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 lifelong 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. In addition, residents have a specialized on-line course in patient safety and quality improvement. Residents learn through specialized programs about de-escalation and personal safety, community psychiatry, global psychiatry, and integrated care models. Clinical supervision is part of each rotation as is required courses in specialized topics that enhance the clinical learning. In addition, all PGY-2,3 and 4 residents receive 1:1 teaching of psychotherapy in core educational supervision.

Academic Psychiatry Grand Rounds is 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. A year-course in Clinical Psychiatry and Neuroscience covers the major categories of psychiatric and substance use disorders that includes phenomenology,  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 a psychiatrist. First year residents learn about the complex care of people with chronic mental illness in a course designed to include psychopharmacological treatment and psycho-social interventions to achieve the best quality of life for the patient and family. An introduction to patient safety and quality improvement rounds out the curriculum and takes place both at the beginning and at the end of the first year. Buddy call is held throughout the year with more advanced residents to also prepare residents for call.


Clinical Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Treatment of the Chronically Mentally Ill
Ethics and Mental Health Law
Patient Safety and Quality Improvement
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 and learn more about topics in the Clinical Psychiatry and Neuroscience course. These courses compliment the course of studies in integrated care, 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 and Pedro Fernandez MD helps residents learn about the socio-cultural aspects of the bio-psycho-socio-cultural model. Resident learn how to teach through a course with the Program Director. The course begins with the neurobiology of learning and then formal lessons in how to develop a lesson plan. Each resident is assigned to peer teach about a short-term therapy with preparation of a formal lesson plan, 2 sessions for teaching, and are peer rated. The psychiatry residents are the most highly rated teachers by BUSM medical students outpacing all other disciplines and the faculty. 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
Learning to Teach
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 lifelong 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, Research Methodology and Seeking Safety treatment, an evidence based CBT for patient with PTSD and a substance use disorder. Residents will continue to develop their learning skills and teaching skills through occasional seminar presentations to their peers and faculty. Residents have a seminar series in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy that covers CBT for a wide range of disorders, behavioral activation therapy, and Dialectical Behavior therapy in conjunction with clinical application of these therapy techniques.

Boston Medical Center core curriculum series includes psychiatric interviewing, case conferences, psychopharmacology, and integration of biological and psychosocial treatments, journal club, and 2 hours of weekly 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 of various forms of psychotherapy. Two months a year a guest discussant from the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI) chairs the session. A seminar build upon the second year introduction course incorporates bio-psycho-socio-cultural and developmental trauma 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 lifelong 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. Residents begin the year with a seminar on Quality Improvement and then form teams of 3-4 residents to work with the Quality Leader at BMC or Boston VA to research and develop a QI project. The teams will present twice a year on their project and continue to work on the project into the P-4 year with a Grand Rounds presentation. The Transition to Practice seminar begins in the Spring to assist residents with CV’s and fellowship decisions and preparation. It continues into the summer of the P-4 year.


Psychiatric Interviewing
Psychotherapy Case Conference
Addiction Psychiatry
Psychopharmacology 2
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and related treatments
Psychodynamic-Supportive Psychotherapy
Seeking Safety: CBT for co-morbid PTSD and Addictions
Integration of Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology
Journal Club
Research Methodology/ Quality Improvement
Child Development and Psychopathology/Family Therapy
Educational Psychotherapy Supervision
Transition to Practice
Grand Rounds

Case Conferences:
Psychopharmacology, Psychotherapy, Child Psychiatry

Fourth Year Core Curriculum

The final year of training provides the final stage to prepare residents for competitive 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 course in Addiction Psychopharmacology taught by the Chair, David Henderson, MD, an International Leader in Addiction Psychiatry and Pharmacology challenges residents to learn more about neurobiology and pharmacology of many drugs and about addictions and their treatments. 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 that serve as a good review and ABPN preparation. Residents continue with independent research for their selected team Quality Improvement project, working with Quality Leaders, to complete their 2 year QI project.


Transition to Practice
Evidence Based Practice
Advanced Pharmacology
Psychodynamic Continuous Case Conference
Psychotherapy Reading Seminar
Quality Improvement Seminar/Research Project
Educational Psychotherapy Supervision
Grand Rounds

Case Conferences
Advanced Psychopharmacology and Continuous Psychotherapy

Special Programs

Yearly Programs

Safety and De-escalation training taught by the police that train BMC safety and security personnel

Resident Retreat 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.

Invited speakers Series in Cultural Psychiatry