Psychiatrists are doctors first, and this will be first and foremost in the minds and hearts of future psychiatrists as they begin their careers. Integrated care will undoubtedly affect psychiatric practice in many ways, both certain and uncertain, as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
The nature and scope of psychiatric practice has changed with time. Psychiatrists use various modalities of treatment, and psychopharmacology is one area that is more relevant now than it has ever been before. This has raised the question of whether current psychiatric training needs to be modified to meet the needs of real world practice. However, enhancing general medical training in psychiatric residency has challenges. Also, the depth and duration of this training still needs to be determined. But given the increasing emphasis on integrated care, it is time to define the role of psychiatrists within the changing healthcare system.
Here, Dr Aniyizhai Annamalai, a psychiatrist and internist, addresses this issue. With her colleagues, she spoke in a Symposium titled “Educating Future Psychiatrists: A Look at Our Role in Integrated Healthcare” at the American Psychiatric Association Institute on Psychiatric Services meeting in Philadelphia last month. Dr Annamalai is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine; Director, Wellness Center, Connecticut Mental Health Center; and Director, Refugee Clinic, in New Haven, Connecticut.