The Department of Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School coordinates the psychiatric resources of nine major teaching institutions in the Greater Boston area into a collaborative whole that is dedicated to quality clinical services, excellent training and education, and innovative research. This collaboration is accomplished by developing complementary, interdigitated and specialized roles that optimize the existing expertise and unique strengths of each participant institution.
The Department has over 1,700 faculty and 500 trainees across its nine participating institutions. Clinically it has a full range of clinical programs for patients with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, including over 300 acute inpatient beds, holding/respite beds, partial hospital programs, emergency and crisis intervention programs, residential programs, outpatient services, and expert consultation services to medical patients with co-morbid psychiatric disorders. The nine sites include private general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and public sector and VA Boston Healthcare System. Services are delivered in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, coordinated and cost-efficient manner that meets the needs of patients, families and the community.
In the area of training and education, the Department has a wide array of educational experiences. It provides both didactic and clinical learning experience for all Harvard Medical School students as well as visiting medical students from around the country. It is the largest training site in the United States for general psychiatry residency training and child fellowship training and has post-residency fellowships in addictions psychiatry, consultation-liaison psychiatry/psychosomatic medicine, forensic psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, and psychiatry research. It offers predoctoral clinical psychology training programs and clinical postdoctoral fellowships in, behavioral medicine, medical crisis counseling, and neuropsychology. It also has research-training programs in psychiatric neuroscience, addictions, and biological/social psychiatry, among others.
The scholarly and research activities of the Department are characterized by their diversity, ranging from molecular neurobiology to the application of psychoanalytic theory to literature interpretation. In addition, the Department has initiated efforts to develop centers of excellence in emerging specialty areas of psychiatry including child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatrics, clinical psychopharmacology, consultation-liaison, forensic psychiatry, epidemiology, mental health services research, and serious and persistent mental illness. The total amount of sponsored research funding across the Department is over $100M annually.
The Department of Psychiatry seeks to engage in a broad spectrum of psychiatric education, research and clinical services of the highest quality through: (a) a commitment to excellence; (b) a continuous search for new knowledge; (c) sensitivity to the needs of patients, students, trainees, faculty and the community; and (d) the wise use of resources. Pursuit of this mission is characterized by a commitment to integrate the full range of theoretical perspectives and educational, scholarly and clinical efforts that now exist within the Department's affiliated programs through close collaboration that optimizes the unique strengths and expertise of each institution.Among the objectives of the Department are the following:
- Foster an environment that encourages collaboration and is dedicated to scientific integrity, the pursuit of knowledge and the ethical dimensions of research.
- Expand the scientific foundations of psychiatry to encompass prevention, service, policy and outcome research.
- Emphasize the importance of clinical research and facilitate the rapid integration of findings into the care of patients.
- Provide opportunities to understand the principles and mechanisms that underlie psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, and their treatment; prepare students and trainees to deliver clinical services of the highest quality in accordance with the understanding of these principles and promote the understanding of the ethical considerations in the delivery of care.
- Promote the delivery of care in a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective manner that meets the needs of patients, families and the community.
- Foster career development of an academic faculty with a broad range of professional interests and skills; foster mentor relationships between students, trainees, and junior faculty and faculty mentors, with special attention to the mentoring needs of minorities and women.