Chiefs Letter

Dear Prospective Resident,

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our Residency Program! We remember the excitement and stress of choosing the best residency program. We want to share with you our experiences as residents and the unique opportunities available to all our residents.

Our program is best known for diverse clinical opportunities, world-class research, and an emphasis on high-quality psychotherapy training. In the eyes of residents, our program also stands out in its ability to provide a customized learning experience: we tailor our training to our passions and professional goals. This creates a rich and exciting environment of inquiry and collaboration. We residents are both learners and teachers, using our unique individual experiences and expertise to challenge each other and grow. The program as a whole works diligently to ensure that residents have the most educationally and personally rewarding experience during our four years of training at UT Southwestern.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted our residency but not at the expense of our clinical training. In many areas of the hospital, work continues as normal with appropriate personal protective equipment. In other settings, residents are getting their first in-depth exposure to telepsychiatry, which has improved access to care for many of our patients. Even though our interview season will continue to be virtual, your interview days will have as close of an experience to an in-person interview as possible.

We would like to spend some time walking you through the main clinical opportunities for residents. During the first two years of residency, you will primarily work in the hospital setting across several institutions, including William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, Parkland Hospital, Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Children’s Medical Center Dallas. Outside of the hospital, you will gain experience in community psychiatry at Metrocare Services, the primary provider of psychiatric care to people with low incomes in Dallas and its surrounding counties. You will also work treating incarcerated patients at the Dallas County Jail. These diverse sites reflect not only the opportunity to work with people from many walks of life but also to serve some of the most underserved.

You will have a great deal of flexibility in building your schedule during the final two years of residency, which is also the time when residents gain much of their experience in outpatient psychiatry. In the third year, you will primarily be working as an outpatient psychiatrist in the outpatient psychiatry clinic for the Parkland Health and Hospital System and the UT Southwestern Psychotherapy Clinic, though you also have a day and a half each week of elective time. In your fourth year, you have even more elective time: three full days each week. Residents use this customizable elective time to focus on improving their skills and pursuing their specific interests, charting their own course for what kind of psychiatrist they would like to be. Elective subjects vary enormously in site and content, from rotations in cutting-edge therapy modalities at the Veterans Affairs hospital to addiction psychiatry at Parkland, college mental health at local universities, and forensic psychiatry at Terrell State Hospital. Fourth-year residents also spend some time away from their outpatient duties to serve as a senior on the Parkland Consults and Liaison team, a unique senior capstone experience.

Our program places emphasis on providing excellent psychotherapy training, which begins in the second year. This early experience practicing psychotherapy permits you to do meaningful work with your therapy patients over the course of up to three years. Before graduation, you will have practiced psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, supportive, and group psychotherapies. You will have multiple supervisors--seasoned clinicians and eager teachers--who will help you develop your skills as a therapist. We believe that even if you do not plan on practicing therapy in the future, the skills you will develop through psychotherapy training will be integral to helping you better understand your patients.

The importance of psychotherapy does not stop with our roles as providers. For residents interested in receiving personal therapy, we have a Resident Wellness Clinic on campus and a relationship with the Dallas Psychoanalytic Center, which is not associated with UT Southwestern. Individual psychotherapy is not a requirement for residents, but many have found it a valuable experience.

Our program is a comfortable fit whether you have clear plans for your future in psychiatry or whether you are still considering your path. Our mentorship program pairs interns with faculty mentors to help guide you through your first year as a physician. In addition, interns also find mentors with overlapping professional and academic interests. Upper-level residents continue to meet with their mentors throughout residency. If you are interested in pursuing a fellowship, we are fortunate to have all the accredited fellowships at UT Southwestern: addiction psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, consultation-liaison psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and geriatric psychiatry. These fellowships provide access to experts in multiple areas of psychiatry.

Our program also prides itself in its supportive environment. Not only are we able to develop strong bonds by working together, but we also enjoy spending time with each other outside of work. From movie/TV nights to an annual holiday party, we see each other as friends and family, not just colleagues. Many of our closest friends are our co-residents, and we relish being able to learn about life and psychiatry together. The last year was a challenging one, but we faced the unknowns of a global pandemic as a supportive team. We are looking forward to reconnecting in-person safely in the months ahead!

We are excited that you are considering UT Southwestern for your residency training. We are proud to be UT Southwestern residents and would love to have you join our family. We cannot wait to learn more about you in your application and to meet you at one of our interview days. If you have any questions about our program, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We wish you all the best in your interview season!

Darlene King, Alexis Kropf

Psychiatry Chiefs 2021-2022