POST DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP IN
CLINICAL HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY IN PRIMARY CARE

American Psychological Association Grants 7 Years of Full Accreditation
to the Clinical Health Psychology Post-doctoral Fellowship in Primary Care!

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health of the University of Massachusetts Medical School hosts a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology in Primary Care. The fellowship is affiliated with the Family Medicine Residency Programs of the Department. 

Overview

The two-year, full-time fellowship adheres to a practitioner-scholar model and is designed to prepare clinical and counseling psychologists to achieve the following goals: 

  • Become leaders and advocates for integrated, collaborative healthcare
  • Practice evidence-based psychology in a primary care environment
  • Be capable of advanced practice competency in independent practice as Clinical Health Psychologists with sufficient preparation to be credentialed and ultimately Board Certified by ABPP in clinical health psychology
  • Make meaningful scholarly contributions, particularly by learning how to conduct applied research projects leading to practice-based evidence for integrated care
  • Develop programs and service lines using inter-professional teams within health care settings
  • Assume roles in medical education, working as behavioral science experts within Family Medicine residency training programs, Family Medicine Departments or other medical departments including but not limited to Oncology, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine
  • Train other psychologists and behavioral health providers in integrated, collaborative healthcare
  • Help change the face of healthcare to include behavioral health as an indispensable component of primary healthcare and the patient centered medical home

The training philosophy and model is based on a supervised experiential approach in which first year post-doctoral fellows are training in evidence-based clinical health psychology through intensive didactics, clinical observations, clinical supervision, and by training side-by-side with family medicine residents. In the second year of the program, the fellows continue their clinical training and supervision, but also begin a more focused experience of learning how to teach and train family medicine residents to recognize behavioral needs and use psychosocial knowledge and behavioral health skills. Fellows also learn to build integrated service programs in a primary care setting.  

Fellows are evaluated in a variety of ways, including live observation, and are expected to gain competencies in:

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  • clinical health psychology assessment techniques 
  • clinical health psychology and family therapy intervention strategies
  • conducting effective consultations with physicians
  • professionalism, communication, effective documentation, and acculturation to the medical environment
  • healthcare management and administration, including leadership skills
  • research skills, particularly in the area of conducting clinical quality improvement initiatives.

Candidates are sought annually, beginning in the Fall. The application deadline is February 1st or until the position is filled, whichever is earlier. Thus, interested applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their application early. Interviews will be in early to mid-January. This year, there is NOT AN APPIC UNIFORM NOTIFICATION DAY for post-doctoral selection. Please click here for more information about our application requirements.

The Setting


The first residency in Family Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center (UMass) was established in 1971. The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health presently supports two residencies in Family Medicine: the Worcester residency and the Fitchburg residency. The Worcester residency has 36 residents, divided equally among three family health centers: (1) Barre Family Health Center in Barre, MA; (2) the Family Health Center of Worcester; and (3) Hahnemann Family Health Center in Worcester. The Fitchburg residency has 15 residents whose main training site is the Community Health Connections Family Health Center in Fitchburg, MA. 

Barre Family Health Center is located in rural north-central Massachusetts. It is thirty minutes from Worcester and offers trainees the experience of practice in a rural setting with full support of a large academic health system. The Health Center has had a behavioral health provider as part of the practice for over 25 years. Daniel Mullin, PsyD, is the Behavioral Science faculty member at the center and William Ferrarone, PhD, is a psychologist practicing on site half time.

Family Health Center of Worcester (FHCW) is a Federally Qualified Community Health Center that has been serving the underserved populations of Worcester for over twenty years. The present health center was recently renovated. The center has a long history as a training site for Family Physicians. It offers a number of social service programs in addition to mental health, pharmacy and dental services. Craig Weiner, EdD, is the on-site supervising psychologist and fellowship faculty member at FHCW.  

Hahnemann Family Health Center (HFHC) is located in Worcester in a new facility. The Health Center serves an economically and ethnically diverse cross section of the community. Alexander Blount, EdD, the Director of the Fellowship and the Director of Behavioral Science in the department, is the one of the on-site supervisors and has his clinical practice at HFHC. Tina Runyan, PhD, the Associate Director of Behavioral Science, is another site supervisor at HFHC for the fellowship and also has her clinical practice at HFHC.

Community Health Connections Family Health Center (CHC) in Fitchburg is the newly-remodeled outpatient site for the University of Massachusetts Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency. It is a Federally Qualified Community Health Center serving underserved patients in the Fitchburg/Leominster area. The Health Center is developing a number of social service programs in addition to mental health, pharmacy and dental services. It is approximately forty-five minutes from the UMass campus. It is the original Fellowship site, with Fellows joining residents in providing primary care services since 1999. Nicholas Apostoleris, PhD, the Director of Behavioral Science training, is one of two psychologists practicing on site.  

There are presently post-doctoral fellows based at Hahnemann Family Health Center and at the Family Health Center of Worcester. We hope to add positions at Fitchburg and Barre in the near future. 

Outcomes

The Department's goals in supporting and instituting a post-doctoral training program for psychologists are:  

  • to provide significantly more teaching in behavioral science to family medicine residents
  • to teach family medicine residents to work collaboratively with behavioral health providers in providing primary care services
  • to increase the capability of the department to conduct research on primary care questions
  • to develop a group of providers for the primary care practices that are part of the UMass/Memorial system
  • to increase the visibility and status of the department nationally as a center for innovation in primary care service and training.

The reasons fellows choose to come to our program for post-doctoral training are:

  • to practice evidence-based psychology in a primary care environment
  • to make meaningful scholarly contributions, particularly by learning how to conduct applied research projects leading to practice-based evidence for integrated care
  • to have a teaching role and develop teaching skills while still in training and receiving supervision that can help shape and improve their teaching styles
  • to prepare for a position as a health provider in primary care and/or as a faculty member in a medical or medical education and training setting
  • to obtain advanced and specialized training in clinical health psychology which enables them to seek board certification (ABPP) in clinical health psychology.

Every effort is made identify fellows as part of a family medicine resident class. Having behavioral health providers as peers in their training helps residents develop the personal relationships on which collaboration is based. Having family medicine residents as peers in their training helps the fellows develop familiarity with the primary care setting in an environment of support where help with the vagaries of “medical culture” is easily available.