Seminars and Special Programs

Core Curriculum Seminars

The core curriculum is an educational series that compliments the training experiences, to challenge residents to think broadly about their patients and about the field of psychiatry, and to further develop life long learning skills.  The core curriculum reflects the philosophy of the bio-psycho-socio-cultural model of psychiatry and integrates biological and psychosocial treatments for people with psychiatric disorders. Clinical supervision is part of each rotation as is required courses in specialized topics that enhance the clinical learning on first and second year rotations is not part of the core curriculum but may be viewed in the rotation page.

Grand Rounds and special programs are part of the core curriculum for all resident years.

First Year Core Curriculum

This 4 hour Thursday core curriculum completes a knowledge base of the fundamentals of psychiatry, neurology and neuroscience in the first year. The teaching focus in this first year relies more on lectures with discussion. The Chair, Domenic Ciraulo MD teaches and organizes a year-course in Clinical Psychiatry and Neuroscience of the major categories of psychiatric illness that includes psychopathology, the current state of knowledge in neurobiology, and evidence based practice.  Neuropsychiatry is taught by Chris Streeter MD who is double boarded in psychiatry and neurology. The neurology faculty teach the peripheral neurological disorders, sleep disorders, pain disorders, seizures, and stroke.  Ethics and mental health law is the other area addressed in the core curriculum, co-taught by a practicing lawyer in the area of mental health law and an ethicist. An introduction to Emergency Psychiatry takes place at the end of the first year as residents prepare for taking call in the second year. Buddy call is held throughout the year with more advanced residents to also prepare residents for call.


Clinical Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Ethics and Mental Health Law
Emergency Psychiatry
Grand Rounds

Second Year Core Curriculum

The 6 hour Thursday weekly core curriculum builds upon the resident’s prior knowledge base while ensuring an opportunity to review topics in the Chair’s Clinical Psychiatry and Neuroscience course. These courses compliment the course of studies in geriatric psychiatry, consultation-liaison psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, inpatient psychopharmacology, and treatment of the chronically mentally ill that are part of the core rotations. In the second year, while some of the teaching style is lecture, there is a greater focus on using a graduate seminar model that allows more interactional learning. Introduction to psychotherapy begins in July as residents begin seeing a small cohort of outpatients. This course, taught by the Program Director and an active clinician combining psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, is an interactive seminar that engages residents to discuss the theoretical basis of the dynamic-supportive therapy continuum and its application to patient care. A 12-week seminar in Psychiatry and the Arts challenge to think outside the “box” by presenting a favorite musical or visual artist and the associated psychiatric issues that led to creativity. A second 12-week seminar in Transcultural Psychiatry under the leadership of Orlando B. Lightfoot MD, Vice Chair for Community Psychiatry helps residents learn about the socio-cultural aspects of the bio-psycho-socio-cultural model. The final component of the second year core curriculum is educational psychotherapy supervision. This is a one to one course where each resident learns psychotherapy from a faculty member who actively practices psychotherapy with the case material coming from the residents’ clinical practice of psychotherapy.


Clinical Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Introduction to Psychotherapy
Psychiatry and the Arts
Transcultural Psychiatry
Educational Psychotherapy Supervision
Grand Rounds

Third Year Core Curriculum

Core curriculum for the third year is defined as all seminar in all clinical setting and averages 10 hours/week. The third year maintains a greater focus on graduate education with fewer lectures and more seminars that assist residents in life long learning skills development.  The year is nearly equally balanced between psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.

VA CBOC in the North End core curriculum seminar series include year-long seminar addiction psychiatry by John Renner MD [Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Director and national expert] and other faculty with Added Qualifications in Addiction Psychiatry. Other seminars at this site include observed patient interviews and two short seminar series of 8-10 sessions, Psychological Testing and Research Methodology. A year long course in Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders: Neurobiology and Treatment Approaches that include both psychopharmacology and psychosocial treatments of the chronically mentally ill. Seeking Safety, evidence based CBT for patient with PTSD and a substance use disorder, is taught by an expert in this treatment approach.

