Pediatric Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

CHOC Hospital in Orange is pleased to offer up to 11 one-year, full time, postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Psychology. The training year begins on August 30, 2021 and ends on August 26, 2022. The postdoctoral fellowships are a part of the Psychology Training Program that includes an APA accredited internship. The postdoctoral fellowships at CHOC offer advanced training in the areas of pediatric psychology, pediatric neuropsychology, and/or child and adolescent psychology. The goal of the training program is to allow fellows to further their professional development so that they can function independently as a psychologist across a wide variety of settings. The training program is designed to allow for the natural progression from internship training, where a variety of new clinical skills are learned, to a greater focus on the application of these skills with an increasing degree of independence. Along with this emphasis, training increasingly focuses on the development of professional skills necessary for independent functioning (professional development areas include serving as a consultant within specific medical teams, program development, licensure and/or grant writing). Fellows will receive training in assessment and consultation within a medical/clinical setting as well as additional experiences with more traditional intervention or assessment outpatient cases.

The program’s particular goals and objectives are listed below in Psychology Fellowship Training, Training Purpose and Objectives.

Training Site: CHOC serves much of Southern California as it is Orange County’s only medical facility solely devoted to the care of children and their families. Founded in 1964, CHOC is a tertiary care facility with a 323-bed capacity and a medical staff of over 500 physicians. Virtually every pediatric subspecialty is offered here: Allergy, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, infectious disease, neonatology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, pulmonary medicine, and rheumatology. Most surgical specialties are also available. CHOC also has a pediatrics residency program. CHOC and the University of California, Irvine Medical School have an affiliation agreement that started in 2009, resulting in the majority of pediatric care for both facilities taking place at CHOC. Since opening its doors in 1964, CHOC has provided the highest quality medical care to children. Our regional health system includes a state-of-the-art main hospital facility in the City of Orange, a hospital-within-a hospital in Mission Viejo, and five community clinics – plus over 100 additional programs and services. With admissions growing by 90% over the last eight years, CHOC and CHOC at Mission Hospital combined rank as the 15th busiest children’s hospital in the country. To better accommodate the growing needs of our community’s children, CHOC built a new state-of-the-art patient care tower on our main campus which opened in April 2013. In addition to the above specialty services, the new CHOC Hospital in Orange also features pediatric surgical suites and related services, emergency, laboratory, pathology, imaging and radiology services, as well as private rooms for Oncology, a dynamic and family-friendly lobby, inviting outdoor gardens, a cafe and more. Starting 6 years ago, CHOC also grew their mental health service offerings, including opening an inpatient psychiatric unit in April 2018, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) in 2017, establishing an Emergency Department Mental Health Evaluation Service in 2015, starting community training sessions in 2017 and adding school based mental health services in 2020. CHOC also opened the Thompson Autism Center, a comprehensive center devoted to interdisciplinary care for children with Autism, in February 2020.

The CHOC Psychology Department includes psychologists (32 psychologists), licensed social workers and marriage and family therapists, art therapists, personal service coordinators, resource specialists, and administrative staff. In addition, CHOC has a Department of Psychiatry. Other specialists involved in providing care for children include pediatricians, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychiatric nurses, behavioral technicians, art therapists, child life specialists, nutritionists, speech and language pathologists, physical therapists, and BCBA therapists.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Positions (up to 11 positions)

In order for the fellow to take a leadership role in program, our fellowships are designed to focus in a primary area. This focus allows fellows opportunities to work with teams over a year long period and to develop mastery of these skills.

One-three of the clinical fellowships will primarily work with the CHOC Consultation and Liaison Team with the possibility of working with a specialty team such as the Pain program or the Eating Disorders program, and three of the fellowships will work with our Pediatric Psychology Integrated Care Co-Occurring Clinic offering mental health services to children with co-occurring medical and mental health conditions. One fellowship (contingent upon funding) will focus on pediatric neuropsychology, working with the Neurology, Cardiac, and/or Neuro-Oncology Services, with a focus on neuropsychological assessment. One fellowship (contingent upon funding) will work with our Acute Services within our mental health inpatient center, emergency department, and intensive outpatient program. An additional fellowship with work within our Thompson Autism Center providing assessment and intervention services. One fellowship will work with a private high school providing school-based counseling services to students, wellness programming on campus, preventative and early intervention services to the student body, and educational programming for faculty, staff, and parents. Fellows will coordinate with the respective multidisciplinary teams throughout the year, participating in clinical work, program development, and clinical research activities within the teams. Fellows will see more complex cases and be responsible for further developing clinical services within their teams. They will provide inpatient and/or outpatient consultation services, outpatient therapy or assessment services, participate in outpatient clinics with the multidisciplinary team members, and potentially submit a poster and/ or write a paper within their area of specialization.

Pediatric Psychology Fellowship Positions (up to 6 positions)

Childhood chronic illness and mental health is a significant health concern. As medical treatments improve, more children are living longer with chronic illnesses. It has been estimated that 15 to 18% of children in the US are living with a chronic illness. Of these, about half experience a restriction in their ability to participate in typical activities. Medically fragile children and their families experience a wide range of unique stressors, yet many do not have access to quality mental health services. Uniquely tailored psychological services, such as specialized assessments, psychosocial support, more intensive psychotherapy, and consultation with medical teams can have a very positive effect on quality of life for children and their families. In recognition of these positive effects, children’s hospitals and clinics are increasingly working closely with psychologists and other mental health professionals to provide comprehensive services to their patients. The psychology postdoctoral fellowships at CHOC seek to train psychologists to work effectively with medically fragile children and their families and/or children and adolescents experiencing significant mental health conditions within the context of hospital-based inpatient, clinic, and outpatient services. This is a particularly exciting time to be a part of mental health, both within pediatric psychology as the medical field increasingly understands the critical role of psychological factors in overall health and within child and adolescent clinical psychology, as psychology services are integrated into standard health care services. Fellows will apply their knowledge of child development and their skills as a child therapist to children affected by medical and mental health illness through a wide variety of experiences, such as inpatient consultation-liaison services to a variety of medical specialty units and/or within an inpatient mental health center and emergency department, more intensive experiences with specific medical specialty teams, intensive outpatient therapy programing, outpatient therapy, and assessment and evaluation.

