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Teaching Psychopharmacology: What Works and What Doesn't

Zisook, Sidney MD*; Glick, Ira D. MD; Jefferson, James W. MD; Wagner, Karen Dineen MD, PhD§; Salzman, Carl MD; Peselow, Eric D. MD; Stahl, Stephen MD*#

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: February 2008 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 96-100
doi: 10.1097/jcp.0b013e3181603f6b
Brief Reports

How do we best teach clinical psychopharmacology to trainees and clinicians, so they not only increase their knowledge base, but even more importantly also learn to practice the most informed, evidence-based practice possible? This article attempts to answer this elusive question by compiling the individual and combined wisdom of 5 expert psychopharmacology teachers, each of whom draws on years of their own experiences as master educators. The topics covered include teaching clinical psychopharmacological competence in adult psychiatry residency training and in issues specific to both pediatric and geriatric populations, teaching physicians to improve clinical outcomes through continuing medical education, and new developments in adult-centered pedagogy and assessment. Although the focus of this article is on practical pearls found useful in teaching psychiatric residents and practicing physicians, the lessons learned are applicable to other groups of learners such as medical students, other trainees, and nonmedical clinicians. Our goal is to help educators produce competent psychopharmacology clinicians schooled in the latest evidence, capable of keeping up with new knowledge as it becomes available, and practicing both the art and science of expert clinical care.

*Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla; †Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA; ‡Department of Psychiatry, Madison Institute of Medicine, Inc, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI; §Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX; ∥Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; ¶Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY; and #Neuroscience Education Institute, Carlsbad, CA.

Received April 18, 2007; accepted after revision September 19, 2007.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Sidney Zisook, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr, 9116A, La Jolla, CA 92093. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.