Objective: Neuroimaging techniques are increasingly important in psychiatric research and clinical practice, but few postgraduate psychiatry programs offer formal training in neuroimaging. To address this need, the authors developed a course to prepare psychiatric residents to use neuroimaging techniques effectively in independent practice.
Methods: The authors present the format and curriculum of a highly interactive, 5-day intensive neuroimaging course, taught by psychiatry, neurology, radiology, nuclear medicine, and sleep medicine staff, covering psychiatrically oriented neuroanatomy; neuroimaging techniques and principles; clinical skills, including interpretation of computed tomography and MRI in neuropsychiatric cases; and formal approaches to critiquing neuroimaging research and applying its findings to clinical practice. Detailed questionnaires assessed the subjective and objective impact of the course on residents' knowledge of, and attitudes toward, neuroimaging in psychiatry before and after the course.
Results: Twenty-five first-year residents completed the questionnaires. Participants were enthusiastic about the content and interested in improving their skills in interpreting clinical neuroimaging studies. By the end of the course, residents also reported large gains in subjective comfort level with neuroimaging literature appraisal and functional neuroanatomy and believed that the course was effective in meeting their own specific learning objectives. Objective measures showed significant gains in most areas of the curriculum.
Conclusion: This short, intensive course effectively teaches clinically oriented neuroimaging principles to psychiatric residents and can be readily adapted to other postgraduate programs or continuing medical education.