Psychiatry Residency | | Loyola Medicine

Psychiatry Residency

Message from the Program Directors

Welcome to the Psychiatry Residency program at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. We are a four year categorical psychiatry residency program, accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education.

Our program’s mission is to prepare physicians to be excellent psychiatrists who are both community and academic leaders. We are interested in applicants who are:

  • Eager to work independently, are enthusiastic self-directed learners, and  who desire to broaden and deepen their knowledge and skillsets.
  • Motivated to grow and develop both personally and professionally throughout residency.
  • Dedicated to providing exceptional and compassionate patient care.
  • Passionate about and committed to the field of psychiatry as a whole, from our burgeoning understanding of its neuroscientific underpinnings, to the latest therapeutic or diagnostic advancements.

About the Psychiatry Residency Program


Our Program aims to train residents to:

  • Develop a sound understanding of and capacity to work effectively within the interface between medicine and mental/behavioral health.  Residents are trained to develop into competent physicians, additionally helping them to develop their psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacology skills sets.
  • View and treat each patient as a whole person, rather than in compartmentalized medical or psychosocial areas.  To be adept with the broad array of factors that influence a person's sense of wellbeing in life.
  • Remain current with the latest developments in behavioral health and to contribute to the field of psychiatry through research.
  • Engage reflective processes to grow professionally and personally throughout the four-year residency training experience.

Some of the current specific program aims are to assist residents to develop a practice niche by graduation; to continually improve resident training experiences with all three treatment modalities of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy and neuromodulation;  to continue to enhance resident competence in primary care-mental health integration and the collaborative care model;  to continue ongoing development of our resident Wellness program.

We promote a learning environment that encourages you to:

  • Provide exceptional and compassionate care to patients and families.
  • Advocate for the health of a patient population representative of a diverse socioeconomic status, ethnicity and psychopathology.
  • Develop as an intellectually curious and reflective professional.

Our innovative curriculum is:

  • Designed to meet the needs of individuals’ training.
  • Integrated with primary care specialties, and between inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services.
  • Designed to train competent psychiatrists in three different healthcare systems.
  • Designed to promote research and clinical training.

Our graduates are poised to either pursue general psychiatry opportunities or to enter sub-specialty fellowships. We hope you will give strong consideration to our program, and we wish you the best of luck with your career in psychiatry.

Aparna Sharma, MD Evan Deranja, MD/PhD Christina Girgis, MD

Aparna Sharma, MD 

Associate Professor

Program Director, Psychiatry

Evan Deranja, MD/PhD

Associate Professor

Assistant Program Director, Psychiatry

Christina Girgis, MD 

Assistant Professor

Associate Program Director, Psychiatry

Murali Rao, MD, DFAPA, FAPM

The field of psychiatric research has been never been more exciting and promising than now. The genomics, the innovative modalities of neuroimaging, even more recent developments such as optogenetic approaches, providing knowledge about precise neuronal circuits, the ‘Connectome’ project in full swing – already yielding previously unknown information regarding network patterns, structural and functional connectivity unique to certain syndromes – could soon herald early detection, prevention and personalized care first time possible in our field. This emerging knowledge paired with emerging new neuromodulation technologies conceivably could refine those technologies and might allow selective activation of specific neuronal networks as added modalities to our current treatments. We could certainly anticipate a neuroscience-based diagnostic system in near future.

At the same time our training program continues to expand incorporating additional training opportunities for our residents including courses and rotations for our medical students, fellowships in Addiction Medicine, Geriatric Psychiatry and specialty tracks available in primary psychiatry, women’s mental health, neuropsychiatry; and internship and fellowship programs in Psychology. We are proud to say Loyola is among the largest and most highly-qualified faculty members groups in Chicagoland adding substance and recognition to our residency training program, thanks to our collaborating partnership with Edward Hines Jr VA hospital among the largest and well recognized VA facilities in US and Madden State Hospital on our grounds making our residents have a full spectrum clinical experience.

Welcome and thank you for your interest in our Residency Program.


Murali Rao, MD, DFAPA, FAPM

Professor and Chair
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences

We prepare the future generation of psychiatrists for the path, not the path for them!

Our vision for the Psychiatry Residency Training Program at Loyola University is to help residents grow to become compassionate, knowledgeable, highly skilled and effective psychiatrists for individuals of our increasingly diverse society who suffer with all manner of mental and behavioral health difficulties. 


