Behavioral Science Curriculum

This portion of the curriculum is designed to enhance resident's skill in interpersonal relationships and communication and to examine the types of psychopathology commonly found in the practice of family medicine. Training in the methods of behavior change that are applicable in a medical setting is also included. The overall philosophy is that experiential learning is optimal.

First Year: Emphasis during monthly small group didactics is on skill building in patient interviewing and strategies of behavior change. Behavioral Science precepting, both in the clinic and in the hospital, gives residents time to use current patient encounters to apply the skills with direct consultation and feedback from the team. An open-agenda meeting is scheduled each month for residents to bring issues for discussion that are impacting them and their learning.

Second Year: The monthly small group didactics focus on mental health issues common to the family medicine setting. Discussions and review of diagnostic criteria and treatment approaches are used for the spectrum of disorders such as depression, personality disorders and marriage/family issues. Behavioral Science precepting in the clinic continues and a psychosocial home visit is also scheduled. Open agenda meetings are continued on a quarterly basis.

Third Year: Behavioral Science precepting in the clinic continues, as well as another psychosocial home visit. The focus of monthly small group didactics shifts focus to professional issues, such as confidentiality and informed consent, and to making a successful transition from residency to practice. The Psychiatry rotation is for two weeks during the third year, and is conducted at a local mental health facility. Quarterly open agenda meetings remain in place.

Longitudinal Learning in Behavioral Science: In addition to the monthly small group didactics with each class, the Behavioral Science team is available on an as-needed basis to support residents in the care of their patients. Whether in the clinic staffing room, by appointment or in an informal consultation, the team is a resource for residents to address the needs of the whole patient. The Director attends inpatient rounds on Medicine and Pediatrics once per week for each service as an additional resource point.

Behavioral Science is integrated into the noon conference schedule with presentations by mental health professionals, including the Behavioral Science team and community psychiatrists and mental health professionals. Topics include psychopharmacological treatment of mental disorders, as well as differential diagnosis and treatment options. Several times each year noon conference is expanded to two hours to allow for more in-depth learning of Global Behavioral Science topics such as domestic violence, addictions, community medicine and physician wellness.