The Department of Psychiatry's commitment to education and training is reflected in the variety of educational programs offered to medical students at the Health Science Center. An understanding of human behavior, behavioral manifestations of illness and psychopathology is considered to be an essential component in the education of all physicians, regardless of future specialty or practice plans. Accordingly, there are academic and clinical offerings available to students at all levels of medical education.
Faculty involvement in medical student teaching is emphasized. All of the members of the faculty of the Department devote time to teaching and supervising medical students. Faculty involvement includes teaching in lecture format in a number of undergraduate courses, participation in interdisciplinary teaching experiences including Medicine and Society and clinical correlation exercises, as well as individual supervision and intensive clinical training during clerkships and electives. Several faculty serve as advisors to medical students throughout their years of medical school.
The formal offerings of the Department include both required and elective courses and clerkships. In addition, interested students are encouraged to formulate elective courses to address their particular interests under faculty supervision.
Required course work includes the second year Behavioral Foundations of Medicine course and the six week Clerkship in Psychiatry.
Behavioral Foundations of Medicine
Behavioral Foundations of Medicine is an eight week course offered in the spring of the second year of medical school. Under the direction of Dr. Chetan Haldipur, faculty from the Department of Psychiatry as well as several related disciplines introduce students to a biopsychosocial model for understanding human behavior. The course begins with the neurobiological substrates of behavior, building on students' previous experience in neuroanatomy, neurobiology and pharmacology. The next section of the course focuses on psychosocial and psychological influences on behavior, and on normal human development through the life cycle. The final weeks are devoted to clinical psychiatry and the major psychiatric disorders. The course is intended to provide the basic science foundations necessary for successful participation in the clinical clerkship, as well as preparation for the USMLE Step I examination.
Clinical Clerkship in Psychiatry
The six week Clinical Clerkship in Psychiatry introduces students to the practice of psychiatry in a variety of settings. For their primary assignment students are placed on one of the affiliated inpatient units (Hutchings, University Hospital, VA), the child psychiatry service, or the consultation-liaison service.
At the clinical site students work closely with residents and attendings in the evaluation and treatment of patients. Students also participate in a number of additional clinical experiences during their clerkship including Psychopharmacology Clinic, ADHD clinic, case conferences and an observed outpatient interview seminar.
During evenings and weekends on call students have the opportunity to participate in emergency evaluations at both University Hospital and the regional Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program. The clinical experiences are complemented by a rich didactic program including daily lectures, morning report and Departmental Grand Rounds. Performance in the Clerkship is assessed through evaluations by the students' supervisors at their clinical sites, as well as a written and a practical examination.
After completion of the Clinical Clerkship, students may elect an Acting Internship on any of the inpatient units. During this advanced rotation, students are given more independent responsibility for patient care under direct faculty supervision, and specific areas of interest can be explored in greater depth. Those students considering a career in Psychiatry are encouraged to elect an Acting Internship. Acting Internships are also valuable for those students planning on other specialities who want additional experience in diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders.
Students are welcome to design their own Psychiatry elective in consultation with a member of the faculty and the Coordinator of Undergraduate Education. Students interested in research are encouraged to pursue their interests and are likely to find faculty support and guidance.