Welcome to the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Psychiatry & Human Behavior Residency Program

Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior
833 Chestnut Street, Suite 210
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 955-6655
(215) 503-2853 (fax)

Dr. Certa

We count among our current and past faculty and residents many who have served the profession and the community, as officers of the American Psychiatric Association, academic chairs and section chiefs, journal editors, fully funded researchers, and expert caregivers.  We invite you to consider joining this tradition.

The core of our training experience is the care of patients under the close supervision of faculty psychiatrists. Through these clinical experiences, residents become familiar with the major psychiatric syndromes, as well as the interviewing and intervening skills modeled by senior psychiatrists. Each level of residency training introduces more independent work, supported by a curriculum of more than fifty didactic courses taught over the four years, ranging from basic interviewing to advanced pharmacology.

There are several things that set our program apart from others. The following are some of these features that I consider most important to prospective residents.

Medical Foundation: One thing many prospective psychiatrists struggle with is the sense that they are leaving behind their medical roots as they specialize. This is especially true as general hospitals close psychiatric beds; and patients at stand-alone psychiatric hospitals cannot be too medically sick. Our psychiatric units are an important part of our main university teaching hospital, and therefore we do not need to exclude from psychiatric treatment patients with other medical conditions. Caring for these patients, with the close consultation of other teaching services, helps our trainees consolidate and maintain their professional physician identity.

Comprehensive psychotherapy training: The success of psychopharmacology has not reduced the need for psychiatrists to understand the principles and practice of psychotherapy. From the first clinical encounters, residents learn to understand patients psychologically as well as biologically and socially. The out-patient years offer intensive supervision and didactics on psychodynamics and cognitive behavioral therapy. Although some psychiatrists will work in setting where other professionals will be the primary therapists, all need to understand what psychotherapy can, and cannot, accomplish.

Interesting and diverse patient population: Our hospital attracts patients from all over the region for high-quality medical care. Our location in center city Philadelphia, at the hub of a large transportation network, and amid a cosmopolitan residential neighborhood, ensures a rich breadth of clinical experience. We are within a few blocks of a large Asian community in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, a thriving gay community in the Washington Square West area, upscale Rittenhouse Square, and working class South Philadelphia.

Collegial learning environment: Every member of our department recognizes the importance of training residents and medical students. Faculty psychiatrists are easily accessible for formal supervision, curbside consultation, and mentoring. Residents and attending physicians from other departments are also very willing to lend their expertise and assistance with our challenging patients, as we assist them with theirs.

Wide network of contacts:  Our faculty and graduates are involved in many different professional groups in leadership positions, both locally and nationally.  Residents are encouraged to participate in these organizations as trainee members.  These contacts are invaluable in helping our residents secure fellowships and career opportunities.

Philadelphia educational opportunities: One in five physicians practicing in this country trained in Philadelphia. Multiple medical schools, excellent teaching hospitals, and a tradition of scholarship are a part of the city’s fabric. Residents can hear leading figures in medicine, psychiatry, philosophy, politics, and virtually any discipline, speak at a variety of venues, including hospital grand rounds, invited lectureships, the World Affairs Council, the Free Library speaker series, the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, and the National Constitution Center.

Philadelphia cultural and recreational opportunities: Center city Philadelphia offers all of the advantages of a major metropolitan area with a rich cultural heritage and an interesting population. Most of our residents live close by. Our center city neighborhood is safe and reasonably affordable, with wonderful restaurants, clubs, parks, and historic districts. New York and DC are within two hours by train, and the Jersey shore and Pennsylvania mountains and countryside are an hour away by car. Many residents with families live in the suburbs, with more room and great schools, and commute in by rapid transit.

Our entire department is committed to caring for our patients and educating our residents. I have been on the faculty at Jefferson for nearly twenty-five years, as a faculty member, resident, and medical student. I have found professional satisfaction and growth at Jefferson. I particularly have valued excellent support from colleagues, the great residents and students I work with, and the lively environment of center city. My areas of clinical interest are emergency psychiatry and suicide, as well as medical education and systems of health care. I serve as co-chair of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society’s government relations committee, trustee of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and delegate from the American Psychiatric Association to the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates.

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding residency requirements, please click on the "Apply Now" button.

I appreciate your interest in our program, and look forward to talking to you further about our residency and your career goals.


Kenneth M. Certa, MD
Program Director, Residency Program