Psychiatric education in an era of rapidly occurring scientific advances

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Abstract

Scientific advances in the fields of molecular biology, neurobiology, pharmacology, epidemiology, genetics, neuroimaging, and cognitive neuroscience are influencing psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, and this influence will grow substantially in the future. The current shortage of psychiatrists will increase over the next several decades, resulting in the need to train primary care physicians in basic psychiatric care and the use of non-physician mental health professionals to administer time-intensive, formal psychotherapies. The juxtaposition of these two trends - an increasing scientific influence on the clinical practice of psychiatry and fewer psychiatrists to deliver that treatment - is cause for changes in the approach to psychiatric education. In addressing these issues, the authors suggest that (1) psychiatry should be more integrated into undergraduate medical education in both basic science and clinical curricula, (2) residents in primary care disciplines should have more direct exposure to psychiatric training, (3) joint instructional experiences involving psychiatry and primary care residents should be encouraged, (4) psychiatry residency programs should maintain flexibility in order to incorporate rapid advances in diagnostic procedures and treatments into residency training, (5) research experience should be integrated into psychiatry residency programs, and (6) departments of psychiatry must develop the leadership and expertise necessary to implement the incorporation of rapidly advancing scientific discoveries into the psychiatric curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-354
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

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