Today, the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto is one of the largest in the world. It is one of 13 clinical departments in the Faculty of Medicine and houses 682 active faculty members, 183 full-time and 499 part-time. Faculty are situated primarily in seven fully-affiliated teaching hospitals. Each faculty member has an academic home in one of the Department’s 14 academic divisions or programs.
The Department of Psychiatry is very active in carrying out the research and educational missions of the Medical School. For the past three years, Psychiatry has been second only to the much larger Department of Medicine with regard to funding for research. Currently, there are 17 Endowed Chairs and two Endowed Professorships in the Department. Each year the Department trains approximately 130 residents and in 2004, the Director of Postgraduate Education, Dr. Allan Kaplan, received a Faculty of Medicine Excellence in Postgraduate Medical Education Award in the category of Program Development and Administration and Innovation. The Department also maintains an increasingly popular Fellowship Program with 40-60 fellows enrolled each year, 20-30% of whom are registered in graduate degree programs. Seventy-nine members of the Department hold appointments at the Institute of Medical Science so as to supervise graduate training and each year the Department recognizes excellence in this area by presenting an award to the best fellowship supervisor.
The Department also is involved heavily in undergraduate education, both at the pre-clerkship and clerkship level and in 2004, 22 University of Toronto medical students applied to train in psychiatry, more than ever before. Each year the Department sponsors the Summer Institute for Medical Students for students from across Ontario who are considering careers in psychiatry. Participants spend an entire week in the Department learning about psychiatry and approximately 40% of students in the Institute end up training in psychiatry.
With regard to Continuing Education, the Department has been a leader in shifting the focus from single event to course-based learning and is the most active provider of CMHE activities in the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Ivan Silver, until recently Director of Continuing Mental Health Education, was a leading force in the development of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Maintenance of Certification Program and in 2003, was appointed Director of the new Faculty of Medicine / St. Michael’s Hospital Centre for Faculty Development. As well, Dr. Brian Hodges, Vice-Chair, Education in the Department of Psychiatry, was appointed, in 2002, Director of the Wilson Centre for Research in Education, a joint academic unit of the Faculty of Medicine and the University Health Network.
Since 1994, the Department’s Outreach Program has provided clinical services, education and support to communities throughout Ontario which are rural, remote or considered under serviced in terms of mental health care. We have also provided leadership to the Ontario Psychiatric Outreach Program, a consortium of five medical schools in the province. In 2001, for the first time, compulsory Royal College training rotations were provided in Outreach Program sites.
In the year 2000, the University of Toronto produced a new academic plan. Key aspects of this plan were incorporated into an academic plan for the Faculty of Medicine, completed by Dean Naylor in 2001. In response to these initiatives, the Department of Psychiatry undertook an intensive, inclusive strategic planning process resulting in a new strategic plan entitled “Extending Our Reach – Meeting the Challenges of Excellence, Outreach and Equity”.
In addition to outlining how each of the Department’s academic programs would pursue key elements of the overall University and Faculty plans, the Strategic Plan identified six new initiatives for the Department. These include development of a clinician scientist training program, a new emphasis on population health, establishment of an academic program for research in education (RISE), international mental health outreach, the promotion of gender and ethnocultural diversity and coordination of clinical mental health services. These six initiatives have been pursued actively since the launch of the new strategic plan. In 2004, a new planning document was developed by the University and both the Faculty and Department of Psychiatry plans have been adjusted accordingly.