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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Jeffrey Feola, MD

Richard McCarthy, MD


Message from the Director of Medical Student Education

The department of Psychiatry plays an integral role during all four years of SUNY Downstate medical students' education. Our faculty and residents are educators, mentors and role models both in the classroom and on the wards. The students consistently rate their teaching from the Psychiatry department highly, and many of our school's recent alumni have entered Psychiatry.

During the pre-clinical years, we are enthusiastic participants in the new integrated curriculum and offer the students engaging lectures, self-guided exercises and small group work. Our faculty have adopted a developmental perspective in their lectures on the major psychiatric disorders, and both faculty and residents facilitate modified case based learning small groups with the students. The joint teaching by faculty and residents continues into the required six-week Psychiatry clerkship. Our school has clerkship students assigned to teams at Downstate Medical Center, Kings County Hospital, Maimonides Medical Center, Long Island Jewish Hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital, and Kingsboro Psychiatric Center. The majority of these sites are centered on an inpatient experience, with three sites, (Downstate, Kings County and Lenox Hill) providing a consultation-liaison experience. The majority of the students also work half a day a week in an ambulatory Psychiatry setting, and all of the students attend a half day of didactic series every Tuesday. Many of our students also enroll in our numerous fourth year electives.

Downstate Medical School puts great stock in community service, and our students have demonstrated that dedication in several ways. Many volunteer at the two free clinics established by the medical students, one in Brooklyn and the other in Mexico. Within the department of Psychiatry, students were awarded a Helping Hands grant from the American Psychiatric Foundation to establish a PTSD and substance screening program in a nearby homeless shelter. The students are also quite active in PsychSIGN (the national medical student psychiatry interest group) which meets monthly and organizes community outreach, such as metabolic screening at the NAMI walk. Our students have also been quite active in research, including presenting posters at national meetings, co-chairing workshops at the Institute for Psychiatric Service meeting and publishing in peer reviewed journals.

The number of SUNY Downstate medical students choosing to specialize in Psychiatry has significantly increased over the last several years. We currently have alumni in Psychiatry residency at such institutions as SUNY Downstate, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell and NYU. The department's commitment to education is apparent in the quality of medical students and residents we graduate.