Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
The USC/Los Angeles General Medical Center child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship is a two-year fellowship program that is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Our program offers six fellowship spots per year.
Our program provides training in the psychiatric assessment and treatment of children, from infancy to late adolescence. Our fellows train in settings ranging from Los Angeles General Medical Center, our large safety net medical center, to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a private tertiary care center. Fellows learn to understand the whole child: from the child’s neurobiology to their rich inner life to the context of their family, school and neighborhood. The first year of fellowship consists of hospital-based rotations in the emergency room, adolescent inpatient, consultation-liaison and pediatric neurology services. In their second year, fellows focus on treating children in the outpatient setting, providing both medication and psychotherapy. In both years, fellows gain experience, serving as the “quarterback” of an interdisciplinary team.
Our faculty consists of expert educators, neuroscientists, psychoanalysts and community psychiatrists, who mentor fellows during their time with us. We are fortunate to have a concentration of faculty with substantial strength in the performing and visual arts and who are adept at incorporating their creative skills and capacity to play into their work with children and families.
Our learning and working environment emphasizes collegiality and respect for the professional and personal needs of our team members. For this reason, we place high importance on recruiting fellows with histories of ethical and collegial behavior. While child psychiatry is emotionally demanding work, our fellows and faculty find meaning in providing compassionate and effective care to children who need their help. This sense of meaning in work is protective against burnout. Lastly, the well-being of our fellows is also supported by groups, mindfulness sessions, chiefs’ meetings and a yearly retreat.
Fellows have elective time in both years of fellowship to develop their own interests within child psychiatry. Past electives have included participating in coursework at a psychoanalytic institute, studying the effects of atypical antipsychotics on cardiac conduction of children in the intensive care unit and developing a scholarly presentation on how music affects emotions and learning.
Our graduates report feeling well-prepared for all settings in which they choose to work, but our graduates are especially adept in the treatment of children facing high degrees of adversity and involved in multiple systems of care.
Our program aims to train Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists who are:
Clinicians expert in:
- Providing care to children and families facing adversity, such as trauma, poverty, severe mental illness, and severe medical illness
- Providing care to children and families involved in multiple systems-of-care
- Performing the core procedures of child and adolescent psychiatry, such as the clinical interview, formulation, formation of a working alliance, and effective communication with children, parents, and the interdisciplinary team.
- Using the meaning they find in work and self-care techniques to sustain themselves in a lifetime of child and adolescent psychiatric practice.
- Skilled in teaching colleagues, allied professionals, children, and families
- Skilled developing innovative treatment modalities to extend care to new populations
- Skilled in generating scholarly work that is impactful locally, regionally, and nationally
Dedicated to developing healthcare systems that extend access to quality child and adolescent psychiatric care for all
Lectures and Seminars
- Diagnostic Interviewing with Children and Adolescents
- Biweekly seminar in Psychoanalytic Treatment of Children and Adolescents
- Psychotherapeutic Skills with Children, Adolescents and Families
- Typical Child Development
- Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents
- Introductory Psychopharmacology with Children and Adolescents
- Quality Improvement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Neurosciences in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Consultation in the Pediatric Medical Hospital
- Field trips to Central Juvenile Hall, residential treatment center and residential substance abuse treatment center
- On-ward and on-service
- Additional Individual tele-supervision available based on interest
- Journal club
- Each first-year fellow gives an oral presentation to all fellows and faculty, based on a case presentation and a literature review.
- Each fellow begins planning for his or her second-year scholarly elective.
- Boone Fetter Clinic at CHLA
- Adolescent Inpatient: Fellows rotating at Augustus Hawkins typically do in-house rounding on patients every other weekend. In house work can often be completed by mid-afternoon. They cover evening pages 10-15 nights per month by phone, but do not physically return to the hospital (for evening need of face-to-face evaluation/response, on-call adult psychiatry residents who are already in-house will lend support).
- CHLA C&L: 10–15 nights of call by phone only (no reporting to the hospital)
- CHLA Neurology, BHC Alhambra, Child Crisis (ER), and Elective month: No call
- Jeopardy system: We have a jeopardy system in place with back-up available on a rotating basis from fellows on the Crisis service, CHLA C&L, and Electives. This system is used extremely rarely if at all*Our fellows’ on-call duties never exceed ACGME duty-hour standards.
