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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Residency Program Overview

Welcome to the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Department of Psychiatry Office of Training! As the only university based program in Brooklyn and also the largest, we have a total of 48 residents training in general psychiatry. Our program is comprised of multiple sites, each of which offers something unique to education: University Hospital of Brooklyn-SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn; Kings County Hospital Center; Kingsboro Psychiatric Center; Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center; Coney Island Hospital; and the Veterans' Affairs Medical Center Brooklyn. Each location offers a unique patient population and approach to treating psychiatric illness throughout the continuum of care.

Like the borough of Brooklyn itself, we pride ourselves on our diversity. Our residents come from all over the world and we are fortunate to attract applicants who are a mix of US medical graduates and International Medical Graduates. Our IMGs are both American citizens who have completed medical school abroad and others who are foreign nationals on visas. The result is a rich collegiality that enhances both the professional and personal lives of our trainees. We believe that the diverse array of patients we serve is also a benefactor of this cultural and ethnic diversity.

Because we are grounded in a medical school setting, our residents are key players in teaching medical students. This is an integral part of training and universally lauded by our students and residents. Research is expected as well and our protected one month rotation in the PGY2 year is the springboard for this endeavor. Didactics are comprehensive and built into all four years of training. We are committed to community psychiatry. Not only do all of our residents gain experience assessing and treating individuals with mental illness who are homeless but most "give back" to the community by volunteering at the Brooklyn Free Clinic, the annual NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Walk, the annual AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) Walk or other initiatives.

Our graduates thrive on the rigor of our program. They all finish with impressive CVs and portfolios and compete with the best for highly sought after fellowships, academic positions, hospital appointments, community employment or private practice work. We take pleasure in having launched some of the most talented and exemplary psychiatrists both here and abroad. We hope that exploring our website will give you more detailed information about our training program. Thanks for visiting and don't hesitate to contact us directly. As we say to our new recruits "welcome to the family".

SUNY Downstate is one of the largest health science centers in the United States. Downstate is rooted in a century-old tradition of teaching, patient care and research. Originally founded in 1860, Downstate today is the center for academic medicine in Brooklyn. It is the seventh largest medical school in the nation, with schools of nursing, health related professions and graduate studies.

The General Psychiatry Residency Training Program is a four-year accredited educational program and it currently has an average of twelve residents per postgraduate year. Residents are trained at the University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB), Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC), Kingsboro Psychiatric Center (KPC), Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center (KJMC), Brooklyn Veterans Administration Medical Center (BVAMC) and Coney Island Hospital (CIH). The Department of Psychiatry has a rich history in community psychiatry, dynamic psychiatry, psychopharmacology, neuroscience and research in the borough of Brooklyn. We are now at the forefront of psychiatric research with both the Center for Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease and the Institute for Genomic Health (please see Research tab for more research activities offered within the Dept. of Psychiatry).

Our curriculum uses as its framework the core competency requirements by the ACGME. The core competencies are the knowledge, skills and attitudinal attributes that a physician should possess in the minimum to be judged competent by society. The core competencies encompass: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice.

The following are our Goals for residents within our program:


The primary goal is to provide a resident with an introduction to core basic principles in the assessment and treatment of adult patients. Closely supervised training takes place in acute Inpatient Psychiatry, Addiction, Partial Hospitalization Program, Internal Medicine and Neurology.


The goal is to gain a more sophisticated understanding in the assessment, evaluation, formulation, and treatment planning of patients in an Adult Inpatient Psychiatric setting. Additionally, residents attain experience in the psychiatric subspecialties of Geriatric Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Emergency Psychiatry and Research. We expect residents to develop a more advanced level of expertise in the evaluation and treatment of patients in an emergency acute care setting. Residents will begin their experience in outpatient psychiatry, specifically psychotherapy, by treating a select few patients in this modality.


The primary goal is to train residents in the principles and practices of Outpatient Psychiatry, individual and group, using diverse therapeutic interventions and schools of therapy. Additionally, there is a continuous experience in Community Psychiatry. Video monitoring is utilized as a modality of supervision, allowing for real-time feedback on the resident's treatment style, approach, and application.


The primary goals include acquiring sophistication and advanced skills in psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, a leadership role and gaining advanced administrative skills in psychiatry, formal supervision of junior residents and medical students and elective time provided to gain experience in selected areas of psychiatry. In addition, all residents are required to give a scholarly presentation to the department prior to graduation at the Departmental Grand Rounds.