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Neuropsychiatry and Neuroscience Education of Psychiatry Trainees: Attitudes and Barriers



The American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training (AADPRT) Task Force on Neuropsychiatry and Neuroscience Education of Psychiatry Residents was established in 2011 with the charge to seek information about what the field of psychiatry considers the core topics in neuropsychiatry and neuroscience to which psychiatry residents should be exposed; whether there are any “competencies” in this area on which the field agrees; whether psychiatry departments have the internal capacity to teach these topics if they are desirable; and what the reception would be for “portable curricula” in neuroscience.


The task force reviewed the literature and developed a survey instrument to be administered nationwide to all psychiatry residency program directors. The AADPRT Executive Committee assisted with the survey review, and their feedback was incorporated into the final instrument.


In 2011–2012, 226 adult and child and adolescent psychiatry residency program directors responded to the survey, representing over half of all US adult and child psychiatry training directors. About three quarters indicated that faculty resources were available in their departments but 39 % felt the lack of neuropsychiatry faculty and 36 % felt the absence of neuroscience faculty to be significant barriers. Respectively, 64 and 60 % felt that neuropsychiatry and psychiatric neuroscience knowledge were very important or critically important to the provision of excellent care. Ninety-two percent were interested in access to portable neuroscience curricula.


There is widespread agreement among training directors on the importance of neuropsychiatry and neuroscience knowledge to general psychiatrists but barriers to training exist, including some programs that lack faculty resources and a dearth of portable curricula in these areas.

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Dr. Benjamin is a partner in Brain Educators, LLC, a publisher of neuropsychiatric educational materials. The other authors have nothing to disclose.

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Correspondence to Sheldon Benjamin.

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Benjamin, S., Travis, M.J., Cooper, J.J. et al. Neuropsychiatry and Neuroscience Education of Psychiatry Trainees: Attitudes and Barriers. Acad Psychiatry 38, 135–140 (2014).

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  • Psychiatric residency education
  • Curriculum development
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Next Accreditation System
  • Milestones