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APA honor

Upstate program aimed at addressing lack of psychiatrists in parts of New York honored by national psychiatric association

A program at Upstate Medical University designed to address the shortage of psychiatrists in rural areas of central and upstate New York has been honored by national psychiatric association.

Upstate’s Rural-Academic Partnership Program (URAPP) has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association with a 2020 Psychiatric Services Achievement Bronze Award.

The award, presented in April, recognizes Upstate for using “collaboration and community engagement to extend psychiatric expertise to distressed populations and rural hospitals facing a shortage of mental health manpower.”

“We’re delighted to receive this honor for the community/rural track of our psychiatry residency program that addresses the need for well-trained psychiatrists in rural areas of Central New York,” said Zsuzsa Meszaros, PhD, MD, director of the residency program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “Residents trained locally are more likely to enjoy working at rural settings and staying long term, which benefits underserved communities. We share this honor with many who have worked to make this program a success, especially Drs. Dewan, Gregory and Schwartz, and Mr. Blakeslee and leadership at our partner institutions.”

The program provides 6 rural medical institutions with the ability to partially fund a psychiatric resident in exchange for a five-year obligation from the resident to affiliate as an attending with the medical institution through Upstate’s Department of Psychiatry.

During the residency portion of the program, psychiatric residents will spend several months each year assisting at their institutions’ inpatient psychiatric and outpatient adult psychiatry clinics. Upon completion of their residency training, the individual becomes an attending physician at their partner institution.

URAPP began in 2015 in part to address the physician shortage, especially in rural communities. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a physician shortfall of 122,000 by 2032. Compounding the problem, especially for psychiatry, is the lack of federally funded residency programs.

One of the first residents to complete the program is now employed as an attending physician at Samaritan Medical Center. Thirteen other individuals are in the process of completing their residency or post-residency service obligations.

In addition to Samaritan Medical Center, the other institutions connected with URAPP are Binghamton General Hospital, Oswego Hospital, St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center and Mohawk Valley Health System, St. Luke’s campus.