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Welcome to the Howard University Hospital General Psychiatry Residency website!

This website represents Howard’s Psychiatry residents of the past, which include its first class of residents, Charles B. Wilkinson, M.D.; John L. Waters, M.D.; and Edward Rickman, M.D.; and its present class.  We would like to pay tribute to the visionary of psychiatry training at Howard, Dr. Benjamin Krapman.

Each year our department dedicates a symposium to its creator, Dr. Ernest Y. Williams, because it was his perseverance that allowed the training of young African American physicians in the exciting field of psychiatry. Without Dr. Williams our program would not exist to train some of this country’s finest psychiatrists who go on to further their training in fellowships like child psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and public psychiatry.

Our program is unique in that we are a small, close knit group of physicians who share a common goal, which is to treat the underserved and underprivileged community surrounding HUH.  We have one of the most diverse groups of residents and faculty in the DC area, and our training extends beyond that of providing quality patient care to striving to life-long learning through continuous research, innovation and teaching.

As a department, our goal is to incorporate all aspects of healthcare into mental health treatment, with respect given not only to the physicians in our faculty, but also to the hard-working and dedicated social workers, psychologists, nurses, and mentors on staff. 

If you are interested in becoming part of a group of physicians who strive to be at the forefront of innovation in mental health treatment, then we welcome you to apply to join us in learning, treating, and educating this underserved population.  Hard work, perseverance, and experience produce knowledge.



The department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences is committed to provide state of the art evidence based care to those mentally ill and addicted individuals in need. We have developed a training program that recognizes the tremendous advances in neurosciences over the past decade and want to ensure that these advances are translated into clinical practice. We recognize ethic and income disparities in care and seek to produce trainees who can address these disparities. The country is showing increasing ethnic diversity and we want providers to be able to provide services irrespective of cultural background. Most of all we embrace psychiatry as a medical discipline that allows us to both advocate and treat , to address the needs of the individual and family in the context of a global society.

William B. Lawson MD, PhD, DLFAPA
Professor and Chair
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Howard University College of Medicine and Hospital

History & Mission

Howard University Hospital, a descendant of Freedmen's Hospital, has served the local community in the District of Columbia for almost one and a half centuries. After its founding in 1862, Freedmen's Hospital and Asylum cared for freed, disabled, and aged blacks. In 1868, after the Civil War, Freedmen’s Hospital became the teaching hospital of Howard University Medical School. In 1909, a new 278-bed Freedmen's Hospital was erected. In 1910, a revolutionary Flexner report, which gave new standards to American medical education system, stated that only Howard University Medical School had a promising future in Washington DC area. In 1975, the current and modern University Hospital was opened.

Over the years, Howard University Hospital has been continuously growing and improving in order to meet the standard of excellence in providing top notch clinical care, teaching future physicians and medical professionals, and being involved in cutting edge research and innovations. The original Freedmen's building still stands and now houses Howard University's School of Communications. The then new Freedman’s Hospital houses medical ancillary and nursing schools.

In 1955 Howard University Hospital formally established one of the first hospital based psychiatry residency departments in the Washington D.C area. The establishment of the residency was not accomplished without adversities. The rich heritage of our residency program can be known from an article written by the creator of the residency program himself, Dr. Ernest Y Williams (Williams E Y, 1967 JNMA).

At present, our residency has strong and balanced clinical training complemented by an array of opportunities that help to develop subspecialty expertise in every area of psychiatry for our residents. Our residency is structured in a way to provide the most comprehensive experience possible for our residents by bringing residents and uniquely diverse faculty together as a team to provide state of the art and holistic treatment to our exceptionally diverse patient population. Our patients come from DC, its suburbs, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. Residents therefore learn to treat patients from varied cultural, economic, ethnic and racial communities. Residents learn about the complex needs of the unique population who suffer from chronic mental illness and also have coexisting substance use disorders and HIV infection in addition to having serious socio-economical stressors such as homelessness, unemployment, broken families and suboptimal social structures. Our residents become efficient in being able to incorporate the bio-psycho-social model in the care of patients, which is the core philosophy of the psychiatry residency training program we have at Howard University Hospital.

There are research opportunities for residents ranging from basic science laboratories to clinical research programs in all areas of psychiatric inquiry. Psychiatric and behavioral science research at Howard University Hospital and medical school ranks among the most comprehensive in regards to studying the African-American population. The Psychiatry and Behavioral Science department is currently conducting several research projects along with different medical specialties within Howard University Hospital and also with other academic institutions in the U.S.

We are proud of our heritage and we are committed to endless learning in order to best serve the needs of our patients, their families, and their communities. We look forward to contributing the best we can to the exciting and innovative field of mental health we so love dearly.

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