We particularly aim to train residents to:

  • Develop a sound understanding of and capacity to work effectively within the interface between medicine and mental/behavioral health. Residents are trained to develop into competent physicians, additionally helping them develop their psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacology skillsets.
  • To view and to treat each patient as a whole person, rather than in compartmentalized medical or psychosocial areas.  To be adept with the broad array of factors which influence a person’s sense of wellbeing in life.
  • Remain current with the latest developments in behavioral health and to contribute to the field of psychiatry through research.
  • Engage reflective processes to grow professionally and personally throughout their four year residency training experience.


Welcome to the Loyola University Medical Center Psychiatry Residency Website!

We hope you find our website informational as we aim to convey what makes our program poised to train humanistic, well rounded psychiatrists of the 21st century. We are very proud of the work environment we have cultivated here at Loyola Psychiatry as we strive to create an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity that permeates across our faculty and residents. Teaching and learning occurs in a friendly environment that is academically rigorous while still fostering a sense of community. Our residents love our program not only for the strong clinical training, but also for the excellent work-life balance we provide as our schedules allow us time to explore the social, culinary, and cultural opportunities that Chicago has to offer. We wish you the very best as you embark on your next step in training and look forward to meeting you.


Bavani Rajah, MD Aaima Sayed, MD Sarah Mennella, MD

Bavani RajahMD


Aaima Sayed, MD


Sarah Mennella, MD


Welcome Message from the Program Director

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences at the Loyola University Medical Center. We are one of the top academic medical centers in the country, dedicated to advancing the art and science of medicine. We have state-of-the-art facilities, a faculty of outstanding clinical scholars and rapidly expanding research programs.

Of equal importance, at Loyola you will find a friendly, caring atmosphere and a love for learning that are part of the culture of this Jesuit University and medical center. We sincerely believe in our stated mission: "the pursuit of knowledge in the service of humanity." As a resident in the Department of Psychiatry, you will be a part of this culture, these facilities and these people. We know you will find many unique features at Loyola that make this an exciting and challenging place to pursue your career in medicine.


Aparna Sharma, MD
Program Director
Psychiatry Residency


Thank you for visiting our website and for your interest in the Loyola Psychiatry Residency Program. Please note the following application requirements:

  • Applications will be accepted via Electronic Residency Application Service only. Paper applications will NOT be reviewed.
  • All applications must be received by December 1 of the year prior to desired start date.
  • Applicants must have graduated from medical school within the last 2 years.
  • USMLE Step 2 CK / COMLEX Step 2 CK scores do not have to be available at the time of interview but they do need to be available by the Rank Order list deadline.
  • Applicants from international medical schools must be ECFMG-eligible prior to any interview and certified prior to starting residency, if matched.
  • J1 visa sponsorship only. H1B visas will not be sponsored.
  • US clinical experience is mandatory.

Please also view FREIDA for more details regarding applications and program information:

To apply please forward the following items to us through ERAS:

  • Current photograph
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Official copy of your medical school transcript
  • Dean's letter
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with your professional qualifications.  We strongly encourage that one of these letters be from a Department of Psychiatry Chair
  • Personal statement
  • Copies of USMLE/COMLEX examination scores

Applicants are not reviewed until all items are received.

Selection of resident candidates is made on the basis of medical school transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal on-site interview. Candidate applications and interviews are completed in the fall and winter of the fourth year of medical school.   To help you plan your application strategy, it may be helpful for you to know the characteristics of the typical applicant who is invited to interview with our program.  Our selection committee prioritizes applicants who are active final year medical students, who have demonstated a high level of performance throughout medical school and particularly in psychiatry rotations, and who consistently have excellent performance on certification exams.   We hope that this information useful to you in deciding where to send your application.  We regret that we are not able to respond to additional requests for information regarding the competitiveness of an individual application.

Please explore our website to learn more about us and then make plans to visit us. You can email the Psychiatry Residency Coordinator or call 708-216-5536 with questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Psychiatry Residency Coordinator

For further information about the Loyola Psychiatry residency, please contact us by phone or email:

Lisa Beck, LCSW
Psychiatry Residency Coordinator
Loyola University Health Systems
2160 S. First Avenue Maywood, IL 60153
Phone: 708-216-5536 Psychiatry Fax: 708-216-5885

Applicant Resources:

Psychiatry Residency Coordinator

For information, please contact our Residency Coordinator:

Lisa Beck, LCSW

Loyola University Medical Center

2160 South First Avenue, Maywood, IL, 60153

(O) 708-216-5536   Fax:  708-216-5885