UCR Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program Receives Initial Accreditation

Fellows begin training at Riverside University Health System on July 1

Sponsored by the UCR School of Medicine, the primary training site for the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program will be the Riverside University Health System, Moreno Valley, Calif., seen here. Photo credit: RUHS.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside has received initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), a private organization that sets standards for U.S. graduate medical education (residency and fellowship) programs and accredits based on compliance with these standards.

The program was accredited for four fellowships. A fellowship is the period, usually more than a year, during which a physician, after finishing residency, receives specialty training in a field. The first two fellows selected into the program will begin their training July 1. The two-year fellowship program will enroll two resident fellows each year.

Sponsored by the UC Riverside School of Medicine, the primary training site will be the Riverside University Health System (RUHS), Moreno Valley, Calif., which is funding the fellowships and residents. The UCR School of Medicine will provide the training the fellows receive.

According to 2015 data from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Riverside County, one of the largest, most populous, and most diverse counties in the country, had only 13 child psychiatrists serving a population of over 600,000 – or 2.12 child psychiatrists per 100,000 youth. AACAP designated Riverside County as a “severe shortage area” and estimated that the county needs 20 times the number of practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists to sufficiently meet the needs of the county’s population. (In stark contrast, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties have more than five times the number of practicing child psychiatrists per youth population.)

“About one in five children between the ages of 5-17 in the United States today suffers from a mental disorder,” said Richard Lee, M.D., the director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCR. “The consequences of untreated mental health disorders in children include academic failure, interface with the juvenile justice system, and, tragically, suicide. In Riverside County, the shortage of child psychiatrists has severely limited access to this type of specialty mental health care for our youth population. Our fellowship program addresses this vital local healthcare need by bringing expert faculty child psychiatrists to practice in our community and to train the next generation of child psychiatrists for our region.”

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program has been designed to offer trainees a broad and balanced educational and clinical experiences that enables them to provide competent and ethical care to the underserved regions of inland Southern California. Details about the program, as well as instructions for how residents may apply for the fellowships, can be found at http://gme.ucr.edu/child_adolescent_fellowship/. The selected fellows will train at RUHS Department of Psychiatry, RUHS Behavioral Health, and other sites.

“We are excited to be training fellows in child and adolescent psychiatry to serve inland Southern California, a medically underserved region that has a critical shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists,” said Takesha Cooper, M.D., the associate director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, who was raised entirely in the Inland Empire and returned to the region after her training to serve the community. “We have recruited faculty from top institutions and training programs across the country. They are enthusiastic about teaching our fellows.”

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program is developmentally focused and provides a broad education across a number of innovative community-based and hospital settings. Training experiences and seminars will cover consultations to pediatrics and school-based settings as well as treatment in forensic, hospital, and outpatient treatment. A large and diverse faculty group with expertise across the spectrum will supervise the fellows.

“Currently there are only 8,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists working in the United States according to the American Medical Association, and the needs far outstrip the supply” said Dr. Matthew Chang, medical director for RUHS Behavioral Health and vice chair of clinical affairs for the UCR Department of Psychiatry. “In Riverside County, as throughout California and the rest of the country, there is a significant and growing need for child and adolescent psychiatrists. This fellowship and the talent it will attract are important building blocks in establishing a dynamic behavioral health system that serves the needs of our youngest residents and their families both today and in the future.”

ACGME accreditation is overseen by a review committee made up of volunteer specialty experts. The UCR Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program has received accreditation for two years, after which the ACGME will conduct a review and site visit.

The UCR School of Medicine, one of more than 15 new medical schools established in the U.S. over the last decade and the first public medical school created in California in more than 40 years, is the sixth medical school in the University of California system.

The school’s mission is to expand and diversify the region’s physician workforce and develop innovative research and healthcare delivery models that improve the health of people living in inland Southern California. The community-based medical school also offers a Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences, and operates or partners in several residency training and fellowship programs, including those in the medical specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, primary care pediatrics, psychiatry, and cardiovascular medicine.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
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Additional Contacts

Kimberly Trone, Manager - Government & Public Affairs, RUHS
Tel: (951) 486-4134
E-mail: k.trone@ruhealth.org

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