The adult psychiatry training at the University of Minnesota is a traditional four-year program grounded in the medical identity of psychiatry and emphasizing the interplay of heredity and experience in producing mental disorders. Meet the Residency Program Director, Lora Wichser, MD.
Vision and Values
The mission of the Department of Psychiatry is to educate University of Minnesota medical students, residents, and fellows in the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential to the practice of psychiatry, to advance our understanding of the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders, and to serve residents of Minnesota through clinical expertise.
The mission of our residency training program is to impart the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of a general psychiatrist to sensitively meet the needs of our patients and the various disciplines we serve. Effective psychiatric practice requires a thorough grounding in both knowledge and clinical skills. Residents are encouraged to critically examine contemporary assumptions about the causes of behavior, as well as our methods of diagnosis and treatment. The University of Minnesota provides an opportunity to study with a knowledgeable faculty dedicated to excellence in clinical psychiatry, education, and research.
As teachers, our faculty members are committed to a training program that directly links psychiatry to medicine, yet emphasizes the unique features of psychiatry. Our residency program stresses integration of the genetic, experiential, and ecological factors relevant to all disorders. This orientation is one in which established theories and empirical studies are presented and critically re-examined in the light of new data and ideas. Throughout the training program, our central aim is to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes through the care and study of patients, while under close faculty supervision.
The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences condemns racism, discrimination, and oppression in all forms. We affirm that racism and oppression are public health crises with serious mental health consequences for the communities we serve.
We commit to listen to and promote Black, Indigenous and people of color. We also commit to amplify their calls for change. We have work to do. We are part of a system that has allowed racial disparities in medical outcomes to persist for far too long.
We affirm the Joint Statement on Antiracism put forth by the Association for Academic Psychiatry that condemns the long history of structural racism in our institutions. As psychiatrists and educators, we pledge to take the lead in educating ourselves and others to address these issues head-on.
Our work is guided by the following principles:
Amplify the voices of those most directly affected by racism and oppression to restore justice. Racism and oppression are not their responsibility to solve; the responsibility to dismantle racism falls on those who have benefited from it
Ensure a just, equitable, and inclusive educational, clinical, and research environment. Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s mission statement and ongoing initiatives address diversity in all forms as the path to excellence in each of our mission areas
Take all needed steps to identify and dismantle unjust and inequitable systems, as individuals and collectively. This includes systems of white supremacy, a political or socioeconomic system in which white people benefit from a structural advantage (privilege) over other ethnic groups, on both a collective and individual level, and other forms of oppression and discrimination within our medical school, our university, and society at large.
In line with these departmental principles, the UMN Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Education Council commits to the following actions:
Lead and engage in national conversations on racial justice and the dismantlement of systems of white supremacy in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences based on what we have learned by listening to Black, Indigenous, and people of color in Minnesota following the killing of George Floyd as a result of police brutality by former members of the Minneapolis Police Department. Additionally, we will author and post a statement naming George Floyd and summarizing these perspectives.
Affirm and broadcast our anti-racism statement and action steps on our websites, social media accounts, and other internal and external communications
Implement the curriculum developed by the American Psychiatric Association Black Caucus, entitled, “Stress and Trauma Toolkit: for Treating Historically Marginalized Populations in a Changing Political and Social Environment” in Departmental graduate medical education programs
Engage in proactive outreach, support, and mentorship of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, including current trainees, matched trainees and applicants engaged in the recruitment process
Use the lens of diversity as a driving factor during recruitment and applicant ranking activities, utilizing best practices as outlined by the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Diversity & Inclusion
The University of Minnesota Psychiatry Residency Program is committed to training a diverse generation of future psychiatrists. We firmly believe that practitioners should represent multiple backgrounds, life experiences, and viewpoints to best serve our patients and advance the field of psychiatry. Our recruitment process is mindful of every applicant’s complex background including racial identity, ethnic identity, sexual identity, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and geography. We actively recruit and support diverse residents with an understanding that these residents will strengthen our program, enhance our delivery of patient care, and foster change to reduce healthcare disparities.
Current residents benefit from the work of our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Thread Lead who is responsible for supporting residents from diverse backgrounds, developing curricular and outreach projects, and representing the residency program at the departmental D&I Committee. For further questions on this initiative, please contact our current D&I Thread Lead Rachel Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also contact our current residents with any additional questions about the residency experiences (see the side bar on that page).
Additional information about Diversity & Inclusion priorities through our Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences can be found here.
