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U of I College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign approved for psychiatry residency program

College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign

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Credit: University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign has been awarded initial accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to offer a psychiatry residency training program beginning in 2017, Dr. Michele Mariscalco, dean of the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign announced today. The ACGME is the national body responsible for post-M.D. training programs in the United States.

"The community of mid-central Illinois has identified that increased access to mental and behavior health services are one of their top health priorities. In particular, access to mental health professionals, mainly psychiatrists, is limited. This is especially problematic outside major metropolitan areas, such as Urbana-Champaign and Danville," shared Dean Mariscalco.

In response to the need for more psychiatrists who practice in East Central and Southern Illinois, the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, along with their clinical partners Carle Foundation Hospital, Presence Health System, and the VA Illiana Health Care System will begin recruiting for the new residency program in the fall of 2016, for candidates who will begin in summer of 2017, through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), also known as "The Match."

The residency program's interim director, Dr. Suzanna Kitten, explains the program's focus. "The program will offer opportunities for in-depth training during the four-year general psychiatry program; including training in child psychiatry, integrated care, work with the veterans' population, and innovative research opportunities. Interdisciplinary training will be provided in conjunction with psychology interns (both PhD and Masters level), physician assistant students, psychiatric nurse practitioners, residents from other specialties, and medical students. Emphasis will be on evidence based approaches, as well as therapeutic interventions; thereby, providing the basis for a larger educational mission which will advance the quality of healthcare in the region."

In addition, "the residency program is already building strong relationships with the Department of Psychology and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to augment research opportunities for our future residents as well as U of I faculty. These relationships will be very fruitful for the further understanding and treatment of mental illness in the future," stated Dr. Gerald Welch, head of the college's Department of Psychiatry.

Dean Mariscalco highlights, "without the active engagement of all the clinical partners this residency program would not be possible. For over 35 years, the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign and its clinical partners have partnered to provide an Internal Medicine Residency program. There are many practicing internists who are graduates of that program in East Central Illinois. Our experience in internal medicine, along with experience at the national level, suggests that a residency program is the quickest and surest way to attract and retain psychiatrists to the area."

Dr. Matthew Gibb, Executive Vice President and System Chief Medical Officer of Carle Foundation Hospital stated, "The approval from ACGME for a local psychiatry residency is a fantastic achievement and a testament to our collaboration. Access to behavioral healthcare is a challenge nationally and in our community. Many physicians choose to enter practice in the area they complete their residency which will mean more practicing psychiatrists in our community over time. Also, the addition of psychiatry to existing local graduate medical education programs in internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, and oral maxillofacial surgery will bring more opportunity for local medical school graduates to continue specialty medical training in our community."

Community healthcare providers are equally excited about the addition of the new residency program. "Access to psychiatry services is essential in providing quality community based mental health services. The needs are great and having this residency program here provides hope for the future and opportunities for treatment, meaningful partnerships, and research aimed at recovery, improving, and saving lives," remarked Sheila Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer at Community Elements, Inc.

Nancy Greenwalt, Promise Healthcare Executive Director, stated, "It is a huge victory to have this psychiatry residency as part of our community. It is an opportunity to expand access to care and build future depth in our capacity to care for the underserved. Many of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program leaders care deeply about being able to serve all in our community--including those who are poor, uninsured, and underinsured. We look forward to working with them and the residents."

Dr. Jared Rogers, Regional President and Chief Executive Officer of Presence Health System, Central State Region sums up the impact of the residency program in this way, "There is currently a tremendous unmet need for mental care throughout our region as well as throughout the entire country. By developing this new psychiatry residency program for training more psychiatrists, we can have an impact on fulfilling this need in our region. The collaborative efforts in making this program a reality by the college and its clinical partners reflects the will of the healthcare community in seeking out new ways in which we can bring healing and hope to those we serve."

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For more information on the new residency program, please visit: go.med.illinois.edu/psychiatryresidency.

The College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign is one of four campuses that comprise one of the largest public medical schools in the U.S. It has served the Urbana-Champaign area for over 40 years, educating more than 250 students annually, nearly 20 with NIH fellowships, and 45 residents at its 14 hospital affiliates. The University of Illinois College of Medicine has over 26,000 alumni across the United States.

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