We’re thrilled that you’re interested in the field of psychiatry — to us, there is no more exciting specialty in medicine. From our perspective, you are entering the field at a particularly wonderful time. In recent years, there have been remarkable advances in neuroscience and there is a much greater awareness of the interdependence of psychiatry and other medical specialties.
Our departmental mission is to train future leaders in psychiatry: in clinical care, research, and medical education. Our role is to help residents develop deeply satisfying careers that enable them to fully use their talents and fulfill their ambitions. It is also our job to help residents learn to integrate their careers in psychiatry with a healthy and rewarding personal life. In a mid-size program such as Northwestern’s, we are able to spend a good deal of individual time with each resident throughout the year to help them meet their goals.
One of the crucial elements of good training is exposure to a broad range of patients and excellent supervision, and Northwestern is a superb training environment. On the Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) campus, our residents train in our state-of-the-art, 29-bed psychiatric inpatient unit, which takes up an entire floor of Galter Pavilion, and our Stone Mental Health Center. We also provide psychiatric consultation services to NMH, Prentice Women’s Hospital (the largest free-standing women’s hospital in the U.S.), the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern Institute and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (the top-rated rehabilitation hospital in the U.S.).
In addition, we are affiliated with other top-ranked hospitals: the renowned Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Our residents pursue family therapy training at Chicago’s Family Institute, and they have access to a variety of elective rotations, such as Women’s Behavioral Health through our Asher Center, Eating Disorders at ERC-Pathlight, Neuromodulation and Sleep Disorders at NMH, Student Mental Health at Northwestern University and coursework at Chicago’s Institute for Psychoanalysis.
We have extensive neuromodulation programs, including inpatient and outpatient ECT and TMS in the outpatient setting. Residents can become certified to provide ECT during training.
Residents learn evidence-based treatments (both somatic interventions and the psychotherapies) from experts in each area. We believe that psychiatrists must understand and treat the whole person; therefore, trainees must learn an essential range of treatment modalities. We believe that experience in a continuing care outpatient clinic, with excellent supervision, is a key element to training, and so our residents start their outpatient work in the middle of their PGY-2 year with a special half-day “immersion” clinic with live observation and feedback from faculty, followed by PGY-3 year of full-time outpatient experiences.
PGY-4s will continue to follow a caseload of their outpatients until graduation, meaning residents carry some patients continuously for 2.5 years during training. Residents have three to four hours of formal supervision per week, in addition to onsite “in the moment” feedback from faculty members. We believe that this continuity of care experience enables residents to know their patients over time and become familiar with the course of illness as well as the power of the therapeutic alliance.
More importantly, we place the highest value on the integration of personal and professional development of residents. In addition to ensuring that residents gain competence in all essential areas of knowledge and skill, we believe that residents' talents and interests should be fostered throughout training so that their profession continues to be challenging and rewarding for many years to come. Individual mentoring is essential for this kind of growth, and our program has core faculty educators who are interested in providing this mentorship and support.
These aspects of the Northwestern psychiatry training program make it especially unique:
- Full day of didactics from mid-PGY-1 through graduation
- All PGY-1s complete medicine and neurology requirements in the first six months, so that the entire class begins psychiatry together in January
- The ABPN certification exam pass rate of our graduates is 100 percent, an affirmation of the quality of our residents’ education
- PGY-3s present a group grand rounds on a topic of their choosing
- Residents pursue scholarly projects with individual faculty mentors
- The department sponsors a yearly Scholars’ Day in which faculty and trainee posters are presented
- Travel funding available for resident presentations at regional and national meetings.
We are glad you visited our website. Please free to contact us with any questions or feedback.