Becoming a Child Psychiatrist Course

Dear Medical Students,
My name is Anita Kishore and I am a professor and child psychiatrist at Stanford University in the U.S. I have received a Fulbright grant from the U.S. State Department to build an international collaborative mentorship network for medical students interested in child psychiatry. As part of that project, I have designed a course called ‘Becoming a Child Psychiatrist: More Than Just Science.’ The course description is attached to this email. I welcome any of you who are even the least bit interested to stop by for any of these classes this summer. The course has no requirements at all (no required reading, no required writing), – just your presence and hopefully open mind about child psychiatry. We will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm through the end of July. You are welcome to just come to one class – you do not need to come to all of the classes. If you are at all interested, I would encourage you to try to come to the first class (even if you cannot come to the others).
Please feel free to email me with any questions at all about the course and/or mentorship program.

Becoming a Child Psychiatrist: More Than Just Science

Instructor: Dr. Anita R. Kishore, MD

The popularity of a large number of television shows about mental health and children with mental health concerns, including 13 Reasons Why, Parenthood, and In Treatment, point to the continued fascination that a large percentage of the public has with children’s mental health and the process of becoming a psychiatrist or child psychiatrist.  Unlike other service-oriented professions, like the law, almost no one reaches even college age without at least some contact with a physician.  Yet most people have only the faintest notion of what the process of becoming a psychiatrist, and especially a child psychiatrist, entails.  This course is aimed at all medical students, but may be especially helpful to those considering a career in psychiatry, child psychiatry and pediatrics, as it may help them acquire perspectives to facilitate their decision-making process.  Using literature, television, movies, recent press, field trips and children/family interviews as guides, this course attempts to demystify and explore the successive stages of children’s development, child psychiatric training and the practice of child psychiatry.  The content backbone for the course will be based on the iCAMH (International Child and Adolescent Mental Health) course produced by IACAPAP (International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professions).

In this course we will begin with reflection about the relationship between a child psychiatrist and their patients and the very crux of what it means to be a physician.  From there we move on to an exploration of readings from literature and the news that depict the profession of child psychiatry in strikingly positive or negative ways.  As a class we will devote some time to a discussion of why we think these polarizing perspectives are so prevalent, what their consequences might be, and where we think the reality might actually lie.  We will also spend some time discussing women in child psychiatry and their unique perspectives and hurdles within our profession.  In addition, we will consider problems facing child psychiatry in the 21st century: problems of mental health care access and delivery, the high cost of such care and the prescription drugs sometimes needed, and the effects on the uninsured in the world (43 million plus people in the US alone) and the underinsured.

Books, television, movies, recent press and direct observation can all be rich educational tools and therapeutic resources.  Using excerpts from readings: written by and about child psychiatrists, in the voice of a young child with mental illness, fictional stories with helpful themes, and firsthand accounts written by patients or families about their personal experience with mental illness, and the other modalities mentioned, we will explore various aspects of typical child development, child psychiatric illness and child psychiatric training.  To aid our discussion, we will be joined by two guest speakers, Dr. Andres Martin, MD a renowned physician, author and expert in the field of medicine and the humanities and Dr. Arne Popma, Chair of Child Psychiatry here at VUmc.

Becoming a Child Psychiatrist: More Than Just Science

Learning about Children, Child Psychiatric Illness and Child Psychiatric Training in Fun and Engaging Ways

Instructor: Dr. Anita R. Kishore MD

Course Description: The course is a study of child psychiatry.  We will examine the process of becoming a child psychiatrist and discuss child psychiatric practice.  We will also discuss the therapeutic relationship in child psychiatry and the views and writings of women in child psychiatry.  In addition we will spend some time discussing idealized and demonized views of child psychiatry in literature and the news.  We will also discuss typical child development and learn about various child psychiatric illnesses that can arise and how they are treated.

Pre-requisites: none


  1. Field Trips. The best way to learn about typical child development is through docented direct observation.  We will take one or more field trips to playgrounds, parks etc. to eat lunch together, enjoy the sunshine and observe children in their natural environment.  We will end with ample time for discussion of developmental milestones, interactions and dynamics between children and with their caregivers.
  2. Television/Movie Clips. We will discuss the ways in which television and movies portray child psychiatric illness in accurate and less than accurate ways.
  3. Media/Press Representation of Child Psychiatry: The Good and The Bad. We will read and discuss international and local newspaper articles portraying child psychiatry in positive and negative ways.  Each student will bring one local and one international newspaper article pertinent to child psychiatry that we will read and dissect together.


  1. A Child Psychiatrist Responds The New York Times
  2. Psychiatrists, Children and Drug Industry’s Role The New York Times
  3. Study Finds Jump in Children Taking Psychiatric Drugs The New York Times
  4. Opinion: The Empty Promise of Suicide Prevention The New York Times
  5. Using excerpts from readings: from children’s literature, written by and about child psychiatrists, in the voice of a young child with mental illness, fictional stories with helpful themes, and firsthand accounts written by patients or families about their personal experience with mental illness, we will explore various aspects of typical child development, child psychiatric illness and child psychiatric training.
  6. Children and Families. In collaboration with my Dutch colleagues we will interview children and families struggling with one or more child psychiatric illnesses.  Patients are always our best teachers.


IACAPAP MOOC: 1. Introduction

IACAPAP MOOC: 2. Normal development in children and adolescents

IACAPAP MOOC 3: 3. Clinical Assessment and Examination

IACAPAP MOOC 4: 4. Mood disorders

IACAPAP MOOC 5: 5. Anxiety disorders and trauma

IACAPAP MOOC 6: 6. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

IACAPAP MOOC 7: 7. Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorders

IACAPAP MOOC 8: 8. Substance abuse


IACAPAP MOOC 10: Schizophernia

IACAPAP MOOC 11: Eating Disorders

IACAPAP MOOC 12: Suicide and non-suicidal self injury

IACAPAP MOOC 13: Intellectual Disabilities and Learning Difficulties

IACAPAP MOOC 14: Associated Somatic Disorders

IACAPAP MOOC 15 & 16: Attachment and Miscellaneous

IACAPAP MOOC 17: Burden and risk factors of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders

IACAPAP MOOC 18: Treatments in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

IACAPAP MOOC 19: Evidence Based Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

IACAPAP MOOC 20: Transcultural Aspects of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

IACAPAP MOOC 21: Treatment Planning

IACAPAP MOOC 22: Treatment Planning: Beyond Categories and Dimensions

IACAPAP MOOC 23: Where to Go From Here?

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