Who Is Teaching Psychopharmacology? Who Should Be Teaching Psychopharmacology?

Department of Psychiatry, University at Buffalo, New York, USA.
Academic Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.81). 06/2005; 29(2):155-61. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.29.2.155
Source: PubMed


To review the current status of psychopharmacology education for medical students, residents, and practitioners in psychiatry and other specialties.
A search of the MEDLINE and PsychInfo data bases was conducted using four keywords: pharmacology, psychopharmacology, teaching, and student. Additional references were obtained from citations in these articles. Published material was supplemented with the experience of the author and others involved in psychopharmacology teaching.
The majority of psychopharmacology education is provided by faculty from disciplines that include psychiatry, primary care medicine, basic science, and pharmacy. The pharmaceutical industry supports a substantial amount of continuing medical education (CME) by psychiatrists, pharmacists, and other medical practitioners, while much of the information that office practitioners receive and an increasing amount of material provided to residents comes from pharmaceutical representatives. The most important attributes of the effective psychopharmacology educator are knowledge, enthusiasm, honesty, an ability to encourage critical thinking, and genuine interest in the student. However, the primary criteria for participation in psychopharmacology education are faculty who are most available and willing in the academic medical center and those who engage in paid CME activities.
Educators with clinical experience should play a core role in helping students to integrate research with actual clinical practice and should be able to teach students how to evaluate new research in psychopharmacology, especially if it is industry sponsored.

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  • G. Laux ·
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    ABSTRACT: All German societies of medicine have been ordered by the Federal Association of Physicians (Bundesarztekammer) to propose new revised regulations for the education of residents. The German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (DGPPN) is offering a broad extension of education in psychotherapy while education in pharmacotherapy is still rather small and limited. The working group Biological Psychiatry of the German Association of Psychiatric Hospitals (Bundesdirektorenkonferenz, BDK) suggests a detailed proposal of a psychopharmacology curriculum based on a Delphi method consent of medical directors involved in the education of psychiatric residents. Issues include general pharmacology, neurobiological principles, clinical pharmacology of different classes of psychotropics (antidepressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, hypnotics, stimulants etc.), special aspects (e. g. preg-nancy, geriatric patients) as well as ethical, legal and economic aspects. About 160 hours of theo-retical education are proposed, clinical teaching should be interactive, with vignettes and supervi-sion covering about 300 hours.

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