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Psychosomatic Medicine

Overview

The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) offer a one-year ACGME-accredited fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine. The fellowship provides a forum in which psychiatrists can cultivate outstanding clinical skills, make meaningful academic contributions, and educate colleagues in the practice of psychiatry at its interface with other medical specialties.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and WPIC have long demonstrated commitment to excellence in Psychosomatic Medicine. Our clinical services have evolved from inpatient psychiatry consultation to include integrated programs with palliative care, oncology, bariatric surgery, hepatology, solid organ and intestinal transplantation, internal medicine, and infectious diseases. Through interdepartmental collaborations, research programs in psychoneuorimmunology, reproductive health, and transplantation psychiatry at UPMC have also achieved international recognition.

Accordingly, fellows train in an environment rich with clinical and academic opportunities, including the following core experiences:

Psychosomatic Medicine Fellowship Core Experiences

Core Experience

Site Location

Clinical Setting

Inpatient Psychiatry Consultation

Presbyterian Hospital,

UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital

Inpatient

Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Psychiatry

University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

UPMC Presbyterian Hospital

Inpatient/Ambulatory

Transplantation Psychiatry

Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC

Ambulatory

PM Fellowship Education

UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic

N/A

Goals and Objectives

The University of Pittsburgh Psychosomatic Medicine Fellowship Program strives for excellence in the following capacities:

Apprenticeship

Fellows will gain the experience of junior faculty on a high-volume inpatient psychiatry consultation service and in specialty clinics, with greater autonomy and clinical responsibility, and under the direct mentorship of devoted clinical faculty.

Clinical Excellence

Fellows will be trained to conduct thorough neurologic and psychiatric evaluations in the general medical setting and to consider etiologies and treatments for clinical presentations in a comprehensive manner.

Academic Vigor

Fellows are encouraged to contribute scholastically to the field of Psychosomatic Medicine, including academic writing, quality improvement, and clinical research, through academic mentorship and practice.

Practical Applications of Neuropsychiatry

Fellows gain a nuanced education in clinical neuroscience, with emphasis on the underpinnings of affective, behavioral, and cognitive presentations in the general medical setting.

Fellowship

Fellows join a community of physicians with similar academic and clinical missions through a formative experience that extends beyond their year in training. Fellows can expect to remain connected to academic and research endeavors alongside faculty and trainees at UPMC and WPIC, and to collaborate with one another on local, regional, and national levels.

Clinical Duties and Sample Schedule

    Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

BLOCK 1
(6 months)

AM Inpatient Consultation Psycho-Oncology Inpatient Consultation PM Fellowship
Education
Psycho-
Oncology
PM HD Clinic PM
(once monthly)
Inpatient
Consultation
Inpatient Consultation
    Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
BLOCK 2
(6 months)
AM Inpatient
Consultation
Transplantation
Psychiatry
Inpatient
Consultation
PM Fellowship Education Women's Mental
Health (Optional)
HD Clinic AM
(once Monthly)
PM Palliative Care Psychiatry Inpatient Consultation Inpatient Consultation

Inpatient Psychiatry Consultation
UPMC Presbyterian Hospital and Magee Women’s Hospital
Site Mentors:  Kurt Ackerman, MD; Pierre Azzam, MD; Kaleena Chilcote, MD; Morgan Faeder, MD; Priya Gopalan, MD, Julie Graziane, MD, and; Darcy Moschenross, MD

The Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison (CL) Services at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital (792 beds) and UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital (360 beds) complete over 3000 psychiatry evaluations per academic year. These settings provide psychosomatic medicine fellows with diverse, educational, and high-volume experiences, along with exposure to a wide array of medical, surgical, obstetrical-gynecological, and psychiatric conditions. Fellows will serve as integral members of a teams-based teaching service, providing psychiatric care on the inpatient floors and intensive care units. Core teaching faculty with expertise in psychosomatic medicine and women’s mental health will engage fellows in supervision of clinical cases. (12-month experience: 65% annual full time equivalent)

Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
Site Mentors:  Pierre Azzam, MD; Kaleena Chilcote, MD, and; Kevin Patterson, MD

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) provides centralized multidisciplinary care to patients with oncologic and hematologic conditions, in addition to leading the region in cancer research. Psychosomatic medicine fellows will function as devoted psychiatric consultants within specialized oncology teams (e.g., neuro-oncology, stem cell transplantation), in addition to providing ambulatory psychiatric services to patients with cancer diagnoses. Fellows will also function in the liaison capacity to the Palliative Care Service at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, providing devoted psychiatric consultation and education to a large multidisciplinary team. Designated time will be allotted for longitudinal supervision of clinical cases and instruction in palliative care psychiatry and psycho-oncology by core teaching faculty. (6-month experience in Psycho-Oncology and 6-month experience in Palliative Care Psychiatry; 20% annual full time equivalent)

Transplantation Psychiatry
Starzl Transplantation Institute
Site Mentor: Andrea DiMartini, MD 

The Starzl Transplantation Institute (STI) at UPMC is an internationally acclaimed clinical and research center, known for high-volume and clinically complex organ transplantation. Psychosomatic medicine fellows will provide ambulatory psychiatric care to patients at various stages of transplantation: from pre-transplantation evaluation to post-transplantation follow-up. This continuity will afford fellows the opportunity to engage in comprehensive, multi-dimensional patient care as integral members of an interdisciplinary service. Designated time will be allotted for longitudinal supervision of clinical cases and instruction in transplantation psychiatry by core teaching faculty. (12-month experience; 10% annual full time equivalent)

