UTRGV SOM receives accreditation for medical residency program in psychiatry

Dr. Arden Dingle is clinical professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the UTRGV School of Medicine, as well as director of the psychiatry residency program. (UTRGV Photo)

Dr. Arden Dingle is clinical professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the UTRGV School of Medicine, as well as director of the psychiatry residency program. (UTRGV Photo)

By Jennifer L. Berghom

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MAY 11, 2016 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to offer a medical residency program in psychiatry.

The four-year program will take in six residents a year starting July 2017. Residents will gain experience in various disciplines within psychiatry and will treat patients of all ages throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Dr. Francisco Fernandez, inaugural dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine, said the psychiatry residency program will help meet the needs of a diverse community that is greatly underserved in psychiatric care.

“We are delighted that the ACGME has approved the psychiatry residency program for our School of Medicine. We are committed to providing unsurpassed training opportunities for our students, residents and professionals seeking graduate medical education. This will allow us to train community-minded psychiatrists committed to serving the Valley and improving the lives and well-being of its residents,” Fernandez said.

Dr. Arden Dingle, UTRGV School of Medicine clinical professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and director of the psychiatry residency program, describes the program as a multi-institutional, community-based initiative that emphasizes prevention, early intervention, development, and the education of residents in a variety of interventions.

“We are going to be teaching them a broad spectrum of treatments with a lot of opportunities for people to choose specialized experiences, work in the community and do research,” she said. “The program is trying to utilize the strengths of the Valley and help develop services and resources in the area.”

Residents will be based at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen, and will practice at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen and Brownsville; Rio Grande State Center in Harlingen; Tropical Texas Behavioral Health’s facilities in Cameron and Hidalgo counties; the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend System’s clinics in Cameron and Hidalgo counties; and at Origins Behavioral HealthCare on South Padre Island.

They also will treat the same group of patients in an outpatient setting throughout their residency.

Dingle said that with the shortage of mental health services in the Valley, this program will go a long way to developing a pool of psychiatrists who will stay and practice in the community.

There are about 1.3 million people in the Valley, but only 34 psychiatrists in practice here, she said. About half of them work at institutions, and of the 34, there are six psychiatrists who treat juvenile patients, but only one treats youths full-time, and two treat youths part time.

Psychiatry residents also will collaborate with The UT Health Science Center School of Public Health’s Brownsville Campus on community outreach and research opportunities, Dingle said.

When the psychiatry residency begins next July, UTRGV will be sponsoring 136 residents in eight programs at three hospitals and several other healthcare institutions throughout the Valley.

Marci.Caltabiano@UTRGV.edu UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications

Jennifer.McGehee@UTRGV.edu UTRGV Director of Public Relations