Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship

Mountain scenery and Aspen trees
The Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Colorado is among the oldest accredited addiction psychiatry fellowships in the country. The training program is part of the Division of Substance Dependence, which is a large department that has a strong international reputation for clinical work and research. For this reason, the Fellowship offers rich training opportunities with faculty who are world experts in their field. Graduating fellows develop competence in core behavioral and psychopharmacological principles of addiction treatment. Because of the program’s size, fellows also have the opportunity to tailor their training to fit their career interests and goals.

Completion of an ACGME accredited psychiatry residency program that qualifies an applicant to sit for the ABPN Psychiatry Board and completion of all USMLE Steps or COMLEX Parts are the basic requirements for application.  Additionally, residents are required to hold an active Colorado physician license and DEA license. Upon formal acceptance to the program, application for licensure must be initiated so that residents are licensed before they begin the program.

To ensure that the process for selecting residents is consistent with guidelines established by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the University of Colorado Denver Graduate Medical Education Committee (GME), and to be compliant with University policies, appropriate Federal and State statutes and regulations, this program has the following eligibility requirements.

1. Applicants must provide documentation of the following: 

  • Graduation from a medical school in the United States or Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME); or 
  • Graduation from any college of College of Osteopathic Medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA); or 
  • Graduation from medical school outside of the United States or Canada and possessing a currently valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) prior to appointment; or, have an active and unrestricted license to practice medicine in Colorado; or 
  • Graduation from medical schools outside the United States and completion of a Fifth Pathway Program provided by an LCME - accredited medical school. 

2. Individuals applying for psychiatry fellowship programs must document completion of an appropriate psychiatry residency program, including an ACGME-accredited residency, or meet requirements as outlined in ACGME program requirements. 

3. Individuals applying for psychiatry fellowship programs must have successfully completed the USMLE Step 3 examination or COMLEX Part 3, as evidenced by obtaining a passing grade for that examination, prior to applying for a fellowship. Passing scores must be obtained for all USMLE or COMLEX steps in no more than two attempts. 

4. Applicants must be eligible for an active and unrestricted physician medical license as granted by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners (CBME) and a DEA license. 

5. Applicants must successfully pass a criminal background investigation (criteria specified in UC and GMEC background investigation policies) and any affiliated training facility investigation as necessary. 

6. The University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine recognizes that residents enrolled in its programs are trainees, not employees. As such, applicants must be able to meet conditions of the institutional house officer (resident) training agreement. Specifically, residents in our program must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees, asylees, or possess the appropriate documentation to allow residents to legally train at the UC School of Medicine. 

Download and complete the Psychiatry Fellowships Application​. Please submit the completed application via email or regular mail to the program coordinator. The form must be typed, not hand written, and must be accompanied by a 2"x2" face photo of the applicant.

All applications must include the following: 

  1. Original graduate transcript(s), when applicable 
  2. Original medical school transcript(s) 
  3. Original Dean's Letter (MSPE) 
  4. Certified copy of medical school diploma 
  5. Copy of psychiatry residency completion certificate, when applicable 
  6. Documentation of post-graduate residency completed elsewhere 
  7. Copies of state medical license(s), DEA license, ABPN certification, when applicable 
  8. Documentation of ECFMG certification, when applicable 
  9. Documentation of status, for international applicants 
  10. Curriculum Vitae 
  11. Personal Statement 
  12. Three professional letters of recommendation 
  13. A formal letter from the current Program Director outlining rotations completed and anticipated to be completed. 
  14. After completion of the PGY-4 year, summation of training letter listing all completed experiences and certifying completion of training from the Program Director 
  15. Documentation of successful passing scores on USMLE parts 1, 2 and 3 (within no more than two attempts)

Applicants are responsible for requesting all supporting documentation above.​​​

​All fellowship positions are funded and paid at a PGY-5 level.

A Resident Selection Committee for each training program evaluates all eligible applicants. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their preparedness and experience; academic credentials; ability and aptitude; communication and interpersonal skills; and on personal qualities such as integrity, learning motivation, and work ethic, and the ability to function within parameters expected of a practitioner in the specialty.

Programs will review and select applicants in a manner consistent with provisions of equal opportunity employment and must not discriminate with regard to sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability or any other applicable legally protected status.​​


Onsite interviews with program faculty and current residents are scheduled after applicants have been selected to interview. Because there are differences in residency programs, and the individual applicant’s personal goals for training, it is essential that each applicant interview in person on site. A full day of interviews, tours and/or seminar attendance, and informal contact with current residents is scheduled. 

Due to the large number of applications we receive, we are unable to interview everyone. The Selection Committee will review your application file, and we will notify you if you have been selected to interview.​​

Please see "deadlines: section for upcoming deadlines for applications and interviews.  

We are currently accepting Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship applications for 2020-2021. 

The dates by which we must receive your completed application and for scheduling your interview vary slightly from year to year. 

*Please note that Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship programs do not participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).  As a result, we accept applications beginning in the late Spring and hold interviews in the Summer. We offer positions in our fellowship program on a rolling basis.

