Please read this in detail prior to applying! It likely contains the answers to your questions.

Who are you?

We are a small (4 residents per year), community-based and community-focused recently ACGME accredited psychiatry residency in Ventura County, CaliforniaOur faculty is a group with diverse professional interests but a shared passion for teaching.

Our goal is to provide our residents with the requisite skills, knowledge, education, and experience to become outstanding community psychiatrists. We aim to educate the next generation of psychiatrists to practice locally and be leaders in enhancing psychiatric services at all levels throughout Ventura County. While we are solidly based in neurobiology, we believe that residency training must encompass the medical, psychological, social, and cultural aspects of human functioning. We pay particular attention to the history of psychiatry and the effects of social determinants of health, stigma, and discrimination on mental health and its treatment. Because of the needs of our community, particular emphasis will be given to training in consultation/liaison psychiatry.

We believe that resident physicians benefit greatly from close faculty supervision. While residents will act as the primary physicians for their patients, our excellent faculty will provide extensive mentorship. Socratic questions such as “How can we improve on your plan?” will be common.

Who sponsors the program and what are the participating sites?

Community Memorial Health System (CMHS) is the program’s sponsoring institution. CMHS faculty provide resident training in collaboration with faculty at Ventura County Medical Center and Ventura County Behavioral Health.

Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) an expanding state-of-the art, 242-bed non-profit regional hospital and health center. CMHS also sponsors 4 other residency programs (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery). CMHS hosts 3 residency clinics (soon to be 4), 3 of which are within the hospital complex. The Family Medicine Clinic supports an Integrated Behavioral Health Training Program for post-graduate psychology trainees. Psychiatry training will take place at the CMHS resident clinic, Midtown Medical Group Specialty Clinic (MMG).

At CMH, PGY1 residents will have required rotations in inpatient medicine, primary care, and neurology. As PGY3s, during their outpatient year, residents will spend much of their time at MMG, seeing patients mainly affected by mild to moderate mental disorders, often with concomitant substance use disorders and physical health problems. Psychotherapy specialty clinics also take place at MMG.

Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC) is a comprehensive system of hospital, clinic and specialty services. VCMC provides access to health care for all residents of Ventura County, with special emphasis on providing care to those facing barriers to access. VCMC is the designated Level II Trauma Center for West Ventura County. At VCMC, residents rotate and take call on the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, a locked adult acute unit; the Crisis Stabilization Unit, an acute emergency psychiatry service; and the Consultation/Liaison Service, providing psychiatric care for medical and surgical inpatients.

Ventura County Behavioral Health (VCBH) is the county-owned and operated public mental health system for Ventura County. Its providers treat both minors and adults in outpatient clinics throughout the county. Residents rotate through the North Oxnard Clinic for Child and Adolescent and Addiction experiences, and the Ventura Adult Clinic, the other major teaching site for outpatient psychiatric care.

CMH and VCMC are a five-minute walk apart. The other sites are a short drive from either location. Some elective rotations may require longer drives to more distant sites.

What is the rotation schedule?

Rotation Schedule in PDF

PGY1 Year
Please note that in PGY1, the year is divided into 13 blocks of 28 days.

  • 7 blocks of Inpatient Psychiatry
  • 2 blocks of Neurology (both inpatient/outpatient)
  • 4 blocks of Primary Care, consisting of:
    • A minimum of two blocks on Inpatient Medicine
    • One block of Ambulatory Medicine
    • One block of Pediatrics (both inpatient/outpatient) may be chosen as an elective.

PGY2 Year

6 months of Inpatient Psychiatry
3 months of Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry
1 month of Outpatient Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
1 month of Addiction Medicine/Psychiatry
1 month of dedicated Emergency Psychiatry

PGY3 Year

100% Outpatient, except for call responsibilities
Please see the Rotation Schedule for details.

PGY4 Year

1 month of Geriatric Psychiatry
Otherwise, the remainder of the year is a combination of 50% Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry and Electives
Electives include chief resident inpatient, chief resident outpatient, forensic, consultation/liaison, community psychiatry, further psychotherapy, cultural psychiatry, and additional research.

What do your didactics look like?

See here.

Do you have call?

Yes. We believe that taking call is a critical part of the development of a psychiatrist. Residents will have overnight in-house call, which will be scheduled approximately every 6-7 days on psychiatry. PGY1 residents on psychiatry will be supervised in-person while on-call. Other services have their own call schedules and responsibilities.

What are the employment benefits?

Please find these under Facts and Figures.

Do you permit moonlighting?

Yes, but only after being licensed independently as PGY4s, with program director approval, and exclusively in-house. Moonlighting residents also will need to obtain medical staff membership. Strict ACGME hour limitations apply.

I understand that housing costs in Coastal Southern California are high. What kind of housing arrangements do your residents make?

According to rentjungle.com, as of July 2020, the average cost of rent for an apartment in the city of Ventura is $2,262/month, with one-bedroom apartments renting for an average of $1,908/month and two-bedroom apartments for $2,391/month.
Depending on family income, many residents with families rent apartments. Many residents co-lease together, and a few rent rooms. Physicians and members of the community send us rental listings, which we provide to our residents. We also help put incoming interns in touch with each other and 3rd year medical students to give them ample opportunity to find a roommate.

