Psychology Fellowship

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The Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children’s Hospital is a multi-disciplinary program dedicated to improving the lives of children and adolescents with developmental, learning, and behavioral difficulties and their families through integrated and collaborative clinical care, training, translational research, and community engagement and collaboration. The interdisciplinary staff is comprised of developmental-behavioral pediatricians, educational specialists, nurse practitioners, child psychologists, and child psychiatrists; in addition, there is the opportunity to consult, as needed, with specialists in Speech-Language, Sleep Disorders, Neurology, and Genetics.As a tertiary care site, the DMC accepts referrals for children with developmental and behavioral challenges that are not well met in the general medical and mental health communities.

Established in the 1980’s, the goals of the DMC Postdoctoral Fellowship Program are:

  • To prepare fellows to pursue careers in academic health centers or other health care settings by providing them with the requisite skills to become outstanding clinicians, inspiring teachers, and contributors to the profession of psychology through active involvement in professional organizations.

  • To provide fellows with advance practice competency in assessing challenges in child and adolescent development -- including attention deficits, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and regulatory problems -- by integrating the tenets of clinical psychology, developmental psychopathology and cognitive neuroscience, evidence based interventions, and principles of child and family development in order to provide psychological services and conduct scientific research.

  • To facilitate advanced scholarly skills as psychologists, demonstrated by being active consumers and producers of psychological research and employing such knowledge in making informed decisions regarding assessment and intervention.

Please view our brochure for more details.

Clinical activities 

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Post-doctoral fellows are involved in direct clinical service in the DMC for 60% of their time, including performing diagnostic assessments on multi-disciplinary teams; consulting in hospital-based and community settings; and providing short-term treatment for anxiety, disruptive behaviors, social skills deficits, elimination disorders, and feeding problems. The number and variety of programs contained within the DMC generally makes it possible to adapt the fellow‘s clinical experience to his or her learning needs and professional goals. Rotations are three to six months in length. Fellows are involved in consultation and assessment, participate in multi-disciplinary teams and clinics, and provide feedback to parents and school.  The goals of rotations are to expand knowledge base of learning, developmental, medical, and behavioral disorders and co-morbid psychiatric conditions; provide timely and tailored evaluations; and develop consultation and communication skills in a faced-paced medical environment. There also are opportunities for fellows to work closely with psychology staff to develop supervision and administrative skills. The DMC clinical programs available for fellowship rotations include:

  • INFANT & TODDLER TEAMS: This program serves children from birth to 3 1/2 years of age who may be developmentally delayed and/or have an autism spectrum diagnosis.  The pediatrician takes a history from the parents and performs the physical examination.  The psychologist evaluates the child including neurodevelopmental assessment, such as Bayley and ADOS.

  • PRESCHOOL TEAM: This program serves children ages 3-6 years presenting with developmental and behavioral problems, including language, cognitive, and motor delays; social communication problems; regulatory issues involving toileting and sleep; question of an autism spectrum disorder and emotional and behavior concerns such as attention deficits, noncompliance, learning disorders, mood concerns and anxiety.

  • SCHOOL TEAM: This program serves children ages 6-11 years presenting with learning challenges, developmental delays, question of an autism spectrum disorder and social-emotional and behavioral problems, such as attention deficits, learning disorders, mood concerns, and anxiety.

  • ADOLESCENT TEAM:This program services adolescents from 12 to 17 years of age who are having academic, social-emotional, and/or behavioral difficulties. During this developmental period, attention deficit disorders are often subtle, and learning disabilities may be masked by “acting-out” behaviors.  Alternately, adolescents with a history of an early history of developmental and social-communication problems may present with mental health issues, like depression or anxiety.

  • ADVOCATING FOR SUCCESS (ASK) PROGRAM: This program is a collaboration between Boston-area community health centers (Bowdoin Street, Joseph Smith & Martha Eliot), the Community Care Alliance and the Office for Child Advocacy at Children’s Hospital. The program serves children ages 3 to 14 years within four urban-based primary care centers who are referred by primary care providers because of concerns about developmental, learning, social-emotional and/or behavioral problems. Additionally, children often present with complex psychosocial situations, possible prenatal substance exposure or trauma history.  The goal of this program is to screen children for such concerns and to advocate for appropriate services and interventions. In depth consultations are available at Children’s Hospital Primary Care Center (CHPCC) for complex cases.

  • ADOPTION PROGRAM. This program is a consultation team for children who have been adopted domestically or internationally and their families.  Common concerns may include long-term abuse, neglect, or a history of institutionalization. 

  • CHILD & PARENT PROGRAM (CPP): This program is a unique clinical program providing psychological assessment, short term parent and child treatment, and school consultation services for young children and their families. CPP specializes in working with children 0-4 with complex medical, developmental, and psychological profiles.  The program also accepts referrals for older children with parents or siblings who are coping with severe mental health disorders and or physical illnesses. CPP is the former “Brazelton Clinic" and uses the Touchpoints care model for working with families.

  • DOWN SYNDROME PROGRAM: This program offers multidisciplinary clinical evaluations for children with Down syndrome from birth until the age of 18.  Program staff works closely with children, parents, medical specialists, community physicians, and educators.  The Down Syndrome Program Team consists of a developmental pediatrician, genetics fellow, speech pathologist, physical therapist, nutritionist, dentist and an audiologist as well as a program coordinator and a resource specialist.  Additionally, ongoing psychology consultation, including assessment, parent training, and psychotherapy, is provided. 

