Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Clinical Experiences

The residency curriculum has been carefully designed to provide residents with a well-balanced training program emphasizing mentored individual development in the context of a wide-ranging and richly varied educational and training experience. Group cohesion among our diverse and talented residency group is highly valued, and usually noted by our residents as a crucial factor in their professional satisfaction.

The core of the training program includes experience in inpatient, consultation/liaison, and ambulatory psychiatry at the nation's finest health system, as well as extensive experience in outpatient psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and combination treatment. Specialized training in psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, group, marital, and family therapies is a critical part of the educational mission. Penn's traditional strengths in community psychiatry, clinical and research psychopharmacology, neuropsychiatry, psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and geriatric psychiatry are augmented by close relationships with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Veterans Administration Medical Center and two community mental health centers.
The Department of Psychiatry's extensive programs are a respected and integral part of this leading academic health system. With outstanding faculty and residents in all fields of medicine and psychiatry, you will find yourself immersed in the best of modern medicine and health care, with ample opportunities for collaboration with physicians, scholars, and scientists in many other fields.

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First Year

The first year of training combines rotations in internal medicine and neurology, with inpatient and emergency psychiatry.  An outpatient medicine month may be possible beginning 2015-2016.

Interns rotate through clinical sites including:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP)
  • Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH)
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC)
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) (up to four month rotation optional for those interested in child psychiatry)
  • Presbyterian Hospital (PPMC)

Dedicated emergency psychiatry training is provided at the Psychiatric Emergency Evaluation Center (PEEC) at HUP and the Hall Mercer Crisis Response Center (CRC) at PAH.
The varied clinical sites, including a large tertiary referral center, VA hospital, and academic community hospital, allow interns to learn and provide care to patients from a wide range of ethnic, racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.


Second Year

The second year builds on this strong foundation with additional inpatient psychiatry on specialized mood, geriatric, and psychotic disorder services at PAH, as well as general inpatient psychiatry at the Philadelphia VAMC.

Psychosomatic Medicine (Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry) is taught at both HUP and the VAMC.

The child and adolescent rotation is based at CHOP and the Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health Center at PAH.

Dedicated substance abuse training is provided at the VAMC with supervision by faculty from the Treatment Research Center, a National Center of Excellence in Addiction, as well as at Presbyterian Hospital’s dual diagnosis unit.

Electives and selectives in integrated care, forensics, community systems, palliative care, and research speak to the program’s emphasis on individual career development and innovative clinical experiences.

Residents begin their first outpatient psychotherapy case in January of this year, though they may begin earlier in second year if they choose.

A night float rotation in PGY2 and 3 years eliminates the need for weeknight call and improves residents' education and quality of life.


Third Year

The emphasis of the third year is on ambulatory psychiatry in a variety of settings. The psychopharmacology and psychotherapy components are the General Ambulatory Practice (GAP) and Residents' Psychotherapy Practice (RPP). In addition, residents see patients in the outpatient substance abuse treatment clinic at the VAMC, one of two community psychiatry settings, the outpatient child clinic at CHOP, and a supervised assessment clinic.

In the GAP general and specialty clinics (including Treatment-Resistant Depression, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Medical Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry), residents work under the supervision of faculty with specialized clinical and research expertise. The RPP allows residents to see patients for weekly psychotherapy under the supervision of Penn's extensive clinical faculty who have a depth of expertise in a wide variety of psychotherapy modalities. Residents assume primary responsibility for their patients and provide longitudinal care in a warm and inviting group practice. Along with individual supervision and didactic work, one half-day per week is available for elective time.

Supervised treatment modalities include short- and long-term psychotherapies; psychopharmacology assessment and medical management; and group, couples, and family therapy.

Moonlighting in PGY3 and 4 years allows senior residents to supplement their income, expand their teaching role, and maintain active engagement with the emergency and consult service at HUP.


Fourth Year

In the fourth year, each resident -- under the guidance of the Program Directors and relevant faculty -- develops a unique educational program that includes continued GAP and RPP clinical work, as well as intensive senior electives in areas relevant to his or her career direction. The resources of the entire department, and indeed the university, are available in the areas of clinical care, research and administration.

Residents have two days per week available for elective experiences. A Senior Teaching Requirement, focusing on the development of educational skills, a Junior Attendingship, and an Academic Project, round out the year.

The Neuromodulation Rotation provides training in, and satisfies the accreditation criteria for, the provision of ECT after residency, and involves experiences in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).


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