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4th Year MS Electives

Jason Rosenstock, M.D.

Director, Medical Student Education

Office of Medical Student Education
3811 O'Hara Street, E-505
412 246-5122

All Students Contact:

Kathy Molter (412) 246-5122

Please visit the Pitt Visiting Student web page for general information.



PSYC 5410 O
Acting Internship in Psychiatry
  • FACULTY:  Various

Students may participate in a number of acting internships available in Psychiatry for either four or eight weeks. The student will be assigned to an inpatient unit at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. This experience will enhance your skills in dealing with assessment and management of psychiatric patients. Inpatient units available for acting internships include: Geriatrics, Schizophrenia, Dual Diagnosis (drug and alcohol), General Adult, and Eating Disorders.


  1. Conduct comprehensive psychiatric interviews and mental status examinations.
  2. Gather clinical data, generate differential diagnoses, formulate working diagnosis and manage treatment.
  3. Plan and implement biopsychosocial treatment plan for patients with psychiatric illnesses.
  4. Utilize the resources and skills of related mental health professionals.

PSYC 5411 O
Acting Internship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: Garrett Sparks, MD 

Students may participate in a four or eight week elective in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry available through Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic's Child and Adolescent Inpatient Service.  The student will be a member of a multidisciplinary team consisting of attending psychiatrist, social worker, nurse practitioner, teacher and nursing staff.  The student will manage assigned patients directly under the guidance of attending physician.  Acting interns will interact with families and the patient's outpatient treatment team to gain collateral information, update case progress, and provide psychoeducation.


PSYC 5412
Triple Board Acting Internship
  • FACULTY: Dr. Kristin Dalope and Pediatric Consultation & Liaison Psychiatry

The Triple Board (TB) Acting Internship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has been designed to provide the interested medical student with an exposure to the interface of Pediatrics and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This four-week internship will focus primarily on the Pediatric Behavioral Health Consult-Liaison Service at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) of UPMC.

This Consult-Liaison Service provides inpatient consultation to a wide variety of general and specialty pediatric services within a large pediatric hospital. Acting interns will see patients and present them to one of a team of child psychiatrists and psychologists who work in this setting. In addition to this primary focus, acting interns will also participate in clinical and educational activities specific to either pediatrics or psychiatry. Activities include a resident pediatric outpatient continuity clinic as well as a resident child psychiatry Triple Board outpatient continuity clinic focusing on evaluating psychiatric illness in children with chronic medical conditions. We will try to accommodate at least 2-3 special opportunities for acting interns who have a particular area of interest such as early development, developmental disabilities, child advocacy, adolescent medicine and the psychiatric emergency room.  Particular areas of interest can be conveyed to the medical Student Coordinator as part of the application process and every effort will be made to accommodate requests. Lastly, acting interns will participate in pediatrics and psychiatry didactics as available.

This Acting Internship can prepare a medical student for combined residency training in Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. During the rotation, students will spend ample time with Triple Board trained faculty. We hope this broad exposure will pique one's interest in Triple Board Training at the University of Pittsburgh as an exciting and diverse training program. This elective has limited space and is highly sought after, particularly between May and December, so please apply early to assure a spot.


  1. Develop psychiatric assessment and interviewing skills applicable to pediatric medical settings.
  2. Verbalize complex relationship between subjective distress, physical disease, and psychiatric disorders.
  3. State modes of adaptation for children and families confronted with physical illness, including those struggling with medically unexplained physical symptoms
  4. Management of pediatric psychiatric problems, including formulating initial treatment plans
  5. Verbalize principles of consultation/liaison with healthcare professionals in pediatric medical setting
  6. Develop an understanding of systems of care as they relate to the care of children along the bio-psycho-social model of care

PSYC 5415 O
Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: Various (arranged by Jason Rosenstock, MD)

Students interested in getting experience in clinical psychiatry outside of the core Clinical Neurosciences Clerkship may benefit from this elective, which will link up students with inpatient attendings at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.  Students will develop basic skills in the interviewing and assessment, diagnosis and management of psychiatric patients.  Inpatient units available include: Schizophrenia, Dual Diagnosis (drug and alcohol), General Adult, Adult/Adolescent.

