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Dept. of Psychiatry

To prospective residents,

Welcome to Education in the Psychiatric Research Institute (PRI), UAMS College of Medicine! If you're looking for a residency program with excellent faculty and facilities, extensive research opportunities and fellowships in child/adolescent, forensic, addiction, and geriatric psychiatry, you may have found your future home. Our Department is one of the major psychiatric research, education, and clinical care centers in the region and our students and residents are among the best trained, and happiest, you'll ever find. Our educational programs, from medical student education to our psychiatry residency and fellowship programs and our psychology internship, are respected both locally and nationally and are an integral part of the Department. With over 100 faculty at various training sites including the new (and beautiful) Psychiatric Research Institute, the impressive (and also new) Arkansas State Hospital, the Central Arkansas Veterans Health System, the Arkansas Children's Hospital, the Little Rock Community Mental Health Center, and several other associated clinics, our students, interns, residents, and fellows are trained in mental health treatment across all systems and throughout the continuum of care.

Our faculty are heavily involved in all aspects of the medical school curriculum. In the second-year Behavioral Science course, directed by Larry Labbate, MD, students’ NBME scores on the Behavioral Science exam have been for many years among the highest of all the basic science courses. Junior medical students also rotate through a six-week Psychiatry clerkship with Shanna Palmer, MD, at the helm. The clerkship has been the highest rated clerkship at UAMS for the last decade and scores on the NBME Psychiatry subject examination have been well above the national average and the highest of all the UAMS clerkships for more than five years. Puru Thapa, MD, Director of Training at the Arkansas State Hospital, has won the College of Medicine’s Golden Apple award, given to the best clinical teacher in the College of Medicine, more than any other faculty member at UAMS. A strong foundation in undergraduate medical education from our faculty is certainly part of the reason our medical students choose to go into psychiatry in such large numbers. In fact, UAMS is the only medical school in the country to be ranked among the national leaders in recruiting students to psychiatry for all years this data has been reported, from 2004-05 to 2008-09 (for more information click here). A recent article in the Psychiatric News allowed me to speculate why psychiatry is so popular here among our students.

Our psychiatric residency program is recognized as one of the strongest in the region. Residents learn in a supportive environment with faculty that are passionate about teaching. Our College of Medicine offers tenure-track positions for clinician-educator faculty, allowing us to recruit some of the best teachers in the country. Our faculty include recent winners of the College’s Master Teacher, Educational Innovation and Educational Research awards (the 3 major educational awards given annually to UAMS faculty). Our Program Director Ben Guise received the UAMS College of Medicine Residency Educator award in 2008 and 2009 and our residents have been recognized for their excellence with recent winners of the American College of Psychiatrists’ Laughlin Fellowship, the AADPRT Ginsberg Fellowship and the Association for Academic Psychiatry Fellowship awards. 

To take advantage of our rapidly expanding research programs, the residency offers a research track for those interested in an academic research career.  Residents typically work with faculty from one of PRI's three research divisions: the Center for Addiction Research, the Division of Health Services Research, or the new Brain Imaging Research Center. Graduates from the research track have gone on to our own NIMH and VA-funded research fellowships, become Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars (two in the last several years), and/or receive federal funding (NIMH, VA and DOD) for their own research projects.

For residents interested in furthering their psychotherapy training beyond the general residency curriculum, the Psychotherapy Training Institute offers more in-depth training in evidence-based psychotherapy and is available to our residents during the PGY3 and 4 years at no cost. Additionally, as stated above, we also offer ACGME-approved fellowships in child/adolescent, forensic, addiction, and geriatric psychiatry and also offer a postgraduate fellowship in psychosocial rehabilitation.

As you can see, we have all the opportunities offered by the largest residency programs in the country but maintain our medium-size, with eight residents per year, and supportive, family-friendly atmosphere. We look forward to meeting you if your interview trail winds through Little Rock.

John Spollen, MD
Vice Chair for Education


4301 W. Markham, Slot 554, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
501.526.8100, 501.526.8199 – fax.