Who might be a good match for this residency?

A desire to learn all aspects of community psychiatry, in addition to general psychiatry, is an absolute must.  Residents seeking a more narrowly focused learning experience will likely be quite unhappy at our program.

Flexibility and the drive of a pioneer are equally important, because this program is a developing one.  While we will do everything in our power to realize our stated goals and objectives, we will need to work collaboratively to find solutions for inevitable “bumps in the road.”  This flexibility, however, can be a strength of our program, in that the resident may earn leadership responsibilities early, thereby contributing to the burgeoning culture of the program.

Further, because of our focus on consultation/liaison psychiatry as an important aspect of community psychiatry, we prefer candidates who have a strong background in medicine.

For whom might this residency be a poor match?

  1. Someone looking for a “lifestyle-oriented” program, with limited time commitment. We believe that rigorous training, which includes considerable patient contact, close supervision, and scheduled on-call experience, is integral to the development of a good psychiatrist. The unique responsibilities and opportunities inherent in the demands of a new residency program will require a highly motivated and flexible individual.
  2. Someone looking for a residency offering a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry “Fast Track.” Please see below.
  3. Someone looking for a research-oriented academic residency. While we are confident in our abilities as clinicians and teachers and have excellent support for clinical research, we are not presently affiliated with a medical school.
  4. Someone looking for training in psychoanalysis. While we will provide very solid training in a number of forms of psychotherapy, including psychodynamic therapy, Ventura County currently has no opportunities for psychoanalytic training.  Such training would need to be initiated after completion of the psychiatric residency (there are prominent psychoanalytic institutes in Los Angeles, about 60 miles from Ventura, but heavy traffic creates a major problem for commuting).

I might be interested in a Child & Adolescent (C&A) Fellowship.  May I leave after I finish PGY3?

Unfortunately, as a small and developing residency, we are presently unable to offer a Child & Adolescent Fast Track.  The expectation is that you complete four years of our general residency.

For all residents, a month of pediatrics is available as an elective in PGY1, and a ½ day of elective time during PGY3 can be further devoted to C&A studies.

Will you consider PGY2, PGY3 or PGY4 transfers?

Not at this time, because we are building a new program.

What is the COVID-19 situation in Ventura County?  If I am selected, is there a possibility that I would be redeployed off a psychiatry service to a medicine service?

Please refer to our local newspaper, the Ventura County Star and the public emergency information system, VCEmergency.com.  Because we are a community-based, community-focused program and believe that psychiatrists are physicians first and foremost, if the need arises, we would accede to the requirements of the medical community, in line with ACGME rules governing such redeployments.

Further, psychiatry residents rotating on any service are expected to care for COVID-19 patients.

What are the formal application requirements?

CMHS considers all qualified applicants.

We require demonstrated experience and interest in Psychiatry in order to be considered for interviews.  We recognize that due to the on-going COVID-19 public health emergency and its impact on medical student education, student experience and/or interest may take a number of forms.

CMHS does not sponsor visas, including ECFMG J-1 visas.

The applicant must be eligible for, and must have, a formal California Postgraduate Training License (PTL) prior to starting the residency.  Please inquire at the respective California Medical Board or Osteopathic Medical Board for details.

What are your minimum USMLE/COMLEX cut off scores?

We require minimum USMLE Step scores of 220, or 530 on the COMLEX.

Do you accept applicants with multiple attempts on USMLE/COMLEX?

No, not at the present.

Due to COVID-19, I have not yet been able to complete one or more parts of Step/Level 2.  Will you consider my application?

We will consider your application if we receive scores on USMLE Step 2 CK or COMLEX Level 2 CE that meet our requirements by the time we close our interview dates.

We completely understand that scores may not be available for USMLE Step 2 CS or COMLEX Level 2 PE due to suspensions of those examinations by the licensing examination boards, and therefore these are not required for an application.

Do you have a medical school graduation date/year cut off?

We require medical school graduation to be no earlier than 2017 for those who have not successfully completed an ACGME or AOA Accredited Residency Program in the United States.

What is the application process?

Please apply through ERAS.

Applicants who meet initial screening requirements will be asked to provide further information electronically.  Those selected will have initial screening interviews by virtual meetings.  Candidates further selected will have the opportunity for several interviews with faculty.

We plan to interview about 40 applicants for our 4 positions.

We welcome your application and the chance to discuss the opportunity to join us in continuing to build this vital community psychiatry program for Ventura County.

I have further questions that you have not answered here.  Whom may I contact?

Jessica Holt
Psychiatry Residency Program Coordinator
Department of Medical Education
CMHS
147 N. Brent St.
Ventura, CA 93003
805/948-5698
FAX: 805/585-3060

OR

Kellie Prather
Psychiatry Residency Program Assistant
CMHS
147 N. Brent St.
Ventura, CA 93003
805/948-5730

OR

e-mail us at: PsychiatryResidency@cmhshealth.org