Instruction in psychiatry is given during the second, third and fourth years of the medical curriculum. Emphasis is on the teaching of psychiatry as a medical discipline, including the biological, social and psychological mechanisms and manifestations of psychiatric illness, as well as psychological reactions to other illnesses. Psychiatric disorders are common and disabling illnesses. An explosion of knowledge resulting from research in neuroscience, genetics and epidemiology is leading to exciting advances in understanding and treating these disorders. Our department is heavily involved in this research, and our didactic curriculum integrates current clinical information with research advances to help students develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to recognize these illnesses and understand the basic principles of treatment.

William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

The Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry offers a varied teaching program for medical students, residents in psychiatry and fellows at St. Louis Children's Hospital and the Child Psychiatry Center. The center provides outpatient services to children with an array of mental disorders. Trainees are assigned to these various services, where they participate in diagnostic evaluations and see patients in treatment, under supervision of a fellow and attending physician.


While the Department of Psychiatry does not offer its own degree, some of the department's courses are open to students in the MD and MSTP (MD/PhD) programs. Further information about the MD and MSTP degrees can be found in the Degrees & Programs Offered section of this Bulletin.

Note to Students: There are always a number of research projects in the Department of Psychiatry. For additional information contact Dr. Rubin, 314-362-2462.

Andrey Anokhin, PhD
Genetics of the Brain, Behavior and Psychopathology
Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) Building
660 S. Euclid Ave., Suite 1
Phone: 314-286-2201

This research elective is intended for students interested in cognitive neuroscience, biological psychology, psychophysiology and behavior genetics. Dr. Anokhin's laboratory is investigating relationships between genes, brain and behavior in order to better understand the complex etiology of mental disorders. Our main focus is on "externalizing" spectrum of psychopathology characterized by deficits in inhibitory self-regulation including ADHD, conduct disorder, and addictive behaviors. We are particularly interested in the intermediate phenotypes, or endophenotypes, mediating genetic risk for addiction such as impulsivity, risk taking, and abnormal affective processing of social-emotional information. In our laboratory-based studies with human volunteers, including twins, we investigate individual differences in brain activity using the recording of brain oscillations (event-related brain potentials, or ERPs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). For example, an ongoing longitudinal study of adolescent twins explores developmental and genetic determinants of brain activity related to reward and punishment processing, inhibitory control of behavior, and risk-taking to identify prospective predictors of substance abuse and associated behavioral problems. Another fMRI study using repeated assessments of the same individuals over time is focused on the identification of stable individual differences in brain activation related to inhibitory control, error monitoring, and reward processing that can be used as reliable phenotypes in genetic analyses. We are now starting a study that will examine twins who are discordant for adolescent marijuana use in order to identify the consequences of drug abuse for the brain, cognition, and emotion and distinguish them from pre-existing risk factors. Interested students will be able to learn a variety of methods used in these studies, such as the recording and analysis of brain oscillations, event-related neural dynamics, startle response, and autonomic measures, administration of neuropsychological and behavioral tests, and statistical analysis of data. Format of this research elective may include: (1) directed reading; (2) participation in laboratory experiments involving human subjects; (3) analysis of existing data from various research projects; (4) designing and piloting new behavioral experiments. Qualifications: Reliability and responsibility, ability to commit specified amount of time per week and work on schedule which can be negotiated on an individual basis, and good computer skills.

Deanna M. Barch, PhD
Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience of Schizophrenia and Depression
4525 Scott Avenue, Suite 1153K
Phone: 314-747-2160

Students may participate in the conduct of clinical studies of schizophrenia and depression. Involvement in clinical studies can include training and experience in interviewing psychiatric patients, or gaining experience in the techniques of assessing cognitive and emotional function using behavioral and brain imaging methods.

Laura Jean Bierut, MD
Maternity Building
Phone: 314-362-2544

This research elective will focus on analyzing data from high-risk studies of smoking and other addictions. Students will have the opportunity to examine genetic and environmental factors that place some at risk for developing nicotine, alcohol and other substance dependence and protect others from the development of these disorders.

Kevin J. Black, MD
4525 Scott Ave., Room 2205
Phone: 314-362-5041

Students will participate in ongoing studies of brain imaging, movement disorders or neuropsychiatric illnesses. Degree of participation will relate to the student's available research time, skills and interest. Visit our webpage for examples of past research.

Ginger E. Nicol, MD
Taylor Avenue Building, Suite 121
Phone: 314-362-5154

Clinical research concerning metabolism and the regulation of weight and body composition in persons with mental illness, particularly during exposure to psychotropic medications. Additional projects include 1) participation in the interpretation of results from clinical trials testing the effectiveness of behavioral weight loss in mentally ill individuals; 2) participation in clinical studies testing the effectiveness of psychotroptic medications in mentally ill youth and adults; 3) use of administrative data to characterize and examine provider behaviors, including prescribing practices and adherence to standard of care monitoring practices in mentally ill youth and adults; 4) participation in the development and use of mobile health interventions to collect data and to promote health behavior change in mentally ill individuals; and 5) participation in the development, implementation and effectiveness testing of patient safety and quality improvement (PSQI) interventions in mentally ill obese patients in Washington University outpatient psychiatry clinic settings. This elective offers the student a broad exposure to clinical research protocols, including protocols in adults and children. Students will have an opportunity to focus on a particular project of interest.

