The idea for the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative (NNCI) emerged in collaboration with the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training (AADPRT) as an extension of the 2014 BRAIN Conference focused on “Neuroscience: Why, What, and How to Teach it.” As we began to plan for the conference, we considered the many challenges that psychiatry programs face in trying to teach neuroscience effectively. We recognized that addressing these challenges would require educators and researchers coming together, across institutions, to develop a comprehensive set of shared teaching resources. In addition, these resources needed to be based upon the principles of adult learning and focused on the relevance of neuroscience to the clinical practice of psychiatry. In order to formalize this effort, we developed the NNCI.

We are grateful for funding and ongoing support from the NIMH (R25MH101076-02S1 and R25MH086466-07S1), AADPRT, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.


The overarching aim of the NNCI is to create, pilot, and disseminate a comprehensive set of shared resources that will help train psychiatrists to integrate a modern neuroscience perspective into every facet of their clinical work. This collection reflects the collaboration of diverse residency training programs from across the country.  The curriculum is built on principles of adult learning and is adaptable for use in a range of learning environments. The curriculum will be adapted from curricula already implemented in several residency programs and over time will be augmented with best practices collected from institutions and programs across the US and Internationally. 

The overarching goal is that residents will incorporate a modern neuroscience perspective as a core component of every formulation and treatment plan and bring the bench to the bedside.

Learning Objectives

Additional learning objectives—reflecting relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes—include:

  1. Residents will appreciate the importance of neuroscience to the future of psychiatry and to the way we will approach patient care.
  2. Residents will demonstrate an understanding of core concepts in neuroscience, including how complex interactions between environmental stressors and disruptions in neural circuitry may contribute to different psychiatric disorders;
  3. Residents will be able to serve as ambassadors of neuroscience who can thoughtfully communicate findings from the field to professional and lay audiences.