Angeles encompasses a large metropolitan sprawl, each of its many small neighborhoods has a distinct personality and history. Our inpatient psychiatric unit is embedded within South-Central Los Angeles, a historically black neighborhood. The hospital is located near the epicenter of the historic Watts Rebellion, now home to the Watts Tower Arts Center (a cultural enrichment center with an emphasis on visual arts, music, and education). Our Downtown Los Angeles VA location stands at the intersection of several vibrant neighborhoods with distinct cultural identities, including Little Tokyo, Olvera Street (a historic monument to El Pueblo de Los Angeles and a celebration of Mexican culture), and the Arts District. Many thriving Asian American cultural centers are located nearby in Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Historic Filipinotown, Alhambra, and Chinatown. The main hospital campus, which includes Los Angeles General Medical Center and Keck Medicine of USC, is embedded within Boyle Heights, one of many predominately Latino neighborhoods in the city. Residents of Los Angeles County are 48% Latino with strong historical ties to neighborhoods on the east side, including Echo Park, Highland Park, and East Los Angeles.


Resident wellness is a priority, with an emphasis on free time to explore the city and enjoy an active social life outside of work hours. Call schedule is light and concentrated in the first year of residency. Second-year residents work an average of two weeks of night float and four weekends throughout the year. Third- and fourth-year residents do not work nights or weekends. Residents are granted nearly 5 full weeks of paid vacation annually (24 days) and protected weekly time for therapy. Throughout each year of residency, each class participates in a monthly “process group” to provide support. At the end of intern year, graduating first year residents are given a protected week to plan an “intern trip.” Recent outings have included Sayulita (Mexico), Big Bear, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. Third-year residents organize monthly social events to encourage cohesion within the outpatient clinic, including game days and costume contests with staff.


Residents participate in an annual one-day retreat with program directors. Retreats are protected time away from clinical responsibilities. Past retreats have included a beach day in Santa Monica and a morning of outdoor activities in Griffith Park culminating in a relaxing afternoon at a rooftop pool bar downtown