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Behavioral Medicine Program

Behavioral Science
Resident Training

With the Emory Family Medicine Residency Program, behavioral medicine resident training takes place in a variety of settings and through diverse activities including:

  • Behavioral Medicine Rotation
  • Psychiatry Rotation
  • Didactic Presentations
  • Videotaping Patient Encounters
  • Balint Group

Behavioral Medicine Rotation

An essential piece of comprehensive, primary care is the proficient application of behavioral medicine services. Key facets in behavioral medicine training for family medicine residents include understanding psychosocial factors that impact the health of patients:

  • Recognizing common psychological problems and/or concerns

  • Facilitating appropriate mental health interventions and referrals

  • Developing and refining effective communication skills with colleagues and patients.

Additionally, the behavioral medicine experience affords residents the opportunity to examine and enhance their individual development and promote a healthy balance, personally, familially, culturally and professionally.

  • Mini-Huddle Presentation

  • Behavioral Medicine Monographs

  • Additional Core Activities 
      (dependent on availability

Mini-Huddle Presentation

Behavioral Medicine topic: 
– resident chooses in conjunction with his or her B-Med preceptor

  • Opportunity to explore a topic that is of interest to the resident.  This assignment affords the resident practice with giving a presentation on a B-Med topic and may provide the groundwork for other schoolarly work in the future.
  • Example topics include: diabetes and compliance, ADHD identification and treatment, or depression and pregnancy

Behavioral Medicine Monographs


Monograph assignments required on the B-Med rotation offer a meaningful learning opportunity by providing thorough reviews assessment of the following topics:

  • Depression
  • Childhood Behavioral Problems
  • Family Violence
  • Addiction in Family Medicine

Additional Core Activities (dependent on availability) 

> Therapy patient encounter /case review/note writing. This activity provides opportunities to:
  • Gain greater awareness of the psychological processes typically seen in standard medical patient encounters
  • Practice diagnostic interviewing skills in assessing psychiatric issues
  • Practice note writing for targeted psychosocial issues
>  Group attendance/delivery:

>  Video/audio training: These are training videos targeted toward training needs of a Primary Care physician.

  • Interviewing skills in primary care
    • Motivational Interviewing/Health behavior change
    • How to motivate your patients without running them off!
  • Family Violence
    • How to conceptualize/evaluate/ intervene
  • Disclosing adverse events
    • Who/what/when/where???

Psychiatry Rotation

The knowledge of human behavior, mental health and mental disorders is incorporated into the everyday practice of family physicians. Family medicine residents must develop and display sensitivity to, and knowledge of, the emotional aspects associated with organic illness. Furthermore, family medicine residents must be able to identify relationships that exist among their patients´ biological, psychological and social factors. Among these interrelationships, residents will also consider the ethical scope of patient care.

During the residents´ second year (PGY2), a four-week period of formal training will take place in an inpatient setting at Emory University Hospital Midtown. The psychiatric rotation experience will focus on assessment and diagnosis, psychopharmacology, approaches to psychotherapy and collaboration with mental health providers such as psychiatrists, mental health therapists, psychologists, and allied health professionals ( Emory Family Medicine Residency Program Handbook).

For additional information regarding curriculum, please see Psychiatry Curriculum

Didactic Presentations

The Emory Family Medicine Residency Program facilitates and enhances resident education through an all-inclusive didactics program which is conducted every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Emory Family Medicine Main Office. Didactic presentations focus not only on medicine but also behavioral medicine and psychiatry and serve as an avenue for educating and evaluating the residents´ knowledge in the ACGME six core competency areas.

Previous behavioral medicine/psychiatry didactic presentations have focused on topics such as the following:

  • Affective Mood Disorders
  • Family Violence: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
  • Anxiety and Its Presentation in Primary Care
  • Bereavement
  • Balint Group Orientation
  • Mind-Body Medicine
  • Pain Management
  • Borderline Personality Disorder in Primary Care
  • Cultural Issues: Focus on African American Patients
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-Specialty Referral Issues

For additional information pertaining to didactic presentations and scheduling, please refer to the Emory Family Medicine Didactics Conference.

Patient Encounter Videotaping

Because videotaping is an essential component of residency education, residents are expected to avail themselves of this valuable tool. The primary goal of videotaping is to provide an effective method of learning, practicing and ensuring competence in patient interviewing techniques and communication skills.

In two videotaping review cycles each year, residents are assigned specific patient encounters and then required to meet with faculty and fellow residents to review them. At the end of each videotape review session, future videotape assignment requirements are determined by the resident´s demonstrated proficiency level as outlined on the Videotaping/Communication Skills Progress Report Form.

For further details regarding videotape requirements and resident responsibilities, please refer to the Emory Family Medicine Residency Program Handbook.

Balint  Group

On the first Thursday of each month from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m, the Behavioral Medicine faculty conducts Balint Group with Family Medicine Residents in their second year. Balint Group is based on an experiential model in which residents meet once a month to discuss, process, and examine the physician-patient relationship. During this time, group members listen to the presenting physician's story while concentrating specifically on the doctor-patient relationship. The primary goal of Balint Group is to assist the physician in understanding the relationship between physicians and their patients, as opposed to advising the physician on options for treatment.

The Balint Group process is unique in that difficult situations can be processed in a non-threatening manner so that pertinent information about patients' feelings may be discerned. This group experience provides an opportunity for residents to become more comfortable with feelings of uncertainty and complexity without feeling pressured to arrive at a resolution. Furthermore, the Balint Group process encourages residents to be more self-aware and self-reflective about ways in which they interact with patients on occasions when it is important to examine these emotions. (Retrieved on the American Balint Society website:, June 8, 2005; STFM Conference, September 2005) .

For additional information about Balint Group and the ACGME Competencies, please feel free to visit the American Balint Society website.

Important Forms/Requirements:

Videotaping Requirements found in the Resident Handbook

Videotaping Encounter form

Psychosocial Case Study Format