Department of Psychiatry

Education Programs

Medical Student Education

On Becoming a Doctor: Human Behavior

Louise O'Donnell, PhD
Louise O'Donnell, Ph.D.,
Course Director
The Human Behavior Section of the course "On Becoming a Doctor" teaches first year medical students basic human psychology with an emphasis on the neurobiological substrates mediating interpersonal interactions, particularly as they relate to the doctor-patient relationship. Topics discussed include infant and child development, human sexuality, death and dying, and aging and functional decline among others. The course is comprised of lectures as well as small group activities that invite students to identify patient and personal thoughts, feelings and behaviors likely to affect the relationships they build with their patients.

Course Topics

  • The Brain, The Neuron and Behavior
  • Genes and Behavior
  • The Mind, The Group and Behavior
  • Infant, Child and Adolescent Development
  • Diversity in Medical Practice
  • Discrimination in Medical Practice
  • Family Systems
  • The Neurobiology of Attachment
  • Family Violence and Development Trauma
  • Neurobiology of Rage, Aggression, and Fear
  • Gangs

  • Mental Defense Mechanisms
  • Personality Types
  • Human Sexuality
  • Neurobiology of Sex
  • Chronic Disease, Stress and Behavior
  • Chronic Disease, Stress and Neurophysiology
  • Learning and Memory
  • Reward Systems and Conditioning
  • Aging and Functional Decline
  • Cognition and Functional Status
  • Death and Dying
  • Advanced Interviewing: Cognitive Assessment
  • Sleep

Mind, Brain, and Behavior

Mind, Brain, and Behavior is a nine week course for all second year medical students that combines psychopathology, neurology, and neuroanatomy into an integrated curriculum. Dr. Brenda Talley is a course Co-Director. Second year medical students are taught disease processes affecting the human mind and interviewing techniques to elicit psychiatric symptoms such as psychosis, suicidal ideation, and substance dependence. This course includes the clinical features and neurobiological mechanisms mediating psychiatric illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, neurocognitive disorders, and anxiety. Clinical skill group activities emphasize psychiatric interviewing, mental status formulations, and differential diagnosis.

Psychiatry Clerkship

Every student rotates through the psychiatry clerkship for six weeks during their third year of medical school. Under the course direction of Dr. Brenda Talley, students learn how to actively diagnosis and treat patients with a spectrum of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and substance use. Specific skills learned include suicide risk assessment, mental status assessment, substance use assessment, depression screening, and psychosis evaluation. In addition to inpatient units and outpatient clinics, students take calls at the Veterans Hospital. Training sites for the psychiatry clerkship include:
  1. University Hospital
  2. South Texas Veterans' Health Care System
  3. UTHSCSA Transitional Care Clinic
  4. Rio Grande State Center (RAHC)
  5. Valley Baptist Hospital (RAHC)
  6. Tropical Texas MHMR (RAHC)
  7. San Antonio State Hospital
  8. Clarity Children’s Out-patient Services
Brenda Talley, M.D., Course Director, Psychopathology

Brenda J. Talley, M.D.

Course Director

Louise O'Donnell, PhD, Course Director, On Becoming a Doctor Jason E. Schillerstrom, MD, Course Director, Psychiatry Clerkship Brenda J. Talley, MD, Course Director, Psychopathology