Medical Student Education

M2 Basic Psychiatry

Course Director: Brandon N. Kyle, PhD
Education Coordinator: Carolyn Sherrod

Fall Semester and Block 1 of Spring Semester, M-2 year


According to the World Health Organization and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, psychiatric disorders are among the most disabling and financially costly health problems. Further, research findings reviewed by the National Institute of Mental Health suggest that approximately a quarter of U.S. adults will meet criteria for a mental disorder each year, with an almost one-in-two lifetime prevalence of some mental disorder. Thus, mental health represents a national health concern, and all healthcare providers must be equipped to serve the needs of patients with psychiatric illness.

The purpose of this course is to provide medical students basic clinical psychiatric knowledge and skills. Primarily, the emphasis of the course will be on learning DSM-5 diagnosis and classification of mental disorders. It is expected that this knowledge and skill set will be used to facilitate effective healthcare outcomes through increased understanding of the nature of psychiatric illness, early and accurate detection of psychiatric disorders in patients, and enhanced awareness of treatment options.

Course Sections

The course is divided into three sections:

  1. Psychopathology (Fall Semester)
  2. Clinical Aspects of Sexual Health & Interpersonal Dysfunction, Sexual Disorders, and Gender Dysphoria (Spring Semester)
  3. Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders (Spring Semester)

As we move through the course, we discuss models and mechanisms of psychopathology (including the DSM-5), the psychiatric evaluation, mental disorders, and special populations and topics. By the end of the course, each student should have an understanding of the key concepts of basic psychiatry and be able to apply these concepts to patient care.

Course Objectives

The objective of the course is to provide the medical trainee with the knowledge and ability to describe different models of the etiology of psychiatric disorders, explain the DSM-5 approach to diagnosis of psychiatric disorders and how psychiatric disorders are assessed and evaluated across the lifespan, enumerate diagnostic criteria and explain differential diagnosis of various psychiatric disorders across the lifespan, and describe psychiatric concepts applicable to special situations and populations. Specifically, after completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the evaluation, screening & interviewing techniques related to sexual health and substance abuse.
  2. Recognize, assess, accurately diagnose & recommend initial management for psychiatric conditions across the life cycle that present in general medical settings.
  3. Describe the etiology of psychological disorders.
  4. Describe the psychiatric aspects of special situations such as suicide, violence and pain.
  5. Describe the impact of family violence at the individual and societal levels and list indicators of family violence that can be seen in clinical settings.
  6. Describe the major current issues in "sexual health & medicine" and explain the dynamics and consequences of dysfunctional interpersonal relationships across the life cycle.
  7. Identify the etiology and symptoms of alcohol and/or substance abuse & lifestyle abuse across the life cycle in general medicine settings.
  8. Describe current management options for individuals with alcohol and/or substance abuse & lifestyle abuse at the individual, family, and community levels.
  9. Identify prevention strategies that diminish the occurrence and impact of alcohol and/or substance abuse & lifestyle abuse.
  10. Demonstrate collegiality and respect for group members.