Additional resources for medical students and prospective residents:
- 5 keys to navigating the residency Match as an LGBTQ applicant – American Medical Association
- Key tips for medical residents facing microaggressions – American Medical Association
- Racism and Medical Education: Telling the Full Story – American Association of Medical Colleges
Physician Scientist Track
Physician Scientist Track
The purpose of the Physician Scientist track of the University of Minnesota Psychiatry Residency Program is to train the next generation of psychiatrists focused on pushing the boundaries of the specialty through world-class research. Psychiatry is at a critical threshold, one in which the current models of psychopathology, nosology, and clinical decision-making are about to undergo a significant disruption. This disruption will result from a deeper understanding of neuroplasticity processes in health and disease. To facilitate this advancement, we require an exceptionally trained workforce with a strong background in research.
Few residency programs feature a formal Physician Scientist track that facilitates the junior researcher’s path to achieve independence — and put them well on their way to being awarded their first RO1 grant. Without such a program, each resident faces the nearly impossible task of building a research training curriculum themselves while still completing all clinical training requirements. Thus, our Physician Scientist track was created to facilitate uninterrupted development of early career physician-scientists without a long hiatus from research.
Our program offers one of the most generous research schedules, especially early in residency. This allows the trainee to lay the foundation for their research work right away, enabling more substantial and successful outcomes over the course of their training. We also focus on fostering strong mentor relationships to help guide residents toward becoming independent researchers.
This program has three goals:
- Facilitate the rapid transition of psychiatric physician scientists to independent investigator status, knowing talented young MD researchers can be discouraged by lengthy clinical training that disrupts their scientific development
- Leverage the research infrastructure of the University of Minnesota to provide the best possible research training environment
- Increase the number and diversity of highly qualified psychiatric physician scientists.
Poster by Dr. A. Irem Sonmez, MD, titled: "Modeling Response Trajectories of TMS in Individuals with Depression". There are still unknowns in efficacy of TMS in naturalistic settings. Here they performed a trajectory modeling from the University of Minnesota neuromodulation clinic. Results were in line with two previously published results from similar clinical settings. Results may be helpful for clinicians to predict treatment response and target engagement earlier.
Poster by Dr. A. Irem Sonmez, MD, titled: "Concurrent benzodiazepine use and TMS clinical outcomes". Benzodiazepines have moderate variable effects on plasticity and negligible effects on cortical excitability. Retrospectively analyzed clinical data from University of Minnesota neuromodulation clinic. Results showed that benzodiazepines users were more likely to be classified in the non-response and delayed response trajectories. Results signify that benzodiazepine exposure may affect the trajectory but not likely to affect likelihood of remission or response.
Poster by Dr. A. Irem Sonmez, MD, titled: "Changes in Sleep with rTMS in Adults with TRD: Preliminary Results From a Naturalistic Study". Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) may improve associated sleep disturbances. Retrospectively reviewed de-identified data of patients who underwent an acute course of rTMS treatment at University of Minnesota Neuromodulation clinic. Results may suggest that improvement in insomnia is via improvement in depression severity. Improvement in hypersomnia may be due to intrinsic activating effects of rTMS, regardless of improvement in depression.
PsychResChat poster: accepted for the APA 2020 conference showcasing data on how a Twitter platform for trainees co-founded by Dr. Tolu Odebunmi and Dr. Christina Warner designed to improve resident wellbeing
Poster by Stephanie Wick, DO, demonstrates actions of the APPLE (Advanced Psychiatry Pathways Longitudinal Experience) task force, which is a collaborative group focused on resident wellness, curriculum redesign, and easing change related stress amongst residents.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a PhD to be eligible for the Physician Scientist track?
No, we do, however, look for significant research experience as a prime requirement; as such, the quality and quantity of publications are the most important criteria for acceptance. Though a PhD or MSc in a relevant field is certainly an asset and is considered.
What research topics are eligible for the Physician Scientist track?
The University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry has a broad range of active research programs and mentors with whom you could be matched. Areas of particular strength include neuromodulation, neuroimaging, and computational psychiatry. All residents on this track are expected to apply for NIH funding in PGY4 or earlier. Your research topic must align with NIH’s goals.
Do I need to have US citizenship/Green card to be eligible?
No, we do, however, require you to apply for an NIH research grant in PGY4 (NIH Guidelines). If you expect to have a temporary visa for the duration of your residency, you will be expected to apply to the K99/R00 mechanism.
If I join the Physician Scientist track but want to convert to the Clinician Scholar track later on, is this possible?
Yes, while we are looking for candidates who are interested in a research career, we recognize that this is not a good fit for everyone and an "off ramp" to the Clinician Scholar track is possible if your career trajectory changes.
What does a typical schedule for the Physician Scientist track look like?
