Media Releases

New Psychiatry Residency Program Receives Accreditation

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services received notification of accreditation for its new psychiatry residency program on April 17 from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The first residency class will begin in July 2014. 

“Our site reviewer was extremely impressed with our facilities and the participation of our faculty at the visit,” says William Sanders, DO, Pine Rest Residency Program Director. “We believe the strength of our program is the outstanding clinicians and staff throughout Pine Rest. I am humbled by the amount of enthusiasm and support I have experienced during the development of the program.”

The application to the ACGME was submitted in October 2012. The next step was a site visit by an ACGME representative which took place in January 2013. The representative reviewed the application documents and interviewed residency staff and faculty. From this a report was prepared for the psychiatry residency review committee of the ACGME. This committee met on April 12, and approved the initial accreditation for Pine Rest’s residency program.  

“The residency program means better and quicker treatment for our suffering patients. A psychiatry residency will further elevate our culture of collegiality, learning and academia,” says Dr. Sanders.  

Over the past several months, Pine Rest finalized its lead staff and recruited its faculty of 17. William Sanders, DO, was named Residency Program Director; Alan Armstrong, MD, Designated Institutional Official; and Carol VanderWal, MPH, Director of Graduate Medical Education.  

The Pine Rest four-year program will have capacity for eight residents per year, post-graduate year one through post-graduate year four for a total of 32 residents in 2017.  

Medical school graduates are required to complete a residency, additional training in their specialty, before entering practice. The detailed curriculum for the program has been planned along with rotation blocks created for each resident year.  

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. The residents will be assigned to a dedicated adult inpatient teaching unit at Pine Rest. Rotations will also include the child and adolescent unit, and geriatric unit.  

Pine Rest offers a resident the opportunity to work in an inpatient, outpatient, and residential environment. Working within the complete continuum of behavioral health services in the same organization is unique. 

Recruitment for residents will begin this summer with student interviews taking place in fall 2013, so that resident candidates can be selected and decisions made during the nation-wide “Match Day” in March 2014. The first class will begin July 2014.  

Pine Rest was also designated as a new teaching hospital by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As a result, it can receive reimbursement for the residency program from Medicare.  

Other steps needed to establish this program include:
·         Creating a residency outpatient clinic on the main campus; and,
·         Building a dedicated lounge, kitchen and sleep rooms for the residents. 

“We are hopeful that many of these residents will choose to stay in our community,” says Pine Rest President and CEO Mark Eastburg, PhD. Up to 60% of new physicians take jobs within 100 miles of their residency program site.  

“The need for psychiatry is great both at Pine Rest and in the community,” says Dr. Eastburg. “Both the public and private sectors struggle to meet the demand for psychiatric assessments and treatment for individuals that are in need of psychiatric care.”  

Pine Rest is the primary sponsor of the psychiatric residency program, but the program represents another example of collaboration among health care systems that again responds to a deeply felt community need. Pine Rest and Saint Mary’s joined forces more than 15 years ago to create a strong inpatient psychiatric care service.  

Two 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 Partners, which will coordinate rotations for internal medicine and neurology. Many others will participate in this community collaborative, and share in the benefits realized by the community through this new residency training program.  

Pine Rest has been an institutional provider of mental health services to West Michigan for 100 years, since its incorporation in 1910. Its history reflects a strong commitment to health care education, having operated a nursing school and a psychiatry residency training program under Michigan State University from 1975 to 1995.  

Pine Rest continues to provide a highly successful pre-doctoral psychology internship program and highly rated medical student clerkship rotations and elective experiences in a variety of health care specialties. Pine Rest will carry on this tradition with the establishment of a four-year psychiatry residency program.  


About Pine Rest: 
Pine Rest is one of the five largest free-standing behavioral health providers in the U.S., offering a full continuum of services including inpatient and partial hospitalization, residential and outpatient services, addiction treatment and recovery, extensive child and adolescent programs, senior care services, as well as specialized assessment and treatment clinics. In addition to the main campus in Grand Rapids, Pine Rest also has 16 outpatient locations throughout Michigan and two in Iowa.