  • GROWTH & NUTRITION PROGRAM: The program is staffed by physicians, nurses,psychologists, nutritionists, speech and language pathologist and social workers and provides care to children who are severely underweight. Children are treated for organic and nonorganic feeding disorders and failure to thrive.  A broad range of disorders are diagnosed and treated with high-calorie diets, education, federal food assistance, family therapy, behavioral feeding therapy and general behavior modification programs.

  • CONSULTATION & THERAPY: Individual, group, and family therapy, such as Toilet Training School for parents and children with encopresis and enuresis, Parent Training for children with ADHD; behavioral and family-based treatment for feeding disorders; school consultation; and cognitive behavioral treatment for anxiety in children and adolescents with social-communication disorders.

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Research opportunities

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Both the psychology and developmental-behavioral pediatrics fellows jointly participate in weekly research seminars comprised of didactic sessions, journal club, and skills training in research design, methods and analysis. They also are encouraged to participate in research activities in the division, including attending lectures in the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience directed by Dr. Charles Nelson, working on a team-specific project with a mentor, getting involved in projects at the Neurodevelopmental Phenotyping Program with Drs. Ellen Hanson and Anne Snow-Gallagher, or working collaboratively with staff and/or another fellow on a project.Based on availability of research grants, a psychology fellow may elect to spend a second year in ongoing clinical research projects and/or define a discrete project that can be completed within a fellowship year.

Research projects in the Developmental Medicine Center encompass topics and methods in basic science, translational, clinical and health services research. There are methodologists and statisticians available to assist in planning studies and analyses, and when financially feasible, research assistants may be assigned to help with aspects of research. Research computers and standard statistical software are available for use by fellows in all the programs. Current research in the Division includes:

  • Developmental screening in primary care
  • Genetics of autism

  • Effects of early institutionalization on child development

  • Neurobehavioral Research on Infants at Risk for Autism and Specific Language Impairment

  • Electrophysiological, Metabolic and Behavioral Markers of Infants at Risk for Autism

  • Neural markers for the transition from risk for ADHD to stable diagnosis

  • Evaluation of face processing in children with autism

  • Linking Music, Language and Reading

  • Catching Dyslexia in Pre-Readers

  • Office management of adolescent substance abuse

  • Long-term outcomes of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Cross-cultural quality metrics for ADHD care

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Seminars

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The DMC dedicates one-half day a week for education and professional development of staff and fellows, including a monthly interdisciplinary meeting and forum for special presentations; morbidity & mortality conference; case conference; and journal club.  There also are weekly seminars for psychology fellows focused on neurodevelopmental, medical, and psychiatric disorders; feeding, sleep, and toileting disorders; psychological assessment of complex cases; evidence based interventions; educational methodology for teaching; advocacy; and professional development. There are several opportunities a year to visit community agencies, specialized schools, or other clinical programs at BCH. 

Supervision is provided by the staff in the DMC Psychology Program and involves in-vivo observations as well as one-to-one meetings.  Each fellow receives a minimum of three hours of supervision per week. There is a supervisor assigned for each clinical rotation and fellows have the opportunity to work with several different supervisors over the course of their training. Additionally, each fellow is assigned a primary supervisor whose role is to serve as mentor/advisor throughout the year.   Group supervision experiences are provided to address clinical analysis skills, professional development, and preparation for licensure and board certification.  At the beginning of the training year and, on a regular basis thereafter, the fellows training needs are reviewed and discussed.  Participation in other clinical in the hospital to obtain specialized training can be arranged on an individual basis.  Progress, competencies, and training goals are evaluated on a regular basis.

There are opportunities for fellows to become active participants in the Division’s robust Quality and Performance Program (QPP), which oversees all quality improvement activities. Fellows can attend team leadership meetings and quality improvement seminars, develop quality metrics for clinical outcomes and processes, review data for ongoing projects, and propose, implement, and present their own mentored QI project. Emphasis is on developing solid working knowledge of quality improvement principles and strategies for rigorous and effective implementation.

Finally, within the Division of Developmental Medicine and in the broader Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School community, there are a plethora of educational opportunities, including seminars, lectures, and trainings, that the fellows are required or encouraged to attend.

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Positions

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The DMC is offering 3-4 postdoctoral fellowship positions for the 2013-2014 training year. This is a full time, one year training experience in which the fellow’s time will be divided between clinical service delivery, didactics, and research activities. The option for a second year advanced fellowship may be available with consideration of funding and matching fellow / program interests. The current stipend is $37,000 for the first year. Benefits include medical and dental insurance, 20 vacation and professional leave days, and nine Hospital holidays per year. Psychology fellows hold clinical appointments in the Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry and academic appointments in the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry. 

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Qualifications

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The successful applicant will have a PhD or PsyD in clinical psychology or school psychology from an APA/CPA accredited doctoral program and have completed a pre-doctoral internship at an APAP/CPA accredited program. Additionally, applicants should have substantial clinical experience with children, including use and interpretation of psychological and neuropsychological tests, coursework in child development and developmental psychopathology, and experience with evidence based treatment and developmental disabilities; training and competence in addressing issues of diversity and individual differences; and a commitment to clinical research. Boston Children’s Hospital is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. The starting date for fellowship is September 2, 2013.

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Application procedures

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Interested applicants should complete the Boston Children’s Hospital Postdoctoral Fellowship application and send the completed application, letter of interest, curriculum vitae, three letters of reference, and certified transcript of doctoral work to Carol Berne, Administrative Coordinator of the Psychology Training Programs, Department of Psychology, Fegan 8, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, 617-3554563, email: carol.berne@childrens.harvard.edu. Applications materials need to be received by January 11, 2013.

For more information, or if you have questions about the DMC fellowship, please email Rosetta Mojahed-Dacey.

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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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