PSYC 5420 O
Psychiatric Emergency Services
  • FACULTY: Peter Murray, MD

DESCRIPTION: The Psychiatric Emergency Service elective can be taken as a four week clerkship. The Psychiatric Emergency Service (WPIC Diagnostic Emergency Center - DEC) is a twenty-four (24) hour psychiatric emergency faculty, which provides the following clinical functions: emergency psychiatric assessment and stabilization, diagnostic evaluation, crisis therapy and referral. The student will join the DEC team, functioning as Acting Intern and receive 1:1 supervision and case-based learning each shift from both DEC attendings and psychiatric residents. The elective will build on the MS-III experience, by placing the student in an increasingly responsible role with respect to providing both diagnostic and therapeutic interviewing, crisis stabilization, and treatment planning. The student will work toward functioning as team leader, working alongside core DEC staff and graduate-level trainees, and seeing patients on flexibly-scheduled shifts. The course will emphasize experiential learning over didactic, but students will be expected to participate in Case Conferences.


  1. Identify and understand major psychiatric syndromes while developing an expertise in the use of the DSM classifications
  2. Learn a variety of basic and advanced interviewing techniques useful in a variety of related settings including family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine and psychiatry
  3. Describe the key biopsychosocial aspects of the patient's condition and its context
  4. Determine the most appropriate treatment modality and programs which can best provide that treatment
  5. Identify the most appropriate social or community resources available to meet patients' needs
  6. Conduct a psychiatric interview effectively, thoughtfully, and efficiently under emergency room conditions
  7. Conduct psychiatric interviews with patients with varied forms and levels of disturbance
  8. Conduct a thorough lethality assessment for both suicidal and homicidal ideation
  9. Identify subtle indications of underlying psychotic process
  10. Recognize neurocognitive and other disorders suggesting the possible need for immediate medical evaluation
  11. Organize the clinical information and emergency psychiatric treatment under faculty supervision
  12. Determine under supervision the most appropriate clinical disposition for a given patient

PSYC 5430
Pediatric Psychiatry

Description: Students will be involved in the psychiatric assessment of children and families who are referred for psychiatric consultation in a pediatric medical setting. They will participate in diagnostic evaluations, treatment planning and consultation to Children's Hospital medical staff and programs. Reading and supervision will be provided by child psychiatry faculty. This is a particularly useful elective for students interested in Triple Board training in pediatrics, adult and child/adolescent psychiatry.


  1. Develop psychiatric assessment and interviewing skills applicable to pediatric medical settings.
  2. Verbalize complex relationship between subjective distress, physical disease, and psychiatric disorders.
  3. State modes of adaptation for children and families confronted with physical illness, including those struggling with medically unexplained physical symptoms
  4. Management of pediatric psychiatric problems, including formulating initial treatment plans
  5. Verbalize principles of consultation/liaison with healthcare professionals in pediatric medical setting

PSYC 5441
Outpatient Adolescent Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: Rameshwari Tumuluru, MD

This is a four-week elective in which the student will manage adolescent patients in Day Treatment Program.  It is designed to deliver intensive psychiatric treatment to teens.  Students will work one-on-one with attending psychiatrists to diagnosis, assess, and manage patients along with attending weekly treatment teams and group sessions.  Elective field trips can be made to Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, general outpatient clinics and adolescent day partial.


  1. Demonstrate acceptable interviewing skills with adolescent patients.
  2. Demonstrate professional skills while working with mental health and other health care specialists.
  3. Manage complicated adolescent patients treated in an outpatient setting.
  4. State the signs and symptoms of common adolescent psychopathology, ADHD, MDD, ODD, CD, Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
  5. Prescribe appropriate pharmacotherapy interventions to common adolescent disorders; ADHD, MDD, and Dysthymia.

PSYC 5448 B
Introduction to Geriatric Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: Lalith Solai, MD

This course will provide students with an introduction to psychiatric care of the geriatric patient - new assessments, interviewing, psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, collaboration with geriatricians and other related experiences (in-home geriatric assessments, liaisoning with inpatient units, etc.)

