Abstract ID: 3234

Primary Topic: Curriculum design and development
Secondary Topic: Teaching, learning, and assessment
Tertiary Topic: Interprofessional education

Integrative Psychiatry Curriculum for Psychiatry Residents
Stefana Morgan, MD; Ning Zhou, MD; Selena Chan, DO; Sudha Prathikanti, MD, , San Francisco, CA, United States

Category: Education

Late Breaker: No



Based on National Health Interview Survey data, one-third of US adults use a complementary modality annually and adults with neuropsychiatric symptoms have a significantly greater prevalence of complementary modality use. As growing evidence supports the efficacy of many complementary therapies in treating mental health issues, integrating such therapies into conventional psychiatric care will likely enhance therapeutic outcomes. The Integrative Psychiatry Elective at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) addresses the need for psychiatry residents to be educated in integrative approaches to mental health care.

Program Description:

Participants in the course were able to learn about key elements of an integrative psychiatry approach to mental health care. Based on clinical factors, residents also learned to identify patients likely to benefit from an integrative psychiatry approach and evaluate efficacy data, risks, benefits and contraindications of complementary therapies for psychiatric conditions. Via the experiential component of this course, participants had the opportunity to practice applying selected complementary therapies amenable to an office setting (e.g. yoga breathing exercises for anxiety reduction). Additionally, residents learned to identify licensing and professional safety boards for complementary care providers in the community, and independent labs that test safety and quality of nutraceuticals and herbal products. Finally, participants learned to apply practice guidelines for communicating with and monitoring patients who have complementary care providers in the community. Mixed methods data were collected in order to assess the impact of the course. Survey data collected over two iterations of the elective demonstrate increased clinical competency of residents in understanding and using complementary modalities, as well as in collaborating with complementary medicine experts in co-managing patients. 


This innovative curriculum was successfully implemented in the UCSF psychiatric residency training program, and may offer a model to other clinical training programs for advancing knowledge of integrative mental health care.


Some complementary therapies require expert non-conventional practitioners to administer them, while others may be applied by practitioners having traditional medical backgrounds with only minimal training in complementary therapies. Psychiatry residents should be educated in integrative approaches to mental health care in order to better understand them, utilize them and work collaboratively with other practitioners to enhance therapeutic outcomes.


1) Identify the learning needs of psychiatry residents with respect to understanding and implementing integrative mental health care.

2) Describe the components of the UCSF Integrative Psychiatry Curriculum designed to address these needs.

3) Describe the effectiveness of the UCSF Integrative Psychiatry Curriculum in meeting the educational needs of residents, as measured by both qualitative and quantitative outcomes.