Implementing a Psychiatry Clinic in a Student-Run Setting: a Medical Student Perspective

  • Neema KhonsariEmail author
  • Kaylee Davis
  • Dwight Wolf
Feature: Perspective

Access to mental health services is a growing problem for Americans, with significant impact on those of lower socioeconomic status, with uninsured status, and in medically underserved areas. The negative consequences of not treating the mentally ill are significant, with increased rates of suicide, drug abuse, homelessness, and crime [1]. In fact, the leading mental health care provider in Texas is the state prison system [2]. Thus, the need for additional resources is clear, and student-run free clinics can provide part of the solution. Over the last 10 years, there have been several descriptions of student-run free clinics providing psychiatric services [3].

As student directors at St. Vincent’s, a student-run free clinic in Galveston, Texas, we have seen the benefit of psychiatric care first-hand. Yet, a common theme in many of the conversations with fellow medical students nationwide is the feasibility of operating a student-run psychiatry clinic [4]. Caring for patients with...



The authors would like to thank Dr. Robert Beach who is the faculty adviser at St. Vincent’s Student Run Free Clinic in Galveston, TX. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Adam Brenner for his support and guidance.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

No ethical considerations.


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Corrigan PW, Druss BG, Perlick DA. The impact of mental illness stigma on seeking and participating in mental health care. Psychol Sci Public Interest. 2014;15(2):37–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    DePrang E. Want treatment for mental illness in Houston? Go to jail. The Texas Observer. Aug. 2015:17
  3. 3.
    Ramos MA, Rotenstein LS, Mata DA. Student-run free clinics: the USA’s psychiatry recruitment solution? Lancet Psychiatry. 2016;3(4):321–2. Scholar
  4. 4.
    Doyle MA, Caplan JP, Marcil W. A student-run psychiatry clinic and its use for a medical-student training experience. Acad Psychiatry. 2012;36(3):237–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Soltani M, Smith S, Beck E, Johnson M. Universal depression screening, diagnosis, management, and outcomes at a student-run free clinic. Acad Psychiatry. 2015;39(3):259–66. Scholar
  6. 6.
    Murzl CA, Durns TA, Mowrey LT, Tubbs AS, Boeve SA. A medical student-run child and adolescent psychiatry clinic: one institution’s experience. Acad Psychiatry. 2017;41(5):582–6. Scholar
  7. 7.
    Schweitzer PJ, Rice TR. The student-run clinic: a new opportunity for psychiatric education. Acad Psychiatry. 2012;36(3):233–6. Scholar
  8. 8.
    Simpson SA, Long JA. Medical student-run health clinics: important contributors to patient care and medical education. J Gen Intern Med. 2007;22(3):352–6. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rosenthal RH, Levine RE, Carlson DL, et al. The “shrinking” clerkship: characteristics and length of clerkships in psychiatry undergraduate education. Acad Psychiatry. 2005;29(1):47–51. Scholar
  10. 10.
    “Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) Pocket Card.” Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2009,
  11. 11.
    Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB. The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. J Gen Intern Med. 2001;16(9):606–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hirschfeld R. The Mood Disorder Questionnaire: a simple, patient-rated screening instrument for bipolar disorder. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;4(1):9–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Liberman KM, Meah YS, Chow A, Tornheim J, Rolon O, Thomas DC. Quality of mental health care at a student-run clinic: care for uninsured exceeds that of publicly and privately insured populations. J Community Health. 2011;36(5):733–40. Scholar

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Texas Medical Branch – GalvestonGalvestonUSA

Personalised recommendations