*Our fellows’ on-call duties never exceed ACGME duty-hour standards.
During year 2, fellows will complete rotations as follows:
- Los Angeles General Medical Center Child Outpatient Clinic – 4 days per week
- CHLA UCEDD Outpatient Clinic – 1 day per week
- Scholarly Project – 10% time longitudinally
Lectures and Seminars
- Psychotherapy with Children, Adolescents, and Family Seminar:
- Motivational Interviewing
- Training in The Incredible Years and other EBP’s
- Parent Training/Behavior Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma-Focused CBT
- Family Therapy
- Advanced Psychopharmacology (case-based)
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Schools
- Forensic Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Advanced Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Cultural Psychiatry
- Field Trips to tour community resources
- In-clinic on-demand
- One hour per week of individual supervision with a core faculty and one hour per week with an outside supervisor
- Outside supervisors have expertise in psychodynamic psychotherapy, group therapy, establishing a private practice, Asian-American psychiatry, autism spectrum disorders, work-life balance and public-sector administration among others.
- Outside supervisors are assigned to match fellows’ interests.
- One hour per week group psychotherapy supervision
- Each fellow has 10% time over the course of the year for a scholarly project, which typically involves learning and practicing an area of special interest that culminates in a scholarly product.
- Monthly journal club
- Second-year fellows have no on-call responsibilities.
Scholarly Development & Electives
Fellows dedicate 10 percent of time during the second fellowship year to a scholarly elective. While the elective may have a clinical treatment component, it must also culminate in a scholarly product, generally a poster or manuscript. Planning for this elective begins in winter of the first year of fellowship. Previous fellows’ electives have included:
- Case series on NMDA-receptor encephalitis
- Psychoanalytic psychotherapy with children and adolescents at the new center for psychoanalysis
- Music therapy in child and adolescent psychiatry
Fellows have published in the Residents’ Journal of The American Journal of Psychiatry and in Academic Psychiatry, and have presented posters at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, International OCD Foundation Conference, American Association of Directors of Psychiatry Residency Training and the American Psychological Association annual meeting.
Formal Scholarly Training
One resident or fellow from the Department of Psychiatry is chosen annually to spend a year collaboratively working with graduate students in law, philosophy, social work, neuroscience and psychology at the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics on an “Issue for Investigation,” typically leading to a manuscript and several presentations. The Saks Institute is part of the USC Gould School of Law.
Fellows and junior faculty have the opportunity to take Introduction to Clinical and Translational Research Study Design, one-half day per week for eight weeks, through the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a multifaceted research center created by USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to translate scientific discoveries into solutions for better health.
Both of these experiences can be integrated into the second year of fellowship and do not extend training.
Teaching Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- All second-year fellows must give at least one lecture for pediatrics residents or Psychiatry interns
- Many voluntary teaching opportunities exist for formal teaching of medical students, parents and school teachers above and beyond the requirement
We accommodate travel and time away for service in fellowships sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), American Psychological Association (APA), American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training (AADPRT).
Salaries and Benefits
Fellows are employees of Los Angeles County. Fellows’ salaries are determined in negotiations among the county’s legal bargaining unit, the Council of Interns and Residents, and the county’s Department of Health Services.
Salary as of July 1, 2020
PGY-4 – $70,316.57
PGY-5 – $75,244.51
PGY-6 – $80,342.70
|Housing Bonus||$4,000 for interns progressing to second residency year|
|Chief Resident’s Bonus||$300 per month|
|Meals||$10 per meal, $28 per day at Los Angeles General Medical Center; meals are reimbursed during off-campus rotations at $25 per day|
|Parking||Available at no cost at Los Angeles General Medical Center|
|Vacation||Residents are entitled to 24 days paid vacation each year|
|Sick leave||8 days per year, of which 3 may be used for personal leave|
|Professional liability insurance||Provided (Los Angeles County self-insures)|
|Maternity leave||Available — most residents use sick leave, vacation time and limited unpaid leave|
|Parental leave||Available as required by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993|
|Medical/dental benefits||Choice of several offered plans; family coverage available at additional cost|
|Life insurance||$2,000 term policy is provided; additional insurance may be purchased|
Fellow Life & Wellness
Fellows who feel a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their training learn better, treat their colleagues better, are more effective with patients. Such fellows are also best able to teach and learn from one another. For this reason, the program puts a high value on resident well-being and morale. Didactics are scheduled so as to allow residents from both classes to meet for lunch at least once/week. When possible, teaching modalities incorporate interactive activities to enrich the learning experience. There is a yearly retreat for fellows to work on team-building and their own professional identity. There are multiple formal and informal opportunities for fellows to give confidential feedback (to their chief fellows) about the program, giving fellows a high degree of input in the program. Fellows in the first year class also attend a 2x/month support group led by a social worker.
