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New Initiatives in the Department
The 3rd Year Medical School Integrated Clerkship

Cambridge Health Alliance developed the Cambridge Integrated Clerkship, in which Harvard Medical Students choose to spend the entire third year at institution in an integrated, longitudinal year-long educational experience. Since then, this model has expanded from the Cambridge Health Alliance to the other Harvard teaching hospitals. The clerkship emphasizes longitudinal contacts with patients in a community setting to assure a full and complete understanding of human disease and recovery, prevention and the experience of illness. The twelve CIC Students experience 'whole episodes' of illness and the follow-up of patients in their homes, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes, encounter patients of multiple economic, social and cultural strata and appreciate the role of these factors in illness. Students have hands-on patient contacts in all of the disciplines.

Cambridge Health Alliance provides a formal curriculum including psychiatry, medicine, surgery and pediatrics, as well as basic science, health policy, public health, education that is vertically and horizontally-integrated and grounded in adult educational principles designed to extend and expand the students' knowledge base and clinical skills.

HIV Psychiatry

CHA hosts one or two 4th year medical students who participate in an American Psychiatric Association sponsored Minority Medical Student Elective in HIV Psychiatry in the Zinberg Clinic. Students apply nationally through the APA and 8 students are chosen for a month long elective in September at one of 5 sites around the U.S. in HIV care centers. Dr. Marshall Forstein serves as the Chair of the Steering Committee of the APA on HIV Psychiatry that provides the training and mentoring. Medical Students can apply through the Office of HIV Psychiatry at the American Psychiatric Association. 

Clinical Research Program for DUI

As part of the mission of Cambridge Health Alliance to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities, Dr. Mark Albanese, Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry's Addictions service, has initiated a DUI Program with both a clinical and research component, to treat both first-time DUI offenders and repeat offenders. Dr. Albanese and his colleagues have considerable experience in addressing the complicated issue of driving under the influence.

Other Initiatives in the Department of Psychiatry
  • They said it couldn't be done... Over this past year, the impossible has been accomplished on psychiatric inpatient units at Cambridge Health Alliance: all units have become smoke free, significantly improving the quality of life for patients and staff alike, and essentially eliminating the elopement of patients.
  • Patient safety... Cambridge Health Alliance has initiated a conversion to a completely electronic outpatient medical record system that will allow enhanced confidentiality, instantaneous communication among a patient's providers, and safety systems for medication interactions and access to important patient information from anywhere throughout the system. In addition, the medical record system for the inpatient units includes a program that facilitates computerized physician order entry (CPOE), to prevent medication errors.
  • Programmatic initiatives... include expanding Women's mental health services, behavioral medicine, and services to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender populations (GLBT). 
  • Integrated and Collaborative Care… headed by Robert Joseph, MD and Colleen O’Brien, Ph.D., CHA has been a leader in integrating mental health into all of our 15 primary care centers. Work is continuing to use technology to advance interdisciplinary consultation. Medical students and trainees of all mental health disciplines have opportunities to  train to prepare for the changes in the health care system.