Department of Psychiatry

Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service

Mission of Service


The Psychiatric Consultation Service provides timely, efficient, and high quality psychiatric consultation services to the medical, surgical and obstetrical inpatient units at Strong Memorial Hospital. The Psychiatric Consultation Service is the liaison between Strong Behavioral Health Service and the Medical Center. We encourage and facilitate collaboration between the services. The Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Service is also an excellent educational training site for graduate nursing students, medical students, psychiatric and internal medicine and neurology residents, geriatric psychiatry fellows, doctoral students in Pharmacy and other trainees. Furthermore, the service provides opportunities for research in consultation-liaison psychiatry.

Target Population

Consultations are provided to the medically and surgically ill inpatients throughout SMH, as well as a variety of Ambulatory settings.

Types of Services Provided

The Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service provides evaluation and assistance with the management of psychiatric disorders occurring in medically ill inpatients throughout SMH. The PCLS provides services to both the Adult and Pediatric Services.

A wide variety of neuropsychiatric, forensic and psychosomatic problems are frequently encountered on the C/L Service, including:

  • Participating in evaluation and management of altered mental status
  • Evaluation of cognitive impairment associated with dementia
  • Capacity to make informed decisions or to delegate those powers
  • Depression in the elderly or medically ill; as well as working with traditional medical patients with serious chronic illnesses, such as, asthma, heart failure and diabetes
  • Suicide attempts and suicidality on the medical floors
  • Somatoform and factitious disorders
  • Pseudoepilepsy
  • Anxiety/agitation in the medically ill
  • Secondary anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders
  • AIDS-related secondary mental disorders
  • Substance Abuse/Mental Illness associated syndromes

Our team strives to conduct comprehensive and accurate psychiatric interviews and review of data. We also develop a comprehensive differential diagnosis, case formulation and treatment recommendations. We initiate and sustain effective therapeutic and ethnically sound relationships with patients. A significant portion of time is spent talking to patients' families about their conditions, helping to support the treatment team's role about the suggested clinical interventions, as well as collaborating with treating providers.

Educational inservices and staff debriefings related to critical incidents are available upon request.

Read more about the rich history of Psychosomatic Medicine and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at the Medical Center.

Education and Training Opportunities

As a specialty program, the Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service provides a key training experience for medical students, medical residents, psychiatric residents and graduate nursing students in the Medical Center. Most trainees use this opportunity to learn about psychiatric pathology, recognizing medically induced psychiatric symptoms, how to manage each, and when to call for assistance. See sample elective description.

Please contact the service directly if interested in scheduling a training experience on the Adult or Child Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Service or email Michael Privitera, MD.

Description of Service Providers

Our service is staffed by psychiatrists on faculty and Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurses as a combined service, with internal triage to appropriate clinicians.

Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service Faculty

Michael Privitera, M.D. Director, PCLS
Lisa Boyle, M.D.
Jennifer Knight, M.D.
Mark Nickels, M.D. (Affiliated with the PCLS)
Michael Scharf, M.D. (Child Psychiatry Consultation Services)

Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurses:

Barbara Olesko, MS, RN, NP Coordinator, PCLS
Beth Goldenberg, MS, RN, NP
Mary Andolsek, MS, RN, NP
Bonnie Strollo, MS, RN, NP (Child Psychiatric Consultation Service)

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Medical Director: Michael Privitera, M.D.
Clinical Coordinator Barbara Olesko, MS, RN, NP
Contact Information: Constance Smith , Program Secretary
(585) 275-3592
Location of Service: Strong Memorial Hospital Department of Psychiatry
300 Crittenden Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14642
Hours of Operation: A full complement of staff is available Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Coverage is provided after hours, weekends and holidays through the Psychiatric Emergency Department.

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