SAN DIEGO, CA  – (February 20, 2023) This week, Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) became the third psychiatry residency program in San Diego to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), joining the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Naval Medical Center San Diego.

“We’re incredibly proud to receive ACGME accreditation for our Psychiatry Residency Program (FHCSD-PR). Along with our Family Medicine Residency Program, FHCSD is now a significant contributor in San Diego County to training our future physicians,” said Jeff Gering, senior vice president of support services and planning at FHCSD. “FHCSD is well-positioned to address the acute shortage of mental health providers in our community, as well as to be part of solving a national mental health worker shortage that is contributing to our national mental health crisis.”

FHCSD began hosting UCSD’s Child Psychiatry Fellows in July 2019, becoming their primary rotation site within a year. In 2020, FHCSD hosted an adult psychiatry continuity clinic which entailed UCSD’s residents following FHCSD patients at the Hillcrest Family Health Center clinic. This partnership has continued to grow since then, with UCSD providing consultive guidance on pursuing the FHCSD-PR program.

FHCSD is partnering with Scripps Health and Acadia Healthcare on the residency program to produce the curriculum for the program, and to assist in providing rotation experiences to residents. Resident rotations may also occur at Sharp Mesa Vista and other locations in San Diego County.

“As one of the ten largest Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and the largest health center system serving low-income and uninsured San Diegans, this accreditation is critical in our ability to produce the workforce we need to serve San Diegans facing mental health challenges, especially those who are living in poverty and don’t have means to access health care other than through community clinics,” said Dr. Chris Gordon, chief medical officer at FHCSD.

FHCSD serves nearly 250,000 patients annually, 91% of whom are low-income and 29% of whom are uninsured. Additionally, the organization has 45,000 patients who are unhoused.

“Access to mental health services for people with great health care and financial stability can even prove challenging,” said Dr. Gordon. “Imagine trying to get help if you’re homeless, uninsured, or financially unstable while also experiencing a mental health crisis. It’s our moral obligation to prioritize providing quality health care services to these individuals, and this program will serve as a model for others who can join us in addressing the national mental health crisis and workforce shortage.”

Dr. Christian Ramers and Lorenzo Atkinson from FHCSD’s Graduate Medical Education department have led the development of both Family Medicine and Psychiatry Residencies. The Psychiatry Department, led by Dr. Joe Sepulveda, the chief of psychiatry, and Kellsie Michael, the director of mental health, has hired Dr. Karim Ghobrial-Sedky – who is quadruple board-certified in psychiatry, child psychiatry, sleep medicine and addiction – as the psychiatry residency program director. In addition, Jake Christensen has joined as program manager.

The FHCSD Psychiatry Residency will begin accepting applications in September 2023, with interviews starting in October. The program ensures matriculations of a diverse cohort of residents by July 1, 2024, through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and ranking candidates so that FHCSD-PR receives notice of matched residents in March 2024.

For more information about the FHCSD Psychiatry Residency Program, please visit www.fhcsd.org/psychiatry-residency.

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About Family Health Centers of San Diego
For over 50 years, Family Health Centers of San Diego’s (FHCSD) mission has been to provide caring, affordable, high-quality health care and supportive services to everyone, with a special commitment to uninsured, low-income, and medically underserved persons. FHCSD is one of the nation’s ten largest FQHCs, operating 73 sites across San Diego County and providing care to over 227,000 patients each year, of whom 91% are low-income and 29% are uninsured.