Letter from the Residency Program Director

Adam Brenner, MD
Adam Brenner, M.D.

UT Southwestern Medical Center has a decades-long commitment of providing the highest quality care to our patients while producing the best possible scholarship in all areas of medicine and training outstanding, evidence-oriented clinicians.

We implement this commitment in our General Psychiatry Training Program by integrating outstanding basic and clinical researchers with excellent clinicians in all areas of psychiatry to provide residents with state-of-the-art knowledge and clinical experiences. We strive to graduate our residents at the cutting edge of all aspects of psychiatry because we believe that psychiatric illness must be approached on myriad levels – neurobiologic, psychologic, and societal.

UT Southwestern’s residents are exposed to a wide variety of systems of psychiatric care and patient populations. Affiliates include one of the premier county hospitals in the country (Parkland Memorial Hospital), two private university hospitals (UT Southwestern University Hospitals), a Veterans Affairs hospital that is one of the VA’s academic flagship centers (Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center), a tertiary care pediatric hospital (Children' s Medical Center), two university student health centers, and an innovative public-private nonprofit community psychiatry system (Metrocare Services). The Psychiatry Residency Program involves every resident in each setting in a coherent plan that balances patient care and education. Diversity of settings allows the resident to care for the widest possible range of patients by diagnosis, ethnic background, socio-economic status, and location.

Excellence in All Areas of Psychiatry

With 130 full-time faculty members and 140 voluntary faculty members, we have expertise in virtually all areas pertinent to modern psychiatric practice, including psychoanalysis, neurobiology, psychiatric epidemiology, and areas rarely found in psychiatry departments: medical ethics, health economics, family systems studies, psychotherapy research, neurogenesis, and psychoneuroendocrinology. Our faculty is diverse, and we take special joy in collaborating across interest areas. The Department's ethos is reflected in such papers as "Should psychotherapy be considered a biological treatment?"

A Commitment to the Resident’s Quality of Life

We believe that optimal patient care is provided by psychiatrists who have balanced and satisfying lives. We constantly look for ways to support our residents in this pursuit. This includes the many activities run by our vigorous Psychiatry Residents Organization, including a ‘Big Siblings’ program, social activities, a weekly lunch meeting, a yearly retreat day, and a regular movie night. The Residency Program offers a process group called T-Group, an important source of peer support that is led by experienced group therapists.

Education at the Cutting Edge – Evidence Based Psychiatry

We view the presence and involvement of internationally recognized researchers as central to providing our residents with the latest, most advanced, evidence-based clinical tools, to prepare them to administer treatments yet to come. The Department's exciting research programs include:

  • Biomarkers for mental illness
  • Functional imaging in schizophrenia, depression, anorexia, addictions, and more
  • Psychotherapy research, including individual and family
  • Mental health systems and quality improvement
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Molecular genetics of serious mental illness and addictions
  • Neurobiology of various psychiatric illnesses
  • Neuroplasticity and adult neurogenesis
  • Dopamine in brains of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Electroconvulsive therapy and multisystemic therapy in treatment-resistant mood disorder
  • Neurobiology of genetic vulnerability to stress
  • Neuronal signal transduction processes
  • Sleep and arousal mechanisms, circadian rhythms, and the molecular clock
  • Dissemination and implementation research, including medication algorithms
  • Treatment resistance in mood disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse
  • Effectiveness of interventions in 'real-world' settings
  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Neuropsychology

Perhaps the most exciting area in psychiatry is in the translational research between the basic sciences and the clinical domains. Our Department's work in the neuroendocrinology of mood, brain imaging of addictive disorders, the neurobiology of sleep and appetite, and the cognitive neuroscience of stress produces a picture of disorders and treatments that spans psychiatry's disparate domains.

Breadth of Exposure and Diversity of Careers

UT Southwestern graduates are prepared to go in any direction they choose, having been exposed in depth, with appreciative understanding, to every area within psychiatry. We offer ACGME-accredited fellowships in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Addictions Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Psychiatry, and Sleep Medicine. Some of our graduates elect to pursue these fellowships with us or elsewhere.

In recent years residents have gone on to private practice, basic or clinical research careers, psychoanalytic training, academic appointments all over the country, and public psychiatry. We welcome applicants with any of these aspirations (or others we haven’t yet thought of), and we strive to help each resident define his/her individual interests and plan a personally fulfilling career.