Updated: February 17, 2010

Career Guidance Handbook
Psychiatry

Match Process:   Regular

Program Director:

Barry Chaitin, M.D.,  Department Chair,  UC Irvine Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Center, 101 The City Drive South, Bldg 3, Route 88 Orange, Ca, 714-456-5770

Aaron Kheriaty, Residency Training Director, UC Irvine Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Center, 101 The City Drive South, Bldg 3, Route 88 Orange, Ca (714) 456-5770 akheriat@uci.edu

Rebecca Hedrick, Associate Residency Training Director UC Irvine Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Center, 101 The City Drive South, Bldg 3, Route 88 Orange, Ca (714) 456-5770,  rhedrick@uci.edu

Career Specialty Advisor: Gerald A. Maguire, M.D UC Irvine Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Center, 101 The City Drive South, Bldg 3, Route 88 Orange, Ca, (714) 456-5770, gerald.maguire@uci.edu

Residency Coordinator: Christina Burke, Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Center Bldg 3, Route 88, UCIMC (714) 456-5770, cmburke@uci.edu  

List the fourth year elective courses you feel are most helpful to a student considering your specialty.

  1. Outpatient Psychiatry
  2. Geriatric Psychiatry
  3. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  4. Psychiatry Research/Biologic Psychiatry
  5. Consultation/Liaison/Emergency Psychiatry
  6. Inpatient Psychiatry
  7. Neuroradiology
  8. Endocrinology
  9. Cardiology

What are the most important characteristics a student should evaluate in a residency program in your discipline?

  1. Quality of other residents in program
  2. Accessibility of clinical faculty
  3. Broad range of clinical rotations
  4. Variety/diversity of patient populations
  5. Elective opportunities in residency
  6. Balanced focus of program (both psychotherapy and psychopharmacology)

What are the pros of a career in your specialty?

  1. Treat the whole person, not focusing on just an organ system
  2. Fast expanding knowledge of the field
  3. Treatment of the brain, most complex system of the human body
  4. Treatment of the mind (psychological and social perspectives)
  5. Humane hours
  6. Excellent pay per hour worked ratio
  7. Multiple fellowship opportunities (child/adolescent, geriatric, consultation, community, forensics)

What are the cons of a career in your specialty?

  1. False belief that psychiatry is not "real" medicine, although this perception is fading rapidly.
  2. Not having exact "recipes" for treatment of various diagnoses.
  3. Increased pressure from non-physicians (i.e. psychologists) to obtain privileges to prescribe medications.

How long is the training in your specialty and, in general, how vigorous?
Four years of general psychiatry.  Five years for general and child psychiatry (three general and two child fellowship).  Emotionally, intellectually challenging but the work day is generally 8-5 with 5-6 calls/month during residency maximum in most places in the country.

What is the lifestyle experience in your specialty?
Can live and practice in a wide variety of settings. One of the few fields that can support a solo practice.  Opportunities in community, Group, Solo and Academic settings.  Excellent life-style; can sustain even a part-time practice.

How competitive are training programs in your specialty?  What kind of record would a student realistically need to match?
Training programs are becoming more and more competitive as interest increases.  Still no difficulty matching in the field, but the more desirable programs become more competitive.

Which disciplines should letters of recommendations come from?
At least one from psychiatry and usually two others from other fields.

Should students approach faculty in the first and second year of medical school to do research and for letters of recommendation?
Not necessary; however, research can help. Letters from third year rotations are helpful.

Will research in this field improve changes for obtaining residency?
Yes, but not necessary.

If research is beneficial, what is the minimum length of time to obtain a meaningful experience? At least four weeks to gain experience, longer to obtain a publication.

Is it beneficial in obtaining residency in this field to complete externships? Externships are helpful for two reasons:  for the applicant to learn about programs and and to increase chances at more competitive programs.

Is there a benefit to completing more than one externship in this field? No

Is it important for the USMLE Step 2 scores to be available for review? Yes