The National Curriculum in Reproductive Psychiatry is the joint work of dozens of volunteer clinician-educators from across the country. It was conceived in 2013 at the Biennial Perinatal Mental Health meeting, when a group of academic psychiatrists came together to present a symposium on the current state of education in reproductive psychiatry. In the wake of that symposium, the presenters formed the National Task Force on Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, with an agenda to research the current state of education in reproductive psychiatry and move toward national standards.
Since that symposium in 2013, the National Task Force has conducted two surveys of residency directors and fellowship directors , to assess the current state of education in the field. We have identified six core knowledge areas for specialists in this area:
• Relationship between reproductive cycle stages and psychopathology
• Epidemiology, pathophysiology, and phenomenology of psychiatric disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum, including pharmacokinetic changes
• Treatment of perinatal disorders, including but not limited to psychopharmacology
• Psychiatric symptoms related to infertility, pregnancy loss, birth trauma, and delivery of offspring with major health problems
• Premenstrual mood disorders
• Symptoms related to perimenopause
In the course of our research, it became apparent that few residency programs were teaching much about reproductive psychiatry, and that the major barriers to teaching more included lack of qualified faculty and lack of time (because reproductive psychiatry is not a required ACGME specialty). It was also clear that residency programs would be unlikely to pay for a curriculum for a non-ACGME specialty, and that other groups of learners (advanced-practice nurses, psychiatrists in general practice, obstetrician-gynecologists, and residents in other fields such as pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, and family medicine) would also benefit from this training. We therefore set out to create an interactive, web-based national curriculum, based on our competency guide, that could serve three purposes:
• To provide materials to be used in the classroom using non-expert facilitators, which could be freely adopted by any residency program in any specialty
• To provide self-study materials for trainees or doctors in general practice to learn materials on their own
• To provide rigorous CME assessments that, if taken together, could represent an examination of a trainee’s knowledge in the entire field of reproductive psychiatry and, with an eye toward certification and eventual sub-specialty recognition
In 2017, the National Task Force merged its curriculum efforts with those of the Marce of North America (formerly the Perinatal Mental Health Society), which had simultaneously been working on a fellowship-level curriculum. Together we have created a curriculum that can be used in a modular fashion for residency education, and in its entirety as a fellowship curriculum. Our first six modules were piloted in 9 residency programs in 2018-2019, with the remainder piloted in 2019-2020.
The NCRP has won numerous educational awards, including the Educational Innovator Award from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Excellence in Education (2018) and the Scholarship in Teaching Award from Case Western Reserve University (2019). It is currently funded through a Faculty Innovation in Education Award from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.