Program Description

The Health Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program positions, while incorporating a framework of standardized training and service are also individualized and flexible, based upon the specific professional interests and needs of each trainee.

Fellows work with patients from a variety of services, including:

Fellows also have an opportunity to become more integrated in multidisciplinary teams, where they can go on rounds or be part of regular team conferences.

Fellows receive training in outpatient organ transplant recipient evaluations and live organ donor evaluations. Opportunities to provide peer supervision to practicum students may also be available depending upon the size of the practicum class in any given year. Fellows are required to provide two presentations to community groups.

Training Methods

Clinical Experience Rotation

The training-based experience involves the provision of psychological services to a range of medical services across this tertiary care center and its clinics. Staff and trainees are responsible for providing psychological assessments, interventions, and consultations for patients with a variety of acute and chronic medical problems. Fellows provide bedside services to patients in the hospital setting and also provide outpatient evaluation and longer-term assessment services. Patients range in age from 17-100 on this service.

Further, a wide range of patient diagnoses and referral questions are presented. As a large component of this experience, fellows provide psychological consultation to a variety of medical teams, and learn to work collaboratively and efficiently with a number of different medical staff including physicians, nurses, rehabilitation therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers and pastoral care providers.

Over 160 new referrals are received per month, and thus, fellows develop an appreciation for the important role of psychology in assisting in the treatment of a multitude of patient diagnoses.

Fellows will spend approximately 80 percent of their time on the inpatient service.   As a secondary rotation (20 percent of their time), fellows will have the opportunity to focus on specialty areas in health psychology.  The determination of this rotation will be based upon each fellow’s stated interest and training background, availability of the rotation in any given training year, and the approval of the Director of Training. Within the Medical-Surgical service, fellows will have the opportunity to work in the following:

Primary Track (80 percent time)

  • Primary Track-Adult Hospital-Based Service: The Health Psychology service provides bedside assessment and intervention to patients referred by the medical-surgical services across the hospital. Referrals are made with the expectation that we will provide timely recommendations and treat as appropriate. Fellows will learn to provide same day assessments relevant to the referral question and will become skilled in a variety of assessment techniques and modalities. Also on this rotation, and somewhat unusual for many other consultation-liaison services, the fellow will have the opportunity to provide ongoing interventions with the patient during their hospital stay. They will learn to provide brief, solution-focused and supportive psychotherapy with patients and families while they are in the hospital. Consultation with medical and allied health staff is also a very large component of this experience.

Additional specialized focus areas within the Medical-Surgical Service:

  • Burn Service: UW Burn Service houses an eight-bed acute care service for burn patients. There is also an outpatient Burn clinic for those patients who have been discharged from the hospital and require continued medical care. The Health Psychology service provides assessment and intervention services for adult and pediatric Burn patients. Specific skills developed include trauma screening, pain management, and adaptation to loss and body image change. One of the postdoctoral fellows takes a psychology “lead” position on the Burn Team, attending weekly multidisciplinary rounds and assisting with patient coping.
  • Palliative Care Service: The Health Psychology service provides consultation to the multidisciplinary palliative care treatment team, who works directly with inpatients at end-of-life or with symptom management needs. This includes providing consultation for ethical dilemmas and clinical decision-making that occurs when working with patients at end-of-life. Intervention with dying patients and their families is also a part of this experience. The training experience for an interested fellow also includes didactics in palliative care. Any fellows interested in active involvement in the palliative care service can do so for approximately 2-3 hours per week.
  • Organ Transplant Evaluation Service: The Health Psychology service provides pre-surgical evaluation for potential organ recipients on the cardiology, pulmonary, kidney and liver transplant services. These include clinical interviews with potential recipients and their support persons and psychological testing. Fellows also provide pre-surgical evaluation to the living kidney and liver donor programs. Typically, fellows can expect to perform 2-3 evaluations per month.
  • Acute Care for the Elderly Service (ACE): Fellows can choose to provide consultation to this multidisciplinary treatment team focused on comprehensive treatment planning for geriatric patients. Consultation questions include decisional capacity assessment, safety evaluation and dementia/delirium/depression work-up. Fellows attend morning rounds, work with patients and families, and provide consultation to treatment teams.
  • Neurology and Neurosurgery Service: Fellows can choose to attend Neurology/Neurosurgery rounds and take a psychology lead on this multidisciplinary treatment team. Patients seen include those who have suffered stroke, undergone resection of brain tumors, or are being treated for seizure disorder. Patients diagnosed with conversion disorder can also be seen while a member of this treatment team.
  • Vascular Surgery: Fellows can choose to attend Vascular Surgery rounds on a weekly basis, and tend to work with the patients who are undergoing planned amputation as a result of vascular disease. Fellows engage in walking rounds and also attend weekly conferences on this service.

Other Experiences

In addition to receiving a broad range of experience, fellows can attempt to seek experiences emphasizing specific patient populations depending upon specific interests. In the past, fellows have chosen to gain additional specialized experience in Family Medicine and Hematology services. The hospital setting is very receptive to any fellow interested in a certain area of training.

Secondary Track

Adult Specialty Services

Each fellow will spend approximately 20% of their time in a specialty clinic in health psychology.  In the past, the possible options have included UW Carbone Cancer Center, UW Health at The American Center Weight Management program and the Outpatient Health Psychology Clinic. Site availability and fellow interest will determine the rotation for each fellow.

