Mission Statement

The faculty and the staff of the Department of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) affirm the following mission statement for the department, including its enterprise for clinical care, research, and training.

We endorse the following ACGME core competencies:

  • Patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and promotion of health.
  • Provide trainees and faculty with the latest medical knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate sciences, and the application of this knowledge to clinical care.
  • Emphasize practice-based learning and improvement that involves investigation and evaluation of the faculty’s and trainees’ own patient care, appraisal and assimilation of scientific evidence, and improvements in patient care.
  • Develop interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families, and other health professionals.
  • Emphasize professionalism, as manifested through a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to principles, and sensitivity to a diverse population.
  • Develop skills in systems-based practice, as manifested by actions that demonstrate an awareness and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.

Research Programs

Our department conducts a wide range of research including basic science, clinical trials, qualitative and mixed-methods research, epidemiologic research, epigenetic research, community-based participatory research, and ­biobank initiatives. We recognize the critical, bidirectional relationship between research and clinical care, as our research informs ongoing development of evidence-based practices and clinical experiences guide research interests and priorities. Through research, we seek to advance our understanding of the causes of and risk factors for psychiatric illnesses; to facilitate the development of more effective diagnostic, treatment, and prevention strategies for a wide array of psychiatric disorders; and improve the quality and accessibility of our mental health services. The Department of Psychiatry has ongoing research in the areas of addiction treatments, child mental health, HIV/AIDS, global psychiatry, depression, and serious mental illnesses. As the number one safety net hospital in the greater Boston area, our research is also strongly informed by BMC’s unique patient population which is extremely ethnically and racially diverse. To understand the mental health needs of our patients, we engage in research initiatives on refugee health, the intersection of culture and mental health, torture survivors, and the mental health impact of experiences of violence and racial discrimination. Through this research, we hope to build a more robust understanding of these historically marginalized and understudied populations in order to provide more effective and informed care.

Clinical Programs

We provide exceptional clinical care without exception to patients of all ages and backgrounds using therapeutic modalities most appropriate to the patients’ needs and provided by specialists in the field and by trainees under the supervision of outstanding practitioners and teachers. The major services of the Department of Psychiatry include Emergency Psychiatry Programs, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Adult and Child Outpatient Mental Health Services, Criminal Justice Mental Health Programs, Refugee and Human Rights Services, Victim Assistance and Mental Health Recovery Services, and Peer Support Programs.

Training Programs

The Department of Psychiatry teaches medical students, in an interdisciplinary fashion and in varied clinical settings, concepts necessary to facilitate effective doctor-patient interactions and to recognize, diagnose, and treat a diverse population of patients suffering from mental illness.

Our goal is to train a new generation of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health providers by providing them with didactic and clinical experiences developed by expert faculty.

Medical Education

The Department of Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center is the primary BUSM psychiatry teaching site.

In the first week of class at BUSM, students begin to learn the basics of performing a clinical interview with real patients in Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM-1). ICM-1 provides students with the opportunity to begin to develop clinical interviewing skills by interviewing patients and observing peers interviewing patients. Afterwards, students discuss the patients with their groups, provide feedback to one another, and practice delivering case presentations. The Human Behavior in Medicine (HBM) course is designed to provide knowledge of human behavior important to the treatment of patients and their families. While knowledge of disease and its treatment are integral to medical care, understanding the patient as a person who suffers from an illness—with his or her own beliefs about the cause and treatment of the illness—is part of being an effective physician. In Year 2, students participate in DRx Psychiatry, designed to provide students with knowledge of the most common psychiatric disorders they will encounter in their professional lives as physicians, and to prepare students for their third year of medical school.

As part of the six-week Psychiatry Clerkship in Year 3, students will have the opportunity to participate in the provision of psychiatric services at one of our 14 locations in Boston and the surrounding area. All students attend Wednesday afternoon didactics in psychiatry and may attend Thursday afternoon psychiatric grand rounds at BMC.

In Year 4, a number of psychiatry electives are offered including Psychosomatic Medicine, Addiction Psychiatry, Acute Psychiatry in Managed Care, Adolescent Psychiatry, Partial Hospitalization Psychiatry, and Preparing Future Physician Educators: Learning How to Teach Clinical Interviewing Skills to First-Year Medical Students.


The training program in the Boston University Medical Center Psychiatry Residency Program is designed to provide a breadth of knowledge of psychiatry, neurology, neuroscience, psychotherapies, and psychopharmacology. An integrated bio-psycho-socio-cultural model forms the basis of our approach. Our educational program progresses across four years of training from the basics in the PGY 1 year through advanced courses in the PGY 4. Educational programs include the core seminars and special programs, as well as multiple learning opportunities with clinical rotation including rounds, clinical case conferences, and case-based learning for residents to learn about patient evaluation, psychopathology, and treatments.


There are four fellowship opportunities available within the Department of Psychiatry at Boston University: Addiction Psychiatry, Community Psychiatry, Global Psychiatry, and Psychosomatic Medicine. The core training sites include Boston Medical Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital/ Bedford VA, Bournewood Hospital, Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center, Boston University on the Charles River Campus, The Danielsen Institute, and Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders. The Department of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine is nationally recognized for its strength in Addiction Psychiatry, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Cross Cultural and Community Psychiatry, and Psychiatry Services to a diverse community.