Contributing Author: Rebecca White, MD
Overview: A central tension for teaching neuroscience to psychiatry residents lies in finding the balance between advanced concepts and foundational knowledge. Though all residents have learned basic neuroscience in medical school, this may have been many years prior and comfort with this material may have eroded due to a lack of reinforcement during clinical training experiences (either in medical school or in residency).
This module is designed to reinforce foundational knowledge and, in the process, set the stage for more advanced learning. Each session consists of a brief, experiential exercise that will help students develop mastery of basic content (e.g. basic neural circuits or molecular/cellular details of neurotransmission). These sessions can be run as a short in-class exercise, perhaps preceding a more advanced exercise on the same topic (e.g. the session on fear circuitry could be run as a brief intro before a translational neuroscience session on Panic Disorder). The sessions are also designed so that students can practice them on their own, as often as they like. In this regard, they could be used as part of a “flipped classroom” framework. For example, an instructor might say: “Prior to Monday’s integrative case conference on PTSD, we expect everyone to be able to draw the basic fear circuit. Please complete the NNCI session on this topic in advance. We will begin the in class session by asking each of you to draw this circuit.” Similarly, an instructor might say: “Prior to our Neuroscience Lab session on Cognition in Schizophrenia, please complete the ‘Find it, Draw it, Know it’ exercise on the glutamatergic synapse.”
Author Affiliations: Rebecca White, MD, is a PGY3 resident at Loma Linda University and a 2015-16 NNCI Scholar. David A Ross, MD, PhD and Youngsun Cho, MD, PhD were contributing editors for this sample session on the fear circuit. The National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative is a collaborative effort with the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training (AADPRT) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning and receives grant support from the NIH (R25 MH101076 02S1 and R25 MH086466 07S1) ©National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative.