The Alumni Program is a novel approach to the continuing care and preventive treatment of clients with "chronic" mental illness. This approach demands a different conceptualization of outpatient psychiatric intervention. The infectious disease model has been deliberately replaced with a chronic illness model that more accurately reflects the course and natural history of psychiatric illness. The Alumni Program is similar to the approach employed with other chronic medical conditions like arthritis, asthma, or diabetes. The program has complementary roles for both specialty psychiatric clinicians and family practitioners. In addition, the program empowers clients and their families to play a key role in their own ongoing adaptation and adjustment to chronic illness while striving for optimal wellness.