The psychiatry inpatient teams are called Blue, Green, Gold, and Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The Blue and Green teams work primarily with patients suffering from a Psychotic Illness. The Gold team works primarily with patients suffering from Mood Disorders and Chemical Dependency. The Psychiatric ICU serves patients with high acuity mental health issues. UMMC Riverside is also home to the Behavioral Emergency Center (a dedicated psychiatric emergency room for children, adolescents, and adults), inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP), and a CAP partial hospitalization program.
Outpatient psychotherapy, beginning in PGY2, is located on the UMMC Riverside Campus. Residents will also rotate through specialized services here such as ECT and Chemical Dependency.
Masonic Children's Hospital
The University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital hosts the Pediatrics rotation intern year. Residents serve on the General Pediatrics Team which consists of an attending physician, a senior resident, a pediatrics intern, and up to 2 medical students. The number of patients residents see daily depends on the season, generally ranging from 5-20.
Masonic is also the site of the Adolescent Dual Diagnosis (Mental Illness and Chemical Dependency) inpatient unit.
VA Medical Center
While at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System residents work on Unit 1K during the inpatient Psychiatry experience. VA teams consist of an attending physician, 1-2 medical students, a case manager and rotating nurses. The team manages 8 patients at a time.
During the Internal Medicine experience at the VA, residents work with an attending physician on a Hospitalist service with an occasional medical student. The team manages up to 10-16 patients with a variety of health issues.
Interns also complete their Neurology requirement at the VA. Residents are part of the Neurology Consult team with 1-2 senior Neurology residents and 2-3 medical students. Psychiatry interns typically see 1-2 Neurology clinic patients per day in addition to inpatient consults.
After intern year residents return to the VA for electives in Geropsychiatry and Consult/Liaison in PGY2. Residents also complete 24 hour call shifts at the VA their second year. Multiple elective opportunities are offered at the VA for PGY3 and PGY4 residents (see “Electives.”)
ARTC and St. Peter State Hospital
Residents complete their Forensic Psychiatry rotation at the Anoka Regional Treatment Center (ARTC) and St. Peter State Hospital, as well as through the Hennepin Country Court System. The ARTC is a 200-bed psychiatric hospital located in Anoka, Minnesota (approximately 45 minutes north of the Twin Cities) for patients with severe mental illness. Located near Mankato, Minnesota (approximately 75 minutes west of the Twin Cities), the St. Peter State Hospital is a 360-bed hospital for patients with severe mental illness and/or patients deemed to be extremely dangerous.
Located in St. Louis Park (approximately 15 minutes west of the Twin Cities), the Mental Health Neuromodulation Clinic is a state-of-the-art facility for treatment resistant depression. Residents have the opportunity to work with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), ketamine, ECT, and vagus nerve stimulation while working on an interdisciplinary team of Family Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry physicians.
Residents have the opportunity to rotate through various clinics and services for community, public, and integrative psychiatry exposure.
The Community University Health Care Center (CUHCC) is a federally qualified health care center specializing in integrative primary care center that largely serves the Hmong, Somali, and Native American populations of Hennepin County. The clinic offers medical, dental, mental health, advocacy, legal, and other programs. Further integrative care opportunities are available through the Fairview Integrated Primary Care Clinic on the UMMC Riverside Campus or various Fairview Primary Care clinics (e.g. Smiley’s Family Medicine Clinic.)
Residents who would like exposure to Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) services have the opportunity to rotate with Guild Assertive Treatment Services based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Exposure to private mental health care systems such as Prairie Care and Canvas Health are also available.
Salary And Benefits
Salary And Benefits
- 15 days per year (PGY1 and 2)
- 20 days per year (PGY3 and 4)
- Sick Days: 10 days per year
- Conference Days: 5 days per year (can be used for Step/COMLEX/Board prep)
- Salary (UMN GME 2019-2020)
- PGY1: 55,762
- PGY2: 57,478
- PGY3: 59,456
- PGY4: 61,580
- Conference Travel Fund: up to $1000 in grant support for academic conference participation (travel, registration fees, lodging, and/or transportation) for residents presenting at local, regional, or national conferences.
- Book Fund
- PGY1: $350 per year
- PGY2 – 4: $100 per year
- White coats provided with free dry cleaning at the VA
- Meal cards provided for inpatient rotations
- UMMC ($900/year)
- VAMC ($75/month)
- Parking is free at both the UMMC and VAMC
- Medical, dental, disability and life insurance are offered thought the University of Minnesota GME Office in addition to optional flexible spending accounts and voluntary retirement options. For more information on UMN GME benefits please go to: https://shb.umn.edu/health-plans/rfi
Program Faculty and Staff
VA Training Programs Coordinator