PSYC 5450 O
Geriatric Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: Lalith Solai, MD

Geriatric Psychiatry is a four or eight-week elective that can be tailored to the interest of the student.  Arrangements can be made to spend time on the Geriatric Inpatient Units, The Benedum Geriatric Outpatient Clinic, The Alzheimer's Disease Research center, Nursing Homes and In-Home Geriatric assignments.  Supervision will be built in on all components and learning objectives will focus on assessment, utilization of multiple services for the elderly and psychotropic drug management in the elderly.


  1. Multidisciplinary assessment of the elderly patient, including medical, social and family history
  2. Assessment of cognitive function using the Mini-Mental Status Examination.
  3. Evaluation and management of older patients with Alzheimer's disease and other causes of Dementia, affective disorders and late life psychoses
  4. Evaluation of the elderly patient's family and the determination of their roles in the treatment of the older patient
  5. Use of psychotropic drugs in the elderly.

PSYC 5459
Neuroscience at the Bedside: Exploring Personalized Medicine in Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar, MD PhD; Jason Rosenstock, MD; others

PREPARATION: Interested student/s will discuss their areas of interest with the course directors, who will assign specific mentors. These discussions are recommended 3-6 months prior to the elective. This elective could also serve as a natural extension of a student’s summer research or scholarly project.

GOAL: To provide insights into personalized medicine as it relates to clinical psychiatry through an individually mentored experience where basic and translational science findings are used to directly inform care of patients in behavioral health settings.

DESCRIPTION: Personalized medicine is the new catchphrase for the role of cutting edge translational science on routine clinical care. Can we use an imaging result to predict treatment response? How will a person’s genetic make-up inform choice of medication? How does awareness of risk affect management? In psychiatry, personalized medicine remains somewhat of a “holy grail”—elusive but hotly pursued by neuroscientists and clinicians. In this elective experience, students will get a taste of that pursuit through a mixture of scientific and clinical activities that will be individualized by students in conjunction with course directors. A dozen faculty members will be available to work with students in particular areas ranging from neuroimaging, pharmacotherapy, genomics, ethics, and services research. Students will investigate a particular area of interest through a literature review and specific directed experiences, presenting a capstone project to a scientific audience at the end. Overall supervision will be conducted by the course directors.


At the end of this elective, students will be able to:

  1. Appreciate the state of the science in personalized medicine, and barriers limited clinical implementation
  2. Bring evidence to bear to decide which personalized medicine strategies have the most potential for positively influencing clinical care
  3. Implement a clinical practice change in a group or individual based on personalized medicine
  4. Describe and explore the ethical issues related to personalized medicine in psychiatry
  5. Effectively present translational science material to a medical audience


PSYC 5460 S
Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: Neeta Shenai, MD

This four or eight-week elective focuses on psychiatric problems in medical and surgical patients. Under the supervision of faculty, the student responds to requests from physicians for psychiatric evaluation of patients on inpatient units throughout the medical center. The student conducts the clinical evaluation, investigates any ward management difficulties, assesses the role of the patient's family in the clinical problem, makes treatment recommendations and provides appropriate follow-up during the patient's hospital stay. The multidisciplinary team on the service attempts to integrate the biological with the psychosocial perspective to achieve a comprehensive view of patient care. Learning opportunities include: supervised clinical assessments; hospital rounds; case conferences; and seminars.


  1. Diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders in patients with diverse types of physical illness.
  2. Verbalize the complex interplay between the physical and psychosocial aspects of health and illness in patients being followed.
  3. State the impact of hospital, family and social systems on patients being followed.
  4. Presentation of a common psychiatric condition in hospitalized medical patients to the Consult/Liaison team.