Rumi Kato Price, PhD, MPE
Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) Building
4560 Clayton Rd.
Phone: 314-286-2283

Medical and graduate students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows will work closely with Dr. Price and her collaborators on ongoing research projects in substance abuse, psychiatric epidemiology, and prevention I the community research context. The current projects include: implementation of a sensor-and smartphone-based technology to monitor and manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorder symptoms; and epidemiology and clinical studies of human trafficking in the St. Louis region and more globally. We work closely with the Institute for Public Health and collaborate with multidisciplinary faculty (computer sciences, biomedical engineering, social work, nursing, women's studies and international studies) as well as with community leaders. 

Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Sciences Concentration

Rumi Kato Price, PhD, MPE (concentration program director); Arpana Agrawal, PhD;  Kathleen B. Bucholz, PhD, MPE;  Li-Shiun Chen, MD; Anne Glowinski, MD, MPE; Rick Grucza, PhD, MPE

Taylor Avenue Building (TAB)
660 S. Taylor Ave.
Phone: 314-286-2283

Courses are held at the Institute for Public Health TAB building. The Psychiatric and Behavioral Sciences Concentration, an integral component of the Master of Population Health Sciences (MPHS) accredited in WUSM and taught by Psychiatry faculty members, provides clinician-researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and advanced medical and other graduate students with strong conceptual and methodological skills required for the design, advanced analysis and interpretation of epidemiological and treatment-effectiveness studies. With an emphasis on a clinical approach to psychiatric and addiction health research, didactic training focuses on in-depth understanding of disease phenotypes, pathobiology and developmental trajectories; understanding the underlying biological and environmental factors and their interactions; understanding the role of psychiatric epidemiology in disease prevention and intervention; and evaluating psychiatric clinical treatment and management programs of psychopathology. A fellow/student has an option of applying for a MPHS degree program or taking appropriate courses as part of their training or academic program.

A total of 18 credits are needed for this Concentration for a matriculated student. Currently available courses include:

  1. M19 PHS 561 Epidemiology of Psychiatric Disorders across the Lifespan (course director: A. Glowinski, MD; 3 credits): This course takes an integrated developmental approach to the epidemiology, etiology and evolving nosology of psychiatric disorders.
  2. M19 PHS 562 Addictions and Addictive Behaviors (course director: R. Grucza, PhD; 3 credits): This course provides an overview of the principles of substance-related addictions and the processes and mechanisms that underlie addiction.
  3. M19 PHS 5656 Global Burden of Diseases: Methods and Applications (/S55 MPH 4003) (course director: R.K. Price, PhD; 3 credits): This course provides an overview of the current methods for studying global burden of medical and psychiatric diseases from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Visit online course listings to view offerings for M85 Psych.

M85 Psych 676A Diseases of the Nervous System: Psychiatry

This course will emphasize the diagnosis of major psychiatric illnesses in adults and children. Psychiatric diseases will be described in terms of epidemiology, clinical presentations, natural history, genetics, differential diagnosis and clinical management. Biological and psychological influences on these diseases will be presented. Interviewing techniques and performance of the mental status exam will be demonstrated by patient interviews.

Credit 44 units.

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M85 Psych 770 Psychiatry Clerkship

Students spend four weeks on the inpatient psychiatry service of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and, beginning summer of 2017, some students will also be assigned to the St. Louis Psychiatric Stabilization Center (PSC). Students evaluate and treat patients under the supervision of house staff and an attending physician, and attend teaching conferences, including small group sessions with WUSM clinical faculty and upper-level psychiatry residents. A variety of experiences providing exposure to outpatient treatment settings are available. Students are responsible for completing learning exercises and other assignments.

Credit 154 units.

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M85 Psych 771 Ambulatory Clerkship: Psychiatry for Generalists

Up to two students may elect to pursue their ambulatory medicine selective through the psychiatry department. Students participate in clinical duties depending on assigned locations, which can include the BJH adult psychiatry clinic, a community mental health center, the Washington University child and adolescent psychiatry clinic, and both the adult and child psychiatry consultation services. Students will also submit a written review of a relevant clinical topic of their choice. There are no call obligations at any clinical site.

Credit 154 units.

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M85 Psych 805 Psychiatry Consult Service

Valid start weeks for four-week blocks are: Weeks 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37 and 41. Students will participate in the evaluation and treatment of patients referred to the psychiatry consult service. They will also attend departmental conferences and other educational sessions.

