September 4, 2001
First community psychiatry fellows begin program
By Alicia Sands Lurry
One of the first of its kind in the United States, the School of Medicines
Psychiatrists Community Mental Health/Public Health Fellowship Program
launched July 2, providing psychiatry residents with the opportunity to
earn a masters of public health and receive advanced training in
community mental health. This years fellows are Michael Compton
and Monica Taylor.
The idea for the two-year program was originally conceived by Steven
Levy, professor and chief of psychiatry at Grady Hospital. The program
is being implemented by Leanne Raison, an Emory community psychiatrist,
and Carol Levy, clinical coordinator at the Emory Outpatient Psychother-apy
The programs intent is to train fellows to serve as leaders, role
models, service providers, planners and researchers in the community psychiatry
and public mental health arena. It will emphasize preventing the sequelae
of severe mental illness including homelessness, substance abuse, isolation,
legal problems and social stigmatization.
Fellows will receive integrated experiences in community mental health
settings that offer comprehensive practice, education and research opportunities.
They also will complete the program during their PG-4 year of psychiatric
residency with an additional year of fellowship, or in two years as a
This program will be a nice academic addition that will establish
community psychiatry as an academic division within the Department of
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, said Compton, who recently completed
his medical residency. I hope it will be a way to train researchers,
clinicians and administrators in community psychiatry. The patients we
are serving are the most severe, but they are underrepresented and underserved
and not socially understood. We need people who understand how to treat
patients and how to help others understand them as well.
Taylor, a fourth-year medical resident, also is enthused about the fellowship.
For me, its the perfect opportunity to gain management and
community-oriented skills and to begin integrating the two, she
Throughout the program, Compton and Taylor will complete their activities
through the public psychiatry section at Grady Health System and other
designated sites. They also will complete coursework at the School of
Public Health leading to the MPH degree.
The first year of the fellowship, for example, features a broad-based
community mental health experience, including providing clinical services
as well as administration, planning and program development. Possible
areas of clinical service activity include working with a multiagency
collaboration to provide mental health care for the homeless; participating
in innovative clinical programs for treatment-resistant patients; and
administering outpatient care to the incarcerated mentally
ill. Fellows also will assist in coordinating care for patients in these
alternative settings with more traditional programs already in existence
Prior to the start of the second year of the fellowship, each fellow
will meet with his or her designated advisor to develop a clinical project
in a particular area of interest consistent with the goals of the fellowship.
This project will culminate in a special studies project or thesis in
collaboration with advisory faculty at the School of Public Health.
We see this as an opportunity to encourage more psychiatrists to enter the fields of public health and community health, said Raison, who serves as medical director of the fellowship program. We hope to create leaders in the field of psychiatry to treat mental illness in different community settings. We also hope to produce researchers who will help identify risk factors which can help ultimately to prevent these illnesses.