Columbia University Medical Center
Ranked #1 in Psychiatry
U.S. News & World Report
Ranked #1 in Research Funding
National Institutes of Health
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

Core Curriculum

A central aspect of the Residency Training Program is the core curriculum. Courses are held on a daily basis throughout the PGY 2 and PGY 3 years, and three days a week in the PGY 4 year. These courses are integrated with the residents' clinical activities and are sequenced to correspond to the growth of clinical skills. Didactic courses provide the scientific and conceptual basis for practice, as well as a time to consider complex treatment issues away from the pressure of immediate clinical decision making.

In addition to these courses, there are many didactic sessions that are held on a specific teaching service, attended only by residents while they are on that service. For example there is a course on the cognitive therapy of eating disorders offered to residents while they rotate on the inpatient unit where bulimic and anorexic patients are hospitalized. Similarly, PGY 1 residents attend unit-based courses while doing psychiatry rotations. Finally, there are some special seminars held for all residents, and these are described at the end of this section.

PGY 4 Year

Behavior Rounds
- Drs. Ted Huey - 6 sessions - In this seminar, held jointly with the Department of Neurology and the Clinical Neuropsychology Service, a patient with an interesting and instructive neuropsychiatric presentation is interviewed, findings are demonstrated, and the patient’s imaging and neuropsychological testing results are discussed.  The goal of this seminar is to expose Psychiatry and Neurology residents to patients with neuropsychiatric disorders that they may not have much exposure to during residency.

Seminar in Applied Psychiatric Ethics - Drs. David Lowenthal, and David Strauss -6 sessions - This course covers advanced concepts in psychiatric ethics, such as sexual misconduct with patients and colleagues, research ethics, and ethical problems in a variety of different clinical circumstances.

Quality Improvement Part 2: Maintenance of Certification- Dr. Melissa Arbuckle - 2 sessions - The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program requires diplomates to develop quality improvement programs based on their clinical practice. The goal is for diplomates to reflect on their own performance and commit to a process of improvement and reevaluation that will ultimately lead to improved patient care.  In this course, residents participate in individualized QI projects based upon MOC guidelines in order build critical independent learning and QI skills.

Advanced Psychopharmacology - Dr. Edmund Griffin - 18 sessions - This course reviews advanced topics in psychopharmacology such as managing treatment resistance and use of third and fourth line agents, as well as management of more complex illnesses without clear treatment guidelines such as rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

PIRC Rounds - Dr. Eileen Kavanagh - 8 sessions - These meetings provide an opportunity for discussion of clinical and administrative issues.  PGY4s will have an opportunity to present cases of patients they have followed for longer periods, which may raise more complex clinical issues.  Administrative topics may build on topics discussed during the PGY3 year and may include issues of termination and disposition.

Genetics of Neuropsychiatric Disorders - Dr. Sander Markx - 4 sessions - The genetic basis of several neuropsychiatric disorders has been clarified over the last decade and provides a springboard for the development of intervention strategies. This course highlights recent advances in genetics and highlights some of the molecular pathways implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Law and Psychiatry - Dr. Paul Appelbaum - 6 sessions - This course deals with the critical legal issues that affect the treatment of psychiatric patients, including the insanity defense, involuntary hospitalization, informed consent, confidentiality, malpractice and the dangerous patient.

Leadership and Management in Systems of Care - Dr. Stephanie LeMelle - 4 sessions - These are third in the series of lectures on the care of people with severe mental illness in the community. This series of lectures will focus on fiscal and administrative systems and on the role of the psychiatrist in these systems.

Neuropsychiatry - Drs. Jon Levenson and Gerry Hurowitz - 10 sessions - This course reviews major neurologic disorders including traumatic brain injury, seizure disorder, movement disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, HIV and Alzheimer's disease. Assessment and treatment of these disorders are discussed.

Neuroscience of Psychotherapy
- Drs. Joshua Gordon & Anna Schwartz - 4 sessions - Co-taught by a psychoanalyst and a neuroscientist, this course explores theories about the way in which psychotherapy works from a neuroscience perspective.

Private Practice - Drs. Claire Holderness and Alexandra Martins - 6 sessions - This course provides practical information on starting one's practice. Topics include: finding an office, setting a fee, record keeping, as well as treatment issues that relate specifically to private practice and managed care settings.

Psychopharmacology Review - Dr. CarisaKymissis - 8 sessions - This is a consolidated refresher course to review basic concepts in the practice of psychopharmacology.

Supervising and Teaching - Drs. Lisa Mellman & Anand Desai - 3 sessions - This course covers clinical teaching across various settings: group didactics, workshops, and individual supervision.  Specific topics include goal setting, teaching techniques, assessing the learner, teaching in the clinical environment and getting and giving feedback.

Supervision Practicum - Dr. Deborah Cabaniss - 3 sessions - In this interactive course, residents learn the important elements in conducting supervision of psychotherapy, including establishing an alliance, listening to session material and determining how and when to intervene.

