Our Educational Philosophy
We consider psychiatry to be the most interesting and challenging specialty in medicine, charged with caring for those who otherwise would lead troubled lives, with risk of exclusion, isolation, and suicide. Illnesses like these result from complex pathways involving genetic predispositions, the development of mind, cognitive-behavioral traits, personal meanings, and interactions with adverse or beneficial social and material environments. We now have potent treatments that are constantly being refined. Our psychotherapies, pharmacotherapies, and other biological treatments can literally give life back to our patients. Since a major part of our focus is on inner, subjective experiences – thoughts, emotions, hopes, memories, and self-reflections – we are privileged to know our patients in ways that lead to a deep and fulfilling sense of connection.
As one of our residents, our aim is to teach you to arrive carefully at diagnoses by interviewing and understanding, in ways that help patients reveal their painful inner lives. We want to prepare you to recognize and treat the many different conditions that are grouped as mental disorders and how behavior and mental events are linked to that amazing organ – the brain. We have wonderful partners in the neurosciences that are focused on studying the higher functions (e.g., memories, emotions, decision making), which are often dysregulated in our patients. This partnership allows us to further elucidate theories of how vulnerabilities develop and how life events and treatments can interact in adverse, as well as protective ways.
At Mount Sinai, we want all residents to gain the knowledge base and clinical skills to practice clinical psychiatry, but we aim for more than that. The field of psychiatry continues to expand, and one’s ability to practice as a general psychiatrist is in some ways becoming outdated. Especially in an urban setting, a patient often seeks the expert for her/his condition. For a long time, psychiatrists have specialized according to population treated (e.g., geriatric, child) or method of treatment (psychotherapist, psychopharmacologist). However, we at Mount Sinai see the field of psychiatry undergoing a new sort of differentiation—along the lines presaged by medicine and neurology—into subspecialties based on syndrome and/or disease processes (e.g., autism, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, attentional disorders, etc.). And, as some of the best treatments in psychiatry entail combining high-level psychopharmacology and illness-specific psychotherapy, we seek to train psychiatrists with clear areas of expertise in each.
As in your undergraduate careers, we will encourage you to define a major or area of concentrated focus, and we aim for you to graduate with a valid sense of expertise that will merit you a position of distinction when you go on to further training, clinical practice, research, or teaching/administrative positions. As a resident at Mount Sinai, you will have an opportunity to develop individually-tailored programs to focus your training in a defined clinical area of interest and develop into a specialist able to provide the most effective, evidence-based treatments for patients in that domain, both psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic. These skills are honed through advanced training and mentorship and provide a basis for developing careers as not only expert clinicians, but also clinician-researchers, educators, administrators, advocates, theorists, and those who bring awareness of mental illness and potential treatments to the public.
In a similar way, we also prize our ability to train researchers who will lead and advance the field of psychiatry. The mentorship provided by world-renowned and highly-productive leaders in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry makes Mount Sinai’s dedicated Physician-Scientist Research Track the ideal place for you to receive individualized advanced training in clinical and research skills necessary to perform research to understand and treat psychiatric disorders.
From creating researchers to concentrated clinical experts, our approach allows for a high degree of flexibility, tailoring, and personalization as you determine your future as an effective contributor to the field of psychiatry and to the needs of psychiatric patients.
We strive to provide an open, stimulating, and supportive environment for our residents. Residency education involves hard work, but there is joy and excitement in becoming a psychiatrist, and we intend for these years to be professionally productive and personally fulfilling for you. Welcome to Mount Sinai. We look forward to sharing with you our enthusiasm about the Mount Sinai Residency Program in Psychiatry.
Icahn School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029