Charles R. Drew University’s New Psychiatry Residency Program Addresses Mental Health in LA

Historically Black Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services are collaborating on an innovative medical residency program designed to address one of the most important yet under-the-radar issues affecting South Los Angeles residents: effective culturally-appropriate mental health treatment.

The Psychiatry Residency program represents an important step forward, according to Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Dean of the Charles Drew University College of Medicine. She notes that “we have the opportunity to train health care leaders who are from this community, to serve this community. We know from experience that when you train as a medical resident in a particular service area, it is highly likely that you will stay and practice in that area.”

All six of the current first-year Psychiatry Residents are persons of color. They have either been raised and educated in the local area or attended medical schools that have a specialization offering aspiring physicians the opportunity to train and work in underserved communities.

According to Denese Shervington, chair of the medical school’s department of psychiatry, the restart of the medical residency program is an important opportunity for the university. “There is great value in the program. Traditionally, teaching residents and medical students is the job of the medical school. Training a new generation of talented physicians continues this tradition and adds value to our work,” she noted.

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