The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship received accreditation in May 2021 for four fellows to begin in academic year 2022-2023. These four fellows will join an adult residency program of 24 residents and a rural psychiatry residency program of 16 residents. In addition, we have an excellent group of psychology faculty members who will teach and provide supervision for our fellows in psychotherapy. Fellows will also have the chance to interact with learners at the intern and post-doctorate levels of training. The recent merger with The University of Texas at Tyler has afforded new opportunities to collaborate with the schools of social work, pharmacy and nursing to enhance excellent care for our patient population.
A core feature of the fellowship focuses on the experience in our child and adolescent/family psychiatry clinic. Fellows will be able to see outpatients a minimum of two afternoons a week throughout the fellowship. In addition to learning about psychopharmacology, fellows will be able to follow patients for psychotherapy, continuing as needed for the duration of their training. We view psychopharmacology as one tool among many in child psychiatry. Fellows will learn about evidence-based psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy and applied behavioral analysis (ABA). As a part of this experience, the fellows will meet with psychiatry and psychology faculty for one hour twice a week to discuss issues regarding individual cases, evidence-based psychotherapeutic techniques, indications for the use of targeted pharmacotherapy, limits of confidentiality and the challenge of establishing a therapeutic alliance with both patients and their families. This group experience will allow our fellows to have emotional and professional support as they begin the process of forging their identities as child psychiatrists.
Advocacy is a key part of child psychiatry. Healthcare inequities, social inequality, and barriers related to race, language and ethnicity are routinely addressed in the treatment of children and their families. Our program has a special interest in the issues of child maltreatment and violence. The Trauma and Abuse Services for Kids (TASK) program is an initiative of the Texas legislature and offers services to children in the local Child Advocacy Centers (CACs). As a part of the forensic experience, fellows will be able to participate in child abuse exams and accompany practitioners to court when appropriate. They will also be able to work with these children and their families as they undergo evidence-based treatment modalities such as Trauma-focused CBT.
The inpatient child and adolescent experience is at Terrell State Hospital (TSH). Fellows will rotate there along with residents in the adult program. TSH has programs for geriatric patients, adults, children and adolescents. The fellows will also get the opportunity to work on the consult/liaison service for the pediatric unit at The UT Health hospital downtown and serve as consultants to our local school districts through our TCHATT program. We work closely with our local mental health centers as well, such as the Andrews Center and Lakes Regional Mental Health Center. The CPAN program allows our fellows to work directly with primary care providers, offering consultation in real time. Fellows will also have opportunities to offer continuing medical education activities for our colleagues in pediatrics and family medicine.