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Psychiatry Curriculum and Affiliations

Our program prioritizes our residents’ education by having protected time for all-day didactics on Wednesdays, which includes lectures, case conferences, grand rounds, review sessions for the in-service exam and scholarly activity.

The PGY 1 and PGY 2 rotations focus on the inpatient experience. During the PGY 3 and PGY 4 years our residents hone their psychotherapy skills while providing outpatient care.

This well-rounded education provided by faculty who have expertise in their specific areas results in high-quality, well-trained residents.

The PGY 1 year is designed to introduce the resident to the essentials of medical and psychiatric care through a comprehensive program of structured clinical services, on-call experiences, and lectures. This includes a 6-month block of medicine training and 6 months of psychiatry training. Medical rotations are within Valleywise Health Medical Center in Phoenix. Psychiatric rotations are at either Valleywise Behavioral Health Center (VBHC) Mesa or Phoenix. Schedules on all medicine rotations are arranged around On Call shifts and weekly Wednesday Didactic days at VBHC-Mesa

  • Inpatient Adult Psychiatry: 5 months at VBHC-Mesa and Phoenix
  • Night Float: 1 month at VBHC-Mesa
  • Emergency Medicine: 1 month at Valleywise Health Medical Center
  • Internal Medicine Consult Service: 1 month at Valleywise Health Medical Center
  • Internal Medicine Outpatient Clinic: 2 months at various Valleywise Community Health Centers
  • Inpatient Neurology: 1 month between Valleywise Health Medical Center, Valleywise Health Comprehensive Healthcare Center-Phoenix
  • Inpatient/Outpatient Neurology: 1 month at Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI)

Didactic Courses

  • Introductory Psychiatric Toolbox
  • History of Psychiatry
  • Evidence Based Medicine Psychiatry and Research Methods 
  • Views of Mind: Cognitive, Behavioral, Psychodynamic Theories
  • Psychiatric Interviewing
  • Neurology
  • Introduction to Neurobiology
  • Psychopharmacology I
  • PGY1 Boot Camp
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Psychiatric Syndromes and Therapeutics I (Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders)
  • Personality Disorders
  • Community Resources
  • Psychological Testing
  • Behavioralism
  • Introduction to Child Psychiatry
  • Psychiatry Residency In-Training Examination (PRITE) Review

The PGY-2 year is considered to be a transitional period between the inpatient and outpatient modalities. The resident is expected to consolidate skills in the assessment of acutely ill patients and to assume greater responsibilities as a team leader. Schedules on all rotations are arranged around On Call shifts and weekly Wednesday Didactic days at VBHC-Mesa.

  • Inpatient Adult Psychiatry: 2 months at VBHC-Mesa and Phoenix
  • Forensic Psychiatry: 2 months at Arizona State Hospital (ASH) with ECT exposure at VBHC-Phoenix during forensic rotation at ASH.
  • Consultation/Liaison Service: 2 months at Valleywise Health Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
  • Geriatric Psychiatry: 2 months at VBHC-Phoenix
  • Emergency Psychiatry: 2 months at Valleywise Medical Health Center
  • Night Float: 1 month at VBHC-Mesa
  • Inpatient Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: 1 month at VBHC-Mesa Adolescent Unit
  • Addiction Psychiatry: 1 month at Carl T. Hayden Medical Center

Didactic Courses

  • Human Development and Interruptions of Normal Development
  • Introduction to Psychotherapy
  • Supportive Psychotherapy
  • History of Psychiatry
  • Think Tank-Introduction to Research
  • Psychopharmacology II
  • Psychiatric Syndromes and Therapeutics II
  • Mortality and Morbidity (M&M)
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Introduction to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Introduction to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Legal
  • Psychiatry Residency In-Training Examination (PRITE) Review

The PGY-3 year is a longitudinal outpatient experience, designed to allow the resident to gain experience in a variety of outpatient psychiatric modalities. The major emphasis is on continuity of care, and experiences are designed to span the entire 12-month period. The resident assumes primary psychiatric care for outpatients in a number of different settings. Residents spend time each week treating patients with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy at one of several community-based mental health clinics and at the VBHC-Mesa Resident Outpatient Clinic (ROC). 

