Combined Neurology-Psychiatry Residency
W. Curt LaFrance, M.D. is the Director of Neuropsychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology (Research) at Brown Medical School. Dr. LaFrance graduated the Medical College of Georgia in 1995 and completed the combined residency at Brown in 2001. He completed a two-year NIMH-sponsored post-doctoral fellowship at Brown studying combined treatments of psychological nonepileptic seizures (NES) supervised by Dr. Keitner, Dr. Miller, and Dr. Blum. From that research, he submitted and was awarded a K23 Career Development Award on treatments of NES from the NINDS. He received the American Neuropsychiatric Association (ANPA) Career Development Award in 2003. Dr. LaFrance is an active member of the ANPA Research Committee and during the residency was the lead author on a paper on herbal and alternative treatments in neuropsychiatry, which he presented at the Annual Meeting of ANPA. Other publications include book chapters and articles on the neuropsychiatric aspects of epilepsy. He has lectured nationally and internationally on topics in neuropsychiatry.
Dr. LaFrance's comments about the Combined Program:
The neuropsychiatric perspective views the brain and the mind as two sides to one coin. This combined perspective is fostered and cultured in the combined training program in neurology and psychiatry at Brown Medical School. Brown’s clinical strength in both neurology and psychiatry puts the neuropsychiatric clinical training on a solid foundation. The critical mass of neuropsychiatrists and neuropsychologists at Brown has created an excellent educational environment. With Brown’s position as a leader in research, training for a career in academic neuropsychiatry is unparalleled.
Rochelle Woods, M.D. obtained an MA in Psychology and attended University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School and began the combined program in 1999. She is currently completing her Chief Residency rotation in neurology. She has helped with the identification of a new family with CADASIL, an autosomal dominant form of vascular dementia, and she is working with Dr. Easton on validating a scale for measuring outcome from intracerebral hemorrhage. She is working with Dr. Gascon and Dr. LaFrance on the examination for minor neurologic dysfunction. These are Dr. Woods comments about the program:
Combined Training--The field of neuropsychiatry is so explosive that I believe one needs to be comprehensively trained in both specialties to properly approach a patient with both neurological and psychiatric problems. When I first applied to the program my interest was in the neurobiology of schizophrenia, but my career focus has since changed.
Training at Brown--I was attracted to the Brown program because over the six years, you are able to master one specialty at a time with an infusion of exposure to neuropsychiatry over the years. I thought this was important, instead of having diluted half-years of neurology and psychiatry over a five year period. The training curriculum has really worked for me.
Career Plans--After residency I will pursue fellowship training in neurodegenerative disorders/movement disorders. Ultimately, I plan to practice in an academic setting, closely involved with training residents, and working with a patient population that constitutes the problems that fall in the overlap between psychiatry and neurology.
Mai Vu, M.D. attended University of West Virginia Medical School and completed her internship in internal medicine in San Antonio, Texas. She came to Providence to begin the combined program in 2002. These are Dr. Vu's comments about the program:
I chose Neurology/Psychiatry because I am interested in a holistic approach to the study of the brain and nervous system. I feel that Neurology and Psychiatry are separate but intrinsically related specialties and I believe that combined training will enrich my practice of both fields.
I chose RIH/Brown University because I feel that this program has a very cohesive and respectful relationship between the depths of Psychiatry and Neurology. This is aided by the presence of a separate director for the Combined Program, Dr. Salloway. I also prefer the manner in which the curriculum is designed to focus 2 consecutive years of neurology and 2 consecutive years of Psychiatry with a final year of integration.
For my long-term career goals, I hope to practice in a manner that would integrate both Neurology and Psychiatry more or less in fairly equal proportions, thus maximizing the benefits of my dual training.