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Over the years, applicants have asked us a lot of great questions. These queries, together with the answers we’ve provided, give you an excellent source of information on a range of important issues.

Please take an opportunity to review this FAQ. It’s a quick read and covers a number of topics you won’t find elsewhere on this site.

If you have questions that aren’t addressed here, please email our program coordinator, Kathy Raniewicz, at for a timely response.

How much protected time is available for didactic teaching?

  • Our core didactics are consolidated into one afternoon per week for PGY-1 through PGY-3 residents. Residents are expected to attend regularly and this aspect of our value system is clearly communicated to their supervisory to their supervisory attendings. For example, even while on medicine rotations, PGY-1 residents are relieved of clinical responsibilities on Tuesday afternoons, enabling them to return to the Department of Psychiatry for classes.

How are a resident’s requests for leave (maternity/paternity, sickness, vacation) handled? How are clinical service demands managed when the number of residents decreases due to leaves or illness?

  • Sick leave, short-term disability, maternity and paternity leaves and family hardship leaves are all available. Leave policies are listed clearly in the department’s “Policy and Procedure Manual.”
  • Up to four days leave are given for residents to sit for Step III of the USMLE exam.
  • For brief absences, residents are expected to cover each other’s ambulatory patients and, in some settings, cover inpatient responsibilities as well.
  • In general, the impact of one resident’s leave on his or her colleagues in minimal. We make every effort to maintain the integrity each resident’s experience.

What is the frequency of call? How are residents taught and supervised during call? What does the resident learn from being on call?

  • Psychiatry call is divided into four types:
    • Emergency Department Call/Coverage
    • Consult Liaison Coverage
    • Inpatient Coverage
    • Inpatient Day Call
  • Call is distributed in decreasing frequency:
    • PGY-1: Four shifts per month (ED call)
    • PGY-2: Four shifts per month (ED call)
    • PGY-3: Three shifts per month (ED call)
    • PGY-4: Two “junior attending” shifts per month (ED call)

Please note: All residents have at least one 24-hour period free of duties each week.

How is the teaching of Psychotherapy (supervision, didactic, existence of role models, diversity of theories, i.e., CPT, IPT, psychodynamic, family, couples, group) integrated into your program? At what stage of training do residents begin to care for patients in longer-term psychotherapy models? How many long-term cases do your residents typically care?


  • Psychotherapy training is a core component of the training mission. Our curriculum unfolds over the four years of training.
  • Foundations are established starting in the PGY-1 year, with graduated classroom didactics to build knowledge and skills in short- and long-term psychodynamic, cognitive/behavioral, group, family and supportive therapies.
  • Integral to psychotherapy training are individual supervision experiences and senior psychotherapy conferences offered by an award-winning senior faculty member.
  • Among the many goals of the Psychotherapy Consult Clinic are to teach residents how to:
    • Gather data necessary to make a psychotherapy prescription
    • Work collaboratively in the care of patients with non-physician therapists who may be conducting psychotherapy with patients.

Longer-Term Psychotherapy Training

  • In Rochester Psychiatric Center’s inpatient units, longer-term psychotherapies are typically a part of treatment and rehabilitation plans.
    • Residents begin with two long-term ambulatory psychodynamic cases in the PGY-2 year.
    • Clinic caseloads in the PGY-3 and PGY-4 include many patients receiving various forms of psychotherapy (e.g., psychodynamic, supportive, brief, cognitive-behavioral) as part of the treatment plans.
    • At least two long-term psychodynamic cases are to be maintained between PGY-2 and PGY-4.
    • One psychotherapy supervisor is assigned in the PGY-2 and PGY-3 year. PGY-4 residents are given the option of having an additional supervisor. Third-year residents receive group supervision of child cases from a senior member of the child faculty.

Family Therapy

  • Family therapy supervision occurs in the context of the seminar and practicum in the PGY-3 year.  Additional psychotherapy supervision occurs with the resident’s preceptor and with service-based attendings.
  • Certification in family therapies and group therapies is possible through elective course work.

Is the resident’s well-being – the balance between professional and personal activities – respected in your program?

  • Although we demand a great deal of residents, we also respect the need for a proper balance between professional and personal lives to maintain a healthy learning environment.  We encourage the residents’ involvement in extracurricular community service activities including:
    • The “Strong Minds” program in the Rochester City School District
    • American Red Cross disaster relief work
    • St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center Free Mental Health Clinic

To what extent do your residents interact with each other over the course of the four years of training? Do senior residents act as mentors for junior residents? Are activities built into the program that bring residents from different level together? How is the critical concept of mentoring integrated into the overall management of the Department? Are senior faculty members available for the teaching of their junior colleagues?

Interactions in General

  • Because ours is a small program, we strongly encourage interactions between residents across the four years of training.
  • Several years ago, we modified the choice of training sites and curriculum to better accommodate mentorship of junior residents by their more senior colleagues. Specifically, PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents now rotate together on the same inpatient service and a senior resident is often available to supervise and mentor.
  • A senior resident is typically available to supervise and mentor during the PGY-3 rotation at Strong Ties, our long-term care program.

Resident Luncheon Series

  • A program-sponsored Resident’s Luncheon, led by the chief resident, takes place each Tuesday. The Training Director and Co-Director are invited once a month to discuss problematic issues, review curriculum, schedules, policy changes and make course corrections to optimize the program.


  • Mentorship is heavily emphasized in the department.  Junior faculty are required to identify and work with a more senior faculty mentor in the creation of a career development plan.  Our mentorship plan was used as a model for the medical school.

Academic Development Awards

  • The Department sponsors the “Otto Thaler Award” for developing junior faculty as teachers, as well as the “Leonard Salzman Award,” enabling faculty to develop clinical or basic science research.

Resident Resource Room

  • A space developed by the Department – solely for resident’s use – to provide a comfortable setting that fosters camaraderie and scholarship.

To what extent do trainees have input into the organization, evaluation and evolution of the training program? Is there a Resident Association? Do residents have a retreat during the training year?

  • Residents are valued contributors to our Curriculum Committee, Selections Committee and a variety of other ad-hoc sub-committees convened to examine educational issues.
  • The Residents’ Council, composed of the chief resident and representatives from each year of training is an important means by which residents may have input into the program’s design and administration. There are numerous examples of program modifications over the last several years, both minor and substantial, that have resulted from the residents’ input.
  • Residents also have input via the Residents’ Luncheon Meeting with the training director and co-director once a month.
  • In addition, the residents have two day-long, off-site retreats each year. These time-honored gatherings are another important means for building cohesion among the group and providing the department’s administration with valuable feedback.

How are co-curricular activities supported by your program (i.e., research, policy training, organized medicine, off-site relations, and community service)? What opportunities exist for training in forensic psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry?

Co-Curricular Activities

  • Residents are encouraged to become involved in research sponsored by faculty members and supported by their grants.
  • Residents can also apply to the Department Chair for funds to support specific, innovative projects. The program enables residents’ involvement in a variety of extra-curricular activities.
  • Community involvement at the St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center Free Mental Health Clinic has been a rewarding experience for residents and attendings who have volunteered there on Thursdays nights for more than five years.

Special Opportunities

  • Our department sponsors ACGME accredited fellowships in:
    • Forensic psychiatry
    • Child and adolescent psychiatry
    • Geriatric psychiatry

During general training, forensic psychiatry is a required rotation on ambulatory basis in the PGY-3 year. Residents rotate through our inpatient child and adolescent unit for two months in the PGY-2 year and continue working with children on an ambulatory basis with child psychiatry supervision thereafter. A one-month rotation in inpatient geriatric psychiatry is required during the PGY-2 year.