DMHAS funds expansion of Yale fellowship in public psychiatry

By all measures, the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Yale has been a success. All six alumni of the program have made a commitment to work in the public sector following graduation, and half have assumed medical director responsibilities within their respective agencies.

Founded in 2007, the training program is funded by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and operated jointly by Yale's Department of Psychiatry and the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC).

Now, thanks to increased support from DMHAS, the fellowship will add two positions, for a total of three. In addition, each fellow will hold a faculty position at the level of instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale.

As of July 2013, one fellow will be based at CMHC and two fellows will be engaged in clinical and administrative activities at Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) in Middletown.

The fellowship provides advanced training in the clinical, administrative, financial, and legal aspects of the practice of psychiatry within the public sector, including policy development on a statewide level. Trainees will develop skills that enable them to promote a high standard of care and will also become familiar with opportunities for employment and career development within DMHAS.

"It is vital to the state that quality behavioral health care is delivered by skilled practitioners who can navigate the culture of all levels of the public sector, ensuring the best results for the people they serve," said DMHAS Commissioner Patricia Rehmer, MSN. "The increase in fellowship opportunities builds on proven successes and will allow DMHAS to effectively continue to develop a pool of qualified professionals that can meet the behavioral health needs of the vulnerable citizens in our care."

The changes have already contributed to a successful recruitment effort. Three talented and diverse candidates, all chief residents of their current programs, will join the fellowship in July 2013.

"I'm very excited by the idea of working with these incoming psychiatrists and I am sure that CMHC and CVH will be enriched by their presence. Every one of them has demonstrated a strong commitment to working with our population as well as a clear potential for leadership," said Jeanne Steiner, DO, associate professor of psychiatry, medical director of CMHC, and the fellowship's director. "I want to thank Commissioner Rehmer and DMHAS leadership for their continued support and for making this expansion possible."

CMHC, an enduring collaboration between DMHAS and Yale, opened its doors in 1966. The Center provides comprehensive mental health services to underserved populations in greater New Haven, is a site for groundbreaking psychiatric research, and serves as a primary training institution for the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

CVH is the State of Connecticut's principal forensic, general psychiatric, and addictions inpatient treatment facility. It is an amalgamation of four formerly freestanding psychiatric hospitals and four freestanding substance abuse treatment facilities. All of the services provided by CVH are designed with the concept of recovery as their operational framework.

John H. Krystal, MD, the Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research and chair of psychiatry at Yale added, "I am extremely appreciative of the collaboration that has developed between Commissioner Rehmer and DMHAS and our department. The expansion of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship is a wonderful example of the opportunities for synergy between our organizations that will ultimately serve those who have the greatest need for psychiatric treatment."

This article was submitted by Shane Seger on January 8, 2013.