ACGME approves new psychiatry residency program at UNMC

Daniel Gih, M.D., and Jeana Benton, M.D., will lead the new residency program within the UNMC Department of Psychiatry as program director and assistant program director.

On February 18, 2019, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) approved the UNMC Department of Psychiatry’s application to start a psychiatry residency program. The psychiatry residents will join the department in July 2020.

A resident is a physician – usually a recent medical school graduate – who spends three to six years gaining required, specialized training in a specific area of medicine.

UNMC Department of Psychiatry Chair, Dr. Howard Liu said the goal is to design a new residency program to serve Nebraska’s needs for decades to come.

“I am absolutely thrilled by the historic opportunity to launch a new adult psychiatry residency program at UNMC,” Dr. Liu said. “As a former state workforce director, I know that the number of psychiatrists in Nebraska is not keeping pace with the need for access.  Thanks to Dr. Daniel Gih, Dr. Marley Doyle, Dr. Jeana Benton and our interprofessional steering committee for their vision in building this new curriculum! And I am very grateful to our partners at UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, Douglas County, the VA Hospital, the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, the Lasting Hope Recovery Center, Great Plains Regional Medical Center and many other organizations for their support!”

UNMC Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold, M.D., said he has big goals for UNMC’s newest residency program.

“The goal is to offer one of the very best psychiatry residency training programs in the country,” Dr. Gold said. “This is the latest in a series of steps designed to help us provide high-quality mental health programs to better serve the people and communities of our state.”

Residents will work with UNMC and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, a well-established academic health system in the region with 809 licensed beds at its two hospitals, more than 1,000 physicians, and more than forty specialty and primary care clinics in Omaha and surrounding areas.

Nebraska Medicine CEO James Linder, M.D., said the new residency will help keep psychiatrists in Nebraska.

“Nebraska has tremendous needs for behavioral health services,” Dr. Linder said. “The new UNMC psychiatric residency program allows our medical students to train in Nebraska, helping meet needs while training, then becoming practicing clinicians in Nebraska communities.  Nebraska Medicine is delighted to help support graduate medical education.”

Dr. Gih, the residency’s program director, said the new training program would help with the current shortage of psychiatrists in Nebraska by providing another residency in the Omaha area. Currently, UNMC is affiliated with Creighton University’s residency program for psychiatrists. The partnership began in 1987. By starting its program, Dr. Gih said UNMC now has the independence to build an innovative and creative educational experience.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our academic medical center to re-imagine what psychiatry training can and should be while better serving the mental health needs of Nebraska and the region,” Dr. Gih said. “We want students interested in our training philosophy (W.I.S.E. = Wellness, Interprofessional education, Subspecialty clinics, and Experiential psychotherapy training) and supportive culture. The department has embarked on exciting changes and expansion. The residency program is an important facet of the overall department.”

Dr. Doyle served co-chair of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Steering Committee and was actively involved in the visioning and execution of the new residency program application. Last month, she was named Director of the BHECN, a state workforce agency, whose goal is to increase the number of behavioral health providers in Nebraska.

“As the new director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, I look forward to supporting both the new UNMC program and the existing Creighton program to build our new psychiatry workforce,” Dr. Doyle said.

The UNMC Department of Psychiatry residency program will begin recruiting potential residents this summer and will start interviewing applicants this fall.










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