History and Overview

ACGME Clinical Fellowship: History and Overview

The Clinical Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry is part of the training arm of the Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry, an entity that encompasses the clinical, educational and research activities of geriatrics within Weill Cornell Medicine's Department of Psychiatry.

The Fellowship is designed to develop future leaders in geriatric psychiatry who will assume clinical, teaching, and administrative responsibilities in academic or in community based institutions or practices. We have been providing clinical training in Geriatric Psychiatry to graduates of general psychiatry residencies since 1980 and many of its graduates are leaders in the field.

Soon after its inception, the quality of the Clinical Fellowship reached a level of excellence that led to competitive funding by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) between 1983 and 1994. The NIMH discontinued funding to all clinical fellowships in Geriatric Psychiatry, as the NIMH mission had been to help establish training sites that would then support themselves through local resources. As of 1994, the Weill Cornell Department of Psychiatry and the New York Presbyterian Hospital have supported the fellowship. The program has accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in July 1994 and has had continuous accreditation since then. Many physicians have graduated and pursued careers in the areas of academic research and clinical practice, providing care in diverse community settings with patient demographics ranging from poverty level to affluence.

Since its inception, the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship has been enriched by many new developments that are now an integral part of the training program. Innovative scientific research and discovery by the faculty of the Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry has significantly influenced treatment approaches and established the NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center as a premier center for both scholarly study and clinical care. By 1993, many NIMH funded clinical research projects have been implemented by our geriatric faculty. A grant awarded to George S. Alexopoulos, M.D. and his colleagues enabled them to establish a Clinical Research Center for Geriatric Mood Disorders that has been funded by NIMH for more than 25 years. Integration of training, clinical care and advancement of knowledge has been central to the mission of the Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship program is enriched by its connection to NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the nation's most comprehensive, integrated academic health care delivery systems.  In collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia Univeristy College of Physicians and Surgeons, NYP has six major centers including the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, The Allen Pavilion, NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan, and the NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center.  

The NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center (NYP/Westchester) is a free-standing 270-bed psychiatric hospital located in White Plains, New York, approximately 25 miles north of Manhattan. The Geriatric Service, directed by Dr. Alexopoulos, consists of a dedicated geriatric inpatient unit and a specialized outpatient service for older adults. The Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship program includes rotations at the inpatient and outpatient services of NYP/Westchester in White Plains, as well as at a Nursing Home, Housecalls and Consultation-Liaison services at Payne Whitney Manhattan in New York City, and Psycho-Oncology Palliative Care at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. Each of these rotations offers geriatric psychiatry fellows an opportunity to develop expert clinical and academic skills.


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