I. Consultation and Liaison Track (1-3 positions):
One to two fellow(s) will work with the Consultation and Liaison Team which provides inpatient consultation to the medical units at CHOC Hospital in Orange. Common consults include ruling out psychosomatic causes of medical symptoms, assessing depression and anxiety and providing referrals and/or treatment, teaching children and families non-pharmacologic pain control strategies, neurologic complications, acute stress reactions, and adjusting to a new medical diagnosis. The fellows will work with interdisciplinary psychosocial teams (social workers and child life specialists) as well as with nurses, medical attendings and house staff (medical residents and fellows, medical students), and case managers. Depending on the diagnosis, physical and/or occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, and other specialists might also be involved. Fellows may also have the opportunity to provide education and support to the medical residents in both informal and formal presentations. The fellow will have the opportunity to run consultation-liaison rounds for the Pediatric Psychology and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry services on a weekly basis.

One position (contingent upon funding) will focus on the Medical Stabilization of Eating Disorders Service at CHOC at Mission Hospital. This setting is a “hospital in a hospital” which is a pediatric inpatient medical setting. In this position, the fellow will work closely with the attending psychologists, hospitalists, nutritionists and child life specialists who provide services to the child and family. Additional providers include psychiatry and adolescent medicine specialists. The fellow will have the opportunity for an immersive training experience in treating various eating disorders (E.g., Anorexia Nervosa, ARFID, Bulimia) using a Family-based Treatment (FBT) approach. Interns will be involved adapting FBT principles into a busy inpatient medical stabilization setting to empower parents and equip them with the education necessary to restore their child back to health. Fellows may be involved in parent and patient psychoeducation, individual work with patients and facilitating group meals and group therapy. Fellows will also participate in non-eating disorder psychological consultation requested in this location (see above consultation-liaison description).

In addition to the experiences working with the medical teams described above, the fellow will also participate in a range of other pediatric psychology experiences described below in the section, “Activities Common to All Tracks.”

II. Pediatric Psychology Outpatient Therapy Track (3 positions):
Three fellowship positions are within our Pediatric Psychology Chronic Illness Integrated Care Track. Our pediatric psychology chronic illness integrated care program is a collaborative program between the psychology department at CHOC Hospital in Orange and Orange County Behavioral Health. As such, fellows will be working within the Department of Mental Health county system documentation guidelines. All three positions will have a primary focus on the provision of outpatient mental health services (psychotherapy and case management) to children and families with a broad range of medical disorders and co-occurring psychological/ psychiatric diagnoses. In addition to providing outpatient therapy services, the positions will include a year-long rotation within either Oncology (inpatient and outpatient services) or the general inpatient medical Consultation-Liaison service. Finally, two positions will work within our outpatient eating disorders medical specialty clinic. Common medical diagnoses include diabetes, eating disorders, cancer, pain disorders, headaches, epilepsy, and GI conditions. Fellows will regularly communicate with the medical teams to coordinate psychological services with medical care. The fellows in these positions will have some opportunities to provide continuity of care to patients through outpatient mental health visits, medical subspecialty clinics, and inpatient stays. Fellows will work with providers from a variety of disciplines including psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers, license marriage & family therapists, behaviorists, physicians, and nurses/case managers. Fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops and evidence-based trainings provided by Orange County Behavioral Health.

All three fellows will have the opportunity to provide outpatient therapy for children with medical illnesses and general mental health conditions. All fellows also will have the opportunity to work with interdisciplinary medical teams and provide some pediatric inpatient consultation.

In addition to the experiences working with medical teams described above, the fellows will also participate in a range of other pediatric psychology experiences described below in the section, “Activities Common to All Tracks.”

III. Pediatric Neuropsychology Track (1 position, 2-year fellowship to meet Division 40 Houston Conference Guidelines, contingent upon funding):
In this track we have 1 first year and 1 second year fellow position. The fellows in this position will work closely with our board-certified neuropsychologists in performing pediatric neuropsychological assessments, with a focus on pre-surgery epilepsy evaluations, oncology brain tumor and long-term survivorship evaluations, cardiac conditions, and metabolic conditions. In addition, the fellows may have the opportunity to participate in a specialized neurology clinic with a focus on concussion, conduct psychological evaluations with patients in our Mental Health Inpatient Center (MHIC), and provide assessments within the Thompson Autism Center at CHOC Hospital in Orange. The fellows will work closely with the Neurology service, with a focus on patients with epilepsy. CHOC has a Level IV Epilepsy Center and has a busy EEG monitoring program and also conducts epilepsy surgeries. The fellow in this position may also serve as a teaching assistant for the Child and Adolescent Assessment Seminar, which is a weekly, year-long teaching seminar. Finally, the fellow in this position will participate in a biweekly journal club focused on neuropsychological literature. Fellows will also participate in an Advanced Neuropsychological Seminar which includes both fellows and faculty neuropsychologists, and focuses on neuroanatomy, neuropsychological case conceptualization, neuropsychology law and ethics, and relevant neuropsychology literature.