PSYC 5462
Psychiatry/Family Medicine Combined Elective [St Margaret]
  • FACULTY: Christopher Dobbelstein, MD

This four-week elective focuses on psychiatric and general medical problems in a variety of patients.  Students will work on the Consultation/Liaison Service at St Margaret’s, where, under the supervision of faculty, the student responds to requests from physicians for psychiatric evaluation of patients on inpatient units. The student conducts the clinical evaluation, investigates any ward management difficulties, assesses the role of the patient's family in the clinical problem, makes treatment recommendations and provides appropriate follow-up during the patient's hospital stay. The multidisciplinary team on the service attempts to integrate the biological with the psychosocial perspective to achieve a comprehensive view of patient care.  Students will participate in family medicine case conferences, attend outpatient experiences at primary care clinics, participate in palliative care interventions, and work on the Medical Care of the Psychiatry Patient (MCPP) service at WPIC.  Learning opportunities include: supervised clinical assessments; hospital rounds; case conferences; and seminars.  This elective can prepare a student for combined family medicine/psychiatry residency programs.

PSYC 5465 X
Introduction to Community Psychiatry
  • FACULTY: William Cutlip, MD and Vernon Nathaniel, MD

DESCRIPTION: This elective will help students learn how to care for seriously and persistently mentally ill adults and adolescents who are in the highest level of community-based psychiatric treatment program. The student will participate in the Community Treatment Team (CTT), an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model approach to provide services to seriously and chronically ill patients with specific diagnoses, particularly schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and major mood disorders. Students will shadow CTT staff members of various specialties including Integrated Dual Disorders Treatment, Supported Employment, service coordination, therapy, nursing, forensics support, and peer support. Home visits and other community outreach will be the primary mode of service and daily experience for the student. Students will also be involved in case management, treatment team meetings, and facilitating collaboration among various providers and resources.


  1. Improve skills in clinical evaluation, especially the mental status examination, under less-than-ideal conditions.
  2. Understand the principles and implementation of Recovery philosophy.
  3. Understand how evidence-based practices can be integrated into delivery of mental health services.
  4. Understand and be able to apply the process of Person Centered Planning when developing a treatment plan.
  5. Appreciate the principles and dynamics of team-based care.
  6. Appreciate barriers in working with challenging individuals, situations, and systems.
  7. Understand the resources and skills of the team’s mental health professionals needed to work collaboratively with multiple disciplines and agencies.
  8. Understand basic principles of how to link patients with community resources.
  9. Understand how continuity of care can be achieved through communication and collaboration, and how it can help improve patient outcomes.
  10. Appreciate the financial and psychosocial burden of chronic mental illness on patients, families and communities.

PSYC 5468
Integrated Care Across the Lifespan

This four-week rotation will focus on different models of integrating of ambulatory behavioral services with primary and specialty medical care. Students will work within interdisciplinary teams that help improve access to care, often at the level of the medical home.


  • Abigail Schlesinger, MD 412-304-3360
  • Via Winkeller MD


  1. To understand and be exposed to the diverse nature of integrated care models – including Collaborative Care, embedded care, and the levels of collaboration
  2. To work alongside diverse medical and psychiatric professionals in ambulatory settings.
  3. To recognize the role that integrated care models can have in improving access and quality of care
  4. To understand the roles that psychiatrists and primary care physicians can play as clinicians and leaders in integrated models of care.
  5. To appreciate the role that behavioral health providers can play in population-based health initiatives.
  6. To develop the interpersonal and leadership skills necessary for successful interdisciplinary partnerships.
  7. To apply psychiatric assessment and management skills in primary care settings.

PSYC 5483
Addiction Medicine & Dual Diagnosis
  • FACULTY: Jody Glance, MD

LOCATIONS: Center for Psychiatric & Chemical Dependency Services (CPCDS), Ambulatory Detox, & Perinatal Addiction Clinic (PAC) - Oxford Building, Suite 900, 3501 Forbes Avenue; Narcotic Addiction Treatment Program (NATP) - 6714 Kelly Street; Mercy Hospital Detoxification Unit