  • Outpatient Clinic: 12 months at VBHC-Mesa ROC
  • Community Outpatient Clinic Selective: 6 months at St Vincent de Paul and VA Clinic
  • Seriously Mentally Ill (SMI) Outpatient Clinic Selective: 6 months at either COPA Health Metro ACT Team, Southwest Network-Northern Star Clinic, Community Partners Integrated Health, Valleywise Health-First Episode Center, Valleywise Health Riverview ACT Team, Valleywise Health-Mesa Behavioral Health Specialty Clinic

Didactic Courses

  • Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychopharmacology
  • Brief Psychotherapies
  • Career Planning
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Marital Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Process/Group Therapy
  • Outpatient Psychopharmacology
  • Psychodynamic Therapy and Case Conference
  • Advanced Biological Psychiatry
  • Administrative Psychiatry/Quality Improvement Project
  • Outpatient Psychopharmacology
  • Psychiatry Residency In-Training Examination (PRITE) Review

The PGY-4 year is conceptualized as a time to consolidate the resident's sense of professional identity and to provide experiences that emulate post-graduate practice activities. Residents are expected to rotate through both child psychiatry and administrative psychiatry, with ample time provided for elective experiences, catered to each resident's choices. New rotation electives are frequently added, as new opportunities become available in the community. With enough notice, elective rotations can be customized to meet a resident’s specific educational needs and professional interests.

  • Outpatient Clinic: 12 months at the VBHC-Mesa ROC
  • Administrative Psychiatry Selective: 1 month at Valleywise Health/District Medical Group Chair of Psychiatry, Outpatient Medical Director, Inpatient Medical Director, private practice CMO/CEO)
  • Child Psychiatry Selective: 1 month at Job Corps, Devereux, Southwest Human Development
  • Outpatient Clinic Electives: Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, private practice, Mayo Clinic, Lamoureux Forensic, Neuropsychiatry at BNI, Caplan & Associates
  • Inpatient Elective Electives: VBHC-Mesa/Phoenix/Maryvale, Banner Behavioral Health Hospital

Didactic Courses

  • Advanced Biological Psychiatry
  • Career Planning
  • Administrative Psychiatry
  • Psychodynamic Therapy and Case Conference
  • DBT Consultation Group
  • Culture and Psychiatry
  • Board Review, Psychiatry
  • Board Review, Neurology
  • Process/Group Therapy
  • Customized Learning Experience
  • Independent Study
  • Psychiatry Residency In-Training Examination (PRITE) Review


Our program is a collaborative effort of Creighton University School of Medicine, Valleywise Health and Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.

Valleywise Behavioral Health Center (VBHC)-Mesa is in Mesa located in the East Valley conveniently located on W. Brown Rd. and N. Country Club Dr., this facility is a 127-bed psychiatric hospital. The Department and Program are based in VBHC-Mesa which opened in 2001 with facilities for teaching and clinical service. The Center has five inpatient adult units and an adolescent unit for voluntary and involuntary psychiatric treatment. VBHC-Mesa also has a resident run outpatient clinic. Resident physicians have their own offices and multiple classrooms are available for teaching and quiet study breaks.

VBHC-Phoenix is in Phoenix adjacent to the Valleywise Health Medical Center. It has 75 beds and includes a geriatric psychiatry unit and unit for medically complex patients. The consultation-liaison and emergency psychiatry services are also located in the Valleywise Health Center.

VBHC-Maryvale is in Maryvale in the West Valley conveniently located at 51st Ave. and Campbell Ave., this facility has 192 general psychiatric beds.

Valleywise Mental and Behavioral Health Services: Mental and Behavioral Health Services | Valleywise Health

St. Joseph’s is a nationally recognized center for quality tertiary care, medical education and research. It includes the internationally renowned Barrow Neurological Institute®, the Norton Thoracic Institute, Center for Women's Health, the Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, and a Level I Trauma Center verified by the American College of Surgeons. The hospital is also a respected center for orthopedics, internal medicine, primary care and many other medical services. U.S. News & World Report routinely ranks St. Joseph’s among the top hospitals in the United States for neurology and neurosurgery.

Founded in 1895 by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph’s was the first hospital in the Phoenix area. The hospital is part of Dignity Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in the West with more than 40 hospitals in Arizona, California and Nevada. Our 595-bed, not-for-profit hospital provides a wide range of health, social and support services.

St. Joe’s Behavioral Health: Psychiatry | St. Joseph's Hospital & Medical Center | Dignity Health