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About Us

The Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh and its affiliate hospital, the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), are well known for exceptional academic and clinical accomplishments.  The more than 220 primary faculty members of the Department are trained in a wide range of disciplines that encompass clinical expertise across brain and behavioral disorders and the lifespan and a number of basic science domains.  Educational experiences designed to successfully train the next generation of clinicians and investigators are provided via superb residency training programs, highly integrated medical student training, clinical psychology internships and a number of clinical and research fellowships.  The research prowess of the Department is reflected in its consistent ranking as the leading Department of Psychiatry in research funding awarded by the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. David A. Lewis, Thomas Detre Professor of Academic Psychiatry, serves as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Director and Director of Research for WPIC.  Priorities for the Department include first and foremost, to provide the highest quality care for the individuals who seek clinical services and their families; second, to promote the career development of faculty, trainees, and staff to further advance the level of expertise in all areas; and third, to pursue the discovery and dissemination of new scientific knowledge in order to develop personalized and preventative treatments for mental illness and addictive disorders.  The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh is uniquely poised to build upon its rich heritage and to lead the way to future advances in psychiatric practice and research.

Some of the recent accomplishments of our Department are summarized below, and many others are described throughout our website.

Clinical Excellence

  • The Department and WPIC were ranked in the top 8 nationally of all psychiatric departments and hospitals by US News and World Report.
  • Major renovations have enhanced our inpatient facilities and will soon result in 310 inpatient beds at WPIC.
  • WPIC opened the first inpatient adolescent bipolar program in the nation in 2011 and this unit has been lauded both locally and nationally as a wonderful resource for patients and families.
  • In 2011, WPIC also opened the novel Adult Trauma Recovery Inpatient Unit (ATRIUM), designed specifically for individuals requiring inpatient care due to trauma exposure. The core treatment approach of ATRIUM is dialectical behavior therapy, complemented by other evidence-based psychotherapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal and social rhythms therapy. 
  • During 2011, our 25 intensive adult psychiatry outpatient and acute partial hospital programs provided over 18,000 outpatient visits; the Diagnostic Emergency Services at WPIC remained one of the busiest psychiatric emergency departments nationally, providing care to more than 11,900 patients; and our psychiatric consultation and liaison services provided clinical services to more than 7,000 medical-surgery adult patients.
  • The Drug and Alcohol Engagement Center, operated by our award winning re:solve Crisis Network, became operational in 2011 and provided more than 1,500 visits, with almost 80% of the clients electing to initiate drug and alcohol treatment.
  • Our Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Consultation Liaison Service has continued to grow and now includes multiple hospital-based services including embedded behavioral health clinicians in hematology-oncology, epilepsy surgery, diabetes, weight management, and inflammatory bowel disorders.

Academic Excellence

  • The Department of Psychiatry received over $93 million in research and research training grants in FY2011. The Department once again ranked at the top of NIH-funded Departments of Psychiatry.
  • Our research studies generated findings that were published in 1,317 papers in leading medical, scientific and psychiatric journals over the past three years.
  • Thirty-five faculty members are currently funded by “K series” NIH grants, reflecting our ongoing efforts to enhance the training and career development of young investigators.
  • Two new federally funded training grants “Training and Transformative Discovery in Psychiatry” and “Training Program in the Neurobiology of Substance use and Abuse” were awarded in FY2011, representing a significant expansion of postdoctoral training activities in basic and translational neuroscience.
  • During the current academic year to date, 10 individuals have been recruited to the faculty, four in the research track and six in the clinician-educator track.
  • The accomplishments of multiple faculty members were recognized by the receipt of prestigious awards from international and national organizations in psychiatry, medicine and science.

Education and Training Excellence

  • The Neuroscience Area of Concentration (AOC) developed by the Department remains the largest of the AOCs offered to medical students at the University of Pittsburgh, with 35 students participating in AY2011.
  • As a result of the Department’s efforts, 6.7% of all University of Pittsburgh medical student graduates chose residencies in psychiatry, 2.6% higher than the national average of 4.1%.
  • The Department’s residency training program continues to attract high quality applicants with the majority of matched applicants coming from the top 20 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine peer institutions.
  • The Department’s clinical psychology internship program remains among the most competitive programs in the country with over 100 applications received for the five available slots in the 2011/2012 training year.
  • The Department now offers nine NIH-funded T32 postdoctoral fellowship training programs for specialized advanced training in multiple areas of research related to the challenges of psychiatric and addictive disorders. The Department continues to organize and sponsor outstanding scientific and clinical conferences including the International Conference on Bipolar Disorders, the Annual Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference (now in its 28th year as the nation’s longest running conference devoted to schizophrenia), the Advances in the Treatment of Mood Disorders Conference, and the STEP Conference on Early Psychosis.