In addition to the experiences working with medical teams described above, the fellows will also participate in a range of other pediatric psychology experiences described below in the section, “Activities Common to All Tracks.”

IV. Acute Mental Health Services Track (1 position):
One fellow will work with CHOC spectrum of acute mental health services over the course of the training year. This fellowship will provide the trainee with the opportunity for an immersive training experience in 1-3 acute mental health settings with multidisciplinary teams, including inpatient psychiatric services (on the Mental Health Inpatient Center), emergency room psychiatric evaluations (in the CHOC Emergency Department, Mental Health Emergency Services team) and an intensive outpatient program for adolescents. Presenting problems range from suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, non-suicidal self-injury, psychosis, aggressive behavior/danger to others, altered mental status, and severe psychopathology. In each setting, patients and families are experiencing some degree of a mental health crisis and the fellow will deliver evidence-based services to the family with the goal of reducing risk and alleviating distress. Activities in each setting are detailed below. Fellows will participate in a variety of seminars over the course of the training year. Fellows will have the opportunity to practice supervision competencies with doctoral practicum students and/or doctoral interns.

Mental Health Inpatient Center (MHIC)
The fellow will engage in training opportunities at MHIC with children and adolescents (ages 3-17) experiencing acute psychiatric crises that warrant hospitalization, such as suicidality, non-suicidal self-harm, aggression, and psychosis. Clinical training opportunities include following individual cases, co-facilitating group therapy, and conducting brief psychological assessments. Individual cases involve conducting brief, targeted individual and family therapy, safety planning, and discharge planning with the goal of increasing safety and linkage to appropriate aftercare services. Fellow will become proficient in following areas: developing targeted treatment plans to address acute psychiatric presentation, developing patient- and family-centered aftercare plans, assessing for appropriate level of care post-discharge, working in tandem with psychiatrists and nurses, and conducting psychological testing with children/adolescents presenting with wide range of mental health concerns.
Must be available for multidisciplinary rounds Monday through Friday at 9:30am when not in conflict with seminars required by Psychology Training program.

Mental Health Emergency Service (MHES)
The fellow will engage in a training opportunity with the MHES with children and adolescents who present to the emergency department due to concern for suicidal ideation and all suicide attempts, violent behavior and/or injury to self or others, marked changes in behavior, and psychosis or altered mental status. Training opportunities include conducting mental health evaluations, using evidence-based measures (e.g., Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale [C-SSRS]), using evidence-based crisis intervention (Family Based Crisis Intervention [FBCI]), completing safety and coping planning with patients and families, and linking patients to appropriate services.
Must be available for MHES weekly meeting on Tuesday at 9:00am when not in conflict with seminars required by Psychology Training program.

CHOC Intensive Outpatient Program
The fellow will engage in training opportunity with CHOC’s IOP for high school students. The IOP is an 8-week structured curriculum based on a DBT framework and serves teens experiencing suicidal ideation, non-suicidal self-injury, significant impairments in daily functioning, and/or emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal dysregulation. Teens attend program 4 days per week for 3 hours each afternoon and parents attend two one-hour groups. The IOP is DBT-adherent. Fellow will co-facilitate skills groups, lead mindfulness exercises, coach active skill use throughout group programming, conduct individual, family, and parent skills coaching as needed, conduct risk assessments, and complete safety plans. Additionally, fellow will participate in Treatment Team and Consult Team, components of DBT to address patient care, clinician care, and adherence to the DBT model. Fellow will become proficient in the following areas: DBT skills training, functional analysis of self-harm and other risk-related behaviors, use of mindfulness to adaptively regulate emotions in treatment, determine appropriate level of care for high risk teens, and managing effective self-care to promote clinician well-being and delivery of optimal services.
Must work 10:30am-7:00pm Monday through Friday while on IOP rotation when not in conflict with seminars required by Psychology Training program.

Top candidates will have clinical experience with children and adolescents, fluent knowledge of risk and protective factors for suicide in children and adolescents, strong grasp of severe psychopathology as it presents in children and adolescents, and training in fast-paced settings requiring flexible response. Experience with evidence-based therapies is heavily preferred; training in DBT is not required.

In addition to the experiences described above, the fellows will also participate in a range of other child/adolescent psychology experiences described below in the section, “Activities Common to All Tracks.”

V. Autism Spectrum Disorders Track (1-2 positions):
The Autism Spectrum Disorders fellow at the Thompson Autism Center at CHOC will gain experience and skills in providing psychodiagnostic assessments and treatment for patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other mental health needs. During the assessment rotation, the fellow will conduct psychological assessment and testing for diagnostic purposes, including test administration, scoring, and comprehensive report writing. During the intervention rotation, the fellow will identify preliminary issues for treatment focus, develop treatment plans under supervision, and deliver individual and/or group therapy in multiple settings including the center, the home, and/or community. The fellow will gain experience in providing care to patients and their families in a multidisciplinary setting and will coordinate closely with the medical team and other members of the team (e.g., social work, behavioral analysts, occupational therapist, physical therapists).

Duration: 6 months in assessment and 6 months in intervention.

VI. School-based Mental Health Services Track (1 position):
The fellow in this position will work with Mater Dei High School, a private Catholic school in Orange, CA. The fellow will work with the school to help further develop their wellness activities for the student body, which might include items such as resilience activities, mindfulness training, guided imagery, etc., to support teacher and counselor continuing education in how to identify and support children with mental health needs in the school, and provide direct services to students, with appropriate parental consent. The fellow will work closely with head of Counseling Services in making recommendations for new programs and to identify the needs of students, families, teachers and counselors. In addition, under supervision, the fellow will help develop a more robust program in managing children in crisis. In addition, the fellow will rotate through the Emergency Department, Mental Health Emergency Services (MHES) team to develop skills in the assessment and disposition of youth in psychiatric crises.

