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Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center psychologist with teen girl in hospital

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is seeking qualified doctoral level psychology students (PhD or PsyD clinical or counseling programs) to participate in our Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium. This training opportunity was created specifically for students who have a strong interest in pediatric psychology. We are looking for students who have an ability to work quickly and efficiently in a clinical setting. This opportunity is best suited for students who are comfortable with a high degree of autonomy and a fast-paced environment. A solid understanding of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) criteria and experience conducting interviews are mandatory.

Students will receive ongoing supervision of all work, with a minimum of one hour each week of individual supervision. Considerable additional training occurs in the context of multidisciplinary rounds, group supervision, supervision of students by postdoctoral fellows, in-service training, and child and adolescent psychiatry Grand Rounds.

Information for applicants:

  • Trainees are required to be attending an APA accredited doctoral psychology program.
  • Trainees are required to have completed a diagnostic practicum and a child development course prior to applying to the consortium. A diagnostic practicum is defined as a doctorate level academic year-long training experience that is a part of the doctoral training program in diagnostic interviewing and psychological assessment with integrated report writing with child and adolescent clients.
  • A therapy practicum and a child or adolescent treatment course(s) is preferred.
  • We do not accept first year doctoral students. Most of our experiences are appropriate for third or fourth-year students. Second-year students who meet all of the requirements may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Children's does not allow audio or video recording as a part of practicum requirements.
  • We encourage trainees who are interested in pediatric psychology to apply for multiple opportunities to have the best chance of matching with a practicum experience.

How long is the training?

The training year may follow the academic calendar. The start date is negotiable, but it typically begins around Aug. 1, with an expected length of 10 to 11 months. Time off for internship interviews will be given as needed. Vacation leave will be negotiated with the student’s supervisor, with an expected one-week vacation in December.

What are the preferred and/or required days and times?

Students must be on-site at least one to two days each week, depending on their placement. Availability of practicum days depends on the specified site. Preferred days and times are to be negotiated with supervisors on each service.

Where will the training take place?

Practicum positions are located at all three of our campuses: Egleston Hospital, Scottish Rite Hospital and the Center for Advanced Pediatrics. A student’s specific location will depend on the clinical specialty area selected

Students in our Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium will gain experience working within various healthcare specialties, including:

Endocrinology has availability to take one student, one day each week. For the following projects, students will be involved in consultation and therapy in an outpatient setting. On occasion, the trainee will also be given the opportunity to see inpatients.

  • Diabetes: The trainee will be given the opportunity to see patients as part of a study evaluating outcomes for high-risk patients with Type 1 diabetes (admitted in the past year with two or more DKA episodes).
  • Solid organ transplant: Students will have the opportunity to see solid organ transplant patients who have gone on to develop Type 1 diabetes.

The trainee will work as part of a multidisciplinary team and have the opportunity to be involved in consultation-liaison work. The opportunity to work closely with a social worker and diabetes community nurse as part of the diabetes support team for the high-risk project is also available.

Trainees must have a very flexible schedule, as sites include Egleston and Scottish Rite hospitals, as well as a private practice in Johns Creek, Ga.

Students will be primarily involved in outpatient therapy for patients affected by GI conditions, including:

There will be opportunities for developing GI-specific treatment materials as well.

The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s has practicum training opportunities available on all three hospital campuses, with several training opportunities, including:

Each campus presents the opportunity for students to work as part of an interdisciplinary team engaging in consultation-liaison work. Clinical responsibilities include consultation with patients, families and interdisciplinary teams, as well as time-limited individual and family therapy. Practicum students will also have an opportunity to conduct psychoeducational or neuropsychological assessments. There are opportunities for specialized training in biofeedback, pain management and other cognitive-behavioral modalities.

Approximately 75 percent of a student’s time will be spent in actual patient care, with the remaining 25 percent spent in educational seminars, supervision and research opportunities. Students will have the opportunity to work in the following areas and clinics within the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center: 

Within the Pain Relief Clinic, up to two advanced practicum placements are available. Clinical training will focus on pain assessment and pain management within the outpatient setting. Students will be exposed to a variety of acute and chronic pain conditions (e.g., complex regional pain syndrome, juvenile arthritis and functional abdominal pain) and work with a variety of medical disciplines (e.g., rheumatology, neurology and gastroenterology).

Training in pain management techniques includes:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Guided imagery
  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis and other cognitive behavioral modalities

Approximately 75% of the student’s time will be spent in actual patient care, with the remaining 25% spent in educational seminars, supervision and research opportunities.

Trainees will have the opportunity to engage in psychological intervention with patients in our Inpatient Rehabilitation and Day Rehabilitation programs under the supervision of the licensed psychologist. They will have the opportunity to:

  • Assist with diagnostic interviews with caregivers.
  • Assess patients’ emotional and behavioral functioning.
  • Assist in developing and implementing individual and family interventions.

Students will also have the opportunity to learn and assist with providing intervention within the interdisciplinary teams in the Inpatient Rehabilitation and Day Rehabilitation programs (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and medical team).

Trainees will have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary rounds on a weekly basis. The training year runs from mid-August to mid-June. The possibility of a summer extension exists if students are interested, and a yearlong practicum experience is preferred by the supervisor. Summer-only practicums are not available.

Students are expected to devote two full days a week to this practicum, a total of 16 hours. Trainees with some therapy and intervention experience will be given priority. Child and adolescent assessment and child and adolescent therapy courses are required for this site.

Students will be involved in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with solid organ transplants. We service three major organ groups: heart, liver and kidney. Patients are seen both before and after the operation.

This program will focus on providing ongoing psychological care while patients are hospitalized and during outpatient medical clinics. There may also be opportunities for conducting comprehensive psychological and psychoeducational evaluations.

The majority of a student’s time will be spent in actual patient care, with the remaining time spent in educational seminars, supervision and research opportunities.

The Strong4Life Clinic is an interdisciplinary outpatient clinic focusing on family system changes to encourage healthy weight stabilization. The patient population (newborns to 21-year-olds) includes patients with chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea and orthopedic complications related to excess weight. Patients in remission from cancer or preparing for an organ transplant are also referred on a regular basis.

Common psychological comorbidities include:

Students will have the opportunity to engage in psychological interventions with patients in the nonsurgical and surgical (bariatric) tracks under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Students will also assist with diagnostic interviews, as well as the development and implementation of individual and family interventions. Students will learn to work within the interdisciplinary team setting (nutrition, exercise physiology and medical) and lead interdisciplinary rounding.

Interested students should submit a cover letter and their curriculum vitae (CV) by the second Friday in February to the Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium Coordinators, Beth Thompson, PsyD, Pediatric Psychologist, and Kindell Schoffner, PsyD, Pediatric Psychologist. Students must also complete the interview request form to determine at which practicum sites they would like to be considered for an interview.

Beth Thompson, PsyD
beth.thompson@choa.org

Kindell Schoffner, PsyD
kindell.schoffner@choa.org