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The Residency Program

Residents in Class
Psychiatry Residency Program
New York Medical College at Westchester Medical Center

The primary goal of our resident training program is to insure that our graduating psychiatrists acquire a strong foundation in the essentials of psychiatry. Emphasis is placed upon the development of the psychiatrist as a medical specialist. The resident is trained to be knowledgeable and aware of all the factors in the biopsychosocial and cultural realms, which influence and impinge on mental health.

The resident treats a variety of both inpatients and outpatients under close supervision. An approach which integrates instruction and experience and which is based on current psychiatric theory enables us to graduate superbly qualified residents. In every instance, we offer a balanced training program comprised of didactic instruction, clinical teaching, clinical experience and scholarship. Special training on the basics of computer usage and library and web searches for evidence based literature is offered to all incoming residents. There is also an annual Resident Retreat that focuses on building resident morale and cohesiveness.

The didactic curriculum is taught one full day a week for all four years of the residency. The residents return to Westchester Medical Center for this centralized didactic teaching while rotating at other hospitals.

Clinical teaching consists of lectures, case conferences, interviewing and biopsychosocial formulation courses, board preparation, and reading seminars in psychiatry. Teaching techniques follow several formats: lectures, seminars, workshops, Grand Rounds, self-teaching, clinical skills examinations, and individual and group supervision. A two day Group Therapy Workshop is held twice a year; residents are excused from clinical responsibilities to attend this important meeting.

Residents are assisted in the evaluation and treatment of all patients from multiple perspectives including the intrapsychic, interpersonal, family, systems, medical, socio-economic, and cultural viewpoints. All of these factors affect the course, and outcome of psychiatric illnesses.

First-year residents may rotate in inpatient psychiatry for three or four blocks of four weeks at Saint Vincent's Hospital (Harrison, NY). Both first and second year residents may rotate at Lenox Hill Hospital (New York City) in addition to Westchester Medical Center. Most residents have their twelve month outpatient psychiatry rotation at Westchester Medical Center, but two residents will be at Lenox Hill Hospital for their outpatient year. This affords residents the opportunity to work in different psychiatric settings with a variety of patients from different ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic levels: an academic medical center and a free-standing psychiatric hospital in a suburban setting and an urban community hospital. Residents also have the opportunity to take elective rotations at the Nathan Kline Institute, a premier research facility in New York State.

Each resident is closely supervised. They work closely with the attending physician in charge who, in addition to daily supervision in rounds, sets aside a combined minimum of one hour a week to review the case load. While at WMC, inpatient residents have weekly group supervision with the program director. Supervision is especially designed to help the first-year resident develop his/her own image as physician/psychiatrist. Close collaboration in the supervisor-student relationship enables the new resident to learn the essentials of psychiatric examination, diagnosis, psychodynamics, treatment, management, and disposition. All supervisors are chosen from the full time or volunteer faculty of New York Medical College. Additional supervision is provided for specialized treatment modalities such as group, family therapy, cognitive behavioral, ECT, and psychodynamic treatments.

During the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years, the residents are assigned full-time or voluntary faculty members, often psychoanalysts, who supervise the resident’s treatment of continuous and intensive psychotherapy. Residents meet weekly with a supervisor and an outpatient intake attending. The chief of service or his/her assistant provides supervision of short-term work. The resident is supervised on every patient seen in the Emergency Room. Supervision is also provided for the resident’s group and family work.

At the end of each rotation (or every four blocks in the OPD), the chief of service, the supervisors, peers, medical students and other staff members who work closely with the residents, are asked to complete written evaluations of the resident’s clinical performance and knowledge base during their rotation. Residents also fill out self-evaluations. Following the review of the evaluations by the Educational Committee, residents are encouraged to review these evaluations and their progress with their supervisors. The Director of Psychiatric Residency Training will meet twice a year with each resident to review the resident’s progress and prepare a prospective educational plan for the upcoming academic year. Thus, the resident has ongoing awareness of his/her level of performance and educational needs. In addition, the residents are asked to evaluate their clinical experiences, didactic teaching, and supervision. This two-way process allows for an on going review of our program with a focus on performance improvement for both residents and faculty.