Activities Common to All Tracks:

Outpatient Therapy:
The fellows in the Pediatric Psychology Integrated Care tracks will see a larger outpatient caseload (see types of cases described above in the co-occurring clinic description), while the fellows in the Consultation-Liaison track will see a limited number of child outpatient cases. The focus will be more on children with medical diagnoses and many cases may be referred from the primary medical team placement (oncology, eating disorders, or consultation-liaison). Referrals may include children and families coping with a medical diagnosis, noncompliance with medical treatment recommendations, and pain control. Fellows may also follow children with more traditional outpatient referrals, including depression, attention and behavior problems, anxiety, and family conflict. Fellows in the Acute Services track will work within our Mental Health Emergency Service and/or Intensive Outpatient Program. Fellows in the School-Based Mental Health track will see outpatient cases within the school context. Fellows in the Autism track will see outpatient cases within the Autism center for both assessment and intervention, and possibly a limited number of cases within the psychology department. Fellows within the Neuropsychology track focus on neuropsychological assessment rather than outpatient therapy.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Project
All fellows will have the opportunity to generate a postdoctoral fellowship project that is clinical or research oriented. Projects have included formal research questions, quality improvement initiatives, needs assessments, generation of individual or group manualized treatments, and development of psychoeducational materials. In addition to the core pediatric psychology faculty listed below, many of whom have ongoing programs of clinical research.

Upon completion of the postdoctoral fellowship project, fellows will have an opportunity to present their results as presentations, posters, and/or papers within local, regional, and national forums, or to use the results to build upon in future programs or research development.

Behavioral Emergencies On Call:
A distinctive feature of our program is that all trainees receive training in managing behavioral emergencies through the provision of consultation services to the CHOC Emergency Department and/or hospital inpatient medical units. Interns and postdoctoral fellows rotate taking after hours call throughout the year for high risk consults. Trainees are always paired with a faculty member for this coverage. High risk consults include assessment of suicide risk or acute mental status changes, assessment for rule out somatization disorders, and assessment of patients with eating disorders admitted for medical stabilization. Trainees will conduct a brief clinical interview, provide crisis intervention, and generate disposition plans. The postdoctoral fellows will participate in no more than 7 weeks of call per year.

Supervision Experiences:
Postdoctoral fellows will be provided with an opportunity to supervise interns and/or practicum students. Training in the provision of supervision will be provided. Supervision and responsibility for the patients will ultimately be the responsibility of a licensed clinical psychologist on staff. Depending on the specialty track, fellows will either supervise therapy cases, assessments, or inpatient consult cases.

Supervision
Fellows receive a combination of individual and group supervision (a minimum of four hours) per week. Supervision occurs on an individual basis, during group rounds, within clinic settings, and within the Training Program seminars. All supervision is performed by departmental staff who meet the California Board of Psychology requirements and CHOC Medical Staff qualifications.

Fellows are offered at least two hours of individual supervision per week for ongoing therapy cases and rotational experiences. Supervision of consults is handled with both individual supervision and via group supervision (rounds). Rounds are co-led by a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist/ pediatrician and a licensed psychologist. The amount and frequency of this supervision will vary depending on the complexity and number of consults received. Typically, consultation supervision occurs for 1 to 2 hours weekly. Additionally, consultation services are often provided using co-therapy, especially for high risk and complex consults. Therefore, fellows are able to observe their supervisors providing psychological services. They are also able to do co-therapy and receive immediate feedback based on direct observation of clinical skills. Supervision is also provided informally during medical rounds. Fellows will be assigned one outpatient therapy and/or assessment supervisor who will work with them throughout the year on more long term outpatient therapy cases.

Presentations
Fellows will have the opportunity to deliver presentations on mental health topics within our training program seminars, hospital, and/or community. They will observe faculty members’ presentations and generate feedback on presentation style, content, and achievement of objectives. Then, fellows will work with our supervisors, faculty mentors, and/or community education team to develop presentations, which may include hospital teams, schools, parent groups, pediatricians, and other community organizations.

Teaching Assistantship
All fellows have the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for a seminar or rounds throughout the training year. Teaching assistantship assignments are determined based on fellowship track and fellow interests. As a teaching assistant, fellows will work with a faculty mentor to develop competencies in designing didactic series for psychology trainees, formal presentation skills, ways to facilitate meaningful discussion, and how to elicit seminar feedback from participants.

Training Program Seminars
Required
Postdoctoral Fellow Seminar (weekly, year-long)
Professional Practice Seminar (weekly, year-long): includes Diversity, Ethics, & Supervision Seminars
Child and Adolescent Psychological Principles Seminar (occurs weekly, fellows may serve as teaching assistants and assist in coordinating the seminar, attend at least 5 weekly sessions to address any training gaps and all trainee presentations)
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training: In addition to the topics on DEI embedded in each Seminar series, there will also be several trainings provided during the year for the entire Department in which Fellows will also participate.
Advanced Neuropsychology Seminar (weekly, year-long): required for neuropsychology fellow, optional for other fellows

Optional
Child and Adolescent Assessment Seminar (occurs weekly, the neuropsychology fellow would serve as a teaching assistant, other fellows may attend any sessions to address any training gaps)

CHiSPA (bi-weekly): This seminar is for students who speak Spanish Pediatrics Grand Rounds (weekly)

Content of required seminars is biased in the direction of material needed for CHOC clinical activities. A didactic element is included in all seminars. Professional issues are addressed throughout the training year. Outside speakers with a particular area of expertise are invited to present several of the seminars. Trainees may also attend the CHOC Grand Rounds as time permits.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Seminar:
This seminar is held weekly throughout the year. The seminar focuses on professional development and also provides training in supervision. The seminar is informal in nature and covers topics relevant to your own training interests and needs.

