With increased longevity, risk for many neuropsychiatric illnesses increases, generating a growing need for specialists with expertise in diagnosis and treatment of geriatric mental illness. Trainees are exposed to the full range of geriatric psychiatric disorders in a variety of clinical settings and receive close supervision from experienced faculty. Advances in research on aging and geriatric mental health by our renowned faculty informs clinical care and equips fellows with the most innovative approaches to depression, psychosis, age-related memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and other geriatric mental health issues. Training at UCLA includes instruction in the most recent technologies, treatments, legal and ethical issues, and psychosocial aspects of geriatric psychopathology. UCLA faculty are involved nationally in geriatric psychiatry training curriculum development, and the program fosters training for future education leaders. Many opportunities for research training are also available to fellows interested in leadership roles in academic psychiatry.
UCLA offers a one-year program for psychiatrists at the PGY V level, which is accredited by the American Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Graduates are eligible to sit for the examination to receive Subspecialty Certification in Geriatric Psychiatry. For psychiatrists with interest in academic career paths, an additional fellowship year is available with training enhanced by individual research projects, collaboration with faculty in ongoing investigations, and supervised teaching and administrative experience.
A two-year post-doctoral fellowship for psychologists provides specialized clinical and research training. Clinical assessment and treatment, case management, and research activities are emphasized. Specialty training in neuropsychological assessment of the older adult is also available. The program provides trainees with clinical experience that can be counted toward the hours required for California licensure as well as research training in preparation for an academic career. Fellowship Director is Randall Espinoza, MD.
Areas of training in both programs include:
The goal of the UCLA Multicampus Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Training Program is to train psychiatrists to assume leadership roles in clinical and academic geriatric psychiatry. Residents develop clinical expertise in assessing and treating the wide range of psychiatric disorders in the elderly. Residents also develop the expert skills in scholarly activities and administration that are required of leaders in the clinical practice community and in academia.
Core competencies for graduates of the Program, and objectives within each competency area are:
1. Patient Care
Residents must be able to provide geriatric psychiatric patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of mental health problems and the promotion of mental health.
Residents are expected to:
Specific patient assessment skills include:
Specific patient management skills include:
2. Medical Knowledge
Residents must demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to the care of geriatric psychiatric patients and their families.
Residents are expected to:
Content areas for medical knowledge in geriatric psychiatry include:
1) Theories of Aging – biological, social and psychological
2) Age-related changes in organ systems, sensory systems, memory and cognition
3) Pharmacologic implications of biological changes
a) pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
b) special considerations in the use of psychotropics in the elderly
c) frequency and management of side effects
d) polypharmacy and drug interactions in the elderly
4) Psychopathology in late life as compared to younger populations with regard to the following:
b) clinical presentation
e) differential diagnosis
With particular attention to the following disorders:
a) Mood Disorders
b) Anxiety Disorders
c) Adjustment Disorders/Bereavement
f) Psychotic Disorders
g) Substance Related Disorders
h) Mental Disorders due to a General Medical Condition
i) Sleep Disorders
j) Sexual Disorders
5) Principles and practices of ECT
7) Common neurological disorders of the elderly (eg, stroke, Parkinson’s disease)
8) Common medical problems of the elderly (eg, falls, incontinence)
1) Developmental perspective of normal aging with understanding of adaptive and maladaptive responses to psychosocial changes (e.g. retirement, widowhood, role changes, $, relocation)
2) Psychotherapeutic principles and practice
3) Personality Disorders
4) Psychological and behavioral therapeutic techniques
5) Group and activity therapies
1) Cultural and ethnic differences and special needs of disadvantaged minority groups
2) Caregiver issues
3) Elder abuse
4) Support and health care delivery systems
5) Legal and ethical issues
6) Economic aspects of health care and health care delivery - including but not limited to Title III of the Older Americans Act, Medicare, Medicaid and cost containment
7) Institutionalization and its impact
3. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Residents must be able to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective and empathic information exchange between the geriatric psychiatrist, geriatric psychiatric patients, families, colleagues, staff and systems. Interpersonal skills require an underlying set of attitudes involving the resident’s personal beliefs and values, self-understanding, opinions about other people and understanding of the geriatric psychiatrist’s role as a consultant to patient’s and their contextual system. Development of interpersonal skills is enhanced by the acquisition of basic information about interpersonal communication as a consultant.
4. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
Residents must be able to demonstrate an ability to continually expands his/her knowledge and skills and assesses his/her practice to ensure highly competent evaluation and treatment of psychiatric disorders in older people and their families. This process requires a willingness to develop new knowledge and skills, a recognition of knowledge and skill gaps, and an approach for continuously evaluating and improving one’s knowledge and skills and patient care practices through adherence to “best practices” and regular critical review of the scientific literature. The resident shall demonstrate appropriate skills for obtaining up-to-date information from the scientific and practice literature and other sources to assist in the quality care of patients.
5. Systems-Based Practice
Residents must be able to treat older people with psychiatric and/or neuropsychiatric problems within the context of multiple, complex intra-organization and extra-organization systems. The resident should have a working knowledge of the larger context and the diverse systems involved in treating older patients and their family members and understand how to use and integrate multiple systems of care as part of a comprehensive system of care, in general, and as part of a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan.
Residents must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse geriatric psychiatric patient population.
ACGME Program Requirements for geriatric psychiatry training programs are described at:
ABPN Board Requirements for certification in geriatric psychiatry are described at:
If you have any questions about the application process, please contact:
Ronald LopezAdministrative Director | Psychiatry House Staff Office UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorDepartment of Psychiatry, Office of Education760 Westwood Plaza, Room 37-384 Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759 RonaldLopez@mednet.ucla.edu
© 2020 UCLA Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior
760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095
UCLA | Health System | School of Medicine