November 18, 2014

VA Palo Alto Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Training in Palliative Care


The VA Palo Alto Health Care System is pleased to offer an APA accredited Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Palliative Care. The Program involves training in multiple domains including (1) psychological, sociocultural, spiritual and interpersonal factors in chronic, advanced, life-limiting and terminal illness; (2) biological aspects of illness and the dying process; (3) normative and non-normative grief and bereavement; (4) communication and facilitation of advance care planning; (5) assessment of common physical and mental health conditions (e.g. pain, cognitive dysfunction, psychopathology, existential distress, caregiving strain, posttraumatic growth, resiliency); (6) psychotherapy for patients with chronic, life-threatening or terminal illness; (7) assessment and treatment of families and social systems; (8) interprofessional teams functioning and consultation; and (9) socioeconomic, health services and systems issues in palliative care.

Rotations from among ten programs may be selected for training experiencesVA Hospice and Palliative Care Center (Inpatient unit; hospital-wide Palliative Care Consult team, Outpatient Clinic) and Sub-acute medicine ward; Community Living Center; Home Based Primary Care; Inpatient and Outpatient Spinal Cord Injury Unit/Clinic; Cardiovascular Clinic; Oncology/Hematology, Pain Clinic, Infectious disease Clinic, Family therapy program, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy min-rotation.  The staff include Stacy Dodd, Margaret Florsheim, Julia Kasl-Godley, Steven Katz, Jessica Lohnberg, Steven Lovett, Elaine McMillan, Gary Miles, Douglas Rait, Rachael Rodriguez, Jonathon Rose and Robyn Walser.  Opportunities also include limited exposure to non-VA Palliative Care programs (e.g. site visits to Stanford, UCSF, El Camino Hospital, Zen Hospice Center).

The specific training plan will be developed with the assistance of a Primary Preceptor. The aim is to ensure attainment of general clinical competencies as well as competencies in Palliative Care.  The fellow will develop an expertise in chronic and advanced illness and palliative care that allows him/her to provide effective assessment, intervention (individual, family, group, staff), and interprofessional service delivery to patients and family members to meet the full range of issues across the disease continuum, from initial diagnosis to death and subsequent bereavement.  Fellows are encouraged to use evidenced based treatment in planning and delivering services.  Fellows work with interprofessional teams that share decision-making, treatment planning, and treatment implementation responsibilities.  Opportunities for research, program development, administration and teaching are available.  Fellows have one day per week dedicated to research and/or an educational dissemination project.  Fellows also participate in supervision of interns and/or practicum students and in a variety of teaching, educational and professional development activities (e.g. seminars, Palliative Care didactics) and receive training in supervision.  

The Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship will be for a full year, full-time with a salary of $50,006 per annum.  Vacation, sick leave, authorized leave for conferences, and health insurance are available.  Malpractice claims are covered; no additional professional insurance needs to be obtained.
U.S. citizens who are candidates in (or have completed) an APA accredited doctoral program in clinical/counseling psychology and who are enrolled in or have completed an APA accredited internship are eligible to apply.  All Ph.D. requirements, including dissertation defense, must be completed prior to beginning the fellowship.  Preference is given to candidates with prior Palliative Care, Geropsychology and/or Health Psychology training but it is not a requirement.  Applications must be received by January 2, 2015.  Applicants should be available for interview in late January and early February. Initial fellowship offers will be announced by Tuesday February 17, 2015.

The fellowship brochure and application may be obtained by accessing the VA Palo Alto Psychology Training website at, or by emailing the Postdoctoral Coordinator or at (650) 493-5000, x64950.

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