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Specialty Tracks

The Department of Psychiatry offers three specialty tracks for residents who desire a special emphasis on research, geriatric psychiatry, or chid and adolescent psychiatry during their residency training.  

Research Track 

The University of Iowa Department of Psychiatry has a robust research program with opportunities in neuroimaging, molecular psychiatry, neuropsychology and cognition, psychotherapy, epigenetics, disease phenomenology, and more. RT residents are encouraged to publish a scholarly review or empirical experimental findings, and participate in a national or international scientific meeting (supported by the department).

Beginning in the PGY1 year, elective time can be embedded in the resident’s curriculum to provide a 1-block dedicated research experience, with a 2-block dedicated research experience in the PGY2 year. These experiences will involve supervised laboratory and/or clinical experimentation as well as an independent scholarly literature review. RT trainees may spend up to 40% effort (2 days per week) of their PGY3 year in a mentored research experience.  The mentored research experience is expanded in the PGY4 year. At that time, the RT resident is encouraged to develop applications for fellowship training or individual career development awards. Click to learn more about the research track.

Research Track

The UI Department of Psychiatry offers a research track (RT) for selected residents with a strong interest in research. Typically, these individuals will have demonstrated interest through prior research experiences, publications and presentations. The expectation is that RT residents will develop into highly skilled physician-scientists. RT residents are assigned a faculty mentor to help begin the process of professional development. The mentor is typically a senior investigator in the trainee’s area of interest. Thus, research mentors are also available in other departments within the Carver College of Medicine. Residents are provided with dedicated research time during their four years of training. These experiences involve supervised laboratory and/or clinic experimentation, as well as independent scholarly literature review.


Resident is assigned a faculty mentor Training plan is developed to fit trainee’s research interests One block dedicated to research experience


Two blocks dedicated to research experience


Resident transitions to outpatient clinic blocks in third year 40% effort (2 days per week) allotted to research experience


Continued engagement in research block electives as able Develop applications for fellowship training or individual career development awards Apply for faculty positions, if desired

RT residents are encouraged to publish a scholarly review or empirical experimental findings. They are additionally encouraged to participate in a national or international scientific meeting (supported by the department).

Candidates interested in the RT are encouraged to discuss their interest with Dr. Alexander Thompson. The RT resident may also be eligible to enter the Physician Scientist Training Pathway (PSTP). Find additional information about the PSTP program here.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) Track

During the 1st year of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics General Psychiatry Training Program one resident intending to complete a CAP fellowship has the opportunity to participate in our Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) track. 

If selected to participate in the CAP track, the resident is guaranteed acceptance to the CAP fellowship upon completion of his/her third year of adult training (i.e., a fast-track into child training). Residents accepted into the CAP track will have the following experiences during their General Psychiatry training:


  • Assigned Child and Adolescent faculty mentor
  • 1-2 blocks of Pediatrics as part of primary care requirement
  • Invitations to CAP didactics


  • Optional 2nd year COC clinic in the CAP outpatient clinic
  • 2-3 blocks of Child and Adolescent psychiatry (inpatient and outpatient)
  • Invitations to CAP didactics
  • Opportunities to receive mentorship from CAP research faculty


  • One half day of CAP clinic during the 3rd year outpatient clinic experience
  • Opportunities to co-facilitate outpatient DBT group with adolescents
  • Opportunity to participate in preschool observation or autism full team evaluations

PGY 4&5

  • CAP Residency

Resident formally enters the CAP Residency

For more details related to the University of Iowa’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency, please visit the program’s webpage.

Public and Rural Health Track

The Public and Rural Psychiatry Track is designed to provide an added focus for residents who are passionate about mental healthcare delivery models and would like increased experiences in the public psychiatry sector. Residents who complete the track will be equipped to become leaders in community psychiatry and engaged in population-level mental healthcare. Residents will be introduced to a variety of models of care throughout their training. The goal of the track is to increase the number of psychiatrists prepared to meet the recruitment and retention needs of public agencies in Iowa.

Residents are assigned a mentor who has an interest in public and rural psychiatry to work with throughout their training. During the 4 years of psychiatry training, a variety of additional opportunities are available to track residents, including family medicine rotations in rural communities, opportunities to work with community agencies, participate in telepsychiatry to rural communities, engage in additional lectures and workshops focused on public and rural psychiatry, and work in a variety of psychiatry practices located in rural Iowa settings.

For physicians who choose to practice in rural or underserved areas, the state of Iowa offers resources for student loan repayment

Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Track

The UI Department of Psychiatry offers an Intellectual and Development Disability (IDD) Track to psychiatry residents who are interested in obtaining specialized training, education and experience in working with individuals with an intellectual and/or development disability (IDD). UI Hospitals & Clinics is home to numerous specialized programs which all focus on improving the lives of individuals with IDD through clinical care, education, advocacy and research. This track can be tailored to focus on clinical, advocacy and/or research experiences depending on the learner’s interests. For residents that want to focus on research, this track can be combined with the Research Track at UI Hospitals & Clinics.

The IDD Track supervisor will work with each resident in this track to tailor their experiences to their individual interests. In addition there will be a monthly IDD journal club offered to all IDD Track participants.