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Meet Our Chief Residents

Abi Benudis, MD

I am so grateful to serve as one of the chief residents this year! I earned my MD and MPH at Tufts University School of Medicine, and I have continued to foster my public health research interests during residency. I am particularly interested in better understanding how to provide culturally competent mental health care and working to improve access to quality mental health care across vulnerable patient populations. Clinically, I most enjoy working with the acute patients in our psychiatric emergency room and with my psychodynamic therapy cases in the outpatient department. This year, I am most looking forward to working with my fellow chiefs to foster a sense of community and support in the residency for my wonderful co-residents.


Heather Kawalick, MD

Hi, I'm Heather! I grew up in California and Connecticut before earning my BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. I ventured south to Tulane University for medical school and, as a foodie, enjoyed all the great food News Orleans had to offer in the process. Cornell was an easy choice for me for residency, as I love NYC and had such a great experience rotating here as a medical student on the consult liaison service.  I have a robust interest in the geriatric population and after residency I plan to stay at NYP to complete the Geriatric Psychiatry fellowship at NYP Westchester. I am particularly interested in the intersection of psychiatric pathology, medical illness, and neurological disease that defines the natural aging process. My absolute favorite part of residency has been forming deep friendships with my co-residents, and learning from each of their unique perspectives. This year I am really looking forward to serving as a leader to the other residency classes and helping to shape new educational experiences for them in light of the COVID-19 crisis, where psychiatry is certain to play an integral role


Rachel Knight, MD

Hi I’m Rachel! I grew up in Rochester, NY. As an undergrad I studied English and Studio Art at the University or Rochester. After college I worked in a patient care technician role and made my shift into the field of medicine. I completed the premedical post-bacc program at Bryn Mawr College before making my way back to the University of Rochester for medical school. While I’ll always consider myself a Western New Yorker, I fell in love with Cornell during my residency interview and knew it was time to finally venture out of Rochester. I am so fortunate to now call this program and city my new home! From day one I have felt supported and inspired by the Department’s leadership and its amazing mentors. They are helping me to cultivate my strengths and interests in order to grow into an autonomous, thoughtful clinician. These influences are complemented by the ones of my talented co-residents who have steadied me, and together we have grown in impressive, imperfect and courageous ways. I am honored to have an opportunity to help inspire the same growth for others in this role as Chief Resident. After I graduate, I will be staying here for another year as the first addiction fellow in the newly established Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at NYP Weill Cornell.  


Paul McCormick, MD

I'm originally from NJ and studied English at Columbia prior to attending Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. I'm interested in child and adolescent psychiatry as well as psychoanalysis. My favorite part of the program is who I get to work with! We have legends of Psychiatry on our faculty willing to meet frequently with us to discuss cases, administrative assistants and program coordinators going the extra mile for our residents and patients on a daily basis, and some of my closest friends! I'm most looking forward to beginning psychoanalytic training this year and getting to know our new residents better! After I graduate, I will remain at NYP to complete a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the combined Columbia/Cornell/Westchester program.