The national award winning rural/community program offers residents the opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like to practice in our diverse and beautiful state both within the community mental health system or with primary care providers in health care homes. Building up experience and competence over four years, the rural resident has the opportunity to spend up to two days a month for six months to a year in sites ranging from tribal health clinics to rural community mental health centers, to frontier federally qualified health centers to community based family medicine training sites.

UNM Rural Training Experience 

Residents will learn how to use telehealth and distance technology effectively and may have the opportunity to acquire a Public Health Certificate through the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Our program also encourages and supports developing academic presentations, learning how to teach and train with community providers, and becoming more knowledgeable about how the system of behavioral health care is organized in New Mexico.

The resources and faculty and the Division of Community Behavioral Health are available to all residents in the rural program. Our distinguished faculty include: Helene Silverblatt MD, Caroline Bonham MD, Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart PhD, Deborah Altschul PhD, Brian Isakson PhD, Annette Crisanti PhD, Avi Kriechman MD, Jonathan Bolton MD, Julie Salvador PhD, Molly Faulkner, PhD, CFNP, LISW; Judith Pentz, MD; Bridget McCoy, MD; Jose Canaca, MD and community-based faculty around the state.

Potential sites for electives include: 

  • Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service 
  • Hidalgo Medical Services (Silver City, NM)
  • New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute (Las Vegas, NM)
  • La Clinica de Familia (Las Cruces)
  • UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Services (Rio Rancho)
  • Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center (Alamogordo, NM)
  • Zuni Pueblo Indian Health Services
  • Region 9 Education Cooperative (Ruidoso, NM)

Potential International Sites:

  • New Zealand
  • Mexico


Dr. Megan Shedd, PGY-1, engages with other psychiatry residents at the University of Sonora, Sonora, Mexico.  UNM is working with the University of Sonora to establish a resident exchange program. 


UNM psychiatry residents visiting the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute (NMBHI) in Las Vegas, NM. NMBHI offers residents a rotation in forensic psychiatry.


Drs. Jose Canaca, Associate Training Director for UNM Rural Psychiatry, & Megan Shedd, PGY-1, standing next to the Mexican Flag surrounded by psychiatry faculty and staff at the University of Sonora, Sonora, Mexico.


Cynthia Killough (left), administrative specialist for the Rural & Community Residency Program, and Dr. Erin Rush (right), PGY-3 & Rural Chief Resident, presenting their poster at the Conference on Care for the Underserved, October 2018.


Dr. Rush, PGY-3 & Rural Chief Resident, explains how the Rural & Community Residency Program is addressing the need for mental health providers in New Mexico at the Conference on Care for the Underserved, October 2018.