Psychiatry & Behavioral Science

The objective of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is to meet the mental health needs of underserved and disadvantaged populations.

We provide mental health services, train mental health care professionals to render and conduct research that addresses mental health and psychiatric services.


Established in 1971 as the Meharry Community Mental Health Center and renamed in honor of Dr. Lloyd C. Elam in 1991, you will find our environment is one of support, nurturing, structure and most of all choice. Elam Mental Health Center is a part of Meharry Medical College, a unique and irreplaceable resource in the nation’s effort to address the disparity in health status between minorities and other Americans.


The teaching of clinical psychiatry has two major goals:

  • Impart knowledge about psychiatric conditions
  • Cultivate sensitivity to the patient as an individual whose unique attitude toward self and the physician often play an important part in the physician’s ability to diagnose and treat the patient. This sensitivity characterizes the good physician in every specialty of medicine.


The Department of Psychiatry’s integrated approach uses education, training, and research to meet the needs of underserved and disadvantaged populations for mental health and psychiatric services.


This approach serves three purposes:

  1. Provide mental health services to patients;
  2. Train health professionals to render services in an empathetic manner; and
  3. Conduct research that addresses the amelioration of personal and psychiatric problems that affect mental health and psychiatric services.


In addition, our clinics, substance abuse, and rehabilitation programs at Elam Center provide an excellent service to patients and family. The result is a cooperative relationship with the community that is fostered and maintained.


The residency program offers integrated training to residents in an extensive array of clinical rotations, with excellent supervision. The goal of the program is to train residents with a strong base in all aspects of psychiatry as well as in research, with emphasis on humane aspect of patient care.

Medical Student Education

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Meharry Medical College recognizes the vital importance of psychiatric education in the undergraduate medical student curriculum and plays a dynamic role in teaching Meharry’s medical students.


The teaching program of the Department of Psychiatry has been designed to present students with the biological, psychological, interpersonal, and social concepts of the discipline.


The curriculum aims to assist students in:

  1. Acquiring a foundation of knowledge regarding the biological, psychological, sociological, and humanistic aspects of the practice of medicine;
  2. Mastering basic interpersonal and psychiatric skills relevant to the management of patients with medical and/or psychiatric illness; and
  3. Emulating attitudes and behaviors that enhance the professional roles and practices of a physician within multidisciplinary treatment teams.


Throughout the 4-week core-clerkship, students are introduced to the mental status exam and psychiatric interviewing and are also introduced to the diagnostic features, epidemiology, clinical course, treatment, and neurobiology of the core psychiatric disorders. These disorders include mood, anxiety, psychotic, personality, substance use, eating, trauma, and childhood disorders. Didactics foster growing competence in the understanding, assessment, and multi-modal treatment of individuals with major psychiatric disorders, including those with co-morbid medical illnesses.


By the end of the rotation, medical students will have the necessary exposure to a wide range of psychiatric issues that they will encounter as future physicians (no matter their chosen field) and will gain an appreciation for the importance that psychiatric problems play in the overall health and wellbeing of their patients. The rotation strives to give students a meaningful experience which encourages a greater sensitivity and respect for the field of mental health.


Dr. Narkeetha Cosby-Johnson

Assistant Clerkship Coordinator

General Psychiatry Residency Training Program

The 4-year General Psychiatry Residency Training Program at Meharry Medical College has been designed to prepare resident physicians for the practice of psychiatry in the 21st century. Our program is accredited by the Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education.


The core of each resident’s education is extraordinarily rich in clinical experiences throughout the years of training. Each resident diagnoses and treats a broad range of patients along a continuum of care, in a variety of treatment settings. Residents learn the various roles of the modern psychiatrist – primary clinician, consultant, team-leader, and therapist – with skilled direct and indirect supervision depending upon the level of training and demonstrated experience of the resident.


Clinical work and intensive supervision are complemented by a comprehensive curriculum of didactic seminars, rounds, and case conferences. Clinical and didactic education occurs in multi-disciplinary settings in which there are training programs for a full range of mental health professionals. Interdisciplinary conferences have been developed for trainees in psychiatry, psychology, social work, and psychiatric nursing.


Our residency program is committed to training psychiatric residents who:

  • are competent in the early identification of psychiatric disorders in all age groups, their differential diagnoses, and their treatment with the full range of available psychological, biological, behavioral, and social techniques;
  • understand the psychological, social, economic, ethnic, family, and biological factors that influence development;
  • have a strong sense of responsibility and respect for patients, and a commitment to high ethical standards and continuing professional development,
  • possess skills in collaborating with, teaching, and supervising other personnel such as medical students, providers of mental health, as well as, medical, forensic, and social services in a variety of community and institutional settings.


Residency Program Coordinator
Telephone: 615.327.6350
Fax: 615.327.6260

Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center

The Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center was established in 1971 as the Meharry Community Mental Health Center and renamed in honor of Dr. Lloyd C. Elam in 1991.


