The four-year curriculum is designed to introduce the student in a sequential manner to normal growth and development, fundamental clinical neuroscience issues relevant to psychiatry, psychotherapy, the impact of personality factors on the doctor-patient relationship, the impact of psychological factors on illness behavior, and the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric and behavioral disorders.
This course introduces the student to psychological growth and development from infancy to senescence in health and illness, addresses clinical neuroscience topics relevant to psychiatry and provides an introduction to psychiatric and behavioral disorders and the patients who suffer from them. The course is taught in lecture format. Areas covered include the biopsychosocial model of illness, normal child and adolescent development, normal adult development, death and dying, topics in basic neuroscience relevant to clinical psychiatry, psychodynamic theory, learning theory, psychoimmunology, stress management, professional impairment, treatment adherence, and an introduction to human psychopathology.
In this course students are introduced to psychopathology and, in collaboration with pharmacology, to the biologic bases of behavior in children and adults through lectures, clinical case conferences and discussions. Videotapes of patient interviews and films are shown to illustrate the clinical presentations of the major psychiatric disorders. In preparation for clinical rotations, students learn to recognize major psychiatric disorders and appreciate the psychological and behavioral concomitants of medical illnesses. They learn how to conduct a psychiatric evaluation, including the mental status exam.
During this required six-week clerkship, students gain further knowledge regarding the common major and minor psychiatric disorders, and develop and improve their clinical skills in history taking, performing the mental status examination, and developing differential diagnostic and treatment plans. Empathic understanding of patients with mental illness and an appreciation of the biopsychosocial principles of the management of psychiatric and behavioral disorders are emphasized.
The clerkship may be taken at one of many sites. Students are assigned patients and are expected to function as an important part of the treatment team. Students are responsible for patient evaluations under close faculty supervision and participate in treatment planning and case conference presentations. Students may be assigned on-call responsibilities during this clerkship.
Electives are offered in a number of different locations including child and adolescent services, adult and geriatric inpatient services, and consultation-liaison services. Students may also participate in one of the department's many research programs or pursue an independent library research project.
The Department of Psychiatry has multiple clinical sites that allow students the unique opportunity to study a wide range of psychopathology under the close supervision of the 32 full-time and 161 part-time and volunteer faculty in Philadelphia and other affiliate hospitals in Pittsburgh PA, Monmouth NJ and Allentown PA.