Director’s Welcome

Psychiatry Residency Program

An Introduction to the Psychiatry Residency Program

Welcome from Dr. Louis Nykamp, Residency Program Director

I am so glad to welcome you to learn more about the Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services/MSU psychiatry residency training program. Please look closely at our program and all it has to offer for you who are talented, inquisitive, motivated applicants who have a heart for patient care. Here you will find excellent clinical training from dedicated faculty, with emphasis on fostering continuous curiosity about your patients, the literature, and the latest research. You will have opportunities here to see and learn the full depth and breadth of psychiatric care exercised with compassion and dedication for the purpose of bringing healing to the hurting and resilience to the recuperating.

The setting for this experience is second to none- and a unique one in this day and age. Our beautiful, wooded campus of over 200 acres harbors nearly 200 inpatient hospital beds and positions us as one of the largest freestanding psychiatric hospitals in the country.

We have deep roots at Pine Rest of providing excellent psychiatric care to the community for over 100 years, a heritage that has allowed us to branch into many specialized services including:

  • 36 bed child and adolescent unit
  • 26 bed “Flex” unit for adolescents and young adults
  • 26 bed Older Adult unit
  • Specialized inpatient, detox and residential programs for the care of substance use disorders
  • Psychological and neuropsychological testing services
  • Forensic services
  • Neuromodulation services
  • ·Partial hospitalization including a highly unique Mother/Baby PHP program serving women in the peripartum
  • An onsite pharmacy
  • Long term residential homes

Beyond our main campus our outpatient network is comprised of 19 clinics and hundreds of clinicians who provide over 300,000 visits annually serving much of west, southwest, and northern Michigan. Our response to the needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made us a leader in providing robust telepsychiatry and teletherapy services encompassing most of Michigan. We have numerous specialized outpatient programs including addiction services, employee assistance, church outreach, dialectical behavioral therapy, and healthy living groups.

Outstanding educational opportunities

The staff you will work with here are experienced and dedicated. They put the needs of the patient foremost, and they will expect, encourage, and inspire you to be curious about your patients.  Sometimes that curiosity manifests simply as additional reading-up on symptoms, bringing that knowledge back to rounds and to the bedside for direct positive impact on patient care. Other ignited curiosity might propel you toward development of a research question or quality improvement project- leading to further mentorships and accomplishments. Pine Rest residents have presented posters and papers locally, nationally and internationally. They routinely present at our well-attended weekly journal clubs and case conferences. Residents have protected didactic time. Research opportunities at Pine Rest tend to be clinically focused and translational, taking advantage of the available mentorships and benefiting from the volume and variety of clinical care we provide to inform excellent research questions. You will be encouraged to foster inquisitiveness.

Community collaboration

As a freestanding psychiatric hospital in existence for over 100 years, we are woven into the fabric of the Grand Rapids community. We have robust collaborations with community healthcare partners across a vibrant healthcare community consisting of multiple health systems.

Medical educational opportunities are so prevalent here in West Michigan area that it attracted Michigan State University College of Human Medicine to expand to a second campus in Grand Rapids. Pine Rest has long partnered with MSU/CHM as one of its largest sites for medical student psychiatry rotations. The VanAndel Research Institute and MSU Grand Rapids Research Center attract renown scientists to the area from all over the world.

Community partnerships with other healthcare organizations allow us to add depth and richness to the residency and fellowship experiences with experiences in consultation liaison psychiatry, palliative and hospice services, senior care, child and adolescent programming, and public sector psychiatric services. Collaborations with local courts, jails, and prisons allow for forensic experiences. Pine Rest is well connected in the community, and it reflects in our training opportunities.

Demand for high quality psychiatric care

You are wise to be considering the field of psychiatry. The confluence of high demand for psychiatric services with a relative dearth of providers means you are needed. You are necessary. You will be able to put your training to work. Clinical leaders are needed in the field to insist on high-quality psychiatric care, and to create a future of access for those who have remained marginalized and stigmatized. We’ve recently passed a grim milestone with a record-setting year for drug overdose deaths. Communities, families, individuals are hurting, and psychiatric needs are acute – now is the time to mobilize into a career on the front lines of psychiatric care.

Grand Rapids as a place to live

Grand Rapids, and West Michigan in general, consistently rank among the best places to live. Grand Rapids is a growing and vibrant metropolitan area and celebrates arts, sciences, food, beverage, and cultural diversity. It is a perfect place to train comprehensively yet find balance with fulfilling activities outside of work. We have the good fortune of living on a peninsula – drive in almost any direction for a while and you’ll hit a beautiful shoreline. Explore the hundreds of miles of bicycle trails, mountain bike parks, sandy dunes and beaches, wind, waves, boating, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, skiing, sporting events, food, culture, vineyards, small towns, antiques, shopping from upscale to down-home, farmer’s markets, orchards, cider mills, nature preserves, flower festivals.

Grand Rapids not big enough? We’re 2.5 hours from Detroit and Chicago for your weekend explorations. This is a great place to live. It was a relative secret for a long time, but the word is out.

Organizational commitment to training excellence

The administration of Pine Rest showed 100% resolve when it decided to launch and support a graduate training program. That dedication and resolve has been unwavering. Staff and administrators alike appreciate the richness and enthusiasm that the Pine Rest/MSU residents and fellows bring to the table, they are valued across the organization for bringing perspective and energy not only to the direct care of patients but the running of the hospital. Trainees are incorporated into important committees and work-groups to give them experience of participating in the inner-workings of a large multidisciplinary and multi-faceted behavioral health system, preparing them for a future of leadership and teamwork.



Louis Nykamp MD
Pine Rest/MSU Residency Director
Pine Rest Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Director
Board Certified in Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine