Department of Psychiatry
Instruction in psychiatry is given throughout 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 the supervision of a fellow and the attending physician.
Psychiatry Research Electives
During the fourth year, opportunities exist for many varieties of advanced clinical or research experiences.
Note to Students: There are always a number of research projects in the Department of Psychiatry. For additional information, contact Dr. Rubin at 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
This research elective is intended for students interested in cognitive neuroscience, biological psychiatry, and behavior genetics. Dr. Anokhin's laboratory investigates the links between genes, brain and behavior in order to better understand the complex etiology of mental disorders. Our major focus is on the externalizing spectrum of psychopathology characterized by deficits in inhibitory self-regulation and related psychopathologies, including ADHD, conduct disorder and addictive behaviors. We are particularly interested in the intermediate phenotypes (endophenotypes) mediating genetic risk for addiction, such as impulsivity, risk taking, and abnormal reward processing. 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) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). For example, an ongoing longitudinal study of adolescent twins explores the 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. In another ongoing study, we examine twins who are discordant for adolescent marijuana use in order to identify the consequences of substance abuse for the brain, cognition and emotion and to distinguish them from preexisting risk factors. Interested students will be able to learn a variety of methods used in these studies, such as the recording and analysis of neural activity, including electroencephalogram (EEG) and event-related brain potentials (ERPs), MRI scanning, startle response, autonomic measures, the administration of neuropsychological and behavioral tests, and the statistical analysis of data. The format of this research elective may include the following: (1) directed reading; (2) participation in laboratory experiments involving human subjects; (3) analysis of existing data from various research projects; and (4) designing and piloting new behavioral experiments. Qualifications include reliability and responsibility, the ability to commit a specified amount of time per week and to work a schedule that 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
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 it may involve gaining experience in the techniques of assessing cognitive and emotional function using behavioral and brain imaging methods.
Laura Jean Bierut, MD
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 individuals at risk for developing nicotine, alcohol and other substance dependence and that protect others from the development of these disorders.
Kevin J. Black, MD
4525 Scott Ave., Room 2205
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 the laboratory's webpage for examples of past research.
Ginger E. Nicol, MD
Taylor Avenue Building, Suite 121
We are part of the Healthy Mind Lab in the department of psychiatry, and our clinical research broadly focuses on increasing longevity and quality of life in children, adolescents, adults and older adults. Our specific projects focus primarily on obesity treatment and prevention, and they include clinical and genetic studies of psychotropic medications known to cause weight gain, like antipsychotic agents. We are interested in developing and testing medication-assisted psychotherapies with agents like ketamine and psilocybin for weight management and disordered eating. We also employ mobile health (mHealth) tools for collecting data and for delivering healthy lifestyle and behavioral weight loss treatments, and we use precision functional brain mapping to study individual, brain-based mechanisms of illness and treatment response. 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.
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.
M85 Psych 770 Psychiatry Clerkship
Students spend three weeks on the inpatient psychiatry service of Barnes-Jewish Hospital at the main campus unit. Students evaluate and treat patients with psychiatric illness under the supervision of house staff and an attending physician. Students are also assigned for one week at either an ambulatory treatment site or an inpatient consult-liaison service. There is also an opportunity for students to gain exposure to emergency psychiatric services in the Barnes-Jewish Hospital emergency department. The clerkships includes required attendance at teaching conferences, including small-group sessions with WUSM clinical faculty and upper-level psychiatry residents. Students are responsible for completing learning exercises and other assignments.
Credit 154 units.
M85 Psych 771 Ambulatory Clerkship: Psychiatry for Generalists
Up to 2 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 Wash U 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 77 units.
M85 Psych 805 Psychiatry Consult Subinternship
Students spend four weeks on the psychiatry consult service at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Under the supervision of house staff and attending physicians, students participate in the evaluation and collaborative management of inpatients on medical and surgical units for a broad range of psychiatric and behavioral concerns. They learn about the intersection between psychiatry and other medical specialties and important skills for collaborative patient care. Students attend departmental conferences and other educational sessions, and they also prepare and present a clinical topical review of their choice
M85 Psych 810 Outpatient Community Psychiatry
This elective will provide the student with a significant outpatient experience in Psychiatry. Students will be paired with a Resident physician and have exposure to two adult clinics and one child clinic over the course of the rotation. Students will observe and assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients in the clinic setting. Students will also attend scheduled lectures and conferences over the course of the rotation relevant to outpatient Psychiatry. During the elective, the student will learn about the outpatient presentations of psychiatric disorders, a variety of treatment techniques (psychotherapy and psychopharmacology), and general principles of outpatient clinical management.
M85 Psych 836 Inpatient Psychiatry Subinternship
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.
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 portion of your time may be spent on the inpatient behavioral unit at Saint Louis Children's if interested and if circumstances permit. A paper on a topic of the student's choosing is required.
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 rotation is primarily self-directed but the student will work with several faculty within the Department of Psychiatry but will primarily meet with the Course Director a minimum of two hours per week. They will also work with The City of St Louis Probate Court. The student will also be assigned readings of landmark cases, textbooks, psychiatric expert opinions, legal filing 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.
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.
M85 Psych 900 Research Elective-Psychiatry
Research opportunities may be available. If interested, please contact the Department of Psychiatry.