Medical Education


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

This year-long interdisciplinary course is composed of 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 which include explicit instruction in basic clinical and communication skills that are linked (and precede) the Clinical Preceptorship. There will be a mix of lecture, 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 Directors: Marietta Collins, Ph.D., and Sarah Vinson, M.D.
Prerequisite: Admission to MSM.

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

This course covers the epidemiology, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of the major psychiatric disorders. There is an emphasis on the interface of psychiatric medicine and physical medicine. Students are introduced to techniques of psychiatric and psychological assessment, of the most common psychiatric disorders, emergencies, crisis intervention, and psychopharmacology. A survey of the relationship of psychiatry and the applied behavioral sciences to other disciplines 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, M.D.
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 application of principles of psychiatry and aberrant behavior learned in the first two years. Students are exposed to a variety of inpatient and outpatient services. Electroconvulsive therapy and community outreach have enhanced the experiences of students. Students are assigned rotations at Ridgeview Institute, a psychiatric service facility; Peachford Behavioral Health, an in-/outpatient hospital; Fulton County and Georgia Regional Hospital, a public psychiatric facility in metropolitan Atlanta. 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, psychodynamic formulations, psychiatric differential diagnosis and actively participating in the psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic treatment and management of patients. 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 their families. A clinical case teaching conference is held weekly with an attending physician to demonstrate interview techniques, discuss differential diagnosis, and to allow for in-depth discussion of psychodynamics of selected patients. A lecture series addresses clinical aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of the major psychiatric disorders. Some selected topics are interviewing skills, emergency psychiatry, behavioral medicine, psychopharmacology, suicide, substance abuse, anxiety, cognitive, and personality disorders, forensic issues, and child and adolescent psychiatry.
Course Director: Quentin T. Smith, M.D.
Prerequisite: Promotion to the third year

Psychiatry Electives (Fourth Year Students)

  1. Academic Psychiatry
    Mentored Academic Leadership Development for Medical Students The one-month elective includes a mentor assignment with at least weekly meetings, participation in ongoing faculty development and residency didactic sessions (1.5 days/week), independent study (3 days/week), and a clinical rotation for ½ day a week at the Women’s Center of Excellence (WCoE), which is an integrated care clinic serving women veterans where residents in psychiatry, OB/GYN, Family Medicine co-manage patients along with medical students on OB/GYN clerkship, PA students, and occasionally NP students.
    Course Director: Glenda Wrenn, M.D.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship. Course is offered all months.

  2. Forensic Psychiatry
    The course in Forensic Psychiatry is a one month elective available to psychiatry residents and to 4th year medical students. During this elective participant will have learning opportunities in criminal and civil aspects of forensic psychiatry in a variety of settings.
    Course Director: Sarah Vinson, M.D., and Quentin T. Smith, M.D.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship. Course is offered all months.

  3. Addiction Psychiatry
    This is a four-week elective offered to M4 students who have a strong interest in the "Addictive Disorders" and mental illness. The elective consists of educational training at various inpatient and outpatient settings, including halfway houses and residential programs at Integrated Life Center and Atlanta Medical Center. Students also will gain a rich outpatient experience at multiple clinical sites, including Fulton County Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center and Grady Drug Dependence Unit (methadone clinic). 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 coexisting mental and physical disorders. On-site didactics will supplement and enhance the clinical experience. The student will have the opportunity to explore and utilize both pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of substance disorders.
    Course Director: Farzana Bharmal, M.D.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship. Course is offered all months.

  4. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Child and Adolescent Psychiatry This is a four-week elective offered to M4 students. Whatever field of medicine one chooses, it is likely that the physician will have some contact, either directly or indirectly, with adolescent patients. It will often be necessary to have not only a working knowledge of physical problems of the adolescent patient, but with the behavioral and emotional problems as well. A rotation on an adolescent outpatient and/or inpatient service provides the medical student the opportunity to have an intense learning experience with a variety of adolescents who have a wide assortment of disorders. It is important for the medical student 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 and/or addictive behavior and emotional turmoil of adolescents. The student will expand his/her knowledge in the areas of interviewing, developmental theory, diagnostic assessment, management and specific treatments, including the nuances of psychopharmacology in the adolescent age group. The student will expand his/her skills in adolescents.
    Course Director: Quentin T. Smith, M.D.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship. Course is offered all months.

  5. Community Psychiatry
    This is a four-week elective offered to M4 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 is one that places an emphasis on understanding the social and community variables that impact on patient care. Patients in community mental health centers often have complex medical and psychiatric needs and represent an underserved population. This elective will provide the medical student with an in-depth experience in evaluating and treating patients with a variety of psychiatric disorders utilizing a biopsychosocial approach and interagency collaboration. This four-week rotation will utilize both traditional and non-traditional settings. An emphasis will be 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 all age groups, including children, adolescents, families, adults, and geriatric patients. The rotation also involves patients with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
    Course Director: Bakari Vickerson, M.D.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Third-Year Clerkship. Course is offered all months.