Professional Practice Seminar:
This seminar consists of three main topic areas; diversity, ethics, and supervision. It is designed to focus on learning and application to your clinical work that supports increased competency in these three areas. The diversity series within the seminar consists of department wide diversity, equity, and inclusion training opportunities that are interactive in nature and consists of self-exploration activities. In addition, there will be seminars that focus on unique diversity aspects of patient populations and exploration of the surrounding community. While we expect diversity awareness to permeate all of your work throughout the year, this seminar is designed to help you develop your model of learning and practice. The ethics series within the seminar focus on cases in medical settings that bring a multitude of ethical challenges, which can be complex and difficult to identify a clear path forward. In this seminar, faculty present cases they have worked on that have presented ethical challenges. In these interactive presentations, faculty and interns discuss systems and strategies to assess ethical dilemmas and determine courses of action. The supervision series within the seminar are focused on models and theories of supervision, roles of the supervisor and setting up supervisory relationships, assessing supervisee competency, and providing feedback, including evaluative feedback.

Children and Adolescent Assessment Seminar (CAAS):
This weekly seminar focuses on topics relevant to assessment and evaluation within the practice of Psychology with children and adolescents. Presentations will focus on various evidence-based assessment approaches for youth, as well as assessment considerations when working with specialized pediatric populations. We will also have guest speakers from other disciplines that psychologists frequently collaborate with on multidisciplinary teams. Postdoctoral fellows make formal case presentations in the Child and Adolescent Psychological Principles Seminar or Child and Adolescent Assessment Seminar in an area highlighting their expertise. In addition, they present cases, facilitate consultation, or make informational presentations in Diversity Seminar, Postdoctoral Fellowship Seminar, Ethics, and CHiSPA.

Children and Adolescent Psychological Principles Seminar (CAPPS):
This weekly seminar focuses on topics relevant to the practice of Psychology with children and adolescents. Presentations will focus on various evidence-based treatments for youth, as well as use of these treatments in specialized pediatric populations. We will also have guest speakers from other disciplines that psychologists frequently collaborate with on multidisciplinary teams. This will be an opportunity to learn how different disciplines function both at CHOC and as a broader specialization with youth and how psychologists can help integrate skills on a team to better serve the mental health needs of children and adolescents. Postdoctoral fellows make formal case presentations in the Child and Adolescent Psychological Principles Seminar or Child and Adolescent Assessment Seminar in an area highlighting their expertise. In addition, they present cases, facilitate consultation, or make informational presentations in Diversity Seminar, Postdoctoral Fellowship Seminar, Ethics, and CHiSPA.

Postdoctoral fellows may serve as teaching assistants for Professional Practice Seminar, CAAS, or CAPPS and help to coordinate the seminar. They alternate attending the seminar throughout the year and all fellows attend all trainee presentations at the end of the year.

Training Opportunities for Spanish Speaking Fellows:
Our fellowship is dedicated to providing training opportunities for fellows who speak Spanish. These experiences include the ability to conduct evaluations, consultations, and treatment in Spanish.

In addition, interns who speak Spanish have the opportunity to participate in a monthly seminar, CHiSPA, led by several bilingual faculty and staff members The seminar is designed to help increase skills in and comfort with conducting psychological interventions and assessments in Spanish. Activities include working on psychological vocabulary, practice in discussing cases, case conceptualizations in Spanish, and cultural modifications of interventions for Spanish speaking populations. The goal of the seminar is to provide support and build on participants’ individual strengths. You will attend seminar monthly, as well as have individual supervision in Spanish with a Spanish speaking faculty member.

We currently have 7 full time licensed psychologists and 1 in the licensure process (Dr. Mery Taylor, Dr. Carlos Konishi, Dr. Adrianne Alpern, Dr. Wendy Gray, Dr. Micaela Thordarson, Dr. Katelyn Anderson, Dr. Shweta Ghosh, Dr. Sarah Ruiz), 9 full time social workers, as well as 1 part time licensed psychologist (Dr. Elisa Corrales) who are bilingual in Spanish.

Pediatric Psychology Fellowship Training

Training Model
Our training model is that of scholar-practitioner. All current staff members were trained in the scientist-practitioner model and see the inclusion of empirical work as necessary for the competent treatment of psychological problems. We strive to provide trainees with a breadth and depth of training experiences in the context of utilizing innovative scientific information to guide their treatment planning, conceptualization, and delivery. All staff members remain actively involved in scientific associations, continuing education, and reviewing the relevant literature, in order to constantly improve the quality of their work and supervision.

Licensure in the state of California requires 1500 Pre-doctoral and 1500 Postdoctoral hours of Supervised Practice, as well as successful completion of the national written exam (EPPP) and a written exam in Jurisprudence (CPLEE). Satisfactory completion of the post-doctoral fellowship at CHOC exceeds this requirement and provides at least 2000 hours of post-doctoral supervised practice. CHOC fellows in all tracks can anticipate that their weekly responsibilities will be approximately 45 – 50 hours per week. This time estimate includes clinical service, supervision, seminars, administration, scoring, and write-ups of psychological assessments.

