Undergraduate Medical Education Programs:

Fundamentals of Medicine I: Human Behavior Course (First Year Students)

This year-long interdisciplinary course comprises Human Values L, Human Behavior, Epidemiology/Biostatistics, and the Clinical Preceptorship. These courses form the foundation for core primary care clinical skills. Each of the four components has a course director and explicit requirements for completion. There are also interdisciplinary elements that include explicit instruction in fundamental clinical and communication skills linked (and precede) the Clinical Preceptorship. The Human Behavior course spans from August to February of the academic year. The course covers human development across the lifespan, biopsychosocial formulation, behavior change, and motivational interviewing. There will be a mix of lectures, discussion, skills sessions, clinical sessions, and small group experiences. Smoking Cessation Clinical Skills Lab Exercise and Communication Skills Field Experience with a geriatric population provide an opportunity for students to develop their interview skills.
Course Director: Nicole Cotton, MD Dr. Cotton's Faculty Profile

Prerequisite: Admission to MSM

Fundamentals of Medicine II: Psychopathology Course (Second Year Students)

This course covers the epidemiology, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of major psychiatric disorders. There is an emphasis on the interface of psychiatric medicine and physical medicine. Students are introduced to psychiatric and psychological assessment techniques of the most common psychiatric disorders, emergencies, crisis intervention, and psychopharmacology. A major goal of the course is to provide the students, the knowledge necessary for the successful completion of the third-year clinical clerkship.
Course Director: Quentin T. Smith, MD Dr. Smith's Faculty Profile
Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Fundamentals of Medicine I, Human Behavior

Third Year Clerkship

This is a six-week rotation during the third year. Emphasis is on the clinical applications of principles of psychiatry, and aberrant behavior learned in the first two years. Students are exposed to a variety of inpatient and outpatient services. Students are assigned rotations at Ridgeview Institution, a psychiatric service facility in Atlanta; Grady Memorial Hospital Outpatient Mental Health Services; Georgia Regional Hospital, a public psychiatric facility in metropolitan Atlanta, the Atlanta V. A. Medical Center, New Horizons, a psychiatric service facility in Columbus, Ga. These facilities offer exposure to a broad spectrum of psychiatric disorders in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Clinical responsibilities include performing admission histories and psychiatric examinations, developing a comprehensive psychiatric differential diagnosis, creating a biopsychosocial case formulation, and actively participating in the psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic treatment and management of patients. At each site, students work alongside faculty and residents who provide clinical pearls through daily bedside teaching. Students attend and participate in rounds and ward teaching conferences. Students also participate in group therapy to gain further insight into the psychiatric problems of patients and families. A lecture series addresses clinical aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of major psychiatric disorders. Some selected topics were interviewing skills, emergency psychiatry, behavioral medicine, psychopharmacology, suicide, substance abuse, anxiety, cognitive and personality disorders, forensic issues, and child and adolescent psychiatry.
Course Director: Nicole Cotton, MD Dr. Cotton's Faculty Profile
Associate Clerkship Director Quentin T. Smith, MD Dr. Smith's Faculty Profile
Prerequisite: Promotion to the third year

Psychiatry Electives (Fourth Year Students)

  1. Academic Psychiatry
     This one-month elective includes a mentor assignment with weekly meetings and is designed to expose students to the career path of academic psychiatry. This will consist of research, design, and development, preparing teaching modules, scholarly publications and presentations, curricular design, and assessment.
    Course Director: Rebecca Creel, MD  Dr. Creel's Faculty Profile                                                                                    Glenda Wrenn, MD Dr. Wrenn's Faculty Profile   
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship.

  2. Addiction Psychiatry
    This is a four-week elective offered to MD4 students who are strongly interested in the "Addictive Disorders" and mental illness. The elective consists of training at inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment in the Atlanta area. This includes halfway houses and residential programs at various hospitals. Students also will gain a rich outpatient experience at multiple clinical sites, including Grady outpatient and MAOT (Medication-Assisted Opioid Treatment) clinic and other local substance Abuse prevention and treatment facilities. The importance of a team approach will be stressed in multiple settings. Coordination of care will be an integral part of this learning experience. Coordination of care may involve individuals who have HIV or hepatitis and who are pregnant. The student will learn to manage substance disorders and their interaction with co-morbid and co-existing mental and physical disorders. On-site didactic will supplement and enhance the clinical experience. The student will have the opportunity to explore and utilize pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of substance disorders.
    Course Director: Farzana Bharmal, MD  Dr. Bharmal's Faculty Profile
    Course Co-Director: Aalok Chandora, MD Dr. Chandora's Faculty Profile
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship. 

  3. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

    Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is a four-week elective offered to MD4 students. Whatever field of medicine one chooses, the physician will likely have some contact, either directly or indirectly, with adolescent patients. It will often be necessary to have a working knowledge of the physical problems of the adolescent patient, but with the behavioral and emotional problems as well. A rotation on an adolescent outpatient or inpatient service allows the medical student to have an intense learning experience with various adolescents with a wide assortment of disorders. The medical student needs to be provided with a comprehensive and advanced educational elective experience dealing with emotionally disturbed adolescents and their families. The student will gain knowledge of the psychodynamics of families resulting in the acting-out behavior or addictive behavior and emotional turmoil of adolescents. The student will expand their expertise in interviewing, developmental theory, diagnostic assessment, management, and specific treatments, including the nuances of psychopharmacology in the adolescent age group.
    Course Director: Quentin T. Smith, MD Dr. Smith's Faculty Profile
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship.

  4. Community Psychiatry

    This is a four-week elective offered to MD4 students. There is a tremendous need to increase the interest and exposure of medical students to community psychiatry and to understand the role of community mental health in primary care. The concept of community psychiatry emphasizes understanding the social and community variables that impact patient care. Patients in community mental health centers represent an underserved population that often has complex medical and psychiatric needs. This elective provides the medical student with in-depth experience evaluating and treating patients with various psychiatric disorders, substance use, and co-occurring disorders utilizing a biopsychosocial approach and interagency collaboration. An emphasis is placed on understanding cultural issues in mental health and disorders that disproportionately affect minority populations. The rotation is designed for students who will enter primary care or psychiatry. Students will be exposed to families and adults.
    Course Director: Aalok Chandora, MD Dr. Chandor's Faculty Profile
    Course Co-Director: Deirdre Cosby, MD Dr. Evans-Cosby's Faculty Profile
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Clerkship.

  5. Decriminalizing Mental Illness – Understanding The Physician’s Role                                                              This course aims to provide the learner with an overview of forensic psychiatry, key topics that lay at the interface of psychiatry and the law, and related aspects of medical practice and advocacy. Medical students with an interest in public sector work will likely encounter a significant number of patients with involvement in the criminal justice system or who are from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration. This experience will allow medical students to better appreciate their patients’ experiences and structural traumas, as well as develop an understanding of the roles of physicians in the criminal justice system process as treaters vs. forensic evaluators.
    Course Director: Sarah Vinson, MD Dr. Vinson's Faculty Profile
    Maximum Enrollment: 1 student
    Time Offered: Nov. - April
    Duration of Course: 4 weeks
    Preferences: Successful completion of 3rd-Year Psychiatry Clerkship with a grade of A or B. Applying to primary care or psychiatry residency programs. Space is limited. We encrourage students to apply early.