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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Iowa City?

Iowa City is 220 miles directly west of Chicago on Interstate 80. It's also within a 4-5 hour drive to Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City and St. Louis. It has the cultural, educational, social and political opportunities of a bigger city with the values and ambiance of a midwestern town. Its clean, safe, nothing is farther than a 15 minute car ride, it has a great city bus system (with bike racks!), wonderful parks, sports, schools and even sailing. Those who have lived here and left, frequently return because what they were looking for was in their own back yard. But we're not the only ones who think Iowa City is great.

How diverse is your patient population?

We have a surprisingly large international community here, drawn both from the university students and staff and from refugee resettlement programs in the local area. Iowa City itself is 80% white and primarily English speaking, but it’s also quite common to hear Spanish, French, Swahili and Lingala whether you’re out around town on a weekend or working in the clinic. We also have several small Amish and Mennonite communities in the area. The University works hard to recruit and retain a diverse group of residents and faculty and is regularly named to US News & World Report’s list of top employers for diversity, as well as its list of top employers for women.

What is there to do in Iowa City when you're not working?

There are 15 different festivals and art fairs, plus concerts and race events. There are many music venues, sports events and neighborhood street fairs and garden walks. We also have a really big mall and several smaller ones, 41 parks, 9 golf courses, 6 public tennis courts, 6 public pools, some lakes and a reservoir with trails, camping & boating. There are bike trails, some famous bookstores, a ton of galleries and excellent museums. There are half a dozen or more performing arts venues including Hancher Auditorium. There's always something going on. Find more information from the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

What's Iowa City like for kids and families?

There's ice skating, bowling, organized sports, 50 public parks, miniature golf, a great public library, a toy library, fun centers, swimming pools and 3 beaches, 9 museums including a children's museum, dance companies and public recreation centers that feature many activities for kids and families at little or no cost. We also have 20 movie screens and 50-licensed daycare providers. The Iowa City schools are perennially ranked among the top schools in the nation. Iowa City is unique in the facilities and services available for individuals with disabilities. Many families who have a family member with a disability are reluctant to leave Iowa City because they cannot duplicate those services in another location.

Are there any job opportunities for my spouse/significant other?

Yes! The major industries in our area are healthcare, education, manufacturing and defense, but many jobs in other fields are also available. The university maintains an office dedicated to helping partners of new hires find work in the area. See the University’s Dual Career Services page for more information on this service. 

What are the fellowship opportunities available?

We currently offer fellowship opportunities in child and adolescent psychiatry, consult-liaison psychiatry, addiction medicine, palliative care and pain management, among others.

Is this a family friendly program?

Yes, the residency is supportive of residents in their efforts to balance work with family life. We have several physician residents with young families and understand the stresses associated with attempting to find a balance. Women residents receive up to 6 weeks of paid maternity leave after delivery. Men get 5 working days off for paternity leave. The house staff health insurance policy provides generous coverage options for spouses and children. There are several childcare facilities near the hospital and one on-site. The training program also has frequent group activities, many of which are kid-friendly, including pumpkin carving, the local NAMI walk and an annual Halloween party.

Is there sufficient patient volume so that I can have multiple exposures to a variety of diseases?

With 2,200 annual inpatient admissions and 31,000 clinic visits, our residents have the opportunity to see plenty of patients with the most common psychiatric presentations as well as the most complicated. Our inpatient units include specialized areas for adults with eating disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance disorders. There are also specialized units for children and older adults. Residents see patients in various outpatient clinics, including the University Adult Psychiatry Clinic, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, Women’s Wellness and Counseling Service, Huntington’s Disease Clinic, VA clinic, and the Abbe Center for Community Mental Health. Our department also receives and manages referrals for specialized services such as ECT and TMS.

What's the call schedule like?

As a resident in our program, you will not be on call more than every fourth night. Junior residents (first and second years) are on call about four times per month. Senior residents (third and fourth years) are on call two times per month. First and second year residents take call in-house with the senior resident available from home as backup. Two junior residents work together during the evenings and on weekend day shifts, and one resident is in-house overnight. We operate a night float system, meaning no one takes 24 hour in-house call.

Do you have a research project requirement for graduation?

All residents are required to fulfil the ACGME requirement of completing a scholarly activity or QI project during training. We have no additional formal requirement for research, but there are many options to pursue additional research if that is your interest.

What's Iowa got that other programs don't?

  • A large catchment area and a wide array of specialized units and services, including eating disorders unit, geriatric unit, medicine psychiatry unit, electroconvulsive service, women’s wellness clinic, chemical dependency clinic, VA clinic, and Huntington’s Disease clinic.
  • A collaborative environment with opportunities to work with departments across the institution
  • A highly intellectual community with premier arts events that are accessible to residents in terms of cost and location
  • An outstanding school system for children in grades K-12
  • A great training program and a high quality of life at an affordable price