We base our didactic curriculum for residents on the concept of a frame, or matrix, of areas of knowledge. For clinical work, one needs to have at one's disposal a broad knowledge base regarding phenomenology, diagnosis, and treatment. This is in addition to such skills as interviewing, clinical reasoning, and psychotherapeutic management. Of course, it is not possible to have a deep knowledge of all these areas straight away, especially in the first year of training, when a resident is practicing internal medicine as well as neurology and psychiatry.
The frame concept focuses on acquiring general principles in many areas of clinical knowledge and skills. Residents then apply this material more specifically to their clinical work and discuss it within their supervisors. Each subsequent pass over the material increases in complexity, filling in the original "frame," until residents reach a textured proficiency.
Our residents attend a didactic curriculum, which spans all four years of their residency. Rather than relegating the intern year to that of "workhorse," and assigning the residents' sole learning to their clinical rotations, we believe that classroom education during this formative first year can be an invaluable experience, especially because interns are hungry to learn. The weekly curriculum progressively broadens and deepens across the latter 3 years, covering and delving into the many related subjects that comprise the psychiatric landscape.
The curriculum is organized as multiple courses which run in parallel time slots within a given residency year. Several courses are yearlong, but others (e.g., psychopharmacology, psychotherapy) span two to three years. Residency training directors oversee the entire curriculum, and a faculty member with special expertise in that area directs each individual course. Individual classes are taught by invited faculty and guests, usually in a seminar format.
All classroom didactics are considered protected time, allowing residents to be excused from their clinical duties.
Icahn School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029