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New psychiatry residency program hopes to ease physician shortage in northwest Indiana

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MERRILLVILLE—Indiana University School of Medicine is partnering with the Northwest Indiana GME Consortium to launch a new psychiatry residency program at its regional campus in northwest Indiana aimed at treating an underserved population in that part of the state.

The program will help train new psychiatrists to better care for people with mental illness in northwest Indiana, an area designated as a high-needs geographic Health Professional Shortage Area for mental health by the United States Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Northwest Indiana GME Consortium is a group of health care organizations aimed at providing medical training in response to the statewide physician shortage.

The new four-year program, which will accept four residents each year, has received its initial accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the accrediting body for graduate medical education (GME) programs.

Elizabeth Ryan, EdD

“This is the first psychiatry residency program in northern Indiana and the third from IU School of Medicine,” said Elizabeth Ryan, EdD, associate dean and campus director of IU School of Medicine Northwest—Gary. “The program contributes to a goal of recruiting medical students to the Northwest-Gary campus, upon medical school graduation transitioning to a northwest Indiana-located residency program and retaining these physicians to serve in the region.”

Regional Health Systems in Merrillville is one of the Northwest GME Consortium members. Residents will be integrated into Regional Health Systems’ continuum of care, which includes northwest Indiana’s largest community mental health center, an inpatient psychiatric unit, two addiction units, a federally qualified community health center and a comprehensive behavioral health team made up of psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and family medicine physicians.

Kobie Douglas, MD

“The psychiatry residency program brings us one step closer to meeting the long-term public health needs of severely and chronically mentally ill patients and underserved populations in northwest Indiana,” said Kobie Douglas, MD, chief medical officer for Regional Health Systems and a Gary native. Douglas is also an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at IU School of Medicine and will serve as the residency director for the new program. “Since medical residents often remain in the area where they completed their residency, providing more opportunities to train here will help address the disparities  in access to psychiatric care.”

“This program will help IU School of Medicine increase the number of mental health professionals trained in the state to be able to serve Hoosiers,” said Paul Wallach, MD, executive associate dean for educational affairs and institutional improvement at IU School of Medicine. “The residents will complete rotations focused on primary care, neurology, addictions, child and adolescent care and more. By focusing on mental health and primary health care, this next generation of psychiatrists will learn to provide the specialized, individualized care many patients in this vulnerable population need.”

The program is part of the IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry along with the current psychiatry residency programs in Indianapolis and Vincennes.


IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.