PREREQUISITES AND PLACEMENT IN THE CURRICULUM: Students must have completed the M3 Core Clerkship in Psychiatry.

PURPOSE: The Women’s Mental Health Elective will provide students with specialized knowledge about how psychiatric disorders relate to the female reproductive cycle and to gender-based cultural roles.

COMPETENCIES: Upon completion of the elective, students will be able to:
•  Understand how the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the postpartum period, and menopause influence the expression of psychiatric disorders;
•  Understand what is known about the relationship between reproductive hormones and psychological states;
•  Understand the risks and benefits of psychopharmacological agents during pregnancy and breast feeding, and how to minimize those risks;
•  Understand potential effects on pharmacokinetics of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy;
•  Assess parenting skills in mentally ill women, and become familiar with effective interventions for poor parenting skills;
•  Identify psychosocial factors influencing the expression of symptoms in mentally ill women.

INSTRUCTIONAL FEATURES: Students will spend about 20 hours per week as part of the multidisciplinary Women’s Inpatient Team. They will spend the remainder of their time divided among the outpatient Women’s Clinic, the Parenting Assessment Team, and the Women Consultation Service. At a given time, patient load will average 3 inpatients, 2 families for parenting assessment, and 3-4 outpatient diagnostic evaluations and/or consults. The Women’s Inpatient Team, the Parenting Assessment Team, and the Outpatient Women’s Clinic are nationally recognized as unique clinical services for mentally ill women. Few medical schools in the country can provide the faculty expertise and patient base to offer such an elective.

ASSESSMENT: Students will be supervised by the attending staff of the Women’s Mental Health Program and by the Women’s Mental Health fellow. Their supervision will include direct observation of their patient interviews. They will present at treatment planning meetings and on rounds, and write notes on their patients, all of which will be reviewed by supervisors. Students will also prepare a paper or presentation on a Women’s Mental Health topic of their choice.


Program Number: ELEC 669
Location: UI Health
Program Director: Ashley Mulvihill, MD
Coordinator: Graciela Bernal
Telephone: 312-996-4981
Duration: 4 weeks
Night Call: No
Weekends: No
Students Accepted: 
Min. 1 Max. 1
Housestaff Used as Faculty: Yes
Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact: 4
Laboratory/Independent Study: 0
Outpatient: 16
Inpatient: 20
Total Hours /Week:

Updated: 12/17/18