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New training positions for mental health professionals approved in Green Bay, Appleton

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the addition of 10 new training slots for mental health professionals in northeastern Wisconsin. The positions, which are established to train seven psychiatrists, two psychologists and a pharmacist, are designed to help alleviate a critical shortage of mental health professionals in that region of the state.

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in partnership with leaders at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee proposed the training program and will oversee the seven psychiatry residents. Residency is a multi-year educational program that occurs immediately following medical school; psychiatry residents train over a four year period.

The addition of residency slots in the state makes it possible for greater numbers of future graduates to remain in Wisconsin for their training. The expansion of graduate medical education, or residency, is an important component in MCW’s efforts to address the growing need for physicians in underserved areas of the state through its new regional medical education campuses opening in Green Bay in 2015 and in central Wisconsin in 2016.

Jon Lehrmann, MD, the Charles E. Kubly Professor and Chairman in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, who also serves as the Milwaukee VA Medical Center’s associate chief of staff for mental health, will oversee the new VA training program overall. Carlyle Chan, MD, Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and former training director of MCW’s psychiatry residency program, will serve as interim residency training director.

 “There is a worsening shortage of mental health professionals in Wisconsin, particularly in rural areas of the state. The VA clinic in Green Bay is expanding to better meet those needs, and these training positions will bring mental health care to those patients who need it,” said Dr. Lehrmann. “Aspiring physicians who go to medical school and complete residency in Wisconsin have a better than 70-percent chance of remaining in the state to practice medicine. We are training them in the areas that need them the most.”

The overall program will have 16 slots, the other nine of which are in the approval/funding process. Residents will work at the Milo C. Huempfner VA Outpatient Clinic in Green Bay or the Appleton VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.         

The Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee will oversee the psychology postdoctoral positions and the pharmacy residency, with onsite directors in Appleton and in Green Bay.

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Page Updated 12/11/2013