Teaching Psych-Med - Drs. Janis Cutler & Anand Desai - 3 sessions - This class introduces and reviews with PGY 4 residents their roles as medical student small group instructors.

Couples Therapy - Dr. Henry Spitz - 3 sessions - This course is an introduction to the evaluation and psychotherapeutic treatment of the dyadic couple presenting in the outpatient setting. Advanced couples therapy training is also available as an elective.

Demonstration of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Dr. Lyle Rosnick - 16 sessions - A video-taped long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy is presented and discussed by the senior faculty member who conducted the treatment.

Differential Psychotherapeutics - Dr. Kristin Leight - 4 sessions - In this advanced course, cases are discussed by experts from the framework of different types of psychotherapy in order to explore different approaches to evaluation and treatment.

Brief Dynamic Therapy - Dr. Alan Barasch - 6 sessions - This course begins with a 6-week didactic presentation of the basic elements of Brief Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (BDP) -- selection, focus, active approach to transference phenomena, handling the time limit. The second part is a 5 month elective during which residents treat a patient with BDP and participate in both individual and group supervision utilizing a unique role-play method in which residents portray their own patients.

Healthcare Reform - Dr. Matt Erlich - 2 sessions -The practice of psychiatry is amidst major transformations and challenges: enactment of new healthcare reform law, the increasing role of managed care, integrated behavioral and physical illness management, the Federal mandate for "wellness" recovery-oriented practice , new delivery systems of care with non-psychiatrists for behavioral health, to name a few. This seminar will examine select changes to the healthcare system, i.e., Obamacare, Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), Recovery-oriented practices, Collaborative Care practices, among others. The goal of the seminar is familiarity with these transformations, and discussing the role of psychiatry amidst these reforms.

- Dr. Michael First - 2 sessions -This two session course provides an overview to the DSM-5 goals and process and discusses the major changes.

Writing a CV - Dr. Maria Oquendo - 1 session -This course reviews the key elements of a CV, with attention to both content and formatting.
Leading Thinkers: Expert Opinions on Mind, Brain and Behavior - Dr. Sander Markx- During this course, fourth year residents will meet with world experts in a wide range of disciplines - including molecular biology, neuroscience, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, neurology, anthropology and narrative medicine - to talk about the role of psychiatry in different contexts. Anticipated speakers include Robert Jay Lifton, Otto Kernberg, Oliver Sacks, Daniel Kahneman, James Watson and Robert Sptizer. These are intimate and highly interactive classes during which the residents have an opportunity to discuss their ideas about our exciting field and where it may be heading with some of the most inspirational clinicians, scientists, and writers of our time.

Resource Manager - Dr. Melissa Arbuckle - 1 session -According to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), residents must “Practice cost-effective health care and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care.”  This course is aimed to raise awareness of the financial challenges facing healthcare in the United States and the growing need to provide high-value, cost-effective care within psychiatry.

Advanced Psychotherapy Concepts
- Dr. Anna Schwartz - 10 sessions - This course explores selected topics in psychodynamic psychotherapy at an advanced level, including transference and countertransference, therapeutic impasses, and termination of treatment.

All Residents
Adult Psychiatry Grand Rounds & Lunch Discussion - Rotates among faculty, invited speakers and residents – Weekly for 11 months of the year, excluding holidays

Patient Safety ConferenceChief residents, Dr. David Lowenthal, Dr. David Kahn, Dr. Dianna Dragatsi and Dr. Stan Arkow – 6 sessions -This course affords residents the opportunity to explore difficult topics in psychiatry with a case based approach.  Chief residents facilitate selection of a challenging case and invite a panel of faculty with expertise in areas highlighted by the case.  The primary resident who cared for the patient writes up and presents the case, and a facilitated discussion follows.

Workshop on Effective HandoffsDr. Brett Blatter, Dr. Melissa Arbuckle, Chief Residents – 1 session – Improving patient handoffs has been identified as a priority by the Joint Commission, WHO, Institute of Medicine and ACGME.  This course reviews the Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendations (SBAR) format of handoffs and residents practice giving and receiving signoutin small groups using this format.

Recognizing & Managing FatigueDr. Melissa Arbuckle, Chief Residents – 1 session – The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires programs to educate residents about recognizing and managing fatigue.  This workshop reviews strategies for mitigating fatigue and utilizing available resources to reduce fatigue.

Senior Seminar- Drs. Melissa Arbuckle and Maria Oquendo - 4 sessions -All residents are required to complete an independent project prior to graduation.  In this course, senior residents give semi-formal presentations describing academic projects they have worked on throughout residency training.

Professionalism WorkshopChief Residents – 1 session – A topic related to professionalism is selected by chief residents, and all residents attend a workshop designed to raise awareness about matters of professionalism as they apply to psychiatry.  A small group case-based discussion format is used to facilitate discussion about professionalism. Recent topics have included using social media as a resident, and improving resident mental health.


hora interior