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  • Medical Student Education

    The Division of Medical Student Education in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior organizes and administers three core medical school curriculum courses and various elective courses:

    Course No. Course Title Contact Hours Year
    611  Human Behavior   36 

    Spring, 1st year

    621  Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry   14 

    Spring, 2nd year

    631  Psychiatry Clerkship    140 

    Rotation, 3rd year


    • Psychiatry 611. To understand abnormal development, one must first understand normal stages of human development. Psychiatry 611 introduces students to theories of human development and behavior. Students will be expected to understand different learning theories, such as classical and operant conditioning. Human development from infancy through late adulthood and death will be emphasized. Students will be introduced to important theorists, including Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Donald W. Winnicott, and Margaret Mahler. Human defense mechanisms will be discussed. Other topics will include social and family behavior, human sexuality and the physician-patient relationship. The course also introduces students to a number of causes of psychiatric disorders, including mood, anxiety, paranoid, substance abuse, somatoform, personality, and sleep disorders. One lecture will focus on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-V-TR). The DSM, now in its fifth edition, is a classification system used to describe discrete psychiatric disease entities. Classification of psychiatric illnesses and the different uses of the DSM-V will be discussed. Important neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and the role they play in mental illnesses will be discussed.

      Other topics will include cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's dementia, vascular dementia, delirium, etc. Neuroanatomical changes related to the dementias, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder and neurological disorders with psychiatric symptoms such as Huntington's disease will be discussed and, when possible, illustrated with neuroimaging studies of the brain.

      Patient interviews will be conducted, including four small group sessions. Students are divided into groups of approximately 12 and assigned to two faculty facilitators. These sessions will help students develop skills in performing psychiatric interviews and the mental status exam. The course is designed to be interactive. In order to participate meaningfully in class, students are encouraged to complete assigned readings before class.

    • Psychiatry 621. A continuation of different aspects of psychopathology, lecture topics will include psychopharmacology, endocrinology and psychiatric manifestations of medical illnesses. Eating disorders will be discussed. Disorders of childhood and adolescence will be covered. Different forms of mental retardation will be addressed, as will specific neurological disorders such as Tourette's syndrome. Disorders of cognition and neuroanatomy will be re-visited as will several other topics, including sleep disorders.
    • Psychiatry 631. A four-week clerkship will expose students to both inpatient and outpatient  psychiatry. Students will rotate on an adult medicine/psychiatry inpatient unit, and a general adult psychiatry inpatient unit. Students also will rotate on an inpatient unit at the VA hospital. Ambulatory psychiatry includes outpatient general adult psychiatry. Students will also rotate on the Consultation-Liaison service. Students will be expected to work closely with residents and participate in taking call. The rotation will include a tour of the State Hospital (Whitfield), a local state mental hospital. Four hours per week will be devoted to didactic lectures.
    • Psych 653. General Psychiatry. Students may propose their own plan of study which must be approved by the Department prior to the start of the block.  Opportunities are available for students to design, with guidance, a clinical elective that meets their specific needs, e.g., combining inpatient and outpatient work, or participating in ongoing clinically relevant basic research projects within the department.  Such projects can be supervised by faculty members in any of the disciplines (psychiatry, psychology and research) represented within the department. (Three (3) students each month. Available all months.)
    • Psych 658. Sleep Disorders. The senior student spends four weeks assigned to the Sleep Disorders Center at UMMC.  The rotation exposes the student to the evaluation, differential diagnosis, and treatment of sleep disorders.  Under close faculty supervision the student participates in initial patient evaluations, follow-up appointments, and reviewing polysomnograms. (One (1) student each month. Not available in December and January.)

    • Psych 851 and 852. Psychiatry Extramural. Extramural rotations for four weeks or longer can be arranged with the course director or chair's approval for students who are interested in the specialty. (Available for senior medical students only. Available all months.)