Transforming Psychiatry from the Classroom to the Clinic: Lessons from the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative

Melissa R. Arbuckle, Michael J. Travis, Jane Eisen, Amanda Wang, Ashley E. Walker, Joseph J. Cooper, Liz Neeley, Sidney Zisook, Deborah S. Cowley, David A. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: Individual residency programs often struggle to keep pace with scientific advances and new training requirements. Integrating a modern neuroscience perspective into the clinical practice of psychiatry is particularly emblematic of these challenges. The National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative (NNCI) was established in 2013 to develop a comprehensive set of shared, open-access resources for teaching neuroscience in psychiatry. Methods: The NNCI developed a collaborative, team-based approach with a peer-review process for generating and reviewing content. Teaching resources have included interactive sessions for the classroom paired with a comprehensive facilitator’s guide. Brief accessible reviews and short videos have been developed for self-study and teaching in clinical settings. Dissemination efforts have included hands-on training for educators through national workshops. All resources are freely available on the NNCI website. Outcome measures have included the number of educational resources developed, feedback from workshop attendees, the number of US psychiatry residency programs who have adopted NNCI resources, as well as analytics from the NNCI website. Results: To date, the NNCI has developed over 150 teaching sessions, reflecting the work of 129 authors from 49 institutions. The NNCI has run over 50 faculty development workshops in collaboration with numerous national and international organizations. Between March 2015 and June 2019, the website ( has hosted 48,640 unique users from 161 countries with 500,953 page views. More than 200 psychiatry training programs have reported implementing NNCI teaching materials. Conclusions: This multisite collaborative provides a model for integrating cutting-edge science into medical education and the practice of medicine more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum development
  • Medical education
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry
  • Residency training


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