Department of Psychiatry


Mission of the Department of Psychiatry

Psychiatry is a discipline with multiple interfaces and tensions; it is a field that has seen considerable growth in Geneva, thanks to the continuous interest of the population and the political authority with respect to mental disorders and their social repercussions.

These rich and often contradictory debates have characterized the progress of psychiatry in Geneva over the past 30 years.

The boundary between a desire to remove the stigma by moving psychiatry closer to other medical disciplines and the risk of denying the special features that are clearly components of psychological disturbance; the balance between the traditional vision of a psychiatric hospital, outside the city and community-based psychiatry concerned with marginalization and exclusion, or indeed the optimum combination of a care mission with the mission of protecting the community; these are a few examples of conceptual questions that have allowed psychiatry to mature in Geneva, the “City of Calvin”.

At this time, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Department of Psychiatry is fulfilling a triple mission.

Firstly, effectively treating diseases that have become increasingly common and polymorphous, while showing respect for the patients and their families.

For all patients, three complementary areas make it possible to adapt the care offered, based on the profile of each patient: psychiatry, which admits patients and oversees urgent care at the general hospital, while fighting against the establishment of a long-term psychological disorders; general psychiatry of the various sectors that includes a hospital component and a large semi-hospital and outpatient facility, aimed at satisfying demand for care in a community setting; and finally specialized psychiatry, covering a broad spectrum of themes organized into sectors (addiction, neuropsychiatry, prison psychiatry, mental development), but also outpatient programs for complex, treatment-resistant diseases.

Secondly, teaching students, but also residents, by making them aware of the psychological, biological and social dimensions of psychiatry.

For future psychiatrists, teaching psychotherapy is a cornerstone to constructing their identity.

Very specific care is given to this type of teaching, via theoretical and practical courses and through very in-depth practice, which is entirely supported by the institution.

And then, trying to understand the origins of mental disorders using cognitive and affective neuroscience, a true specialty at the Geneva site, but also to assess our practices through patient-oriented clinical research. 

Medical and Quality Directorate


Mission of the Medical and Quality Directorate

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) embodies medical authority, in respect of the law regarding public medical institutions. The mission of the CMO is to guarantee the quality and safety of the medical services offered by HUG (see Medical service regulations (FR)). The CMO is responsible, in particular, for clinical research and postgraduate training. The CMO approves medical and therapeutic practices in the various medical divisions and units.

The Medical and Quality Directorate develops, after consulting the Hospital Medical Commission, HUG medical policy and presents it to the competent authorities. It oversees its application throughout HUG and it guarantees this with respect to the Executive Committee and the Board.

The Medical and Quality Directorate ensures and coordinates the promotion of quality and safety of care. It participates, in cooperation with the Teaching and Research Directorate, in the promotion of clinical research by providing both financial and training support. In particular, it is responsible for postgraduate training and patient-oriented clinical research. It directs, jointly with the Teaching and Research Directorate (Dean of the Faculty of Medicine), the HUG Clinical Research Center and provides support to young researchers, thanks to research and development projects.

The Chief Medical Officer chairs the Hospital Medical Council, a consultation body with regard to medical practices. The responsibility for medical questions rests with the Heads of Division, under the authority of the Chief Medical Officer. As a result, it has a right to oversee all medical practices at HUG.

The Chief Medical Officer consults the Board of Division Heads, which has representative authority, expressing itself via opinions on HUG medical policy and on hospital regulations relating to the medical profession and its activities.

The Medical and Quality Directorate can base its decisions on the recommendations of several Commissions, two of which play a key role in the institutional care and research policy: the Clinical Ethics Commission (CEC) and the Cantonal Research Ethics Committee (CREC).

The Chief Medical Officer presides over the Medical Student and Continuing Education Internships Abroad Commission, which has the mission of identifying, in the medical divisions, the physicians training medical interns, monitoring their career plans and potentially providing financial support for continuing education internships abroad.

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