The idea for the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative (NNCI) emerged in collaboration with the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training (AADPRT) as an extension of the 2014 BRAIN Conference focused on “Neuroscience: Why, What, and How to Teach it.” As we began to plan for the conference, we considered the many challenges that psychiatry programs face in trying to teach neuroscience effectively. We recognized that addressing these challenges would require educators and researchers coming together, across institutions, to develop a comprehensive set of shared teaching resources. In addition, these resources needed to be based upon the principles of adult learning and focused on the relevance of neuroscience to the clinical practice of psychiatry. In order to formalize this effort, we developed the NNCI.

We are grateful for funding and ongoing support from the NIMH (R25MH101076-02S1 and R25MH086466-07S1), AADPRT, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.


We are a team of psychiatry educators committed to making core concepts in neuroscience accessible and clinically relevant for a broad audience.  We rely on a collaborative approach with a peer-review process for generating and reviewing content. Resources include interactive classroom sessions, brief accessible reviews, and short videos for self-study and teaching in clinical settings. Teaching resources are: rooted in principles of adult learning; organized in an integrated, patient centered manner; and designed so that anyone, anywhere can implement them regardless of their own content expertise. To aid in implementation, each teaching resource is paired with a facilitator’s guide with step-by-step instructions; answer keys for in-class exercises; additional background readings; and, in many cases, video samples of a skilled instructor delivering that exact session—all freely available. Our work is funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. We do not receive any funding from industry.

The overarching aim of the NNCI is to create, pilot, and disseminate a comprehensive set of shared resources that will help train psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to integrate a modern neuroscience perspective into every facet of their clinical work.

Learning Objectives

Additional learning objectives—reflecting relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes—include:

  1. Participants will appreciate the importance of neuroscience to the future of psychiatry and to the way we will approach patient care.
  2. Participants will demonstrate an understanding of core concepts in neuroscience, including how complex interactions between environmental stressors and disruptions in neural circuitry may contribute to different psychiatric disorders;
  3. Participants will be able to serve as ambassadors of neuroscience who can thoughtfully communicate findings from the field to professional and lay audiences.
Building Bridges and Spanning Boundaries Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges for Innovations in Research and Research Education. Poster presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges GREAT Group and GRAND Professional Development Meeting. Baltimore, Maryland 2015

Financial and Academic Support for the NNCI is provided by

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