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Core and Elective Inpatient Clerkships

Third- and fourth-year medical students


The Psychiatry Department and the Division of Child Psychiatry at Valleywise Health recognizes the
essential importance of psychiatric education in the medical student curriculum.

The Core Clerkship in Psychiatry is offered in the Valleywise Health Department of Psychiatry. Valleywise Health
Clerkship assignments are available on inpatient units, consult-liaison services and child
psychiatry services. There are nine acute inpatient psychiatric units, which provide psychiatric
services to a wide range of patients. Six of the adult general psychiatric units are located at the
Valleywise Health Behavioral Center in Mesa. There are three additional general psychiatric
units, one geriatric unit and one combined special needs/general medicine unit located at the
Annex campus. The majority of patients on all of the units are hospitalized on an involuntary
basis. The inpatient acute stabilization of a psychiatric patient is generally intensive and brief.
The average length of stay on the adult units is 10 – 14 days. The units average over 2,300
admissions per year. Each unit is well staffed with two to three staff psychiatrists and psychiatric
residents. The medical student on these services would typically work from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

We provide didactic instruction, which fosters growing competence in the understanding,
assessment and multimodal treatment of individuals with major psychiatric disorders as well as
individuals with psychiatric presentations in the context of other medical illnesses. The clerkship
emphasizes small group and individual supervision with attending faculty.

There are a broad range of electives available to students including advanced clinical experiences
in inpatient, outpatient Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) service and child and adolescent
psychiatry. (Please click here for more information on the child and adolescent psychiatry
rotations.) Medical students may contact the director of medical student education in psychiatry
for assistance in arranging for individualized mentored clinical and research experiences. The
student will gain knowledge in diagnosing and treatment of various psychiatric disorders,
develop a foundation of bio psychosocial and multidisciplinary approach, and understand the
need for early mental illness recognition and treatment.


  • Perform a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation of a patient
  • Summarize and present clinical findings using the biopsychosocial model
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop and discuss differential diagnosis using DSM-5
  • Identify and discuss various treatment modalities in psychiatry
  • Develop competence in psychopharmacological options in psychiatry
  • Demonstrate competency in recognition and management of danger to self, danger to
    others and other emergency psychiatric presentations
  • Participate in appropriate multidisciplinary meetings, court ordered evaluations, case
    conferences, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and lectures

Rotation Format/Features

  • Medical students will participate fully and directly in-patient care as part of a
    multidisciplinary treatment team
  • A core curriculum of readings is provided, and this can be readily supplemented based on
    a particular student’s interest
  • Weekly didactic sessions featuring various core topics in psychiatry
  • An opportunity to observe ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy)
  • Inpatient Psychiatry Units in two locations: Psych Annex (Phoenix) or Desert Vista
  • Diverse population and pathology
  • Participation in Court Order Evaluation (COE) process, observation of court proceedings
    related to COE and COT (Court Ordered Treatment)
  • ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) Psychiatry Electives available
  • Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Elective also available

ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) Psychiatry Elective

Faculty: Dr. Beth Darling
Length of Time: 4 weeks (maximum)
Description/Learning Goals and Objectives:

  • Exposure to an evidence based psychosocial treatment models for the treatment of
    persons with serious mental illness
  • Work with patients in a collaborative fashion
  • Work with a team including a psychiatrist, nurses, therapists, and a variety of behavioral
    health specialists
  • Observe and participate in recovery oriented outpatient clinic and home visits
  • Observe and participate in part of the team assisting people in working towards their full potential

How to Apply

All applicants must contact Mary Berens, Clerkship Coordinator, in the contact form below to inquire about desired rotation dates.

Fourth year elective note: 
All schools must apply through Clinician Nexus. Please contact Mary Berens, Clerkship Coordinator, through the form below BEFORE submitting your application to inquire about desired rotation dates.