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M85 Psych 810 Outpatient Community Psychiatry

Valid start weeks for four-week blocks are: Weeks 13 and 17. This is a flexible clerkship where effort is made to tailor the activities to the students' interests. Students will assist in diagnosis and treatment of adult psychiatric clinic and ER patients. The patients present with a wide variety of psychological and interpersonal problems, as encountered in an everyday office practice of an internist or general practice specialist. In this setting, the student will have the opportunity to learn a variety of treatment techniques under supervision. Students completing the clerkship have indicated their enjoyment of the opportunity for independent patient management.

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M85 Psych 836 Clinical Psychiatry-Inpatient Psychiatric Service

This is a senior rotation that provides the students with an opportunity to expand their knowledge of inpatient clinical psychiatry by functioning as interns. Students attend all staffing and teaching conferences given to first-year psychiatry residents, take patients in rotation, and share night call with first-year residents approximately every fifth night. Immediate supervision is provided by the inpatient attending, and additional supervision can be arranged as desired. Teaching emphasis is directed toward psychiatric diagnosis, appropriate use of psychopharmacologic agents, psychotherapeutic intervention, use of community resources and pursuit of the psychiatric scientific literature. The student will write a self-selected clinical topic relevant to treatment and management of psychiatric inpatients.

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M85 Psych 840 Child Psychiatry

This elective in child psychiatry utilizes the Child Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic and the consult-liaison service at St. Louis Children's Hospital. It provides experience in age-appropriate diagnostic and treatment methods in children and adolescents. A paper on a topic of the student's choosing is required.

Credit variable, maximum 3 units.

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M85 Psych 844 Forensic Psychiatry

The medical student will be actively involved in many aspects of forensic psychiatry including civil litigation, workman's compensation, malpractice, civil commitment and guardianship. There may be opportunities to be involved in criminal forensic issues. The student will work with Drs. Jarvis, Harbit, and Garland within the Department of Psychiatry but will primarily meet with Dr. Jarvis a minimum of two hours a week. They will also work with the BJH Manager of Case Management and the City of St. Louis Probate Court. The student will also be assigned readings of landmark cases, textbooks, psychiatric expert opinions, legal filings with the probate court and attend civil hearings. The student will learn relevant criminal statutes regarding competency and civil commitment, causation in civil litigation, the concept of medical malpractice and risk assessment of violence and suicide. There may be the opportunity to witness sexually violent predator evaluations and/or treatment. The student will be required to research and write an opinion on a specific, approved topic in forensic psychiatry. The objectives will be measured by attendance and by formal evaluation of the student's participation and knowledge during the supervision discussion. It will also be determined by the originality, thoroughness and quality of the research paper.

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M85 Psych 855 Introduction to Eating Disorders

Students will learn the basics of assessment, participate in groups that focus on family education, gain experience in interdisciplinary psychiatric team work, attend case discussions with psychiatrists, and participate in treatment planning. Students will be able to describe core symptoms, recommend treatment options, and discuss the medical, nutritional, and psychiatric components of treatment.

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M85 Psych 880 Schizophrenia Precursors & Prodomal States

This is an opportunity for trainees to gain experience in the evaluation of children and adolescents who may be at high risk for schizophrenia. The rotation would center around the "First Contact Assessment Service," which evaluates patients who show characteristics suggestive of prodromal schizophrenia (such as new-onset attenuated psychotic symptoms along with recent deterioration in functioning) and/or early life characteristics that may indicate risk for developing schizophrenia later in life (for example, nonspecific social/emotional/behavioral symptoms in a child/adolescent with a strong family history of schizophrenia). Since the full symptoms of schizophrenia are often preceded by a wide range of childhood behavioral and developmental abnormalities, this rotation would also help trainees integrate information regarding the continuity between childhood development and adult psychopathology. Trainee would observe all aspects of First Contact evaluations (including semi-structured diagnostic interviews and examination of subtle neurological signs), participate in case discussions, and observe follow-up consultations involving patients with psychotic and/or complex neurodevelopmental disorders. Trainee would also be required to write a literature review on a topic relevant to the rotation.

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M85 Psych 889 Interventional Psychiatry

Enrollment limit per period: One. Valid start weeks for four-week blocks are: Weeks 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37 and 41. Interventional Psychiatry involves the application of ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy), rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) and VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulation) in the treatment of medication-resistant psychiatric illness. The student will participate in the evaluations of patients referred to the Treatment Resistant Depression Clinic supervised by Dr. Charles Conway. The student will be involved in the neuropsychiatric assessment of patients referred for ECT. In addition, the student will receive training in the application of ECT and in the clinical management of patients receiving inpatient and outpatient ECT. As cases become available, the student will be involved in rTMS and VNS evaluations and treatment. The student will be encouraged to review appropriate literature and make clinically relevant case-oriented presentations. The student will be expected to write a review of a self-selected clinic topic relevant to interventional psychiatry. As advances in the field occur, the rotation may also involve exposure to individuals receiving other modalities of intervention, including deep brain stimulation (DBS) and magnetic seizure therapy (MST).

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M85 Psych 900 Research Elective-Psychiatry

Research opportunities may be available. If interested, please contact the Department of Psychiatry.

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