Psychiatry Residency Program
Find out about the Psychiatry Residency Program from our residents and faculty.
Learn more about residencies and fellowships at the University of South Alabama and life on the Gulf Coast.
Teaching clinical excellence in an atmosphere of compassion, integrity, and respect
The primary goal of the residency training program is to produce physicians who provide high quality psychiatric services in a variety of contemporary settings and to identify and mentor those who are capable of becoming leaders in the field of psychiatry. First and foremost our philosophy emphasizes that as clinicians we must be dedicated and available to our patients. Our program recognizes that training for the current and future practice of psychiatry requires continued utilization of new research in a field that is rapidly developing in order to go beyond the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes residents need to develop a professional identity.
The residency program partners with a well established mental health organization called AltaPointe Health which offers a wide variety of choices of clinical experiences. Under the leadership of Tuerk Schlesinger, CEO, AltaPointe has Alabama's largest regional community behavioral health provider with more than 750 clinical and non-clinical staff members who serve more than 15,000 children, adolescents and adults annually. AltaPointe is the only community mental health center in Alabama to become accredited by the Joint Commission and was the first community mental health center in Alabama to have a complete Electronic Medical Record and e-prescribing. AltaPointe operates two psychiatric hospitals to provide access to the poorly insured or uninsured, and it provides telehealth psychiatry services to rural regions of Alabama. AltaPointe also performs consultations in five of the area's six general hospitals. In addition to training psychiatry residents, AltaPointe doctors lead the third year psychiatry clerkship at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
The goal of our residency program is to train clinically excellent, academically informed, and culturally competent psychiatrists to serve the State of Alabama and the greater Gulf Coast. Our program has an emphasis on treatment in a community psychiatry setting and in serving patients with chronic, severe mental illness. Through empathic treatment of mental health issues in our community, we aim to improve the overall health, wellness, and social support of our patient population. This aligns with the University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s mission: “We help people lead longer, better lives.”
With this mission in mind, the overall aims of the program are to train residents to:
- Professionally and effectively lead interdisciplinary teams
- Provide patient-centered care with our patients, families, and communities
- Use evidence-based tools to provide the best possible quality healthcare to our patients
- Show respect towards patients, families, interdisciplinary teams, and each other
- Be mindful of the overall mental health needs of our community and region
- Addiction Psychiatry (1 month)
- Emergency Medicine (1 month)
- Family Practice Consults (2 months)
- Inpatient Internal Medicine (1 month)
- Inpatient Psychiatry (5 months)
- Neurology Clinic (1 month)
- Neurology Consult Service (1 month)
Psychiatric training in the first year of residency includes a five-month rotation at EastPointe Hospital. Daily rounding and one-on-one onsite supervision with teaching attending is provided. The PGY-1 psychiatry experience also includes a one month assignment on Addiction Psychiatry.
The two month Neurology experience is designed to be broad-based with one month on the inpatient consult service and the second month in the neurology outpatient clinic.
Primary Care Rotation
Residents are assigned to inpatient internal medicine at USA Health University Hospital for one month of the PGY-1 Primary Care rotation. This assignment is important in that it provides residents with the opportunity to acquire broad-based general medical training experience in caring for medically ill psychiatric patients. The second month of this rotation takes place on the USA Health University Hospital Emergency Department which is a Level 1 Trauma Center. Residents participate in all phases of diagnosis and treatment of acute medical and surgical cases, including trauma and burns. The last two months is spent with the Family Practice team performing medical consultations on psychiatric inpatient wards. This experience gives residents experience in addressing the medical needs specifically of psychiatric patients
- Addiction Psychiatry (1 month)
- Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry (3 months)
- Consult-Liaison Psychiatry (3 months)
- Forensic Psychiatry (year-long experience)
- Geriatric/Inpatient Psychiatry (5 months)
The Consultation Liaison teaching service, a three-month rotation, offers one-on-one bedside teaching by an attending who evaluates all patients with the residents. Residents will acquire a vast experience in Psychosomatic Medicine, taking care of a diverse patient population at USA Health University Hospital and USA Children's & Women's Hospital.
Second year residents rotate for three months at the BayPointe Child and Adolescent Inpatient unit and five months at EastPointe Hospital. These rotations provide residents with a year long experience in forensic psychiatry. PGY2 residents also have a one-month assignment on addiction psychiatry.
Outpatient Psychiatry (12 months)
One hallmark of this residency program is the diverse experience in ambulatory psychiatry which provides ample opportunities for development of psychotherapeutic skills. Residents spend their third year full-time in our ambulatory psychiatry clinic, and during this year, residents participate in the evaluation and treatment of a large variety of adult and pediatric patients in outpatient settings. Residents have the opportunity to develop psychotherapy skills from a number of carefully chosen patients.
