Psychiatry Medical Student Electives

  Scott Falkowitz

"Even as a medical student, I was encouraged to become a fully integrated member of the care team, from choice of pharmacotherapy to individual psychotherapy sessions with patients. I had no idea how rich of an experience it would be until I was involved in it."

-Scott Falkowitz
, 1st year resident 


Adult Partial Hospital Program

The partial hospital program is a unique and emerging level of treatment in psychiatry. The program is designed for patients who are well enough not to require 24-hour hospitalization, but who benefit from more treatment contact than can be provided in a clinic setting. Moreover, treatment in this setting is measured against "real life." Although patients are seen daily for groups and individual follow-up, they spend evenings and weekends at home, have an opportunity for leisure and social activities and can plan for vocational preparation and rehabilitation within the context of the program. Students participating in this elective have the opportunity to become familiar with the structure and function of partial hospital programs.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital  

Behavioral Neurology

Students participating in this elective work with the Zucker Hillside Hospital neurologist evaluating psychiatric patients on the inpatient and outpatient services who have co-morbid neurologic presentations. By the end of the rotation, students will be adept at the nuances of the full neurologic examination, will be able to appreciate the interactions and interfaces between psychiatric and neurologic disorders, and will be taught how to differentiate between psychiatric and neurologic conditions.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 

Child and Adolescent Emergency PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry

During this rotation, students will learn how to evaluate children and adolescents who present to emergency rooms with acute psychiatric complaints. Students will become familiar with the common presenting diagnoses, their complete evaluation, and the resources available for their management. Students will also gain appreciation for the unique challenges of working with this population in the emergency setting.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital

During this rotation, students join child psychiatry staff in the initial assessment, ongoing evaluation, and treatment of mentally ill children and adolescents in an inpatient setting. Students will become familiar with psychiatric illnesses of childhood and adolescence, as well as the ways in which common adult psychiatric illnesses may present in children. Students will also gain insight into the many challenges of working with this population as they participate in individual, group, and family sessions.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 

Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry

Consultation-Liaison (C/L) Psychiatry or Psychosomatic Medicine is a unique discipline within the field of psychiatry which combines knowledge of medical illnesses, psychopathology, psychotherapy and psychopharmacology with an ability to forge liaisons within the medical community. This field is perfect for the psychiatrist who enjoys working within a general hospital setting. This elective exposes students to the daily work of the C/L psychiatrist. Clinical experience is gained by seeing patients with fellows and residents, and by participating in teaching rounds led by one of the psychiatric attendings. As students gain skills and confidence, they can work up consults on their own and present the patients on rounds. In addition to the clinical work, the students attend classes given by attendings and fellows which focus on various aspects of C/L work and the weekly case conference.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital/LIJ and North Shore University Hospital 

Evaluation Center

The Zucker Hillside Evaluation Center functions as a combination walk in clinic for psychiatric crisis intervention as well as the location for initial work-up of all admissions to the hospital. As a psychiatric crisis service, the Evaluation Center also provides psychiatric consultation to the Long Island Jewish Emergency Room during the day. Approaches to care may include medications and referrals to private clinicians, clinics, day programs or psychiatric hospitalization. Students participating in this elective have the opportunity to experience first-hand the care of patients in crisis. After successfully completing the rotation, students will have been trained in the assessment and treatment of psychiatric emergency situations.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 

Geriatric Psychiatry

As the population of the United States grows older, the need for geriatric specialists also continues to rise. Students can participate in a variety of clinical settings during this rotation, including a geriatric psychiatry inpatient unit, a comprehensive geropsychiatry outpatient clinic, and a geriatric psychiatric day hospital. During the rotation, students will gain insight into the unique challenges of working with this population, including managing the combination of medical and psychiatric illnesses, medication challenges, and social issues related to the geriatric population. Students may also have the opportunity to observe electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) as part of their patient’s treatment plan.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 

Inpatient Psychiatry 

During this sub-internship, the medical student rotates on one of the inpatient service units and has primary responsibility for the care of assigned cases. This includes the history and physical, psychiatric examinations, laboratory evaluations, diagnostic assessment, biopsychosocial formulations, and treatment plans for newly admitted patients. The student receives individual supervision from an attending physician and works alongside PGY-I and PGY-II residents. The experience also involves participation in Grand Rounds, educational case conferences involving Neurology, Medicine and Psychiatry, and didactic seminars on such topics as interviewing, psychopharmacology and psychotherapy.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital and North Shore University Hospital 

Medical Clinic

With the ever increasing recognition of the interface between medical and psychiatric illnesses, Zucker Hillside Hospital offers a month-long elective based in its Medical Clinic. Students participate in providing primary medical care to hospitalized psychiatric patients and medical consultations directed at the interface of medicine and psychiatry (e.g., medical causes of behavioral disorders).

During the elective, students learn how to differentiate between psychiatric and medical conditions, proper diagnostic evaluation procedures, and how to recognize drug interactions between psychotropic medications and drugs used to treat medical conditions. The student also gains expertise in the medical side effects of specific psychotropic medications and other therapies (e.g., ECT), medical contraindications to their use, and appropriate ways in which to follow psychotropic use in medically complicated patients.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 

Psychotherapeutic Modalities 

Students will become acquainted with a variety of psychotherapies, including insight oriented psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and marital therapy. Intake evaluations, biopsychosocial formulations, and implementation of initial treatment plans will provide the core of the clinical experience. On-going individual supervision and preceptorships comprise the supervisory component of the rotation. Didactics will include reading tutorials with individual mentors, as well as participation in psychotherapy classes and case conferences.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 


The Zucker Hillside Hospital is a clinical research center sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. Elective students will work as part of a research team, on one of more than 50 on-going clinical studies within the Department of Psychiatry. Clinical research studies focus on specific diagnostic categories including schizophrenia, affective disorders, dementia, and childhood disorders. Types of studies range from long-term naturalistic outcome designs to controlled acute and maintenance pharmacologic treatment trials as well as intensive cross-sectional biologic assessment protocols. Students participate in weekly meetings, receive individual supervision from a senior attending, and can even become familiar with writing papers. This is a unique opportunity to learn what cutting-edge clinical psychiatric research is like from the view of an insider.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 

Substance Abuse Psychiatry 

This elective exposes students to comprehensive substance abuse treatment and to patients in varying degrees of recovery from this type of psychiatric illness. Students join clinical teams in community and hospital based programs. They become familiar with the evaluation and treatment of co-morbid illnesses. There is also the opportunity to gain experience with different treatment modalities such as methadone maintenance, medically monitored detoxification and group psychotherapy.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital 

Women’s Psychiatry 

Students choosing this elective will work as part of the treatment team in an all women’s inpatient psychiatric unit. In addition to gaining experience managing major psychiatric illnesses, students will also learn the assessment and management of conditions more unique to women, including symptoms related to abuse, post-partum depression and psychosis, and the treatment of the pregnant psychiatric patient.
Site: Zucker Hillside Hospital

 For further information concerning psychiatry medical student electives please contact: 

     Jerry Chang, MD
Director, Medical Student Education
The Zucker Hillside Hospital
75-59 263rd Street
Glen Oaks, NY 11004.
Telephone: (718) 470-8384
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Last Update

May 25, 2011
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