Mental Health Focus Area

The Interprofessional Integrative Mental Health Focus Area expands both interprofessional and mental health experience, with the overall goal to increase the number of practicing pharmacists in Minnesota who are confident providing comprehensive medication management to patients, including those with chronic mental health conditions.


In spring semester of the second year, students receive an invitation to apply to join the focus area. Those admitted to the focus area begin in fall semester of the third year and continue through the end of the program.


Students who participate in the Interprofessional Integrative Mental Health Focus Area will develop additional collaborative practice skills and expanded knowledge of psychiatric-specific practice approaches. Students gain these additional skills through the completion of two electives; taken with the psychiatric Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students and the completion of at least one psychiatric patient care APPE.

During the year-long elective sequence, students are exposed to a combination of collaborative mental health practice and education materials and asked to apply these knowledge gains as a DNP/pharmacist team during 20 hours of standardized patient encounters. The number of pharmacy students is limited to maintain a one-to-one ratio with the psych DNP students, but is available for students on both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses.

During the fall semester of year one of the focus area, pharmacy students are asked to apply previous pharmacotherapy content from the curriculum. Less emphasis is placed on psychiatric pharmacotherapy during this semester, since neuropharmacology and psychiatric pharmacotherapy courses are being taken concurrently with completion during fall of the PD3 year.

During the spring semester of year one of the focus area, pharmacy students are asked to incorporate psychiatric pharmacotherapy in addressing all pharmacotherapy needs in the standardized patient scenarios.

A list of the courses, APPEs or other learning experiences required for completion of the Focus Area:

Fall PD3 year: Phar 6902 Foundations for Integrative Mental Health and Psychiatric Practice
Interprofessional Course taken with DNP Mental Health track students; prerequisite PD3 student in good academic standing; 2 credits

Course Description: examine concepts, theories, and paradigms foundational to psychiatric/mental health practice and interprofessional integrative mental health care. Develop clinical interviewing methods that elicit a client's health narrative and facilitate the therapeutic relationship. Promote beginning skill in reflective clinical practice.

Course Objectives: in this first foundational didactic course, the students will be able to:

  1. Recognize theories that influence integrative psychiatric/mental health clinical practice.
  2. Examine paradigms of mental health and illness and their influence on the clients' narrative about their mental health and physical health care.
  3. Develop clinical interviewing skills that promote a holistic mental health assessment.
  4. Examine personal communication skill that promotes interprofessional working relationships.
  5. Appreciate the value of self-awareness to the therapeutic relationship and reflective practice.

Phar 6903 Assessment and Management of Psychiatric Disorders
Interprofessional course taken with DNP Mental Health track students; prerequisite, successful completion of Foundations for Integrative Mental Health and Psychiatric Practice with an earned grade of B+ or greater and earned grade in Neuropharmacology and Psych Pharmacotherapy of B or greater; 2 credits

Course Description:
 apply advanced concepts from theory and research, social sciences, neuropsychology, and neurophysiology in the differentiation and explanation of psychiatric symptoms and disorders across the age continuum.

Course Objectives:

  1. Analyze paradigms of mental illness to explain the etiology of psychiatric symptoms presented by clients across the age span and differentiate among various diagnostic options.
  2. Examine interprofessional interviewing skills that promote a comprehensive psychiatric diagnostic assessment and facilitate the development of a therapeutic relationship with clients of various ages who are experiencing psychiatric symptoms.
  3. Develop a written systematic age, gender, and culture-appropriate comprehensive psychiatric assessment, including health history, mental status examination, and psychosocial risk factors, and evidence-based treatment plan.
  4. Identify legal and ethical issues from an interprofessional perspective related to assessment and management of psychiatric symptoms and disorders.

Patient Care Elective Psych APPE

Learning Objectives: in addition to the pharmacy practice specific objectives for APPEs, this APPE also includes the following integrative mental health learning objectives:

  1. Demonstrate through therapeutic relationship-building and collaborative decision-making the impact of mental illness on health care decision-making, goal-setting, and clinical outcomes in common chronic conditions seen within the practice setting.
  2. Demonstrate comfort and ability engaging in conversations with patients and family/caregivers about mental health diagnosis, treatments, and concerns as a member of an interprofessional team.
  3. Demonstrate pharmacy practice leadership by appropriately adjusting therapy recommendations based on a patient's life circumstances, values and beliefs, including the alignment and inclusion of integrative health approaches as a member of an interprofessional team.