For the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Applications must be received by July 30, 2019. 
  • Interviews will be held between July 2019 and September 2019. 
  1. UCHealth CeDAR (Center for Dependency Addiction and Rehabilitation): Supervising Attending Dr. Jonathan Ritvo
    1. Fellows rotate on the inpatient service at CeDAR.  
      1. Participate in the evaluation and management of medically supervised withdrawal.  
      2. Provide evaluation and treatment of co-occurring substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders for patients admitted for intensive residential treatment.
    2. While on this rotation, fellows will take 3-4 non-holiday weekend calls on the inpatient acute detox unit with attending supervision.
  2. Denver Health Medical Center:Supervising Attendings Dr. Christian Thurstone and Dr. Dayan Colon-Sanchez
    1. Methadone Clinic. This clinic has a census of over 600 patients. Fellows learn the behavioral interventions, pharmacology, and regulatory structure of a methadone clinic.
    2. Addiction Recovery Center. This clinic provides outpatient and intensive outpatient care for patients with any substance use disorder. Fellows learn the relevant behavioral and pharmacologic interventions in this rotation.
    3. Adolescent substance treatment clinic (STEP Clinic): This program provides care to adolescents ages 11-24 years of age. Fellows are trained to competence in the assessment and treatment of youth with substance use disorders. The treatment approach includes motivational interviewing, acceptance and commitment therapy, contingency management, and medication management. The treatment approach is described here: www.drthurstone.com/impact.
    4. Denver CARES. Denver CARES is a social detoxification facility that serves over 28,000 patients annually. Fellows assist with managing withdrawal and evaluating patients for court-directed substance treatment. Fellows learn about the different systems of care that are available in this rotation.
  3. ARTS (Addiction Research Treatment Services)- Supervising Attending Dr. Joseph Sakai 
    1. Modified Therapeutic Community (MTC) Residential Treatment- Provide psychiatric treatment for co-occurring substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders.
      1. PEER I- Men’s Program
      2. Haven- Women’s Program
    2. Synergy- Adolescent outpatient program that provides psychiatric treatment for co-occurring substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders.
    3. Methadone Clinic (Supervised by Dr. Zoran Vukadinovic)
NameInformation
Christian Thurstone, MDChristian Thurstone, M.D., is board-certified in child psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. After finishing his fellowships, he completed 5 years of mentored research training through the AACAP/NIDA Physician Scientist Training Program in Substance Abuse. His research focuses on improving adolescent substance treatment and making it more accessible. Dr. Thurstone serves as the program director, a lecturer, attending physician scholarly project mentor, an associate professor of psychiatry and a Lieutentant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Dayan Colon Sanchez, MD​Dr. Colon Sanchez is a general psychiatrist and addiction psychiatrist. She is an attending psychiatrist at Denver Health in the methadone and buprenorphine clinics. Dr. Colon Sanchez has interest and expertise in providing addiction services to Latino and Spanish-speaking patients. Her scholarly work focuses on the relationship between recent Medicad expansion and methadone treatment outcomes. She is a recent graduate of the psychiatry residency and addiction fellowship programs at the University of Colorado.
Christian Hopfer, MD​Dr. Hopfer is a child psychiatrist and professor at the University of Colorado. He conducts research in the marijuana and genetics of addiction and serves as an attending physician and lecturer for the fellowship.
Kaylin Klie, MDDr. Klie is a family medicine physician and recently completed a fellowship in addiction medicine. She directs the Women and Family Services Clinic at Denver Health and has expertise in the treatment of addiction in pregnant women and the management of neonatal withdrawal. She serves as a lecturer and an attending for the fellowship. 
Patrick Fehling, MDDr. Fehling is an addiction psychiatrist who serves as an attending and lecturer for the fellowship. He has expertise and experience in private practice opportunities. 
Laura Martin, MD​Dr. Martin is a psychiatrist and addiction medicine physician who serves as the medical director of CeDAR. 
Paula Riggs, MD​Dr. Riggs is a child psychiatrist, addiction psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado. She is the director of the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado. She has extensive expertise in clinical research for adolescents with substance use disorders and as a research mentor. She serves as a lecturer for the fellowship.  
Alexis Ritvo, MDDr. Ritvo  is an addiction psychiatrist and the associate program director for the fellowship. She is the Interim Associate Practice Director and a Faculty Supervisor in the UCHealth Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic at Anschutz Medical Campus. Her scholarly interests include medical education in addiction, mental health and addiction health policy and psychotherapy training.
Jonathan Ritvo, MDDr. Ritvo is a very experienced addiction psychiatrist. He was the addiction psychiatry fellowship training director for a decade before becoming an attending physician at CeDAR. He currently is an attending physician supervisor for the fellowship. 
Joseph Sakai, MD ​Dr. Sakai is an addiction psychiatrist who is the director of adolescent services at ARTS. He is the director of psychiatry medical student education, a lecturer, attending physician and scholarly project mentor. His research interests include genetics and neuroimaging.

 

Contact Us

Angela Webb

Fellowship/ Residency Coordinator

Department of Psychiatry

13001 E 17th Pl,

Bldg 500, Rm E2330

Aurora, CO 80045

Phone: (303) 724-8788

Fax: (720) 724-4963

Email: angela.webb@cuanschutz.edu

 

Christian Thurstone, MD

Program Director

Phone: (303) 602-1896

Email: Christian.thurstone@cuanschutz.edu