Pine Rest plans psychiatric residency program to meet market demand


Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services offers comprehensive behavioral health services in a compassionate environment. Photo via

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids is seeking accreditation for a psychiatric medicine residency program that would begin its first class in July 2014.

“This is a direct response to community demand for more psychiatrists, along with more training opportunities to support the expansion of medical schools in Michigan,” said Pine Rest president and CEO Mark Eastburg.

Medical school graduates are required to complete a residency — additional training in their specialty — before entering practice.

“The breadth of services offered at Pine Rest and in our thriving medical community provides an outstanding training experience that will equip physicians to work in a variety of settings when they leave this program,” added Eastburg. “We are hopeful that many will choose to stay in our community.”

In health care, up to 60 percent of newly licensed doctors take jobs within 100 miles of their residency program site.

Pine Rest said it receives hundreds of calls each month from people who need to see a psychiatrist and, yet, have to experience long waits, because there aren’t enough psychiatrists.

Pine Rest was recently designated as a new teaching hospital by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which means it can set up a new residency program and receive reimbursement primarily from Medicare.

The proposed Pine Rest four-year program will accommodate eight residents per year, starting when they graduate from medical school. Residency for psychiatrists consists of didactic and experiential training. Clinical rotations include psychiatric inpatient and outpatient care, general medicine experience, consultation liaison in acute care hospitals and exposure to neurology.

Pine Rest is the primary sponsor of the psychiatric residency program, but the program represents collaboration with Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids. More than 15 years ago, Pine Rest and Saint Mary’s joined forces to create a strong inpatient psychiatric care service, according to Pine Rest.

“Once again, Saint Mary’s Health Care played a crucial role in helping this project move to the next stage of development,” said Eastburg. “We are grateful for their ongoing support and this fine example of collaboration and leadership.”

Other organizations providing significant support to the program include Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, the academic and research partner, and Grand Rapids Medical Education Program, which will provide accreditation support.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services has been an institutional provider of mental health services since its incorporation in 1910. It operated a nursing school and a psychiatry residency training program under Michigan State University from 1975 to 1995.

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