The focus of our postdoctoral fellowship is to develop the professional and leadership skills psychologists need in their many roles within an academic medical setting. Upon completion of this program, fellows are ready to hit the ground running in their first professional positions. Each fellow takes ownership of a clinical specialty area (see focus areas below), which involves a combination of direct clinical care, representing behavioral medicine on a multispecialty team at interdisciplinary meetings, and leading efforts in clinical research or program development. Fellows may also have the opportunity to participate in other clinical programs and projects, which will be assigned based on a combination of interest, training goals, and clinical need.
Behavioral medicine psychologists are integrated in numerous interdisciplinary outpatient clinics across the hospital. Fellows will be assigned one of the following “tracks” below based on their interests and training goals:
Bariatric surgery/weight management
Psychologists are key members of our ASMBS Center of Excellence in bariatric surgery and are involved in pre-surgery education and evaluation, both in person and via telemedicine. We also provide coaching to patients to prepare for life after surgery, as well as individual and group post-surgical support and intervention. We also work with patients on conservative weight management and provide intervention for disordered/problematic eating behaviors. One major highlight of this track is that the fellow will be provided one full day per week to collaborate with Geisinger’s Obesity Institute on ground-breaking, grant-funded clinical research and develop programs to enhance our clinical services. The fellow will serve as the liaison for behavioral medicine at monthly interdisciplinary meetings and provide education to medical and surgical residents and staff on behavioral weight management and other relevant topics.
Hospital based: cardiology and oncology
Clinical psychologists provide outpatient evaluations and brief psychotherapy with patients across the spectrum of cardiac disease. Postdoctoral fellows will work with patients on preventative health behavior change and adjustment to/ coping with cardiac conditions and procedures, such as pacemakers, ICDs and LVADs. Fellows will also participate in multidisciplinary cancer clinics performing brief consultations and conducting bone marrow transplant evaluations. There are abundant opportunities for staff training, program development, and clinical research collaborations within cardiology.
Integrated primary care
Behavioral health providers are viewed as valuable team members and are consulted for a variety of concerns, including depression, anxiety, smoking cessation, weight loss, and treatment adherence. Fellows will have the opportunity to provide targeted, evidence-based care through warm hand offs and brief episodes of treatment, collaborate with providers and residents, assist with resident training, and take part in research that has a direct impact on patient care in a general internal medicine setting. We are building this program from the ground up in general internal medicine so the fellow on this track will have the opportunity to develop and evaluate programs designed to strengthen our integration, enhance the patient experience, collaborate even more closely with providers, and train medical residents and staff about behavioral concerns relevant to their practice.
Psychologists are increasingly involved in the development of new institutional programs, policies, and guidelines; the redesign of existing systems, and the evaluation of current policies and procedures. Fellows on this track will be exposed to these aspects of professional practice and provide skills in system re-design and program evaluation for pain management. One of the most exciting and unique aspects of this track is that fellows will have the opportunity to participate in grant-funded clinical research/program development, work on an existing project, or identify an area of need and establish measures to evaluate needs/outcomes, design a program to address the needs, and evaluate the impact of the program. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at all levels of pain management within our system, from primary care based interventions to specialty consultation in pain medicine, multidisciplinary clinics, and neurosurgery. Clinical pain management services provided by fellows include conducting initial assessments and evaluations, collaborating with patients to improve treatment readiness, compliance, and treatment planning/goals, providing evidence-based behavioral medicine treatment to patients in both individual and group psychotherapy formats, as well as leading psychoeducational lectures within our various multidisciplinary clinics. Fellows also conduct evaluations on pre-surgical candidates within our Destination Spine program and pain medicine for spinal cord stimulators. Fellows will learn to provide support and education to primary care and specialty medicine providers and staff, as well as help to develop further programming to promote chronic pain self-management throughout the system.
Psychologists are embedded at the women’s pavilion, and provide short term, targeted behavioral and mental health services on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Integrated care reduces fragmentation, enhances patient outcomes, increases patient access and improves patient and provider satisfaction. Psychologists address the full range of women’s behavioral health needs which can present uniquely during specific life transitions such as menarche, initiation of contraception, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. A few of the presenting concerns include unintended pregnancies, infertility, pregnancy loss, chronic illness and pain, mood and sleep difficulties, caregiving challenges, grief and loss, interpersonal trauma and cancer diagnoses. The fellow will be involved in screening, consultation, psychotherapy, collaboration, facilitation of patient-provider relationship, education and research. A busy and productive service, the fellow will provide both same day brief and full consultations (inpatient on the labor & delivery service as well as on an outpatient basis), and regularly scheduled assessment and follow up services. The fellow will also be involved in training OB, gynecology and maternal fetal medicine residents to identify the behavioral health needs of their patients. In addition to clinical work, fellows on this track will be involved in ongoing research to understand provider and patient barriers to behavioral health care, strategies to enhance access, patient perceptions of the efficacy of behavioral health interventions, and impact of behavioral health care on patient wellness.