Skip to main content

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Visitor Restrictions, Resources, and Updates

Explore URMC
Education / Graduate Medical Education / Prospective Residents / Psychiatry Residency Program


Laurence Guttmacher, M.D. & Michael Scharf, M.D.

Laurence Guttmacher, M.D. & Michael Scharf, M.D.

Thank you for your interest in the Psychiatry Residency Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).  We take pride in our history as being the birthplace of the Biopsychosocial Model of care, which came to national prominence in the 1977 Science article by George Engel, M.D.  This model offers a holistic and humane approach to medicine by embracing interdisciplinary perspectives.  It appreciates the social, cultural, familial and individual determinants of health and disease.  By the time this model came to prominence, the University of Rochester was already established as a place for innovative multi- and inter-disciplinary education. Our training program builds upon this solid and deep foundation.

Our primary goal is to develop psychiatrists who have excellent medical and psychiatric knowledge, who relate well to people with openness to their unique identities, and who have confidence in caring for their patients in their chosen career paths.

Our combination of clinical and didactic experiences affords residents depth and breadth of knowledge and training that will well prepare them for clinical practice, fellowships, and teaching.  The core program has a wide variety of clinical sites and opportunities within the Department, URMC and the community, and has a large diverse faculty dedicated to sustained mentorship.  The Department offers four Fellowships for residents interested in training beyond residency.  And the Department has been integrating its research work into its clinical Divisions, bringing research in close contact with clinical work.  This can help prepare residents to take on careers in research for those interested. 

Rochester is a big small town with the diverse populations across the socioeconomic spectrum, and the patient population reflects that spectrum.  In addition, Rochester has a large deaf population and a significant refugee population.  The Department has strong focus on diversity – as one example, one of the Department’s services is called Lazos Fuertes that works with the Hispanic population.  

Finally, our residency is about its people and its collegiality.  The University of Rochester is a top-notch training and research institution, located within a beautiful and culturally rich city – we are proud that our training program reflects this combination of professional prestige and personal warmth.

Mission Statement

The motto of the University of Rochester is Meliora or Ever Better.  We aim for Meliora on several levels.

We strive for Ever Better for individual residents and the residency as a whole.

We strive for Ever Better for the mentally ill of our community.

Program Aims

We will graduate residents who are:

Equipped to become lifelong learners, able to stay on top of the literature as it emerges and with sufficient flexibility to evolve with new understanding.

Equipped with a social conscience, aware of the social determinants of mental health, working towards leveling the playing field and maintaining high ethical standards of practice.

Equipped to understand and respond to patients from a biopsychosocial perspective avoiding reductionistic thinking and based on a framework of cultural humility.  This means being open to being taught by our patients who grant us the privilege of allowing us into their lives. 

For this to happen the program will have sufficient flexibility and respect for individual difference so as to allow residents to launch their careers, and maintaining the possibility of their evolving as clinicians, researchers, or teachers.

We will support residents in their personal endeavors, acknowledging the importance of the biopsychosocial perspective not only in those we treat, but in our colleagues as well.

We wish you the best in your residency search and welcome the opportunity to discuss our program in greater detail. Please feel free to contact us with any questions that arise.