The Elam Center at Meharry Medical College has full-time board certified psychiatrists available to meet your needs. Our team comes from diverse backgrounds and uses evidence-based, culturally sensitive, treatment options to meet your mental health needs. Resident physicians-in-training receive hands-on experience under the supervision of board-certified psychiatrists. Our team includes board certified psychiatrists, resident physicians, registered nurses, licensed professional counselors, licensed alcohol and drug addiction counselors, licensed master social workers, and other professional staff who understand and respect the need for privacy and confidentiality.


We provide mental health services, and train mental health care professionals to render and conduct research that addresses mental health and psychiatric needs. Walk-ins and indigent patients without insurance are welcome.

Elam Mental Health Clinic Services Include:

  • Initial Evaluation and follow up treatments for Depression, Bipolar Disorders, and other mood disorders;
  • Treatment for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders;
  • Treatment of anxiety disorders;
  • Addiction Treatment
  • Treatment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders
  • Depression/Anxiety Outpatient Group Sessions (Mondays)
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medication management
  • Aftercare and appropriate community referrals

Contact the Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center


Monday – Friday
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Phone: 615.327.6256

Addiction Treatment & Other Programs

Meharry Medical College Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, implemented an ongoing program on substance abuse awareness. Students and faculty can utilize self-administered survey’s (DAST and AUDIT-C) to assess their risk for alcohol or drug usage. Both surveys are available for public domain.


The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Counseling Services Substance Abuse Initiative assists in making provisions for those seeking help with addictions.


Contact Front Desk at 615.327.6256

The Rainbow Program is a innovative addiction treatment program designed exclusively and specifically for pregnant or post partum women who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.


Alcohol and drug addiction is a progressive disease that progress through predictable stages. We offer trained and licensed professionals that specialize in addiction medicine and pre- and post-natal care. The Rainbow program offers a variety of treatment programs that meet individual need. Patients receive a comprehensive assessment to determine the proper treatment level of care.


The Rainbow Program recognizes that women who use drugs face different problems during their lives than men. Research indicates that almost 75 percent of these women report histories of physical and sexual abuse. Societal problems often contribute to their poor self-confidence and low self-esteem, leaving them with a feeling of being powerless over their lives. In addition, minority women may face additional challenges of cultural and language barriers that can interfere their treatment and recovery. This treatment program addresses those needs. The Rainbow treatment program offers a wide range of services to include residential, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment.

Other services include:

  • Mental health symptom and medication management
  • Food, clothing, and shelter referrals
  • Transportation
  • Parenting training
  • Family and couples counseling
  • Child care
  • Family planning services
  • Other social services referrals

Contact the Rainbow Program

Phone: 615.327.6256

Adult Continuum

Medical and Social Detox
Intensive residential treatment is provided for clients who are at risk of medical complications during the detoxification process. Length of stay is determined by client need. Clients in Medical or Social Detox are encouraged to enter the Residential Rehab program, or they are referred to an appropriate treatment setting.


Residential Rehabilitation
This program offers intensive residential treatment for 28 days, with group and individual therapy, for clients who are in need of this intervention and have completed the detoxification process. After completing Residential Rehab, clients are encouraged to participate in the Intensive Outpatient Program.


Intensive Outpatient
Group therapy sessions, with individual therapy and limited family therapy, comprise this component of the adult continuum of care. This program meets from 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., four days a week, thus allowing clients to receive the benefits of participating in treatment while being able to work and care for their families. Services are typically provided for up to eight weeks, depending upon the client’s needs. Following completion, clients are encouraged to remain in treatment by attending the weekly Outpatient program.


Weekly Outpatient
Outpatient groups meet once per week to address the needs of clients who are employed, those who have minimal substance abuse issues, and those who have completed a more intensive level of treatment and choose to continue attending groups. Services typically are provided for up to eight weeks, depending upon the client’s needs.

The ADT program is a state funded 35-day program, which operates from 3:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. During these hours, teenagers receive anti-drug use education and treatment. The program is open to youth ages 13–18. Transportation is available within a 7-mile radius of the Elam Center.

Contact the ADT Program

Program Manager

Phone: 615.327.6256

At the Elam Center, we view therapy as a partnership; clients define the problem areas to be worked on, and we use our expertise to help them produce the changes they want to make. Successful treatment requires active involvement, and a client’s best effort to change thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We are committed to meeting the needs of the whole persona, and to providing the opportunity for optimal results. The services provided are designed to meet the needs of individuals and/or families that may benefit from outpatient assessment and treatment. Services are recommended based on specific treatment goals. Recommendations are reviewed with you and may include one or more of our services. For a complete listing of services and providers as well as location and contact information click below to visit our clinic website.

Contact Psychiatry & Behavioral Science

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Meharry Medical College
1005 Dr. D.B. Todd, Jr. Blvd
Nashville, Tennessee 37208
Office: 615.327.6606
Fax: 615.327.5661

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