Public Psychiatry Fellowship
of Columbia University

Fellows and Alumni
Brochure Application Form
Public Psychiatry Education

Now in its thirty-sixth year, the Public Psychiatry Fellowship of New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center was initiated in 1981 with funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH). OMH's goal was to facilitate recruitment and retention of high caliber psychiatrists in the public sector.  The Fellowship is a one year full-time training program for ten psychiatrists who have completed accredited psychiatric residency training and who plan to devote their careers to working with high risk populations in the public sector. Fellows have the option to continue for a second year, on special occasions (e.g. to complete or extend a project begun in the first year).
As the oldest, largest and best known program training post-graduate psychiatrists to be public sector leaders, the fellowship is frequently consulted by professionals around the country interested in establishing such programs. In response, the faculty developed seven Core Elements which they view as essential for such a training program.  In the past seven years, 18  new public and community psychiatry fellowships have been created with twenty currently in operation. Most have modeled their programs on the Columbia model, and four fellowships are run by Columbia alumni.

Fellows spend  two days a week in seminars, supervision and consultation with the Fellowship faculty at Psychiatric Institute, learning the major principles and practices of public psychiatry.  They apply these concepts, three days a week, at  a  community- or hospital-based public mental health service organization selected as a placement site.  Each Fellow meets weekly with a core faculty preceptor who provides crucial guidance in all didactic and field experiences, and with a field placement supervisor who provides clinical and administrative supervision of work at the field site. Each Fellow meets monthly with a Peer Advisor, to gain the perspective of a person with lived experience.

Of special interest are :
The academic curriculum is organized as a series of seminar sequences that run throughout the year (see Curriculum  for overview). In addition, Fellows use the academic framework to organize a series of clinical, management and fiscal presentations of their field placement experiences. These presentations are a crucial aspect of the fellowship year, offering Fellows the opportunity to organize, present and evaluate their efforts at implementing the concepts they have learned during the year.

Each year, approximately 25 alumni make presentations to Fellows. Most of these alumni are program or agency medical directors.  They describe their agencies briefly, and then present a current or past management issue. Fellows and faculty give feedback as to how to deal with the issue presented. Not only do these presentations provide an opportunity for alumni to receive valuable yearly feedback on their roles as medical directors, but they also give Fellows an opportunity to meet their predecessors and learn the range of issues with which they are dealing.
The average stipend for the academic year starting July 2018 is expected to be approximately $110,000, though depending on field placement chosen, it might be more or less. Most of that stipend is paid by the field placement agency, with approximately $31,000 to $33,000 paid by New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), depending on PGY level. For those who already have 3-5 day per week positions, the supplementary stipend paid by NYS PI is the same.

Partial tuition support is available for one Fellow per year enrolled simultaneously in the MPH program at the Mailman School of Public Health

The application process involves two steps: an interview with the fellowship faculty, and separate interviews at prospective field placement agencies. For details see  information for applicants.  Applicants must possess a New York State Medical License by the time the program commences in July. Columbia University Department of Psychiatry promotes diversity and inclusion.

Applications are accepted starting  September 1 for the following academic year. We encourage applicants to apply as early as possible because we offer positions on a rolling basis. Applicants should start the process by e-mailing or calling the fellowship director, and downloading, completing and submitting the  Application Form.

There are approximately 3000 alumni. An extraordinary number are currently serving in leadership positions in the New York metropolitan area, throughout NY State, the country and beyond: 18 at NY State OMH facilities, 13 at NYC municipal and VA hospitals, 30  at NYC nonprofit hospitals, 22 at NYC community based agencies and 9 in managed care organizations. Thirty-seven  have leadership roles beyond the NYC metropolitan area in 18 other states (See Programs Run by Alumni), and 11 have leadership positions in other countries. Four alumni are involved in running public and community psychiatry fellowships throughout the country. 

Published surveys (see links, below)  reveal that Fellowship alumni rate their experience in the Fellowship as crucial to their development as public psychiatrists. According to our current records, over 95% identify their primary work setting as a public agency (state, federal, CMHC, municipal, public voluntary) and over 80% have academic appointments. The vast majority work essentially full-time at these sites, and 66% have management positions. These surveys confirms that the Fellowship fulfills its mandate to train psychiatrists committed to public sector work. The increasing quality and quantity of applicants to the fellowship each year is testimony to the vitality of the commitment of young psychiatrists to actively participate in the shaping and delivery of mental health services in the public sector.

An article describing the Fellowship and results of the alumni survey was published in May 1996 (Psychiatric Services 47:512-516, 1996; See article ) .

A second article, appearing in the July 1997 issue of Psychiatric Services , reports that based upon a survey of alumni's roles in public agencies, medical directors perform a significantly greater variety of tasks and report significantly greater job satisfaction compared to staff psychiatrists ( Psychiatric Services 48:915-20, 1997; See article) .

A third article,  published in Psychiatric Services in September 1998, further examines the results of the survey of alumni's roles in public agencies. Despite respondents' belief that clinical collaboration activities most contribute to job satisfaction, it is in fact the performance of administrative tasks that are best correlated with overall job satisfaction. Most of the medical directors in the survey had program, rather than agency, level responsibilities. The article concludes that the role of program medical director can serve as a crucial next step for staff psychiatrists, offering the opportunity to perform administrative tasks. (Psychiatric Services 49:1203-7, 1998 See article).

An interview with Dr. Ranz , director of the Fellowship, summarizing the above findings, was published in the September 15th, 2000 issue of Psychiatric News.

In 2009, Drs Ranz and Deakins, joined by Dr. Le Melle in 2014,  initiated a new column in Psychiatric Services, called Case Studies in Public-Sector Leadership, simulating discussions that take place when alumni present their roles to Fellows. The first column, was authored by Dianna Dragatsi and Susan Deakins (see article). Subsequent columns have been  authored by Chris Tam (article),  Tomer Levin (article), Pat Runnels (article), Andres Barkil-Oteo and Yael Holoshitz (article), Steve Theccanat (article), Sunny Aslam (article) and Ravi Shah and Kendra Campbell (article).

Reunion Pictures

2013 - Sue Deakins' Retirement
2011 - 30th
2006 - 25th
2001 - 20th

Pictures of the Fellows and Faculty of the Classes of:

2014-15 2013-14 2012-13 2011-12 2010-11
2009-10 2008-09
2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 2004-05 2003-04 2002-03 2001-02
2000-01 1999-2000 1998-99 1997-98 1996-97 1995-96 1994-95

Further Information is available about each of following:
Definition of Public Psychiatry Director Faculty
Fellows and Alumni Syllabus Field Placements
Surveys Program Evaluation #1 Prog Eval #2

For information about the Fellowship contact Stephanie Le Melle M.D., Fellowship director (telephone: 646-774-6322, fax: 646-774-6330)


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This document was last updated on September 13, 2017