Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program Philosophy





There is a critical need for child psychiatrists in this country. Despite a growing youth population with significant mental health needs,  there are few child psychiatry training positions.  This fellowship is a new training program located in the San Fernando Valley, established and initially accredited in 2016.  It is the first VA-sponsored child psychiatry program in the country.


The UCLA/San Fernando Valley Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship is a two-year program designed to be family-focused throughout a continuum of clinical care. Trainees provide consultations and early interventions to  families with children at risk, aimed at mitigating illness, promoting family resilience and improving individual coping skills.  They provide treatment  in a variety of outpatient community settings, in hospital-based settings that include the pediatric specialty clinics, emergency room and ambulatory care clinics and the inpatient child psychiatry units.  The goal of the training program is to graduate a child psychiatrist with the knowledge, ability, skills, and attitudes to provide the highest quality clinical care and to enhance leadership roles in community and other public health settings.   


Fellows train at three main sites: UCLA-Resnick Neuropsychiatric Institute,  Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and UCLA-Olive View Medical Center  (including the LA County Department of Mental Health (LAC-DMH) community mental health clinics).  The diverse populations in each site give  fellows exposure to a broad range of psychiatric conditions and care.


Child psychiatry is a complex and fascinating subspecialty.  Child assessment requires understanding normal development and its many variations, understanding psychopathology and the natural history and course of psychiatric disorders.  It requires understanding the complex etiology of childhood disorders. It requires integrating the evolutionary impact of a developing brain with its genetic substrate with the formative fundamental role of family life and  mental health within the context of cultural, community, school, and social experience.


No one single conceptual framework itself can explain human behavior.  Patients and their families are viewed from a developmental perspective using integrated psychodynamic, psychosocial, biological, and cognitive-behavioral conceptual models.  Treatment requires a comprehensive biopsychosocial treatment approach focusing on the child and settings where he/she lives, learns, grows and develops. Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms and to allow the child opportunities for maximum normal growth and development within the context of the family, school, and social world.  The child psychiatrist tries to engage and strengthen the family and to identify and utilize local community services and resources as part of comprehensive clinical care.


The fellowship is one of four ACGME-accredited fellowships (Addiction, Psychosomatics and Geriatric Psychiatry) associated with the UCLA/San Fernando Valley Adult Psychiatry Residency Program.