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About the Biopsychosocial Approach to Health (BAH) Clerkship

Primary Care and Psychiatry

Welcome to the Biopsychosocial Approach to Health (BAH) Clerkship! BAH is a core 12-week clerkship at Yale that immerses students in six-week, intensive experiences in each of the related disciplines of Primary Care and Psychiatry. Students on this clerkship not only gain specialty-specific knowledge and skills, but also focus on elements common to both psychiatry and primary care including patient-centered, holistic models of care, longitudinal physician-patient relationships, and social determinants of health.

Optimal health is at the intersection of biological, psychological and social factors.

In the Primary Care component, students work alongside dedicated general internists, family physicians, or pediatricians in office and community-based settings, learning to diagnose, treat, and manage patients who present with a broad array of acute and chronic conditions and preventive care needs. Students are expected to assume personal responsibility for their education by providing excellent care to their patients, reading about questions that arise, asking questions, and seeking regular feedback and guidance from their preceptors.

The Psychiatry component is divided into two three-week clinical rotations in which students will learn to interview, evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with acute and chronic psychiatric illness. The inpatient psychiatry component takes place in a setting of acute psychiatric care. The consultation-liaison/emergency psychiatric component takes place in a setting of acute medical care such as an inpatient medical unity or emergency department. Throughout the clerkship, students will also have the opportunity to learn and develop clinical skills through carefully designed on-half day per week outpatient experiences in a variety of settings. At all sites, our enthusiastic and dedicated faculty and residents provide close supervision and clinical instruction, while also fostering and appropriate level of independence in patient care.

To supplement these rich, challenging clinical experiences, students participate in weekly didactics to learn the biological, psychological and social aspects of disease and illness, and how to address them. Special "Top 10" workshops bring together students from both Psychiatry and Primary Care to explore topics that overlap both disciplines. Didactic techniques include weekly reading, case-based conferences, team-based learning, peer teaching, on-line cases, role-play, and reflective writing

Students are expected to write personal goals and maintain a log of patient encounters to guide their education and performance improvement. At the end of the BAH Clerkship, students participate in a self-assessment of knowledge and "post-cede" to demonstrate competence in core areas such as motivational interviewing, mental status examination, biopsychosocial formulation, and evaluation of psychiatric and medical emergency.


Clerkship Coordinators

Tamara Savercool

Primary Care:
John Genest