The University of Virginia Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences is proud to announce the establishment of a new fellowship in Community and Telepsychiatry. The Department is uniquely positioned in Virginia to provide this fellowship program. It is designed to create psychiatric leaders working in public sectors, as opposed to private practice or hospital-based care. There is an emphasis on developing community/public-academic partnerships, policy development, integrated care, systems of care development, concern for the social determinants of illness especially in relation to severe and chronic mental illness, substance abuse, trauma and homelessness, psychosocial rehabilitation, and psychopharmacological treatments. In the present move toward population-based health care and the increased recognition of the importance of mental health care, it is imperative that we train psychiatrists who are experts in working in the community setting in collaboration with other health care providers, providing not only excellent psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, but also leadership, education, and consultation to other systems involved with mental health care. The UVA Community and Telepsychiatry Fellowship is designed to do this.
In conjunction with our partners at the Region X Community Service Board who are practicing community based, collaborative, and integrated psychiatry, we will be able to offer a wide array of training sites to facilitate the development of young psychiatrist who are experts in community and public psychiatry. This includes programs for working with those with severe mental illness at several levels of care intensity, such as outpatient clinics and assertive community treatment teams. In addition, there is a specific programs for bridging the transition of those with severe mental illness from incarceration to community life. They also offer experience in crisis intervention.
This program will work toward overcoming mental health shortages throughout the state, especially in rural areas. In conjunction with the Karen Rheuban Telemedicine Department the extensive telepsychiatry connections of the Department of Psychiatry and NBS which are already in play, we have excellent training in telepsychiatry and integrated psychiatry. There are several different clinical options already available – FQHCs, CSBs, Substance abuse treatment programs, and other community services. We provide psychiatry and behavioral assessments and care throughout the state, as well as acting to train and supervise local providers in caring for those with mental health and behavioral concerns. This will offer our Fellows a unique experience, becoming leaders in the rapidly growing area of telepsychiatry and e-mental health.
Through the Division of Outreach in the Department of Psychiatry and NBS the fellowship will provide experiences in community-based settings. Related to the importance of telepsychiatry, is the growing importance of ECHO programs in increasing primary care capacity, especially in rural settings, through case-based video training and consultation. It will be important for any public psychiatrist working in such settings to be facile with building capability through ECHO programs. We have also developed partnerships with several other community providers – The Haven (a service for the unsheltered), Strength In Peers and On Our Own peer organizations, The Free Clinic of Charlottesville, and the Women’s Initiative (which specializes in brief trauma-related treatment). We have also developed a connection with the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Behavioral Health, which will provide experience in the legislative and financial aspects of mental health care at a state level. These will all be part of the Fellow’s training to develop expertise working with many community-based organizations. Through these various partnerships we will be able to train Fellows who are well versed in many aspects of community and public psychiatry.
We aim to be flexible and can shape the program to the fellow’s interest.
The Fellowship will be one-year in length and is fully supported.
The Fellowship Director is Dr. Larry Merkel, Professor and Director of the Division of Outreach