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General Psychiatry Residency Curriculum

The mission of the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Residency is to foster clinical excellence, leadership, and scholarship. Graduates of the program work in every clinical practice setting, and lead clinical and research teams nationwide.

We approach the training mission systematically by combining closely-supervised intensive clinical experiences in multiple settings with a comprehensive didactic program. Experiences are aligned with the health care reform demands of the contemporary era in giving residents clinical responsibilities within an integrated continuum of progressive complexity on the wards and in the clinics. Mentorship and elective experiences beginning in the PGY1 year and continuing throughout training provide residents with the opportunity to explore specific areas for professional development and master a topic area more deeply.

Our ultimate goals are to open the field of psychiatry to our residents and to help them become both broadminded and critical thinkers. In order to reach these goals, there are specific objectives for each year:

This page provides a quick overview of the objectives for each year of residency and the clinical and didactic curricula aimed to help residents reach those objectives.

Program Prospectus  

Department-wide Didactic Curriculum

In concert with an extensive clinical curriculum, the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry residency program provides a comprehensive didactic curriculum for its residents. During residency, residents are offered a multitude of didactic learning opportunities made up of the three traditional teaching methods: lecture/demonstrations, tutorial/seminars, and recitations. In addition to a didactic lecture series specific to each residency year, an ongoing across-the-years department-wide educational program runs concurrently and consists of weekly Department Director’s Service Rounds, Teaching Rounds, Departmental Grand Rounds, as well as regular Journal Club. All residents participate in considering principles of psychiatry during these didactic meetings. The resident seminar series is a coherent overview of the field of psychiatry presented by faculty who are experts on each of the topics presented.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical Rotation Table

Goals, Objectives and Expectations

PGY-I Year: Goals and Objectives

The goals of the first year of residency are integrative and introductory: to provide a foundation in Internal Medicine and Neurology, as well as to provide supervised responsibility for assessing and treating a diverse population of psychiatric inpatients on a general psychiatry service.

We expect that by the end of this year residents will:

  • manage acute and subacute medical and neurological conditions in the inpatient setting
  • apply methods of patient assessment and formulation
  • understand broad categories of psychiatric illness and implications for treatment and prognosis for a variety of psychiatric patients.
  • appreciate the milieu concept of inpatient psychiatric services.
  • understand the responsibilities and roles of other mental health practitioners integrated in team treatment of patients
  • understand at a basic level the multiple treatment modalities - psychological, pharmacological, physical, and rehabilitative - employed with psychiatric patients.

PGY-II Year: Goals and Objectives

The goals of the second year are to build on the developed capacities of the first year and to introduce more advanced psychiatric knowledge and methods of assessment and treatment. These goals are achieved by close supervision of residents on a variety of inpatient and partial hospital services. Residents are introduced to the full continuum of care by beginning their own office-based outpatient practice under supervision. These broad, patient-centered experiences are amplified by a didactic program of lectures in psychiatric assessment, treatment, and research.

We expect that by the end of this year residents will have acquired:

  • thorough competence in the assessment and formulation of psychiatric disorders along with a clear appreciation of the corroborative methods tied to psychological testing and laboratory measurement
  • competence in treating the most seriously mentally ill patients, frequent complicating medical and surgical problems, and forensic issues that may affect treatment
  • comprehensive understanding of the psychological, pharmacological, and physical treatments involved in the care of the seriously mentally ill
  • capacity to assume a leadership role on the treatment team in an inpatient milieu
  • experience with behaviorally oriented treatment plans for eating disorders and addictions
  • introductory knowledge of subspecialty psychiatry gained through experience on specialty services such as affective disorders, geriatrics, child psychiatry, schizophrenia, chronic pain, substance use disorders, and eating disorders
  • experience providing both time-limited, symptom-focused and long-term, insight-oriented psychotherapy, under close supervision, in the residents’ ambulatory clinic
  • understanding of the vertical integration of clinical practice, incorporating outpatient, partial hospital, and inpatient treatment settings 

PGY-III Year: Goals and Objectives

The goal of this year is to promote residents’ development toward independence by providing intensive outpatient and general hospital experiences. In the outpatient setting, residents acquire competencies in more complex, subspecialty outpatient clinics where they are supervised by experts in the assessment and treatment of a variety of disorders, including chronic schizophrenia, affective disorders, anxiety disorders, drug and alcohol disorders, forensic issues, and sexual disorders. A significant exposure to community-based psychiatry is provided, including rehabilitative and outreach services.

In the general hospital psychiatry rotations, residents provide psychiatric consultation, both in the emergency department and general hospital inpatient wards. Residents often take the lead in communicating with those seeking consultation, and this role enhances residents’ confidence in assessment, stabilization, and referral of the most acutely ill, complex cases. 

We expect that by the end of this year residents will have acquired:

  • mastery of skills in psychiatric assessment and treatment in subspecialty outpatient settings
  • diagnostic skills in recognizing the psychiatric disorders that complicate medical and surgical conditions, as well as the capacity to provide this information in consultation to physicians in general hospital inpatient and outpatient services
  • mastery of the role of liaison in the general hospital setting
  • a firm grasp on the theoretical underpinnings and the practice pitfalls of outpatient psychotherapy both in time-limited symptom-focused and long-term insight-oriented treatment
  • competence in the assessment and management of psychiatric issues seen most commonly in outpatient settings, specifically affective, anxiety, family, marital, sexual and addictive disorders clinics
  • supervised experience in outpatient community clinics and our mobile outreach program
  • a capacity to function as an effective member of a primary-care team in assessing and treating ambulatory medical patients

PGY-IV Year: Goals and Objectives

The goals of this year are those of completion and depth. Residents enhance mastery of providing a continuum of care by rotating in a community psychiatry intensive outpatient program and more advanced specialty clinics. Residents, through mentorship by faculty, use elective experience to develop advanced experience in a psychiatric subspecialty and to demonstrate how knowledge advances through research and close study. Residents develop communication and teaching skills by presenting their elective work to co-residents and faculty. Finally, an appreciation of psychiatric administration is provided to residents through a weekly meeting with the Department Director where discussions review the rationale behind past and present responses of the department to the demands of healthcare reform, managed care, and hospital needs.

We expect that by the end of this year residents will have acquired:

  • advanced understanding of an elected subspecialty of psychiatry through close faculty mentoring and presentation of scholarly work in that subspecialty
  • understanding of the changing health care environment and of the competencies necessary for success in clinical practice and in other professional leadership roles
  • confidence in office-based psychiatric practice, including long-term psychotherapy
  • appreciation of rational approaches to administrative decisions within a system of psychiatric services in the current health care era
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