Postgraduate Training in Geriatric Psychiatry

Residents entering postgraduate training in psychiatry and anticipating a career in adult or child psychiatry will have an opportunity to learn about psychogeriatric assessment and care. Residents are expected to complete a six-block rotation in geriatric psychiatry during their PGY3 year. Educational objectives have been developed and reflect the CanMEDs Guidelines. Mood disorders, delirium and dementia assessment and treatment will be the focus of the rotations. Clinical exposure to psychosis, complex co-morbidity, anxiety and substance abuse will be provided. Residents will be expected to assess and follow patients in various treatment settings and are provided supervision with short and long-term patients.

The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry offers a wide range of clinical opportunities, including inpatient care, outpatient care, community service programs, consultation liaison assessments, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) Clinic and Day Hospital through St. Joseph's Health Care, London Health Sciences Centre and long term care facilities. Residents will have the opportunity to collaborate with other practitioners in geriatric care; for example, there is availability to work with geriatricians and neurologists who specialize in the assessment of patients with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.

The richness that Geriatric Psychiatry brings to the care of the elderly will be explored with the residents. They will have an opportunity to work with multi-disciplinary teams and learn from skilled health care colleagues such as pharmacists, occupational therapists, registered nurses, clinical nurse specialists, social workers, psychologist and psychometrists.

Formal teaching includes involvement in modules on geriatric issues. Residents can present at the Department of Psychiatry’s Continuing Professional Development Grand Rounds.

Resident trainees will have an opportunity to be involved with teaching and research opportunities. During an enriched experience, residents will be able to work in various clinical care settings. The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry can also provide enriched clinical experiences for residents seeking a fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry. Staff is currently involved with research, projects and educational opportunities.

Residents are encouraged to pursue research projects under the supervision of the faculty members in the Division. The residency program has developed a research interest group where the residents can present their ideas and get feedback and support to help them develop projects. Funding for resident run projects is available through the departmental seed fund. Competitions take place twice a year, and resident projects take priority for funding. Some residents in previous years have been awarded internal grants from the Department of Psychiatry for projects pursued within our Division's clinical settings. The Division Journal Club is another avenue where research papers are discussed and critiqued.

The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry also participates in Family Medicine teaching at the PGY1 and PGY2 level through the Psychiatry lecture series. Opportunities for supervision of geriatric medicine fellows and family medicine residents are also available.

Undergraduate Medical Education

The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry contributes to teaching medical students in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, through the first and second year psychiatry lecture series and a clinical methods course in conjunction with the undergraduate education committee.

As of fall 2011, Geriatric Psychiatry will be providing a two-week selective experience during the psychiatry clerkship rotation. Students will come away with a unique and holistic approach to the care of the elderly and also have an opportunity to work within a multi-disciplinary team. Skills gained through this two-week rotation will develop their ability to assess and diagnose depression, dementia and delirium. The students completing a two-week rotation will have enhanced skills as they enter the last year of medical school and proceed to their residency training.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry is involved with CPD initiatives through CPD in the Department of Psychiatry, provincial initiatives through the Alzheimer Society, and through Southwestern Ontario Geriatric Assessment Network (SWOGAN). The Division looks forward to celebrating its Tenth Annual Geriatric Psychiatry Symposium in 2012. Each year the Symposium welcomes over 120 participants to the all day, Continuing Professional Development accredited event, which features keynote speakers and twelve concurrent workshops on various topics of interest to clinicians, support workers, researchers, and trainees working with older adults.

The Division also has members who participate in the Alzheimer Society educational activities for family physicians and are also involved in providing education to Ontario Long Term Care Physicians. Members of the Division participate in SWOGAN with Geriatric Medicine and Family Medicine colleagues, providing ongoing education and mentoring in the care of the elderly for family physicians and healthcare professionals with a special interest in geriatric care. Members also participate in the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry and the International Psychogeriatric Association, by presenting educational and research seminars and abstracts. Members of the Divison are affiliated with continuing professional development within the Royal College network. This is a continued focus of the Division as it builds its reputation provincially and nationally for excellence in research, education and clinical care. Please see the ‘Events’ link for presentations of interest to those involved in elder care.

Subspecialty Training

Western University in London Ontario is pleased to announce that the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) has granted full accreditation to the Geriatric Sub-specialty training program. This will be a two year (PGY 5 and PGY 6) sub-specialty training program in Geriatric Psychiatry. 

The PGY-5 year will consist primarily of advanced training in outpatient and inpatient geriatric psychiatry. One day per week will be dedicated to scholarly activities, with the possibility of increasing to three days per week in the PGY 6 year. The PGY 6 curriculum will consist of ample elective time, as well as rotations in relevant disciplines such as neurology, palliative care, geriatric medicine and neuroradiology.

Please contact the Program Director via email at if you have any questions about the Geriatric Psychiatry sub-specialty residency program.

Learn how to apply for sub-specialty training