Training Purpose and Objectives
The purpose of our Pediatric Psychology Training Program is to provide a training experience to post graduate psychology students within a multi-disciplinary setting that allows for the professional development of child and/or pediatric psychologists and meets the licensing requirements for the Board of Psychology of the State of California (as well as those of other states).

Through our program, fellows will further develop their expertise in assessing and intervening on the psychosocial impact of acute and chronic illness in children and their families by providing hospital consultation and liaison services and outpatient therapy. Through these experiences, fellows continue to grow and develop their own unique professional identities.

Our program is designed to provide more structure at the beginning of the year, and for you to play an increasingly independent role towards the end of the year. During this year of critical transition from an intern to a professional psychologist, we encourage you to coalesce your unique professional identity, professional values, and a professional demeanor.

We fully anticipate that fellows graduating from our program will be prepared to function as an entry level pediatric psychologist in a medical setting. Many of our graduates go on to work in hospital-based settings (both clinical and research), while others go on to assistant professorship positions, and others become private practitioners.

Our particular goals and objectives are:

Goal #1: To demonstrate at the skills necessary to practice independently in the psychological treatment and assessment of children and their family members, with a specific focus on children with medical diagnoses.

Objective(s) for Goal #1:

1a. Fellows will provide weekly outpatient psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and their families.

1b. Fellows in the Neuropsychology track will provide regular neuropsychological assessment for children with medical diagnoses.

1c. Fellows in the Acute Services Track will work with children with acute mental health needs in an inpatient, emergency department, and intensive outpatient setting.

1d. Fellows will participate in weekly, regularly scheduled supervision.

1e. At the end of the year, Fellows will present a therapy case or utilize a case to discuss a specialty area either in the Child and Adolescent Psychological Principles Seminar or the Child and Adolescent Assessment Seminar. Presentations will include case conceptualization, diagnosis, assessment and treatment plans, and diversity factors.

1f. Fellows will participate in an Ethics seminar module and will also discuss a case that involved a potential ethical dilemma from the current training year.

Goal #2: To demonstrate at the skills necessary to practice independently in the provision of consultation to medical or other allied health professionals or providers as well as school professionals.

Objective(s) for Goal #2:

2a. Fellows will provide consultation services to either medical providers (Consultation-Liaison, Pediatric Psychology, Autism, Neuropsychology, Acute Services) and/or school providers (Neuropsychology, Autism, School-Based Mental Health, Acute Services).

2b. Fellows will receive specific training on consultation through either Inpatient Consultation and Liaison rounds, supervision on consultation with teachers and counselors, participation in IEP’s with supervision or working with School Based Advocacy services (Autism).

2d. Fellows participate in after hours call for at least 3 weeks a year along with a licensed clinical psychologist.

Goal #3: To complete the training and experience necessary to fulfill requirements for applying for state or provincial license or certification for the independent practice of psychology and be prepared for functioning as a professional.

Objective(s) for Goal #3:

3a. Fellows will accumulate at least 2000 hours of supervised clinical work over the course of the year, participating in the training activities of the Fellowship program.

3b. Fellows will receive a minimum of 4 hours a week of supervision (at least 2 hours individual).

Goal #4: To demonstrate at the skills necessary to practice independently in the provision of outpatient psychotherapy, psychological assessment and consultation to culturally diverse populations.

Objective(s) for Goal #4:

4a. Fellows will participate in a Multicultural seminar module as well as Department wide Diversity training.

4b. Fellows will present a case that presented challenging multicultural issues.

4c. Fellows will participate in a multicultural “field trip” for 1 day where they will visit the different communities in Orange County and experience different cultural opportunities.

4d. Multicultural issues will be discussed during supervision for outpatient psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation.

Competencies
To demonstrate at the level of minimum guidance to able to do well independently the skills necessary to practice independently in the psychological treatment and assessment of children and their family members, with a specific focus on children with medical diagnoses.

To demonstrate at the level of minimum guidance to able to do well independently the skills necessary to practice independently in the provision of consultation to medical or other allied health professionals or providers as well as school professionals.

To complete the training and experience necessary to fulfill requirements for applying for state or provincial license or certification for the independent practice of psychology and be prepared for functioning as a professional.

To demonstrate at the level of minimum guidance to able to do well independently the skills necessary to practice independently in the provision of outpatient psychotherapy, psychological assessment and consultation to culturally diverse populations.

Evaluations
Informal evaluations are conducted throughout the year; formal evaluations are conducted at 3 months, at mid-training year (6 months), and at the end of the training year (12 months) by training teams consisting of the fellows’ supervisors. These evaluations look at the trainees’ strengths in a variety of areas including diagnostic skills, interventions, testing, ethics, professional development, multicultural awareness and response to supervision. Evaluation results are shared with the fellows so that goals can be defined and planned for and refinements in performance can occur. Fellows are also asked to evaluate their supervisors and the Training Program annually. Supervisor and Training Program evaluations are used to review and clarify rotation strengths and weaknesses, supervisor performance, and program efficacy.

Educational Services
Fellows can use Burlew Medical Library, located on the CHOC/St. Joseph Hospital campus. A selection of professional books, journals, and audiovisual materials are available. Literature searches are free. Professional databases include the National Library of Medicine MEDLINE, HEALTH and CINAHL. Access can be accomplished remotely.

The Department of Pediatric Psychology has an assortment of professional books and journals, germane to professional work at CHOC.

Copying and multi-media services are available for presentations.

Benefits

Fellowship Location

CHOC is located in central Orange County, placing it less than an hour drive from the City of Los Angeles and about 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. Mountain resorts and the California desert are less than two hours away. The Southern California climate is very moderate all year round. Housing costs in Orange County tend to be on the average to high average side, but are often more affordable than in other major metropolitan areas. Orange County offers great diversity in terms of its population, with significant Latino, Vietnamese, Indian, and Filipino populations.

