Behavioral Science Curriculum

The Shadyside Family Medicine Residency is committed to providing a strong behavioral science curriculum. The core faculty includes a licensed clinical social worker and a psychiatrist. The curriculum is focused on teaching at the point of care. There are several initiatives designed for this purpose. Evidence-based protocols for the diagnoses and treatment of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders in primary care promote the residents’ competence in managing these commonly presenting disorders.  These initiatives are supported by the EHR.

Members of the behavioral science faculty see patients with residents for teaching purposes when needed. A rotation in inpatient/outpatient psychiatry in the second year is a required curricular component. This rotation offers experiences in inpatient psychiatry consultation-liaison services and outpatient psychiatry in medical outpatient settings. Residents see patients with psychiatric problems in both medical inpatient and outpatient settings, where family physicians ordinarily encounter these issues. They gain more experience in recognition, diagnosis, treatment planning, and psychopharmacologic management.

Residents fine-tune medical interviewing skills by reviewing videotaped office visits with the faculty immediately following designated clinical sessions.  An annual workshop in advanced patient interviewing using professional actors as patients allows for small group experiential learning.

The Behavioral Science faculty member joins the inpatient team for behavioral rounds on a bi-weekly basis. A bi-weekly Balint group, led by leaders nationally credentialed by the American Balint Society, enhances residents’ understanding of the complexities of the doctor-patient relationship. On alternate weeks, Resident Support Groups promote coping skills.  Residents also make several visits to social service agencies to learn about resources available in the community.

Psychiatry/Behavioral Medicine conferences are held monthly, with various formats including skill development workshops, case conferences, psychopharmacology consultations, patient interviews, and a variety of other presentations. These sessions are interactive and multi-modal. In addition to the substantive formal instruction, behavioral health issues are addressed regularly by the Family Medicine faculty throughout the three years as part of inpatient and outpatient clinical teaching.