Core Curriculum

A central aspect of the Residency Training Program is the core curriculum. Courses are held weekly for PGY-1s as they rotate through their psychiatry rotations. Residents have class daily during the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years, and two 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. There are also special seminars held for all residents throughout the year.

PGY-1 Year – (during Psychiatry months) – all PGY-1s will have a chance to attend each of these courses during the year.

Assessing and Managing Suicidal Behavior - Dr. Mary Sciutto (3 sessions) - An introduction to the basics of risk assessment and management of acutely and chronically suicidal patients.

Basic Psychopharmacology - Drs. Sander Markx and Bradley Miller (11 sessions) - This course offers the first year resident an introduction to the basics of psychopharmacology, such as how to choose medications, dosing, assessment of side effects, and relevant laboratory tests.

Introduction to the Initial Psychiatric Interview - Dr. Lourdes Dominguez (4 sessions) - This course introduces first year residents to the basics of interviewing, including balancing empathic listening with eliciting information.

Introduction to Cultural Psychiatry - Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernández (1 session) - This class session is the introductory meeting of the course on Cultural Psychiatry. The class provides an overview of the field of cultural psychiatry, focusing on research and clinical developments over the last decades. Main topics include: definition of culture, cultural variation in illness phenomenology and treatment expectations, relationship between culture and biology, methods of cultural assessment, cultural adaptations of treatments, and cultural aspects of implementation science.

Introduction to Psychotherapy - Dr. Alicia Rojas (4 sessions) - This course is an introduction to psychotherapy, and addresses such topics as what is and what isn’t psychotherapy, how to conduct a basic psychotherapy session, how to use psychotherapy on an inpatient unit, and the development of empathy.

Introduction to the Mental Status Exam - Dr. David Strauss (2 sessions) - An introduction to the elements of the mental status exam, including tools for observation, assessment, and description.

Introduction to Supportive Psychotherapy - Dr. Diana Moga (4 sessions) - This 4-week course introduces residents to the basics of supportive psychotherapy, including assessment of defenses and basic techniques.

Introduction to the Clinical Skills Verification - Chief residents, Drs. Patrice Malone and Jeremy Kidd (1 session) - Through observed interviews and presentations, the clinical skills verification (CSV) provides an opportunity to ensure that residents master critical skills such as establishing an effective physician-patient relationship, conducting a clinical interview and presenting a case. This course reviews the process and expectations set by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for CSVs in general psychiatry.

Introduction to the Initial Psychiatric Note - Dr. Yael Holoshitz (1 session) - This course reviews the basic elements of the initial psychiatric note, with emphasis on the writing of the history of present illness.

Quality Improvement - Dr. Melissa Arbuckle (1 session) - During this introductory course, residents learn the foundations of Quality Improvement (QI) approaches within healthcare delivery.  They learn basic concepts critical to QI such as setting aims, establishing measures, and developing an intervention in order to change behavior and improve uptake of new evidence based practices. 

Urgent Psychiatry - Dr. Dianna Dragatsi (6 sessions) - This course provides an introduction to the important skills for managing psychiatric emergencies and crisis situations. It includes an introduction to decision making regarding the pharmacologic management of acutely agitated patients.