Promoting Careers in Psychiatry Among Medical Students: The Texas Medical Association recognizes the critical need to address the deep and widespread shortage of psychiatrists and child/adolescent psychiatrists in the state and supports targeted efforts to increase interest in psychiatry careers among medical students:
To be effective, loan repayment amounts for psychiatrists need to be sufficiently high to allow a majority of physician applicants to pay off their educational loans.
Loan repayment programs need to be promoted at the medical school level in order to influence specialty choices. These programs should also be promoted among residents at psychiatry training programs to encourage their selection of practices in the most underserved communities.
TMA supports targeted efforts by Texas medical schools to promote careers in psychiatry and child/adolescent psychiatry. These activities could include:
Effective medical school applicant screening tools to proactively seek strong candidates for psychiatry training;
Inclusion of psychiatrists in the admissions process and on admissions committees, as well as involvement in curriculum development;
Efforts to provide students with increased clinical time with patients with mental illness including longitudinal clinical opportunities, not limiting their exposure to inpatient care;
Informing students of the work/life balance often afforded by careers in psychiatry; and
Greater emphasis on the scientific rigor of psychiatric medicine, including tying psychiatry to the neurosciences in the curriculum, identifying psychiatry research mentors, and providing greater student opportunities for both formal and informal research activities.
TMA supports activities at Texas medical schools for identifying the most effective methods for promoting psychiatry among interested students, including early shadowing/exposure, opportunities for participation in student interest groups or social events, role modeling by residents and psychiatry faculty, and other options for observing psychiatrists in practice.
TMA supports increased availability of psychiatry clerkship opportunities and summer experiences for second-year medical students in order to better influence specialty decisions.
TMA should provide targeted communications to medical students through e-newsletters and other media, to inform about specialties with the most severe shortages, including psychiatry and child/adolescent psychiatry.
Expand the number of psychiatry graduate medical education (GME) positions by 50 percent;
Develop and define new and significant roles for psychiatrists in both the state and local public mental health systems;
Explore career development programs for mid and late career psychiatrists in the evolving value based population healthcare models including collaborative and integrated practice models; and
Request that the state collect and report work environment and quality data for all public mental health sites of service so that system improvements can be accomplished (CM-PDHCA Rep. 2-A-16).