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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 Medicine’s Psychiatrists Community Mental Health/Public Health Fellowship Program launched July 2, providing psychiatry residents with the opportunity to earn a master’s of public health and receive advanced training in community mental health. This year’s 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 Program.

The program’s 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 post-residency fellow.

“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, it’s the perfect opportunity to gain management and community-oriented skills and to begin integrating the two,” she said.

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 at Grady.

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.”


Back to Emory Report September 4, 2001