Original Article

Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 116-121

First online:

A Survey of American Psychiatric Residency Programs Concerning Education in Homelessness

  • Hunter L. McQuistionAffiliated withMount Sinai School of MedicineNew York State Psychiatric InstituteDivision of Mental Hygiene, The City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Email author 
  • , Jules M. RanzAffiliated withNew York State Psychiatric InstituteCollege of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
  • , Paulette Marie GilligAffiliated withDivision of Rural Psychiatry, Wright State UniversityMental Health, Drug, and Alcohol Services Board for Logan County and Champaign County in Ohio

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Objectives: This study aims to document how psychiatric residencies address homelessness and mental illness, to discover training barriers, and to identify educational recommendations. Methods: The authors mailed a survey to 178 American psychiatric residency programs, requesting information about didactic and clinical offerings in homelessness. Programs without offerings were asked to provide reasons why. Results: Of 106 responses, 60% had educational offerings. Concerning clinical experiences, most had fewer than 20% of residents rotating, and only 11% had mandatory rotations. Programs without offerings usually noted that training in this area was a low priority, and this was most frequently linked with perceived low community homelessness prevalence. Conclusion: Psychiatric residency programs have addressed education in mental illness and homelessness in various ways. That there were few residents in clinical rotations suggests a need to explore causes, including funding problems, and whether there is sufficient academic community psychiatry faculty. The findings also evoke the need for a model curriculum that enables clinical competency in this public health problem.