DESCRIPTION: This four-week elective will provide the student with experiences in addiction medicine and psychiatry, with a special focus on patients with dual diagnoses of substance use and other psychiatric disorders. Various rotation sites will be available including outpatient and inpatient detoxification services, treatment of opiate dependence (including methadone and buprenorphine maintenance programs), individual and group dual diagnosis treatment, and specialized perinatal addiction treatment for pregnant women and women with young children. Optional rotation sites in the HIV clinic and Center for Liver Disease may also be available (depending on availability), as patients with addiction frequently engage in risky behaviors such as needle-sharing or unprotected sex that can lead to transmissible diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Patients with psychiatric and substance use disorders often have a history of trauma, and thus the student will have ample opportunity to learn how to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and deliver trauma-informed care. Evidence-based treatments for addiction will be demonstrated with a special focus on Motivational Interviewing (MI), a collaborative, patient-centered technique for facilitating behavioral change. Supervision will be provided by medical directors of the various sites.

The student participating in this elective will have the opportunity to: 1) assess patients in need of detoxification and provide appropriate treatment; 2) manage opiate dependence utilizing opioid-replacement therapies; 3) perform assessments and intakes on new patients referred for dual diagnosis treatment; 4) observe and interview patients during individual pharmacotherapy management sessions; 5) participate in individual and group dual diagnosis sessions; 6) interact with and provide education to family members when possible; 7) observe and assist with current substance abuse research within the department.


  1. Improve assessment and interviewing skills in patients with psychiatric and substance use disorders.
  2. Utilize evidence-based methods for treating substance use disorders.
  3. Review medications available for treatment of addiction, and understand when to use them as a part of a comprehensive treatment program.
  4. Describe the interplay between substance use disorders and other psychiatric illnesses.
  5. Observe and assist in conducting group psychotherapy sessions for patients with dual diagnoses.
  6. Develop skills to improve communication and collaboration with family members, therapists and other treatment providers.

PSYC 5500 O
Neuropsychiatric Disorders & Developmental Disabilities in Children, Adolescents & Adults
  • FACULTY: Joseph Pierri, MD, Kristina Johnson, PhD

The John Merck Program specializes in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults who have a developmental disability and behavioral/mental health disorder, with a special focus in autism spectrum disorders.  Outpatient and inpatient assessment and treatment services are available in specialized programs for children, adolescents and adults.  The reason for admission is acute psychiatric/behavioral symptomatology (i.e. aggression, depression, impulsivity, hyperactivity, self-injurious behaviors, etc).   The treatment team consists of a psychiatrist, behavioral psychologist, psychiatric social worker, special education teacher and psychiatric nurse.


  1. Learn about etiologies and presentations of mental retardation and autism
  2. Learn differential diagnosis of neuropsychiatric disorders in the developmentally disabled population using DSM-IV
  3. Work on a treatment team and learn inpatient case formulation and therapeutic management skills
  4. Learn about working with children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and psychiatric/behavioral disorders in different treatment settings (i.e., inpatient, outpatient, day treatment and community)
  5. Learn behavioral, psychosocial, and pharmacological treatments

PSYC 5531
Women’s Behavioral Health
  • FACULTY:   Sarah DeBrunner, MD; others

GOAL: To help students learn about the assessment and management of women’s mental health issues across the lifespan.

DESCRIPTION: This elective will focus on Women’s Mental Health across the life cycle. The elective will explore multiple influences that shape women’s health and well being, including hormonal, environmental, and social influences, as well as role changes throughout the life cycle. A special focus will be placed on the perinatal period, a challenging time in a woman’s life. Women with psychiatric and addiction issues require counseling in regards to the safest way to maintain their own mental health and the health of their fetus. This includes discussions on whether to take a medication during pregnancy and its associated safety profile during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Several psychiatric disorders can occur in the post-partum period, from post-partum depression to post-partum psychosis. Each bears its own challenges with the impact it has on the mother, her infant, and family. Mental health during midlife and the menopausal transition will also be discussed. Mood and anxiety disorders are common during the menopausal transition, a time of pronounced reproductive hormone changes, menopausal symptoms (e.g. hot flashes, sleep disturbance, urogenital symptoms), and role transitions that can impact mental health during this time. Medical students will attend a general outpatient perinatal psychiatry clinic, outpatient perinatal addictions clinic, and spend time on the consult and liaison service at Magee Women’s Hospital. Students will have the chance to learn more about current research in Women’s Mental Health by meeting with faculty involved in this field of study.

