Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 217–221 | Cite as

Integrating Clinical Neurosciences in a Psychiatry Residency Training Program: A Brief Report with Pilot Data

  • Jacob Cookey
  • Michael Butterfield
  • Celia Robichaud
  • David Lovas
In Brief Report



A novel neuroscience curriculum was developed attempting to address the growing consensus that increased attention be given to incorporating clinical neuroscience in psychiatric residencies.


Eight 2-h sessions delivered over 2 academic years were incorporated into the teaching curriculum at one institution in which residents participated in case-based clinical neuroscience learning. Each session utilized multimodal teaching methods facilitated by two senior psychiatry residents with support from a faculty mentor. A survey assessing resident comfort with clinical neurosciences was gathered over four timepoints during the 2-year period.


There were 69 attendees in total across the four time points, with a 100% response rate to the surveys. There was a significant overall effect found, F(3,16) = 12.64, p < .01, on resident comfort level between the four timepoints. There was a significant increase in comfort level at the third timepoint compared to the first two timepoints; however, there was a notable drop in comfort level between the third and fourth timepoint such that there was no statistically significant difference between the first and last timepoint. Nevertheless, despite mixed positive and negative responses on qualitative analysis, all residents supported the continuation of the course.


Resident comfort level did not change appreciably with this curriculum; however, there was unanimous support for the continuation of the course in future years. Incorporating this type of curriculum is feasible in a medium-sized psychiatry residency program. Given that subjective comfort ratings are not indicative of actual competency, future work should include objective, competency-based outcomes.


Neuroscience Curriculum development Psychiatry residents 



The authors would like to thank the Department of Psychiatry of Dalhousie University for supporting this educational opportunity, with special thanks to Drs. Margaret Rajda (Director of Education) and Mark Bosma (Program Director – Psychiatry Residency Program) for their involvement in this initiative and ongoing support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

In accordance with the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement Article 2.5, the Nova Scotia Health Authority Research Ethics Board provided an exemption letter with no need for Board review of this quality improvement/educational initiative.


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

Funding Sources

There were no funding sources supporting this research.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Cookey
    • 1
  • Michael Butterfield
    • 2
  • Celia Robichaud
    • 1
  • David Lovas
    • 1
  1. 1.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaSurreyCanada

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