Program Highlights

The UCSF Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program is committed to launching leaders in psychiatry. We are looking for physicians who want to make a significant impact in the field and who want a training program that prepares them to be leaders in this new era of health care inquiry, systems improvement, population health, and interprofessional collaboration.

Our philosophy is that leadership comes in many different forms. There are leaders in research, leaders in education, leaders in clinical administration, and leaders in advocacy and commitment to the underserved. Training in our program means training in not only the leading health campus university in the country, but also in one of the most dynamic, progressive, and diverse cities in the world.

Longitudinal relationships

Residents have many opportunities during residency to form longitudinal relationships with patients, peers, faculty, and clinical systems. The Longitudinal Clinical Experience (LCE) is one of the backbones of the clinical curriculum. In the LCE, residents are assigned to a half-day clinic where they work in teams with faculty and resident peers (PGY-1 to PGY-4), providing assessment, pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and management of a cohort of patients in a specific population (e.g., women, geriatric, LGBTQ+, etc.) that they will follow throughout their four years of residency. The PGY-2 year offers six contiguous months in an ambulatory setting, which serves as a strong foundation for residents to develop skills as an outpatient psychiatrist. The PGY-3 and PGY-4 years are conceptualized as a two-year continuum, in which a part of the continuum footprint is following a cohort of patient for up to two years.

Integrated care experiences

During the PGY-3 or PGY-4 year, residents serve as clinicians and/or consultants in an integrated care model, in settings such as primary care, obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology, neurology, and others. The experience is highly interdisciplinary and residents have the opportunity to participate in team meetings and clinical encounters emphasizing sequenced visits with other specialties, shared visits with other specialties, open access to mental health services, and warm hand-offs between specialty services. Residents rotate for one half day over the course of one academic year, but have the option for additional elective experiences in the integrated care arena.

System leadership experiences

Residents are expected to develop leadership skills during residency and to be effective agents of change in health care systems. Our leadership curriculum reflects this vision of creating future leaders in the field, with an emphasis on understanding one’s leadership personality and styles, and team and group processes. At the end of training, residents will have led one or more systems improvement/QI projects; served as members on important residency training, department, School of Medicine, and/or University committees; participated as a team leader in a variety of clinical settings, including intensive and ambulatory care services; and participated in the PGY-4 leadership and career development seminars.

Scholarship experiences

All residents are expected to pursue several scholarly activities during their training. At the end of training, residents will have completed one scholarship product (e.g., peer-reviewed publication, non-peer-reviewed publication, poster, etc.), delivered a PGY-4 Senior Talk, and disseminated their work locally, regionally, or nationally.

The program provides residents with faculty mentorship and dedicated time for collaboration, mentorship, and scholarly work. For residents whose projects would benefit from collaboration across disciplines or professions, UCSF offers campus-wide networking and mentorship in the UCSF Pathways to Discovery Program. For those residents interested in pursuing a career as a physician-scientist (basic science, translational, clinical, and health services research), the program has an NIMH-funded Resident Research Training Program.

Areas of distinction

The program offers interested residents the opportunity to graduate with an Area of Distinction (AOD). Residents who graduate with an AOD have completed a certain density of clinical experiences, mentorship, teaching, and scholarly activities in a specific area of interest. The current AODs include:

  • Women’s Mental Health
  • LGBTQ+ Mental Health
  • Cultural Psychiatry
  • Interventional Psychiatry
  • Clinical Neuroscience,
  • Public and Community Psychiatry

Individualized experiences

Residents are encouraged to have individualized experiences during their residency training. After satisfying the core training requirements, residents have elective time, starting in the PGY-3 year and accelerating in the PGY-4 year, where they further develop clinical, teaching, leadership, advocacy, and research skills.

Teaching experiences

Residents are expected and encouraged to develop as educators. At the end of training, residents will have served as an educator to medical students and junior residents in a variety of clinical settings, and as a small group instructor in the School of Medicine’s Brain, Mind, and Behavior course. For those interested in education, there is an opportunity to serve on residency training education committees, serve as a chief resident, and/or take part in the UCSF Health Professions Education Pathway.

Diversity of training sites

One of the strengths of UCSF is the wealth of training environments. Residents rotate through several very unique and different systems of care, including:

  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (a county hospital providing care to the underserved)
  • UCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital at Mount Zion (intensive mental health services)
  • UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights (consultation-liaison services)
  • UCSF Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry Building, located adjacent to the Mission Bay campus (outpatient mental health services)
  • San Francisco VA Medical Center (a National Center of Excellence in PTSD and the largest funded research program in the Veterans Health Administration)

In addition to these core sites, residents have the opportunity to work in community mental health clinics (e.g., Chinatown North Beach Clinic, South of Market Mental Health Services, and the UCSF Alliance Health Project), assertive community treatment programs (e.g., Citywide Case Management), and in correctional settings (e.g., the San Francisco County Jail and San Quentin State Prison). The training program is continually adding to our portfolio of training settings to reflect the growing and changing needs of the field.

Advising program

Every resident participates in our advising program. The goal of the advising program is to connect a resident with an RTP advisor who will follow that resident longitudinally over the course of their adult residency training. The function of the advisor is fourfold:

  1. Provides ongoing formative assessment to residents based on all sources of evaluations
  2. Assists residents in professional and career development by connecting them to mentors and mentor hubs
  3. Advocates for and represents residents in the program
  4. Assists residents in curricular and career planning

Residents meet with their RTP advisor twice annually to review their Individual Learning and Development Plans, an important tool for lifelong learning.