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Program Philosophy
from the Vice Chair for Education

Intensive expert bedside clinical training and supervision, focused interactive didactics, and scholarship that closely tracks and contributes to developments in the field characterize our education programs. Over the past two decades the Department has carefully recruited and cultivated a faculty of committed, talented educators that have shaped the Departmental identity and focused its training approach. As a result of this educational emphasis, we enjoy a major teaching presence in the University, including work with graduate students in basic science and clinical graduate students, medical students, residents and fellows.

The first modern textbook of psychiatry was written in Philadelphia by Benjamin Rush. In the 19th century our city was home to some of the first forward-thinking new psychiatric hospitals, part of the "moral treatment" movement that dramatically improved care available to the mentally ill. Our Department and training programs draw and build on the city’s rich psychiatric heritage. Our clinical training programs reflect the patient-centered and rehabilitation-focused care promoted by the regional Society of Friends and the moral treatment movement. Our faculty of nationally recognized clinician experts and scholars in general psychiatry and its subspecialties reflect Benjamin Rush's legacy of thoughtful clinical excellence practiced in a discipline approached as a medical specialty.

From a rehabilitation perspective, a central goal of all branches of medicine is helping people live their lives as freely as possible from limitations of physical and mental illness. While psychiatry does not offer recipes for living or answers to all travails and dilemmas of human existence, our specialty does decrease barriers to human freedom and potential caused by inborn and acquired abnormalities in mental life and behavior. The scope of problems treated in our training programs is large, including identifiable psychiatric syndromes, central nervous system disease, vulnerabilities of personality, mal-adaptive reactions to stress, developmental disorders, substance abuse, and the psychiatric syndromes that complicate other medical illnesses. In harmony with Philadelphia's rich psychiatric tradition, our educational programs teach a medically and psychologically sophisticated approach to our patients. With their supervisors and teachers our trainees use the power of the therapeutic relationship, medical treatments, supportive and more intensive psychotherapies, and practical problem-solving and advocacy to reduce the psychic anguish, isolation, and daily struggles of their patients.

I welcome the opportunity to have you visit Jefferson, meet us, and determine whether our educational mission is one you want to join.

Mitchell J. M. Cohen, MD
Vice Chair for Education