New psychiatry residency program approved at UNMC

by Derek Sullivan, UNMC Department of Psychiatry | March 04, 2019

Image with caption: Daniel Gih, M.D., and Jeana Benton, M.D., will lead the new residency program within the UNMC Department of Psychiatry as program director and assistant program director.

Daniel Gih, M.D., and Jeana Benton, M.D., will lead the new residency program within the UNMC Department of Psychiatry as program director and assistant program director.

A newly approved psychiatry residency program will serve Nebraska's behavioral health needs for decades to come, said UNMC Department of Psychiatry Chair Howard Liu, M.D.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) approved the UNMC Department of Psychiatry's application to start a psychiatry residency program in February, and the psychiatry residents will join the department in July 2020.

"I am absolutely thrilled by the historic opportunity to launch a new adult psychiatry residency program at UNMC," Dr. Liu said. "As a former state workforce director, I know that the number of psychiatrists in Nebraska is not keeping pace with the need for access."

A resident is a physician -- usually a recent medical school graduate -- who spends three to six years gaining required, specialized training in a specific area of medicine.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said he has big goals for UNMC's newest residency program.

"The goal is to offer one of the very best psychiatry residency training programs in the country," Dr. Gold said. "This is the latest in a series of steps designed to help us provide high quality mental health programs to better serve the people and communities of our state."

Residents will work with UNMC and its primary clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, a well-established academic health system in the region with 809 licensed beds at its two hospitals, more than 1,000 physicians, and more than 40 specialty and primary care clinics in Omaha and surrounding areas.

Daniel Gih, M.D., the residency's program director, said the new training program would help with the current shortage of psychiatrists in Nebraska by providing another residency in the Omaha area. Currently, UNMC is affiliated with Creighton University's residency program for psychiatrists. The partnership began in 1987. By starting its program, Dr. Gih said UNMC now has the independence to build an innovative and creative educational experience.

"This is an exciting opportunity for our academic medical center to re-imagine what psychiatry training can and should be while better serving the mental health needs of Nebraska and the region," Dr. Gih said. "We want students interested in our training philosophy (W.I.S.E. = Wellness, Interprofessional education, Subspecialty clinics, and Experiential psychotherapy training) and supportive culture. The department has embarked on exciting changes and expansion. The residency program is an important facet of the overall department."

The UNMC Department of Psychiatry residency program will begin recruiting potential residents this summer and will start interviewing applicants this fall.

Dr. Liu thanked Dr. Gih, Marley Doyle, M.D., Jeana Benton, M.D., and the interprofessional steering committee "for their vision in building this new curriculum."

Dr. Liu also thanked partners at UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, Douglas County, the VA Medical Center, the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, the Lasting Hope Recovery Center, Great Plains Regional Medical Center and other organizations for their support.