PSYC 5650
Individualized Clinical Course
  • FACULTY: Various

Unique clinical experiences in psychiatry can be arranged through the office of medical student education.

PSYC 5890
Child and Adolescent Affective Disorder Research
  • FACULTY: Rasim Diler, MD

The Child and Adolescent Affective Disorders Service offers a four week elective to senior medical students. The elective provides outpatient experience with problems related to depression anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder in children and adolescents. The goals of this elective are: 1) to understand the manifestations of affective disorder in childhood and adolescence; 2) to learn structured assessment techniques for childhood Axis I psychiatric disorders; and 3) to become familiar with several different research methodologies used in this population including neuroendocrine and pharmacological treatment studies.


  1. Learn epidemiology and nosology (classification) of affective disorders during childhood and adolescence.
  2. Differential diagnosis of Axis I disorders in subjects from age six to adulthood.
  3. Indication for psychopharmacological treatment of childhood depression and  bipolar and anxiety disorders, also safety and side effect considerations particular to children.
  4. Conduct a structured interview of both parent and child with use of techniques appropriate to the age and development of the child.
  5. Formulate a specific treatment plan.
  6. Critically review neuroendocrine and pharmacological treatment studies.

REQUIREMENTS: Please schedule at least two (2) months in advance.

PSYC 5893 O
  • FACULTY: John Fernstrom, PhD

DESCRIPTION: Over the four-week period, we will examine the neurochemistry and neuropharmacology underlying the discovery, development and clinical application of three major classes of psychiatric drugs: antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiolytics. The key neurotransmitter systems involved in the action of these drugs include catecholamines, serotonin, GABA and glutamate. The discussion will sample the basic science literature to discuss the process of discovery of drug mechanism of action, as well as basic and clinical literature to illustrate the ongoing search for the underlying etiologies of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, as well as for novel therapeutic agents to treat these disorders more effectively.


  1. Independently conduct a thorough library search.
  2. Effectively critique and evaluate published research papers.
  3. Write a concise document based on a critical literature review.
  4. Learn basic aspects of neurotransmitter, neurochemical pharmacology and pharmacokinetic dynamic mechanisms.
  5. Become familiar with criteria used for translating experimental information into clinical applications.

PSYC 5895 O
Independent Research
  • FACULTY:  Psychiatry staff

This course provides students an opportunity to pursue independent research in a chosen area of interest within the field of psychiatry.  Students are encouraged to design their independent study electives around their individual interests.  Examples of research areas include but are not limited to: Epidemiology of major psychiatric disorders, Outpatient management of cognitive disorders, Outpatient behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders, Behavioral techniques in the management of general medical disease, and Outpatient substance abuse disorders and their management.  Dr. Rosenstock is available to assist you in designing your elective.

PSYC 5897
Behavioral Medicine
  • FACULTY: Marsha Marcus, PhD, Lin Ewing, RN, PhD

A four or eight week rotation aimed at familiarizing the student with theory and practical applications of Clinical Behavioral Medicine across the life span.


  1. Understand theoretical foundations of Behavioral Medicine approaches
  2. Learn basic components of behavioral assessment and intervention
  3. Identify clinical indications for Behavioral Medicine assessment and intervention
  4. Observe and/or participate in several Behavioral Medicine assessments and interventions
  5. Critically evaluate the Behavioral Medicine literature in a specific area of interest (with faculty support)

REQUIREMENTS: Must have prior permission of contact person.

PSYC 5899 O
Independent Study
  • FACULTY: Psychiatry staff

This course provides students an opportunity to work with a faculty member and participate in an active research project.  Students will be able to take part in all phases of the research project from design to presentation.  Examples of research areas include, but are not limited to: Mood Disorders, Child and Adolescent Disorders, Behavior Interventions, Psychopharmacology, Personality Disorders, Substance Use Disorders and Psychotherapy.  Dr. Rosenstock is available to assist you in selecting an area of research.