Salary and Benefits

Fellows: $56,160/year
Medical and Dental Insurance (after first full month of employment)
Paid time off (total of 22 days) for educational/vacation/sick leave (15 days) and departmental holidays (7 days)

Paid sick leave (total of 3 days per fiscal year)
An additional 3 days of educational leave (for conferences or licensure classes).
Each fellow is assigned a desktop or laptop computer.
Video cameras are available on site to enhance the supervision experience, including facilitating supervision of more challenging cases
Postdoctoral Fellows receive free parking at CHOC

How to Apply

Application Procedure
The application deadline for fellows is Monday December 7, 2020, to begin training on August 30, 2021.

Please email all application materials to Marni Nagel, Ph.D., Manager Psychology Training Program, Senior Psychologist at mnagel@choc.org. Please have letters of recommendation sent directly by recommenders to Dr. Nagel at mnagel@choc.org. Please include the following in your application:

  • Letter of interest indicating which track(s) you would like to be considered for, and your perceived fit with the program
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Graduate school transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendations from graduate faculty and/or clinical supervisors – 1 letter from your graduate program, 1 letter from your internship site, and 1 additional letter from a supervisor of your choice
  • Completed psychological test report on a child or adolescent (with identifying information removed) for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Neuropsychology Tracks only.

Selection Procedures
At times, CHOC will make offers early to internal candidates. In cases where a current intern at CHOC is interested in staying for a postdoctoral fellowship at CHOC, we will review his/her application early and will make offers in December or January to current interns that fit well with fellowship positions. We will notify all applicants of any positions that have been filled prior to inviting applicants to interview (mid-December 2020 – early February 2021). While we often fill some fellowship positions with internal candidates, we also fill positions with external candidates as we have more fellowship positions available than current interns.

For external candidates, virtual interviews will be held in mid- December through early February and are by invitation only. The interview process includes a semi-structured interview. This format allows all applicants the same opportunity to show all of the skills and knowledge they have gained over the course of their graduate training. It also ensures that we ask you about all important areas. Time is also scheduled for more open-ended discussions where you can ask questions about our internship site. We also schedule time for you to talk to with current fellows. With applicants’ permission, we would like to take a picture at the interview in order to assist the memory of the selection committee. This is a totally voluntary process, and all applicants are welcome to opt out of the photograph. In the past we have had applicants bring a camera and take pictures of us as well. We invite you to do the same as we know how helpful that can be as a memory aide. We do ask that you respect the privacy of our patients and not take pictures that would include them.

We will be following the 2021 APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines, which include a universal notification date for postdoctoral fellowships, and as such will be making offers to external candidates on the universal selection day 02/22/2021. In accordance with the APPIC postdoctoral selection guidelines, CHOC will utilize the reciprocal offer option prior to the universal selection date. If an applicant receives a bona fide offer from another postdoctoral training program prior to the selection date and would like to consider a fellowship position here at CHOC, please contact Dr. Marni Nagel (mnagel@choc.org) as soon as possible to inquire about your application status and the possibility of a reciprocal offer.
Applicants offered positions with our program should understand that prior to beginning the fellowship they will be required to successfully pass a required brief medical examination, which includes a drug test. Applicants will also undergo a required background test which CHOC requires of all employees in order to ensure the safety of our pediatric patients.

Application Requirements
Admission requirements for fellows include a doctoral degree in psychology from an APA accredited program; anticipated completion of a 1-year clinical internship (APA accredited is preferred); one year of experience providing clinical services to children, preferably in a medical setting; a background in basic psychological testing measures (e.g. IQ, achievement, objective and projective personality measures); and finally, exposure to and interest in pediatric health psychology, pediatric neuropsychology, and/or child and adolescent psychology through coursework, clinical placement, or research. Postdoctoral fellows are required to complete their doctoral degree requirements prior to the start of the postdoctoral training year.

Questions
For additional information, please access our website at https://www.choc.org/careers/residency-training-programs/psychology-postdoctoral-fellowship/

Programmatic Questions: Please email or call with any questions about the program. Please direct any questions about programmatic issues to:

Marni Nagel, Ph.D., Manager Psychology Training Program, Senior Psychologist
Department of Pediatric Psychology
CHOC Hospital in Orange
1201 W La Veta Ave
Orange, CA 92868-3874
Phone: (714) 509-8481
Fax: (714) 509-8756
Email: mnagel@choc.org

Questions about application status: If you have questions regarding the status of your application (e.g. is it complete or what is missing), please email Emma Hockenberry at emily.hockenberry@choc.org or call (714) 509-8299 and ask for Emma.

