The Department of Psychiatry’s faculty, clinicians, and staff are deeply committed to providing excellent care to the diverse populations served by Boston Medical Center, the Boston Veterans Administration Healthcare System, and our Community Health Center partners. The department is also committed to training students, interns, residents, and fellows who help people from anywhere in the world. We provide addiction treatment, emergency psychiatric services, child and adolescent services, adult services, and global and local research programs. Our programs focus on mitigating the social determinants of health and providing culturally sensitive care, training, and research.

Research Programs

Our department conducts a wide range of research, including basic science, clinical trials, implementation science, health services research, qualitative and mixed-methods research, epidemiologic research, epigenetic research, community-based participatory research, and biobank initiatives. We are dedicated to providing research training and mentorship opportunities for our psychiatry residents, medical students, public health and other graduate students, and undergraduates. 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 to improve the quality and accessibility of our mental health services.

The Department of Psychiatry’s research initiatives encompass a wide variety of specialties, including maternal and child mental health, veterans’ health and PTSD, addiction psychiatry, Alzheimer’s disease, refugee health, global psychiatry, depression, and serious mental illnesses. Our research is also strongly informed by the unique, extremely ethnically and racially diverse patient population at BMC, the number-one safety-net hospital in the Greater Boston area. 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. In our diverse local community, our researchers explore the myriad intersections of culture and mental health. We apply a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the complex mental health needs of our patients, in both global and local contexts. We are engaged in research projects in more than 15 countries in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. 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 Services Programs, Urgent Behavioral Health Care, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Adult and Child Outpatient Mental Health Services, Integrated Behavioral Health, Mother and Child Mental Health, Criminal Justice Diversion Programs, Immigrant and Refugee Behavioral Health, Victim Assistance and Mental Health Recovery Services, and Peer Support Programs. The subspecialty outpatient programs available include Addiction Psychiatry and Psychosis/Early Episode Psychosis Programs.

Medical Education

The Human Behavior in Medicine (HBM) course in the first year of medical school is designed to provide knowledge of human behavior important to the treatment of patients and their families. While an understanding of disease and its treatment are integral to medical care, understanding the patient as a person who suffers from an illness—including their background, their culture, their beliefs, and their values—is part of being an effective physician.

In Year 2, students participate in DRx Psychiatry, a course designed to provide students with knowledge of the range of psychiatric disorders they may encounter in their professional lives as physicians, the pharmacology of common psychiatric medications, and the array of therapeutic modalities available. The DRx course is also intended to help prepare students for their third-year clerkship in psychiatry.

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 12 locations in Boston and the surrounding area, as well as the Kaiser Permanente campus in San Jose, California. Students serve as integral parts of the treatment team, evaluating and helping manage patients. Placement sites include inpatient, outpatient, consult liaison, and emergency department services. Students spend each Thursday during the clerkship back at the medical school for didactics and psychiatry department grand rounds. The didactic component of the clerkship includes a set of core seminars covering foundational topics, as well as more experiential and interactive experiences such as an art observation exercise at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, attendance at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and an ethics journal club.

In Year 4, a number of advanced psychiatry electives are offered, including Advanced Consult-Liaison Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Acute Psychiatry in Managed Care, and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine has embarked on an extensive curriculum redesign in an effort to engage students more actively in learning, clinical reasoning, and patient care. Beginning with the incoming class of 2022, the entire curriculum will be revamped, and psychiatric themes will be woven throughout.

Psychiatry Residency Program

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 research opportunities, 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.

Family Medicine-Psychiatry Combined Residency Program

This new program combines the renowned residencies in family medicine and psychiatry into a curriculum designed to produce dual-trained physicians with broad-based training in both specialties. The mission of the program is to develop an innovative training experience for residents who are interested in dual board certification. The curriculum of the five-year program follows the guidelines of the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, while also providing an innovative curriculum that integrates the two fields. This program is designed to provide a comprehensive, well-rounded, and balanced training experience to residents in Family Medicine and Psychiatry, as well as accommodating the individual residents’ specific interests within these two fields.


There are four fellowship opportunities available within the Department of Psychiatry at Boston University: Addiction Psychiatry, Community Psychiatry, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, and the Boston University Medical Campus-Massachusetts General Hospital Global Psychiatric Clinical Research Training Program (BUMC-MGH GPCRTP). 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 the Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders. The Department of Psychiatry at BU Chobanian & Avedisian 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.