Supervision 

  • Each fellow is supervised by at least two licensed psychologists.
  • The Director of Postdoctoral Training oversees all supervision. Fellows receive a minimum of two hours of formal supervision per week.
  • Ongoing, informal supervision is available throughout every day.
  • Fellows are formally evaluated on a quarterly basis using the Minnesota Supervisory Inventory from the QAI Systems. The fellowship program is overseen by the Director of Postdoctoral Training at UW Hospitals and Clinics, a full-time licensed staff psychologist whose responsibility it is to ensure that training needs are being met.
  • The Director of Postdoctoral Training is responsible for the recruitment and selection of fellows, and provides direction to and oversees the training faculty with regard to their involvement in the fellowship program.
  • Fellows are required to maintain records of their clinical activities, and these records are reviewed by the Director of Training to ensure a breadth of experience during the fellowship year. These records include the number of patient contact hours, the settings in which clinical services are provided, the type of psychological assessments and interventions provided and the fellows’ exposure to diversity in patient cultures.
  • Fellows are asked to provide feedback and to evaluate their supervisors, training experiences and the overall fellowship program throughout the year. An exit interview is performed by the Director of Postdoctoral training and by the Health Psychology administrator with each fellow at the end of the year.
  • Fellows also have the opportunity to provide supervision (under supervision) to practicum students who rotate through University Hospital when practicum students are available. There is also the opportunity to provide training to medical residents and other allied health staff on an as requested basis.

Didactics

In addition to their supervised clinical training experiences, fellows are required to participate in various seminars, discussions, and case presentations with other trainees and Health Psychology faculty throughout the year.

These scheduled didactics include:

  • Medical-Surgical Service Training and Seminars
    All trainees and staff on the medical-surgical service meet two times per month to review service procedures and policies, address clinical issues and foster programmatic advancements. Ethics forums and case presentations are also included in this didactic series.
  • Community Presentations
    Each fellow is required to provide a minimum of two presentations to community groups or other health care groups within the institution.
  • Other Didactics
    Fellows are encouraged to attend any Grand Rounds of interest presented by various departments at UWHC. Fellows are also invited to attend other relevant lectures or presentations provided across the university campus.

Fellows are free to utilize any library and to request library searches or interlibrary loans. A University ID card is required. The Ebling Library is located in the Health Science Learning Center for staff and student use. There are a number of other libraries across the campuses that are available to the fellows.

Benefits and Eligibility

The postdoctoral stipend is $50,000 for a 12-month period, including:

  • 16 days of vacation
  • Up to five days of sick leave
  • Three professional days

The fellowship year typically begins in August or early September of each year. Benefits are available, including health insurance plans for fellows and their families. There are fees for parking in any university parking lots, but public and university transportation systems are available for convenient transport to and from University Hospital.

Fellows have shared offices with individual computers, telephones, pagers and voicemail. They also have access to fax and photocopy machines and clerical support. Educational resources available to fellows include the University of Wisconsin library and computer systems and audiovisual equipment for viewing and recording clinical work.

Program Eligibility and Application

Eligibility

  • Qualified applicants will have completed all PhD or PsyD requirements from an APA-accredited Clinical or Counseling Psychology program, including the successful completion of an APA-approved, pre-doctoral internship program prior to starting the program. Conferral of the graduate degree is necessary prior to the start date.
  • Previous experience and/or strong interest in the field of Health Psychology is required.
  • Members of diverse populations (gender, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, geographical origin and bilingual status) are encouraged to apply.
  • Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Early application is encouraged.

Applying

To apply, send a statement of interest which includes the names of your references, CV, official transcripts of all graduate work and three letters of recommendation to: 

M. Denise Connelly, PhD
Postdoctoral Training Coordinator
Department of Health Psychology
University Hospital
600 Highland Ave., H6/272
Madison, WI 53792-2424
mconnelly@uwhealth.org
(608) 263-9372

All materials can be sent via email or USPS. Please send your Statement of Interest and CV together. Reference letters should be sent directly to the Director of Training by the author. Official transcripts are required by the application deadline.

Health Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program

University Hospital offers three one-year post-doctoral fellowships in clinical Health Psychology.

About Our Program

The program involves a 12-month, full-time experience (2,000 hours), providing the necessary post-doctoral hours required for licensure to practice psychology independently in the state of Wisconsin. The program is designed to provide didactic and clinical training in preparation for professional work in a variety of medical settings.  Graduates of our program are competitively prepared to work in academic medical centers, private hospitals, independent psychology practices with medical specialization, academic psychology departments and outpatient medical clinics.

The program is based upon a practitioner-scholar model offering hands-on experience complemented by knowledge of relevant psychological science. Our intent is to prepare fellows to move competently across a variety of health psychology settings and to use a wide range of skills.

Program Philosophy

Based in a nationally recognized academic medical center, the fellowship program involves training with a wide variety of patients, problems and treatment teams. Our philosophy is to provide a broad array of experiences across the medical center rather than specialized training in one or two areas. A minimum of 80 percent of each fellow’s time is focused on adult medical-surgical inpatients at UW Hospitals and Clinics. In this capacity, fellows work across a variety of medical services and provide assessment and treatment to patients with acute and chronic needs. Fellows will perform outpatient pre-surgical transplantation evaluations for potential organ transplant recipients and living organ donors.

Fellows will also be able to spend approximately 20% of their time in one of the specialty clinics, providing outpatient health psychology services.  Throughout their experiences and the training year, fellows are required to perform consultation with multidisciplinary medical teams and often play a key role as the psychological consultant to these teams. Fellows also have the opportunity to engage in program development, supervision of practicum students (when on site) and/or teaching of medical residents during their training year.

The fellowship program is a member of APPIC and administered by the Health Psychology faculty within the Department of Behavioral Medicine.

More Information

Contact Information

M. Denise Connelly, PhD
(608) 263-9372

Related Resources

Health Psychology Program

Health Psychology Practicum Program