For the latest COVID-19 campus news and resources, visit

Search Close Search
Page Menu

Neuropsychiatric Disabilities Fellowship

Program Information


The neuropsychiatric disabilities fellowship provides a unique and exciting opportunity to develop a broad base of expertise in the area of dual diagnosis (mental retardation and mental illness). The fellow will work closely with a number of faculty who have extensive backgrounds in the assessment and treatment of individuals with mental illness and mental retardation. Many of the faculty members are national leaders in this specialized area. Settings include several nationally recognized programs such as the Shriver Center, the Sovner Center, and the UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC) Neuropsychiatric Disabilities Unit (NDU). Applicants must have at least completed the requirements of a general psychiatry residency. The Neuropsychiatric Disabilities fellowship at the University of Massachusetts offers PGY-5 residents a one-year program of supervised clinical, research, and teaching experience.

Clinical experience will be gained in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The fellow will work part time on the Neuropsychiatric Disabilities Unit, a 10-bed locked inpatient unit specialized in serving individuals with acute psychiatric and behavioral disorders and mental retardation. The unit is one of only a handful of specialty units in the United States applying an intensive multidisciplinary-care model to the assessment and treatment of individuals with mental illness and mental retardation. The fellow will work closely with other multidisciplinary team members on the Neuropsychiatric Disabilities Unit, including Van Silka, MD, and Laurie Charlot, PhD. As part of the experience on this service, the fellow will care for patients as a primary clinician. Duties will include initial psychiatric evaluations, seeing the patient on a daily basis, writing orders and progress notes, and participating in admission and discharge planning. In addition, the fellow will attend multidisciplinary team meetings and be involved in developing comprehensive treatment plans, including close collaboration with other team members to integrate the use of a multimodal treatment approach. The fellow will also have the opportunity to work with Susan Abend, MD, FACP, an internist and endocrinologist on the team who has had extensive experience managing the medical needs of patients with mental retardation, to learn about the impact of comorbid medical problems that frequently impact on the psychiatric presentation in this population. The fellow will also have the opportunity to learn about service systems and administrative concerns through attending related administrative meetings between members of the NDU administration and Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation staff.

Outpatient experience will be provided in a variety of settings. The fellow will also have the opportunity to work in the Shriver Center affiliated specialty outpatient clinic, a developmental disabilities evaluation and referral center directed by Kathleen Braden, MD. This exciting new center will provide a wide array of services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Other opportunities include working one afternoon per week in the UMMHC Neuropsychiatry Clinic with Sheldon Benjamin, MD. Dr. Benjamin is boarded in both psychiatry and neurology and served as a behavioral neurology fellow during his training. He has extensive background in the assessment and treatment of individuals with complex and severe behavioral and neurologic problems and he has written and lectured widely on this topic.

The fellow will also spend one day per month attending treatment team meetings with the Sovner Center clinicians including Sherman Fox, MD, Ludwik Szymanski, MD, and other experts in the field of dual diagnosis. The Sovner Center is a nationally recognized model program providing community care to individuals with dual diagnosis. Research projects will be ongoing within both inpatient and outpatient services.

The fellow will also have the opportunity to participate in a DBT group for individuals with developmental disabilities at the UMMHC outpatient psychiatric clinic.


Compensation for the neuropsychiatric disabilities fellow is at the level of a PGY-5 trainee. Malpractice, health insurance, disability, and other benefits are provided. Moonlighting opportunities can be arranged.