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Chief Residents' Message

A reflection from the 2023-2024 Chief Residents

Dear Prospective Resident, 

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on our experiences living in Chicago and training at the Northwestern Psychiatry Residency Program. From our perspective, the program has been defined by a strong commitment to resident education, a wide breadth of clinical training opportunities, and integration of resident feedback to adapt to the evolving landscape of psychiatry and mental healthcare. 

Resident Education

Didactic based learning is a critical part of medical training, for which our program has demonstrated a consistent commitment to ensuring residents have protected time. Our curriculum over four years of training is extensive, and includes ongoing improvements by our Associate Program Director, Dr. Amy Corcoran. Courses include experts from neurology explaining nuances of movement disorders related to psychiatric pathology and psychopharmacology, psychologists teaching therapy skills in CBT, DBT, CBTi, and psychodynamic theory, as well as psychopharmacology experts reviewing standard and novel medication interventions. Residents are also given the opportunity to give lectures and case conferences to develop their own teaching skills. Our program encourages residents to be curious and explore their own unique areas of interests. For example our “Controversies in Psychiatry” course encourages our residents to lean into the most challenging issues in contemporary psychiatry.  

Wide breadth of clinical training opportunities 

One of our strengths is that Northwestern Memorial Hospital is a tertiary care center located in the heart of downtown Chicago. We are positioned between Lakeshore Drive and Michigan Avenue in one of the largest urban centers in the United States. Due to our location and the hospital system's reputation, we have robust primary psychiatric services including a busy emergency crisis unit, a diverse consult-liaison service, and a comprehensive onsite inpatient unit. Through these services, residents develop fundamental skills in psychiatry. Beyond Northwestern Memorial, residents spend time training at The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and Lurie Children’s Hospital, offering us a chance to see different models of care and serve patients from a variety of ages and backgrounds. In addition, we have numerous sub-specialty opportunities through which residents can rotate including neuromodulation, geriatric psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, addiction, forensic psychiatry, the world-renowned Women’s Mental Health clinic in the Asher Center, and more. 

Integrating feedback and adapting to the evolving landscape of mental healthcare

We are proud to say our program is a perpetual work in progress. Our leadership has placed an emphasis on actively seeking feedback to advance the goals of promoting a safe learning environment for resident education and wellness. This fundamental principle is what makes our program unique. We are committed to training residents from diverse backgrounds and equipping them with the foundation to be critical, thoughtful, and innovative as they face the contemporary issues in modern psychiatry.

World-Class City

And, finally, we can't forget Chicago! We all feel lucky to be training in one of the great American cities, surrounded by incredible food, music, history and the spectacular Lake Michigan, including Oak Street Beach, which is less than a mile from the hospital.

Come join us!


Jason Onugha MD, Chief Resident 

Curtis Austin MD, Acute Service Chief Resident 

Cyril Appiagyei MD, Outpatient Chief Resident

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