Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training Program

Introduction and Philosophy

 Child's Drawing


These are exciting times in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. At the University of California San Francisco, we are also very excited to be at the forefront of the remarkable scientific and clinical developments in our discipline.  Of course, with new knowledge and skills come new possibilities and opportunities. UCSF Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and our Training Program are evolving to prepare for a very bright future.

2015 is a particularly exciting year at UCSF. It builds on the recruitment of a remarkable group of faculty, including our new Department Chair, the distinguished child psychiatrist and psychiatric geneticist, Matthew State, MD, PhD.  Matt is playing an active role in our child and adolescent psychiatry programs, along with a growing group of clinicians and investigators.  In addition, with the February 2015 opening of the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, the focus of children’s services at UCSF will begin to shift from Parnassus Heights to the Mission Bay campus.  At the same time, we will maintain our strong commitment to our community-based partnerships at San Francisco General Hospital, Edgewood Residential Treatment Center, the San Francisco Department of Health, the Haight Ashbury Clinic and, our new partner, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (formerly Oakland Children’s Hospital).  We are proud to share in the history and present of a world-class, preeminent health sciences center that has a long and distinguished record of innovation in patient care, education, research and public service.

The richness of our resources, allows us to truly operationalize our philosophy which emphasizes the training of clinicians and scientists, side-by-side, in a multidisciplinary, multicultural environment.  We aspire to have graduates who are dedicated, available and committed to engagement, life-long learning, and the provision of state-of-the-art evidence-based treatments to children, adolescents and their families, by partnering with and advocating for them and the availability of appropriate systems of care. 

Training is a very important part of the mission for the UCSF Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training at the UCSF School of Medicine is founded on the belief that neurodevelopmental, biological, psychological, behavioral and cultural perspectives are integral to our approach to the care of children, adolescents and their families. Residents participate in a structured, core clinical, research and educational experience that includes hands-on training in specialty clinics (Autism, DBT, ADHD, OCD, forensics, substance abuse, Gender issues, epilepsy/pediatric neurology, etc. ), residential treatment, community clinics, school-based consultations and consultation/liaison to pediatrics. We also provide training in brief and long-term psychotherapies, from a variety of perspectives and traditions and strategies: Supportive, psychodynamic, and family therapies along with crisis intervention combined psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies. Direct attending supervision is provided for all clinical experiences. Critical thinking skills are enhanced by theoretical and evidence-based seminars and demonstrations by skilled clinical practitioner as role models, and consultants.

Research and scholarship are fundamental extensions of being a UCSF-trained child and adolescent psychiatrist. Exposure to research is a requirement of our program with many of trainees developing and completing projects on their own or in collaboration with a faculty member.  While all of our graduates may not pursue careers in child and adolescent psychiatry research, we strive to for each to understand the research process, be excellent consumers of the research literature, and to have significant, in-depth clinical and scholarly understanding in at least one area of child and adolescent psychiatry.  This knowledge is reflected not only in their skill set but also in their ability to teach this to others.

In addition to training as a scholarly, clinically sound child and adolescent psychiatrist, another goal is to help our graduates develop their identity as leaders, not only in their clinical teams, but also in the healthcare systems and communities in which they work.  We provide our trainees with the opportunity to explore their interests and skills in leadership while working in clinics but also serving on committees and in other capacities in division, departmental and medical center management.

This is a great time to train in child and adolescent psychiatry. As we learn the importance of genetics, neurodevelopment, prevention and early intervention we are able to translate it to better care for the community. This spectrum is part of what we do each and every day and we welcome our trainees to join us in our work as well as in the joy of exploration, learning and caring that is UCSF.

The program is under the direction and supervision of the Training Director, Bennett Leventhal, MD. Dr. Leventhal assumed this role in 2014, but for many years, he has been a leader in field of child and adolescent psychiatry, both nationally and internationally. He has a distinguished reputation as clinician and investigator but especially as a teacher and mentor who has fostered the careers of many clinicians and scientists.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Feel free to visit our Photo Gallery.

A Message from Bennett Leventhal, Training Director and Deputy Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:

It is a great joy for me to join UCSF.  This is a remarkable environment for training, patient care and education.  I have long been aware of UCSF’s reputation and distinction as one of the finest medical centers in the world and, of course, a place that was home to some of the great traditions and leaders in child and adolescent psychiatry.  In my few short months at UCSF, I have come to appreciate UCSF from a completely different perspective.  Surely, it is a great medical center with extraordinary research, clinical service and training programs. But, unlike almost any other medical center in the world, it is making a major commitment to the Department of Psychiatry, including Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  This commitment is both intellectual and tangible in terms of space, faculty recruitment and resources for program development.  Most recently, this began with the recruitment of Matthew State, MD, PhD as the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. State is a very accomplished child and adolescent psychiatrist who is widely recognized for his scientific and leadership accomplishments – he was elected to the Institute of Medicine this year!  Matt, along with the Dean and hospital officials are unabashedly committed to have strong clinical, research and training programs in child and adolescent psychiatry.  And, I can see this commitment being fulfilled each and every day.  These are remarkable times in child and adolescent psychiatry but they are going to be even more exciting at UCSF for our faculty and trainees.

We are eager to seek out the best candidates for training in child and adolescent psychiatry.  We want you if you are eager, passionate, curious, hardworking and determined to learn how to be an excellent clinician in a scholarly environment that is attentive to the needs of its community.  Our current faculty and trainees are ready as well as eager, passionate, hardworking and determined to train the best of the next generation of child and adolescent psychiatrists.  We are excited to meet our next class of outstanding trainees.

It is a real privilege to return to where I started in child and adolescent psychiatry.  I began my career as a training director and after taking a few twists and turns along the way, it is good to be so involved not only in training. We already have an excellent training program but it can always be better. Therefore, as our department goes through a comprehensive strategic planning process, we are exploring the best ways to improve our training programs in child and adolescent psychiatry. As with our research, we are examining evidence-based practices and where the evidence does not exist, we are preparing to create it.  Faculty and trainee committees are carefully assessing all the elements of our training program. And, we are collaborating with colleagues from outside the Department such areas as UCSF Developmental Pediatrics and Psychology at UC Berkeley. This will be an iterative process that will take place over the course of the next several years. We look forward to having our new faculty and trainees join in this process.  

One of the changes already instituted is in our interviewing process. We have three interview days scheduled in the fall. They are all on Thursdays. We are also providing a completely optional time on Fridays to tour our training sites, attend conferences and visit laboratories at UCSF.  When selected for interview, please let us know if you would like to take advantage of this optional visit time.

While much is changing in UCSF Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, we will carefully maintain our strengths and traditions.  Among these strengths is an openness and flexibility for trainees to ask and pursue important questions and, with the faculty, to create training opportunities that meet their needs.  We look forward to your questions and to hearing about your creative ideas.  If you have questions, now, please feel free to contact me and, of course, we look forward to speaking with you during our interviews.

Bennett L. Leventhal, MD




Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service