Reproductive Psychiatry Residency Training: A Survey of Psychiatric Residency Program Directors
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The reproductive life cycle has unique influences on the phenotypic expression of mental illness in women. Didactic and clinical training focused on these sex-specific influences should be a vital component of the education of future psychiatrists. The authors sought to determine the current state of and attitudes toward reproductive psychiatry in resident education.
The authors administered a web-based survey to psychiatry residency training directors. They assessed the availability of both mandated and optional didactic and clinical training experiences in reproductive psychiatry.
Fifty residency program directors answered the survey, for a response rate of 28%. More than half of residency program directors (59%) reported requiring some training in reproductive psychiatry. Both the breadth and depth of topics covered varied greatly among programs. Lack of time (48%) and lack of qualified faculty (26%) were the most frequently cited barriers to more training. Only 40% of residency directors surveyed agreed that all residents should be competent in reproductive psychiatry.
These findings suggest that specific training in reproductive psychiatry is inconsistent in US residency programs, and that training that does exist varies considerably in clinical time and content. Given that women comprise more than 50% of all psychiatric patients and most women will menstruate, give birth, and undergo menopause, future psychiatrists would benefit from more systematic instruction in this area. The authors propose the development of a national, standardized reproductive psychiatry curriculum to address this gap and aid in producing psychiatrists competent to treat women at all stages of life.
KeywordsReproductive psychiatry Residency education Women’s mental health Curriculum
The authors would like to acknowledge the other members of the National Task Force on Women’s Reproductive Mental Health for their help in the conceptualization of this project: Vivien Burt, Kara Driscoll, Elizabeth Fitelson, and Alison Hermann. They would also like to acknowledge Kim Leventhal, MD, who assisted with the administration of the unpublished survey referred to in the discussion.
The survey reported in this study was granted exemption by the Institutional Review Board of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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