FDU Psychopharmacology Program Earns APA Designation

TEANECK, N.J. (Jan. 11, 2011) Fairleigh Dickinson University's Postdoctoral Master of Science Program in Clinical Psychopharmacology has earned designation from the American Psychological Association. The APA designation, granted last month, was awarded to only two programs in the United States.

The designation means that FDU's two-year postdoctoral program is compliant with the APA's model curriculum for preparing psychologists to prescribe medications. In those states and settings where psychologists are allowed to prescribe, the designation indicates graduates of the program are well-trained for that role. In those states where psychologists are not authorized to prescribe, the training prepares psychologists to work collaboratively with medical professionals who prescribe drug therapies for patients with mental disorders.

"We are delighted that Fairleigh Dickinson's program has been recognized by the American Psychological Association," said Robert McGrath, professor of psychology and director of FDU's psychopharmacology program. "As the nation's first university-based distance-learning psychopharmacology program for psychologists, we have a track record in training that respects and builds on psychologists' traditional competencies in assessment and diagnosis, psychosocial intervention, and empirically based methods."

The M.S. in clinical psychopharmacology program is housed in FDU's School of Psychology at the Metropolitan Campus.

Unlike psychiatrists, who are physicians, psychologists who also diagnose and treat mental illness cannot prescribe drugs for their patients except in two states, Louisiana and New Mexico, the military, and several federal agencies. But efforts to allow qualified psychologists to write prescriptions are progressing in more than 20 states, and having a corps of psychologists who are properly trained can help justify such a move, McGrath said.

Even without prescriptive authority, a psychopharmacology degree benefits practitioners, he said. "The increased knowledge of drug effects, interactions with other drugs, and medical conditions that can mimic mental disorders more than justifies the training. It also greatly enhances psychologists' ability to collaborate with their patients' medical providers," McGrath said.

In order to win the APA designation, psychopharmacology programs submitted applications describing their admissions standards, program resources, governance, faculty qualifications, self-evaluation process, curriculum and supervised clinical experience.

For more information about the Fairleigh Dickinson M.S. program in clinical psychopharmacology, go to www.rxpsychology.com.

About the American Psychological Association

Based in Washington, D.C., the APA is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States. With 150,000 members, APA is the largest association of psychologists worldwide.

For Immediate Release

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