Boston Medical Center core curriculum series includes psychiatric interviewing, two case conferences, psychopharmacology, integration of biological and psychosocial treatments, journal club, and educational psychotherapy supervision. The year begins with a 12-week Psychiatric Interviewing seminar chaired by two of our Psychosomatic Medicine faculty including the Director Isidore Berenbaum MD and a senior psychoanalyst. The two case conferences provide residents to learn by presenting and discussing current clinical cases amongst themselves and with faculty experts. The psychotherapy case conference is attended by 3-4 psychoanalysts and current practitioners. Two months a year a guest discussant from the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI) chairs the session. The psychopharmacology case conference is chaired by 1-2 practicing psychopharmacologist and researchers. A seminar build upon the second year introduction course incorporates the bio-psycho-socio-cultural concepts explores the developmental aspects to identify the onset of the current psychopathology while attending to the heritable and acquired biological contributions. One to one learning of psychotherapy continues with educational supervision with two practicing psychotherapists. Journal club builds upon the first and second year journal clubs on rotations to ensure skills and knowledge in critical review of the literature, a vital part of life long learning. Psychopharmacology examines the mechanism of actions, medication selection, prescribing practices and outcomes. A core curriculum in Child and Adolescent is centered in Child Psychiatry rotation and includes Child Development and Psychopathology, Family Therapy, and a case conference with the Chief of Child Psychiatry, Heather Walters MD, MPH.


Psychiatric Interviewing
Addiction Psychiatry
Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders: Neurobiology/Treatment
Psychopharmacology 2
Seeking Safety: CBT for co-morbid PTSD and Addictions
Integration of Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology
Journal Club
Psychological Testing
Research Methodology
Child Development and Psychopathology/Family Therapy
Educational Psychotherapy Supervision
Grand Rounds

Case Conferences:
Psychopharmacology, Psychotherapy, Child Psychiatry

Fourth Year Core Curriculum

The final year of training readies residents for fellowships and/or independent practice. While the selection of training specialization takes place through electives and selectives, the 7 hour weekly core curriculum adds to the resident knowledge base that is essential for all psychiatrists.  During the summer, a course on the Transition to Practice with various guest speakers assist residents in making career choices and getting prepared to enter the job market. A 9 month course by the Chair is Advanced Neurobiology and Pharmacology that incorporates a journal club and case conferences to enhance the material presented by the Chair to further develop critical thinking. A Continuous Case conference with Phillip Freeman, MD, a faculty member of the BPSI and Boston University School of Medicine, and other BPSI faculty further develops residents’ knowledge of psychodynamics and the practice of psychotherapy. A reading seminar is taught by two senior psychoanalysts with a focus on seminal papers. Educational supervision continues with one to one learning based on resident long-term cases. Residents are assigned to one educational supervisor but have the option of asking for an additional supervisor based on their interest and caseload mix. An Evidence Based seminar reviews the treatments for psychiatric disorders and serves as a good preparation for the ABPN examination. As a further review to prepare for the ABPN examination, fourth year residents attend the Neuropsychiatry and Neurology courses.


Supportive Therapy in the Medication Management Visit
Transition to Practice
Evidence Based Practice
Advanced Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology
Seminal Papers in Psychotherapy Reading Seminar
Educational Psychotherapy Supervision
Grand Rounds

Case Conferences
Advanced Psychopharmacology and Continuous Psychotherapy

Special Programs

Yearly Programs

Safety and Descalation Training taught by the police that train BMC safety and security personnel

DMH Multidisciplinary Plenary in Cultural Psychiatry taught by JTVM de Jong MD, PhD, international expert in post-conflict mental health

Resident Retreats to provide program feedback and resident bonding

Psychoanalytic Scholars Program coordinated with Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

Jacob Swartz Memorial Lecture honoring Dr. Swartz a Boston University School of Medicine Alumni, renowned Psychiatrist, and Dean of Admissions, and beloved Psychiatry Professor.

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine