About The Program

Washington University School of Medicine is well known for its excellence in training physicians. The school is consistently ranked among the top ten medical schools in the U.S. This strong educational environment is complemented by the outstanding clinical care provided by our physicians at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, one of the top ten "Best Hospitals" in the country.

The Department of Psychiatry has been at the forefront of psychiatric care for decades. Our clinicians were among the first to realize the importance of psychiatric diagnosis and played a key role in the creation of modern diagnostic criteria. Led by two of our former chairmen, Eli Robins and Sam Guze, our clinicians have championed the medical model of psychiatry. This approach, which is almost universally accepted now, stresses the scientific method and views psychiatric dysfunction as an interaction between genes and environment. Exciting research is beginning to elucidate the basic mechanisms underlying psychiatric illnesses, and faculty in our department are helping to lead the field in this type of research. Research to examine the effectiveness of psychotherapies and the important role of environmental stressors is also important to improving our understanding of psychiatric illness. Along these lines, members of our department’s faculty are studying the roles and effectiveness of psychotherapies in the treatment of major depression in patients with certain medical illnesses, and the categorization of personality disorders.

At Washington University, we believe that comprehensive clinical skills are essential to all psychiatric residents. A major emphasis of our program is intensive clinical training underscoring diagnostic skills, somatic treatments including psychopharmacology, ECT, and experimental procedures such as rTMS and VNS, and a wide range of psychotherapeutic techniques including supportive therapy, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and pragmatic psychodynamics. A major goal of our clinical training is to teach residents how to learn so that they can practice state-of-the-art psychiatry throughout their entire careers. This goal is achieved by residents working closely with our world renowned faculty as well as experienced clinicians working in the St. Louis community. In addition, they are exposed to the rigorous creative thinking required for excellent psychiatric research. This exposure enhances the ability of our residents to understand and enjoy reading the psychiatric literature as well as to evaluate it critically, allowing them to keep abreast of changes in this fast moving field. We strongly believe that this combination of superb clinical training and exposure to investigative expertise is the most effective way to prepare psychiatry residents for the future.

We hope that the information on this website gives you a flavor of the approach and quality of our residency training program. We believe that visiting St. Louis and interviewing with us will let you experience the strengths of our program and city firsthand.

Nuri B. Farber, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Director of Psychiatry Residency Training

Melissa Harbit, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Assistant Director of Psychiatry Residency Training

Charles F. Zorumski, M.D.
Samuel B. Guze Professor
Head of Department