 

Pediatric Psychology Department Faculty:

Heather Huszti, Ph.D., Chief Psychologist, Director of Training, Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Texas Tech University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Hematology, Adherence, Consultation and Liaison services, Pediatric critical care

Julie Moghal, Ph.D., Director, Department of Psychology, Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Toledo
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Law and ethics, Mentoring and supervision, Autism, Young child/feeding

Marni Switkin Nagel, Ph.D., Manager Psychology Training Program, Senior Psychologist, Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical and Developmental Psychology, University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Assessment and intervention with infants and young children, Neurodevelopmental assessment, Sleep medicine, Neonatal critical care, Chronic illness, Pain management

Baleska Alfaro, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Co-Occurring

Adrianne Alpern, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Miami
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Cystic fibrosis, Adherence, Diabetes, Disorders of sex development, Adjustment and coping with chronic illness

Katelyn Anderson, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Counseling Psychology, University of Oregon
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Eating Disorders, Consultation-Liaison, Disorders of sex development,

Francesca Bahn, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Palo Alto University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Inpatient psychiatric treatment

Mitzi Bennet, LCSW, Manager Project HEALTH

Ava Casados, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Yale University
  • Clinical Training Interests: Primary Care, Law and Ethics, Health disparities

Gerolyn Casas, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Co-Occurring Clinic

Elisa Corrales, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Rochester
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Childhood trauma, PCIT, children’s chronic illness

Lauren Couch, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • School Psychology, University of California, Riverside
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Meredith Dennis, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Loma Linda University
  • Clinical Training Interests: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Acute psychiatric disorders

Melanie Fox, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Palo Alto University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Eating disorders, Consultation-Liaison

Shweta Ghosh, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Palo Alto University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Primary Care, Consultation-Liaison

Diana Graham, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Colorado Denver
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Pediatric psychology, Hematology/Oncology

Wendy Gray, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Florida
  • Clinical/Training Interests: IBD, Pediatric GI, Abdominal pain

Sharonne Herbert, Ph.D., ABPP, Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultation and training, Emergency Department, Hematology, Treatment of disruptive behavior disorders, Anxiety disorders, OCD, and Tic disorders, Motivational interviewing, Crisis management

Gaby Hernandez, LCSW, Licensed Social Worker, MHIC

Jina Jang, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Louisiana State University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Brenda Jimenez, LCSW, Licensed Social Worker, MHES

Alyssa Saiz Jones, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Pepperdine University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Inpatient psychiatric treatment, Neuropsychological assessment

Cindy S. Kim, Ph.D., ABPP, Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Biola University/Rosemead School of Psychology
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Pediatric feeding disorders in infancy and early childhood, Early childhood development, Cochlear implants, and Developmental Disabilities

Carlos Konishi, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Coping and adjustment to chronic illness, Pediatric oncology, Diversity training

Jessica Liu, Psy.D., Neuropsychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology Alliant International University, Los Angeles
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Neuropsychology, TBI and Concussion

Esmeralda Marquez, LCSW, Licensed Social Worker, MHIC

Maleia Mathis, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Loma Linda University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Consultation-Liaison, School based mental health

Nancy Merlino, LCSW, Licensed Social Worker, Project HEALTH

Chris Min, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Primary Care, Consultation-Liaison, Neurology, Sleep medicine

Amy Morse, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, American School of Professional Psychology, Washington, D.C.
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Primary Care, Program Development, ACT, Chronic illness and mental health

Grace Mucci, Ph.D., ABPdN, Neuropsychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Neuropsychological assessment, Neuropsychological aspects of pediatric oncology, Oncological cognitive late-effects, Epilepsy, Neurological disorders

Sheila Modir, Ph.D., Project HEALTH

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Santa Barbara
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Coping mechanisms and understanding resilience in the context of trauma for vulnerable populations

Vyvy Phan, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Intensive outpatient programming

Nancy Ramirez, LCSW, Licensed Social Worker, MHES

Okairy Rodriguez, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Co-Occurring Clinic

Jonathan Romain, Ph.D.,ABPP-CN, Neuropsychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Fresno
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Epilepsy, Pediatric neuropsychology, TBI and Concussion

Sarah Ruiz, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Child Clinical Psychology, University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Primary care, Diversity training

Scott Ryan, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Intensive outpatient programming

Sabrina Stutz, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Child Psychology, DePaul University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Endocrinology (Diabetes), Adherence to medical regimens, Adjustment to medical diagnoses, Quality of life

Alexander Tan, Ph.D., Neuropsychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Children’s Health & University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW), Dallas
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Neuropsychology, Cardiac neurodevelopmental concerns

Mery Macaluso Taylor, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Child Psychology, University of Kansas
  • Clinical/Training Interests:  Consultation-Liaison services, Eating disorders, Disorders of sex development, Latino populations, Diversity Training

Tien Thai, LCSW, Licensed Social Worker, MHIC

Micaela Thordarson, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Intensive outpatient programming, Integrated pediatric primary care

Tiffany Torigoe-Lai, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Virginia
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Oncology, Consultation-Liaison, Coping and adjustment to chronic illness, Quality of life

Carolina Eberhard Veira, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Co-Occurring Clinic

Nicole Vincent, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Miami
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Clinical/Training Interests: Anxiety in children and adolescents, Pain management, Tic disorders, Therapy with school-age children and adolescents, Disorders of sex development, Psychosocial and cognitive issues in pediatric oncology

Lisa Walsh, LCSW, Licensed Social Worker, MHES

 

Psychiatry Faculty:

Hoang “Wayne” Nguyen, MD, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Medical Director, Mental Health Inpatient Center, Board Certified Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist

  • Medical School, Texas A & M Health Science Center, Internship and Residency, University of Utah Medical Center
  • Clinical/Training Interests: Child and adolescent psychiatry,
  • Psychosomatic Disorders, Developmental Disorders, Pain Medicine

Michael Hwang, MD, Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, IOP, Pediatric Psychology Continuity Clinic

  • Medical School, New York University, Internship:  Tulane University, Fellowship:  University of California, Irvine

Laura Lai, MD, Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ASPIRE IOP

  • Internship and Fellowship:  University of California, Irvine

Uma Rao, MD, Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Director of Behavioral Research

Lavanya Wusirika, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, MHIC

  • Fellowship:  University of California, Los Angeles

Esther Yang, MD, Board Certified Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

  • Internship and Fellowship:  University of California, Irvine Medical School