Living in Los Angeles
Few areas in the world rival southern California. The beautiful weather, cultural diversity, and easy access to beaches, desert, and mountains make Los Angeles one of the worlds’ most exciting cities.
The Los Angeles climate is warm and dry, with over 300 days of sunshine per year. The beaches—Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice—are close and offer swimming, surfing, and sailing. The high desert (Joshua Tree Park) and Sierra Nevada mountains (Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks) are easy drives from the city. In the winter, one can drive to the mountains and skiing areas in less than 2 hours.
Cultural and entertainment events include world-class concert halls, theaters and museums. Dodger stadium and the Hollywood sign are visible from the Medical Center, and one can drive to Disneyland in less than an hour. Farmers’ markets and world-class restaurants abound.
Within easy driving distance of the medical center are neighborhoods buzzing with young creative people (Hollywood, Silverlake, and Los Feliz) and also neighborhoods with excellent parks and schools perfect for young families (Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Alhambra). Nearly one third of California’s population lives in Los Angeles. Inhabitants include native Angelenos and immigrants from all over the world. One can easily walk from Thai Town Little Armenia. Los Angeles has a vibrant and diverse economy, featuring not only the entertainment industry, but multiple universities, large private corporations, and high-tech start-up businesses. This diversity provides residents and their families with rich work, educational, and recreational opportunities.
How to Apply
October 1st each year
By July of the year of fellowship entry, an applicant must:
- Have completed at least three years of general psychiatry residency training
- Have passed at least one clinical skills evaluation (CSE) of the examination of an adult psychiatry patient. (However, if you wish to be eligible to take the psychiatry boards at the beginning of PGY5, we recommend you pass three CSEs with adult patients, as you may not have passed any CSEs with child patients by that time).
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have a J-1 visa. We cannot accept H1B visas.
- Fellows do need a full unrestricted State of California medical or osteopathic license within 90 days of starting the fellowship program. However, the process of obtaining medical or osteopathic licensure has changed as of 2019.Please be in touch with the appropriate board with questions about this process. Links are here: Medical Board of California websiteor the Osteopathic Medical Board of California website.
Our program accepts applications only via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). You must submit the following documents through ERAS:
- A letter of recommendation from your general psychiatry program director
- Program Director’s Verification Form Attesting to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Eligibility (download in PDF or Word). This form can be submitted in one of the letter of recommendations slots in ERAS or be saved in one document along with your program director’s letter of recommendation and submitted in the same slot as the program director’s letter.
- Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE/dean’s letter)
- Two to three other letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Curriculum vitae that includes your date of birth and social security number
- United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) transcript or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) transcript
- Transcript of medical school grades
We comply with the policies and procedures of the the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and all six slots are filled through this program. The due date to register with NRMP and to obtain a match number is in early December for training starting July 1 of the following year. You will be notified of NRMP results in early January.
Interviews are held in October and November for July start dates. In exceptional circumstances, we will arrange for an alternative interview date. Up to six applicants are interviewed on each designated interview day. All interview days begin at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles then move to the USC Health Sciences Campus and Los Angeles General Medical Center. The day typically runs 8 am– 4:30 pm
We strongly advise you to arrive the night before your interview, especially since applicants generally meet fellows at a restaurant near Los Angeles General Medical Center the evening prior to the interview (food provided by the department). Please let us know if you need special accommodations to end your interview day a bit early (i.e., to make a plane).
Where to stay:
If you will need hotel accommodations in Los Angeles, it will be most convenient to stay in Hollywood/Los Feliz, downtown Los Angeles, or Pasadena. We send interviewees a list of hotels that offer reduced rates for USC.
Most applicants use rideshare/ taxis to commute between sites. Applicants can also use a public transportation or rent a car.
What to Wear:
Comfortable shoes and professional interview attire. (Our interview day involves a lot of walking.)
For more information or questions about our program, please contact:
Christopher Snowdy, MD
Associate Program Director