Pediatric Psychology Training Program

Our Training Program in Pediatric Psychology offers advanced education in the science of pediatric psychology and the integration of research and clinical service in a pediatric academic medical center.

Program Philosophy and Mission

It is our mission to teach trainees to provide empirically-supported assessment and behavioral interventions to children and families within the context of their medical care, and we use a scientist-practitioner model to accomplish this mission. The goal of the program is to prepare psychology trainees for future leadership roles in education, research, and clinical service delivery within a medical center. We offer training at the postdoctoral fellowship, predoctoral intern, and advanced practicum placement levels.   

Training occurs within the University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Disease, Division of Pediatric Psychology, which offers trainees access to the rich and unique resources available through the University of Michigan Medical School. Clinical training occurs in our inpatient and outpatient clinical settings including within the state-of-the-art C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

The specific nature of training is individualized based on previous training experiences and the trainee’s goals. It is the philosophy of our program that all trainees receive experience in direct clinical care, exposure to behavioral research within an academic medical center, and didactic seminars focused on application of the biopsychosocial model and professionalism within pediatric psychology.   

The Training Committee oversees all psychology trainees.  Specific training objectives are formulated at the beginning of the experience. Evaluation occurs every three to six months and is based on a competency-based format that emphasizes acquisition of special clinical skills and/or research abilities.  Training objectives are achieved through an apprenticeship model where the trainee works closely with the faculty members in the provision of clinical service and/or in conducting research and scholarly activities.  This close supervisory relationship supports the development of the trainee’s clinical and/or research skills.

Trainees work with clinical and/or research faculty supervisors during 6-month to 2-year rotations in the following areas:

  • Outpatient pediatric psychology clinic
  • Inpatient consultation/liaison
  • Interdisciplinary subspecialty behavioral clinics
  • Elimination disorders
  • Weight management
  • Sleep disorders
  • Feeding disorders
  • Cardiac neurodevelopmental assessment
  • Interdisciplinary subspecialty medical clinics
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Disorders of sexual development
  • Integrated behavioral health in primary care

 

Clinical Training    

The goal of our clinical training is to develop skills in the assessment and intervention of the behavioral and emotional aspects of disease and illness and the promotion of healthy behaviors and development. Pediatric psychology trainees may receive experience with a variety of presenting concerns including: child and family adjustment to illness, adherence to medical routines, pain management, relaxation skills and stress management, sleep problems, chronic constipation and soiling, feeding problems, and developmental assessment of young children. Clinical training can occur in the context of the Outpatient Pediatric Psychology Clinic, Inpatient Consultation/Liaison service, and Multidisciplinary Subspecialty Clinics. We expect trainees to finish each rotation with acquisition of the basic knowledge and skills prerequisite to advanced training in pediatric psychology.

Based on a review and discussion of each trainee’s previous course work, clinical experiences, and personal comfort with knowledge/expertise in areas pertinent to Pediatric Psychology, a training plan will be developed.  In areas where greater experience or knowledge is believed to be necessary prior to more autonomous training experiences, opportunities will be provided to (1) observe others conducting intake evaluations or psychological assessments, (2) read key references in designated areas, (3) observe case presentations at treatment team meetings and case conferences, or (4) attend relevant seminars or courses.

Research Training

The goal of our research training is to develop skills in conducting behavioral research within a medical center. Research experiences will vary significantly depending on trainee level and rotation, but we expect all trainees to finish rotations with at least a critical understanding of the literature and current issues relevant to that population. During some rotations, trainees may participate in ongoing research/scholarly activity projects of the supervising psychologist(s). Responsibilities may include: Assistance with study development, review of the literature, preparing IRB applications, participant recruitment, data collection, data entry, data analysis, and manuscript/presentation preparation.

Educational Training

The goal of educational training is to prepare trainees to critically discuss, present, and educate other psychologists and medical colleagues on the science of pediatric psychology and biopsychosocial factors relevant to child health and wellness. Trainees are expected to attend and participate in weekly Pediatric Psychology Trainee Didactic Seminars as their schedule allows. It is expected that each trainee will lead at least one seminar every six months in the following areas:

  • diagnosing or defining problems through psychological assessment
  • implementing psychological interventions
  • methods of scholarly inquiry and research
  • professional issues and conduct, including legal issues, ethics and professional standards
  • issues of cultural and individual diversity

Additional educational experiences are available through weekly Pediatrics Grand Rounds and the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Seminar.

More advanced trainees will have opportunities to provide clinical and research training to less advanced trainees through tiered supervision experiences. Attempts will be made to pair trainees on rotations to allow these experiences.

Supervision

At a minimum, each of our trainees must have the Temporary Limited Licensed Psychology License prior to beginning our training program. This license requires that trainees have at least a Master’s Degree. Our program adheres to the State of Michigan policy on Trainee Supervision.

Faculty

Training Committee:

Dawn Dore-Stites, Ph.D., Fellowship Director

Bethany Gaffka, Ph.D., Advanced Practicum Director

Blake Lancaster, Ph.D., Internship Director

Faculty Supervisors:

David Sandberg, Ph.D., Division Director

Emily Fredericks, Ph.D., Associate Division Director

Melissa Andersen, Ph.D.

Jennifer Butcher, Ph.D.

Melissa Cousino, Ph.D.

Dawn Dore-Stites, Ph.D.

Amy Drayton, Ph.D.

Rachel Knight, Ph.D.

Kris Kullgren Ph.D.