Huntington's Clinic
UPMC Comprehensive Movement Disorders Clinic
Site Mentors: Morgan Faeder, MD and Valerie Suski, DO

The UPMC Huntington’s Disease Clinic is a multidisciplinary program including physicians, social workers, genetic counselors, and clinical trial coordinators, providing care for patients with Huntington’s disease and their families. Psychosomatic medicine fellows function as embedded consultants within this unique clinical model of care, serving as a mental health point of contact for patients, families, and other practitioners, once monthly. (12 month experience: 2.5% annual full time equivalent)

Women's Mental Health
Magee Women's Hospital
Site Mentor:  Priya Gopalan, MD 

The Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison (CL) Service at Magee-Women’s Hospital sees approximately 400 psychiatry evaluations per academic year. Psychosomatic medicine fellows have the option to provide devoted psychiatric consultation to a perinatal patient population, working closely alongside obstetrics and gynecology services. This is complemented by a devoted curriculum in women’s mental health, with topics including traumatic birth, neonatal abstinence syndromes, prematurity, and parental stress (6-month experience: 5% annual full time equivalent)

Psychosomatic Medicine Fellowship Education Program

A twelve-month specialized education program in Psychosomatic Medicine will comprise didactics and weekly case conferences, led by core and adjunct teaching faculty. Covered topics include the following Didactics Modules and Classes:

 

  • Advanced Clinical Neurosciences: Arousal and Attention – Limbic Networks – Frontal Circuitry – Memory – Motor Pathology – Brain Injury – Neuroimaging – Major Neurocognitive Disorders – Delirium – Neurotoxic Syndromes – GABAergic Withdrawal – Psychogenic Movement Disorders
  • Organ-Based Topics in Psychosomatic Medicine: - Cardiac Disease – Gastrointestinal Disease – Kidney Disease – Endocrine Disease – Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine – Burns and Trauma-Related Care – HIV – Liver Disease and Transplantation – Psycho-Oncology – Palliative Care – Death and Dying
  • Women’s Mental Health and Special Topics in Psychosomatic Medicine: Decision-Making Capacity – Ethical Considerations in the General Hospital, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Perinatal Bipolar and Psychotic Disorders, Postpartum Syndromes, Perinatal Addictions, Reproductive Hormones and Menopause, Brief Motivational Interventions, Iatrogenic Trauma-Based Syndromes, Pain, Eating Disorders, Somatic Symptom Disorders 
  • Professional Development: Financial Considerations in Integrated Care and Consultation – Administrative Organization of a Consultation Service – Fatigue and Physician Wellness – Faculty Development

 

Additionally, fellows participate in weekly supervision with the Program Director and Core Faculty and an established Psychosomatic Medicine Education Series for faculty and trainees, which includes quarterly Grand Rounds, in-service trainings, and round-table journal club discussions. (12-month experience: 10% annual full time equivalent)

Scholarly/Research Activities

Trainees are expected to engage in scholarly activity during the fellowship year, and are provided two hours per week for devoted efforts. Potential activities include: educational program development, quality improvement initiatives, academic manuscript authorship, and formalized research. The University of Pittsburgh provides fellows with the opportunity to collaborate with an array of renowned researchers, including Drs. Andrea DiMartini, Bruce Rollman, Eva Szigethy, Frank Lotrich, and Matthew Muldoon. Writing, research, educational, and administrative development skills will be taught as part of the Psychosomatic Medicine Fellowship Education Program.

            

Publications & Presentations by Our Trainees

Faculty, residents, and alumni of the fellowship program have presented their work and shared their expertise at numerous meetings and national scientific and medical conferences, including the annual meetings of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, American Psychiatric Association, and Association of Academic Psychiatry. Several of our trainees have been selected for travel awards to support their participation at these meetings and events. Our trainees and faculty are active participants at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine Annual Meeting. Click here to learn more about how they are involved in this year's meeting.

We also invite you to click here to check out a list of selected publications by our fellows and faculty and here to learn more about the presentations and symposia highlighting their work. 

Current Fellows and Alumni

Our fellows are involved in a broad range of clinical, research and educational initiatives, and are mentored by some of the top experts in the country. Learn more about our fellows by clicking here

Qualifications

Requirements for application include: a) completion of an ACGME-accredited residency program in psychiatry by commencement of the fellowship year; b) passing score on the USMLE STEP III examination; c) eligibility for medical licensure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Application Process

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Psychosomatic Medicine Fellowship accepts the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM) Common Application.

Completed applications, including reference letters (please refer to application for instructions), are due no later than October 31 for fellowship positions in the following academic year. Applicants are invited to interview from September through late November, and positions are offered through the NRMP Match process.

The application form can be downloaded here:

Inquiries and applications should be directed to:


 Pierre N. Azzam, MD

 Director, Fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine
 3520 Fifth Avenue, Lower Level - Suite 1
 Pittsburgh, PA 15213 
 Telephone: (412) 383-1641
 Fax: (412) 383-3177
 Email: azzamp@upmc.edu

 

 

 Priya Gopalan, MD
 Medical Director, Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service
 3520 Fifth Avenue, Lower Level - Suite 1
 Pittsburgh, PA 15213
 Telephone: (412) 383-3200
 Fax: (412) 383-3177
 Email: gopalanpr@upmc.edu