Following patients longitudinally is an essential experience in the psychiatry training process, and residents have a panel of patients to follow over time. In the third and fourth years, residents have protected time in the outpatient clinic dedicated to the psychotherapeutic care of ambulatory patients. In this process, the resident is able to develop competence in long-term psychotherapy as well as long-term clinical care and management.
- Junior Attending Inpatient Psychiatry (3 months)
- Variable/Elective Rotations (9 months)
The final year of residency includes ample elective time with numerous opportunities available to the resident depending on individual professional interests. Possible electives include but are not limited to substance abuse, sleep medicine, neuroradiology, medical education, private practice psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and geriatric and child and adolescent psychiatry. Participation in a wide range of clinical and basic science research is also available.
Senior residents also have the experience of teaching junior residents and medical students on three-month assignments of Junior Attending on Inpatient Psychiatry. Residents learn to become independent in patient care with onsite supervision from an attending as needed.
We have protected didactic time on Thursday afternoon for all four years of training.
The Psychiatry Core Curriculum is a two year curriculum; so, over the course of the four-year residency, residents will go through the core curriculum two times, reinforcing core educational concepts.
- Year 1 of the curriculum focuses on the major psychiatric diagnoses in the DSM-5. Residents will become familiar with the epidemiology, diagnostic criteria and differential diagnosis of all mental disorders. The goal is to become equipped to recognize and differentiate psychiatric diagnosis in order to establish a formulation that will eventually facilitate treatment on the bio-psycho-social model.
- Year 2 of the curriculum covers major psychotherapeutic and biologic modes of treatment,
development, psychologic/neurologic testing, and evidence based psychiatry.
All four PGY groups learn together in the Psychiatry Core Curriculum. In addition to these shared didactic experiences, the individual PGY groups have separate didactics as well:
- Risk Assessment
- Teaching to Teach
- Psychiatric Interviewing
- Case Formulation/Case Presentation
- Doctor Patient Relationship
- Basic Psychopharmacology
- Introduction to Psychotherapy
- Advanced Psychopharmacology
- The Humanities in Psychiatry
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Supervision
- Cognitive Behavioral and Supportive Psychotherapy Supervision
- Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Supervision
How do I apply?
All applicants must apply through ERAS. If you are selected for a candidate interview, our Residency Program Coordinator will contact you via phone or e-mail to arrange a suitable date and time.
Do you offer pre-match contracts?
No, we work strictly through the National Resident Matching Program. We, as a policy, do not reveal our rank list to candidates prior to match day.
Do you offer visa sponsorship?
We offer only J1 visa.
Is there a medical school graduation cut-off date for applicants?
In most cases, we require graduation within the past five years.
Is there a minimum USMLE or COMLEX score for applicants?
No, but a history of multiple failures will make an applicant less competitive for our program.
What are the demographics of the patient population we serve?
We have a good mix of variety in age, socioeconomic status, race, and insurance coverage. We have a large number of pediatric patients. We have racially and ethnically diverse patient population . We are primary physicians for a large number of hospital employees. We provide care for uninsured, Medicaid, Medicare, and privately insured patients.
What is our call schedule?
All call is phone call from home.
- PGY-1 do not take overnight call.
- PGY-2 takes approximately 5-6 calls a month.
- PGY-3 takes approximately 4-5 calls a month.
How much personal/family life/family time do our residents get?
In general, residents get a lot of free time during their residency. Most months, you enjoy 2-3 weekends free of all responsibilities.
Where do most residents live?
The majority of residents (Department of Psychiatry and other specialties) live in an area of Mobile known as Midtown that is within a few mile radius of the hospitals and clinic. Some residents live in West Mobile, which is about a 20 minute drive from the hospitals and clinic. Others live "across the bay" in the Eastern Shore towns of Spanish Fort, Daphne, or Fairhope which are also about a 20 minute drive. Housing is affordable on a resident's salary, either renting or purchasing.
What moonlighting opportunities are available?
PGY 2-4 Residents are allowed to moonlight after obtaining an independent Alabama license. Moonlighting is not allowed to interfere with regular residency duties.
How well do residents get along with each other?
Our residents are a very cohesive group. We have "out of hospital" social activities at least once a month, but groups of residents often get together for dinner, movies, trips to the beach, holiday get-togethers, birthdays, etc.
How are resident-faculty interactions?
Our attendings are very approachable and easy going. They work with residents with a vested interest in their learning and well-being. They are always eager to teach.
Is research required?
We encourage but do not require research.
Program Director: Luke Engeriser, M.D.
Program Coordinator: Ann Claunch
Address: 1015 Montlimar Drive, Suite A-210, Mobile, AL 36609
Telephone: (251) 706-5552 • Fax: (251) 706-5595