University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Psychiatry
Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy

National Research and Training Center (NRTC)

/Training and Education

Transforming the Academic Curriculum in Medical, Social, and Behavioral Sciences

The purpose of this project is to transform the academic curriculum in the medical, social, and behavioral sciences by educating students about mental health recovery, self-determination, peer support, and evidence-based practices in behavioral health. A complementary goal of the project is to ensure that every licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, and social worker in the United States receives education about mental health recovery, self-determination, and peer support by updating licensing exams to reflect these concepts.

Curricular transformation has begun at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Department of Psychiatry ( with the development of novel educational programs for undergraduate medical students and psychiatry residents. First and second year medical students and psychiatry residents now attend required lectures regarding disability, recovery, self-determination, and strengths-based mental health treatment. Second year medical students also receive new recovery and stigma awareness training as part of their required Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) training. The MMSE is a widely used tool that enables clinicians to assess overall cognitive status, neurological impairments, and brain function of individuals in their practice. New courses on consumer-centered care are being developed, including a seminar with the UIC Hispanic Center of Excellence ( on meeting the cultural needs of Latino/Latina individuals seeking mental health care.

Additional sites within the University of Illinois system have agreed to implement medical curricular transformation, such as the Urbana-Champaign Medical College (, along with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (, the Medical University of South Carolina (, the Harbor UCLA Medical Center (, and the University of South Florida (

In coming years, curricular transformation will extend to UIC educational programs in social work and psychology. Transformation efforts for social work and psychology students will also occur at the Adler School of Professional Psychology (, Harbor UCLA, and George Washington University (

Project staff are collaborating with members of the American College of Psychiatrists (, the American Psychiatric Association (, and the American Psychological Association ( to add test items about mental health recovery to the national licensing examinations taken by psychiatrists and psychologists.

The UIC CMHSRP is part of the ongoing Education and Research efforts of the UIC Department of Psychiatry

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