Behavioral Health Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Fellowship


The Denver Health APP Post-graduate Fellowship in Behavioral Health will provide an intense, well-rounded, 12 months of clinical and didactic training to facilitate a successful career as a behavioral health physician assistant or nurse practitioner. Fellows will engage in core training in behavioral health to achieve the fellowship’s mission to develop APPs with expertise in the clinical care of patients with psychiatric and substance use disorders. APPs completing the fellowship will have the knowledge and skills necessary to make them successful practitioners of behavioral health in a variety of clinical settings, and PAs will be prepared to apply for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Psychiatry Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ).


Curriculum Experience & Objectives

Inter-professional faculty designed an evidence-based curriculum for APPs who successfully complete an accredited physician assistant or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program. Behavioral health APP fellows will rotate through four core training areas, for three months in each rotation. A longitudinal, outpatient rotation will also be offered through the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus to further build long term medication management and therapy skills. Behavioral Health APP fellows will be responsible for transportation to the University of Colorado Medical Center in Aurora, CO, one half day per week for this experience. At the conclusion of each rotation, APP fellows should be able to:



Learning Objectives

Inpatient Psychiatry (Child/Adolescent, Adult Inpatient,   Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison, Addiction Consults)

  • Evaluate, diagnose, and manage acute psychiatric and substance use disorders in the child/adolescent and adult populations
  • Understand the connection between medical and psychiatric conditions
  • Demonstrate understanding of psychiatric and substance treatment systems
  • Manage behavioral health issues in multiple medical settings (e.g. medicine, intensive care, surgical, adults, pediatrics) with appropriate supervision


Psychiatric emergency services
  • Evaluate, diagnose, and manage psychiatric and substance use disorders in the emergency setting
  • Manage aggression, agitation, intoxication, mania, suicidal ideation/behavior, and withdrawal in the emergency setting
  • Know and use community resources including alternatives to inpatient hospitalization
  • Know and use verbal de-escalation and demonstrate awareness of safety in the emergency setting
  • Evaluate, diagnose, and manage psychiatric and substance use disorders in the correctional setting
  • Understand ethical issues in correctional mental health
  • Manage aggression, detoxification, and medication misuse in the correctional setting
  • Conduct suicide assessments and manage suicidal ideation/behavior in the correctional setting
  • Understand the treatment of patients with sex offenses
  • Understand correctional resources and interventions related to mental health
Outpatient behavioral health
  • Evaluate, diagnose, and manage psychiatric and substance use disorders in the outpatient setting
  • Provide motivational interviewing with proficiency to patients with substance use disorders
  • Prescribe buprenorphine and methadone safely and appropriately
  • Know and use community resources appropriately
  • Demonstrate understanding of regulatory issues in psychiatry care

In addition to rotational experience, APP fellows will engage in a Didactic Curriculum including weekly lectures on psychiatric topics, journal club, faculty meetings, and grand rounds. Fellows will also have one half-day per week dedicated to developing an academic project related to advocacy, community engagement, quality improvement, or scholarly work.


Admission Requirements

Important Dates

  • The program start dates are as follows: First week of October, January, April, and July. The application window will open 6 months prior to the start date and application deadline will close 4 months prior to the start date.
    • Please note full applications are to be submitted by the following deadlines:
      • For the October 2024 start date the application deadline is Monday, April 29, 2024
      • For the January 2025 start date the application deadline is Monday, July 15, 2024
  • A DEA license must be obtained within the first 90 days of starting in the program.


Requirements & Eligibility

Criteria for admission include demonstration of empathy, compassion, and excellence in medicine. The fellowship values a diverse workforce. A competitive application process selects physician assistants based on the following:

  • Graduation from a PA program approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) or graduation from an accredited psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) program and board certification as a PMHNP
  • Colorado PA or NP licensure or eligibility
  • Official transcripts from the PA or PMHNP program
  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • Applicant must submit three professional letters of recommendation
  • Personal interview (please note, we ask that all PA applicants have passed the PANCE prior to interview)


Additional Information

  • Maximum class size of 4 fellows per year
  • Stipend aligned with comparable trainees at the institution for the one-year program 
  • To start the application process, please apply here.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What types of jobs have graduates done after the fellowship?

  • We are proud to report that all graduates to date (2022) have obtained behavioral health jobs prior to graduating the fellowship. Postgraduate jobs include outpatient substance treatment programs, private practice child/adolescent psychiatry, outpatient integrated behavioral health, correctional behavioral health, and emergency psychiatric services. Employment opportunities may be available at Denver Health after graduation. Of the graduates who have taken the NCCPA Psychiatry CAQ, all have passed on the first attempt.

2. What benefits are offered during the fellowship?

  • All APP fellows are hired as Denver Health employees and are offered employee benefits including paid holidays, accumulation of 20 days of PTO, medical and dental insurance, 401(a), long-term and short-term disability benefits, $1250 CME/education funds, along with additional benefits. Please see for full list of benefits.

3. How many fellows are selected each cycle?

  • Currently, we select 1 fellow per cycle for a total of 4 fellows per year. 

4. If I am not selected in the current cycle, can I re-apply?

  • Yes! Competitive applicants will be invited to re-apply for the next cycle; however, we do limit applicants to 3 attempts. 

5. Can I talk to a current fellow or program graduate to learn more about their experience?

6. Can I work another job during the fellowship?

  • We expect fellows to participate in all clinical and didactic experiences to successfully complete the program. Clinical experience averages 40 hours per week and includes some night and weekend shifts that may interfere with other work. Fellows should also expect after-hour studying and reading to prepare for clinical and didactic work.


Program Faculty 

Kenneth Novoa, MD
Medical Director

Debra Davis, PMHNP
University of Colorado Clinical Site Director

Faith Genove, PA-C
Program Director

Francine Ramirez
Fellowship Administrative Support