Staff Spotlight: Cathy Lefebvre Enjoys Helping People Achieve their Goals

Cathy Lefebvre (pronounced “la fay”), a program coordinator in the Division of Child and Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry, supports the psychiatry clerkship program for medical students and the Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds series. 

Cathy started her Duke University School of Medicine career as a senior clerk in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences in 1986. Prior to moving to Minnesota in 1996, she also worked in the Department of Surgery (Division of Surgical Oncology) and Department of Medicine (Division of Cardiology). She returned to Duke Psychiatry in 2001 and has worked in the department ever since, for a total of 28 years of service in the department and 31 years at the School of Medicine to date. 

Cathy works with faculty and staff in the School of Medicine to help second-year medical students maneuver through their clinical rotation in psychiatry. She also assists fourth-year medical students in their sub-internship year as they look forward to applying for psychiatry residency. 

In her role as Grand Rounds coordinator, Cathy gathers information from speakers, promotes the presentations, and coordinates with the North Carolina Psychological Association and the Duke Clinical Education and Professional Development office to offer continuing education (CE) and continuing medical education (CME) credits to Grand Rounds attendees.

She recently shared some reflections about her time at Duke.

What changes have you observed at Duke over the years?

Growth! Duke has gotten bigger, stronger, and better! New locations, new technology, and most importantly a leader in research and treatment. We don’t realize how very fortunate we are to live near (and work at) such a top-notch institution both medically and academically.

What’s your best memory of your time working in Duke Psychiatry?

My best memory has been the people I have had a chance to work with, having the privilege to work with MDs, PhDs, staff, and research personnel who are leaders in their field. I not only have learned so much from all of them, but have maintained wonderful relationships with a number of them. That much I definitely treasure.

What has your favorite role been at Duke, and why?

While I have been most fortunate in working for and with some wonderful people at Duke in different capacities, I believe working with the medical students rotating through their psychiatry clerkship is the most rewarding. I can relate to their struggles and triumphs in remembering my own daughters’ college and veterinarian school experiences. It is very busy and at times stressful, but I truly love my job.

What’s your professional superpower?

I believe I am a servant at heart, so I love helping people in areas that I can. It makes me happy to help others achieve their goals and make a difference in their careers as well as to the patients and their families.

What brought you to Duke … and what keeps you here?

I grew up in Durham and have been a lifelong Duke fan, so when the opportunity came up to apply for a position at Duke all those years ago, I did. It was the one of the top places to work in Durham, with its competitive pay and extraordinary benefits offered to employees. Why leave?

What’s one thing you’ve learned through your work in Duke Psychiatry?

Helping others and being a nice person to everyone, no matter how alike or different they are, costs nothing. Working in the Psychiatry department has reiterated to me that we are all human, we all make mistakes, and we are all capable of forgiveness. No one is perfect and everyone needs help at some point.

What advice would you give to new Duke employees?

Take the opportunity to learn from the many, many resources at your disposal! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to learn something new. Duke provides too many opportunities to not take advantage of some.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Since becoming “empty nesters,” my husband Norman and I enjoy traveling and visiting our daughters whenever we can. We are huge Carolina Hurricanes hockey fans and go to every home game! We also enjoy boating, fishing, and spending time with friends and family.

“Working with Cathy has been a real joy. Her attention to detail and drive to serve others is the glue that holds the clerkship together. I could not do my job without her.”
Cerrone Cohen, MD, Assistant Professor and Psychiatry Clerkship Director


This article is part of a series of spotlights on Duke Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences staff members who have worked at Duke for 30+ years, developed in honor of Duke's Centennial celebration