Neuropsychology Track :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Neuropsychology Track

APPIC Program Match Number 150915
Number of Intern Positions: 1

Jennifer Cass, Ph.D., ABPP
Track Director
Email: Jennifer.Cass@NationwideChildrens.org
Phone:  (614) 722-4700

The Neuropsychology Track is dedicated to providing broad based training consistent with standards through the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation (CoA), as well as adhering to Houston Conference Guidelines. A primary goal is to prepare students for later careers, leadership, and board certification in Clinical Neuropsychology.

The Neuropsychology intern participates in neuropsychological assessment, inpatient and medical clinic consultation, and intervention throughout the course of their training year. The Neuropsychology intern focuses the majority of their clinical activities on children, adolescents, and young adults with a history of neurological or medical conditions impacting brain function. 

Outpatient Assessment

The Neuropsychology intern spends approximately 60% of their time in assessment activities. The intern completes one outpatient school age neuropsychological evaluation weekly. These assessments include a neuropsychological test battery appropriate for the child’s age and presenting concerns. Interns gain exposure to children with various medical, neurological, psychiatric, and developmental disorders. The Neuropsychology Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital receives over 1,000 referrals annually, largely from internal medical providers. Referrals are received from a variety of hospital services, including the Sections of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hematology / Oncology, Genetics, Cardiology, and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, as well as many outpatient clinics (e.g., Myelomeningocele, Craniofacial, Cerebral Palsy Clinics, etc.) and community physicians.  Depending on resources available the Neuropsychology Intern may have the opportunity to work with a psychometrician during the latter portion of the training year. 
 
The intern completes two preschool evaluations monthly.  Most children are 3 to 5 years old, but some infants and toddlers are referred. Preschool evaluation referrals are received from the same hospital services listed above.. The intern also is involved in completing pre-epilepsy surgery neurodevelopmental and neuropsychological evaluations and presenting findings and recommendations to the Epilepsy Surgery Team.

Inpatient Assessment and Consultation

Interns have the opportunity to work with patients on the inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. Neuropsychology services include serial cognitive assessment from admission to discharge, psychoeducation with patients and families, neuropsychological testing prior to discharge, and participation in interdisciplinary team and school re-entry meetings. Typical patient populations include traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, brain tumor, encephalitis, and children following epilepsy surgery. 
 
Inpatient neuropsychology consults also are received from services other than the Rehabilitation Unit. Consults usually are received from Neurology, Cardiology, and Hematology / Oncology, but can be received from any hospital service. Consults may include pre-/post-treatment evaluations on the Hematology / Oncology unit; brief assessment of acute cognitive changes; intellectual function; capacity to live independently, make medical decisions, or adhere to medical recommendations; or facilitating an outpatient evaluation post-discharge. Under supervision the neuropsychology intern is responsible for taking the lead on non-Rehabilitation Unit inpatient neuropsychology consults over the last several months of the training year.  
 
The neuropsychology intern also gains exposure to providing inpatient consultation to the Neurology service. Neurology consults are requested for children with a history of known or possible seizures admitted for long-term video-EEG monitoring. Psychology consultation also is requested for patients with suspected nonepileptic seizures or conversion disorder. Consultations can include assessment of psychosocial factors impacting physical symptoms, psychoeducation regarding diagnosis, brief interventions including relaxation strategies, and providing resources for school advocacy or outpatient services. 

Outpatient Intervention

The Neuropsychology intern usually carries a minimum of 6 to 8 outpatient treatment cases throughout the year. Cases are supervised by Dr. Kristen Trott, Dr. Kelly McNally, and Dr. Cathy Butz. Dr. Trott supervises 2 to 3 therapy cases referred from the Section of Neurology (e.g., epilepsy, encephalitis, etc.). Dr. McNally supervises 1 to 2 cases through the Concussion Symptom Treatment Program. This is a short-term treatment program targeting concussion symptoms and related stressors. Treatment may include activity scheduling, cognitive behavioral therapy, development of stress coping skills, pain management strategies, relaxation training, biofeedback, and education about concussion symptoms and stress. The program is designed for children and adolescents during the post-acute period (i.e. 4 to 6 weeks post injury) up to 6 to 10 months post-concussion whose symptoms are not resolving as expected. The intern also carries 1 to 2 Biofeedback treatment cases supervised by Dr. Cathy Butz and Dr. Anthony Alioto. Cases involve children and adolescents presenting with headache or abdominal pain or other physical symptoms exacerbated by anxiety or stress. 

Outpatient Medical Clinic Consultation

Interns provide consultation in Concussion and Epilepsy Clinics, supervised by Dr. Doug Bodin and Dr. Kelly McNally, respectively. In Concussion Clinic, interns complete brief neuropsychological screening to assess cognitive status. They also may provide brief interventions and psychoeducation regarding the course of recovery following concussion. Epilepsy Clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic that includes epileptologists, nurse practitioners, a psychologist with expertise in autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities, 2 social workers, and a representative from the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and Columbus. A mental health screening tool, review of the medical record, and consultation with clinic providers are used to identify cases where Psychology consultation may be indicated. Interns may be involved in assessing the child’s need for additional resources and services (e.g., neuropsychological evaluation, behavioral health or special education services, school advocacy, etc.), but may also provide brief assessments or interventions. Opportunities to shadow other clinic providers are available. 

Specific Populations

Interns see a wide range of cases over the course of the training year, but a higher volume of certain patient populations including epilepsy, concussion, 22q deletion syndrome, and craniofacial conditions. Interns also often see children and adolescents with a history of TBI, brain tumor, acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), bone marrow transplant, sickle cell disease, encephalitis/meningitis, myelomeningocele, prematurity/low birth weight, and cerebral palsy. 

Individual Supervision

Individual supervision for outpatient neuropsychological assessment cases is provided on a rotation basis. Typically interns work with a “dyad” of 2 supervisors for on a 6 month rotation. Inpatient Rehabilitation cases largely are supervised by Dr. Christine Koterba. Treatment cases with Dr. Kristen Trott are supervised on an individual basis.  

Group Supervision

The Neuropsychology intern, fellows, and faculty participate in 2 different bi-monthly group supervision meetings: Neuropsychological assessment group supervision / case conference and medical clinic consultation supervision. Medical clinic consultation group supervision provides an opportunity to discuss specific cases, as well as practical and professional issues pertaining to working with a interdisciplinary team of providers within a medical clinic setting. Biofeedback and concussion cases are also supervised in a group format with Dr. Cathy Butz and Dr. Kelly McNally.

Research

Depending on dissertation status, the Neuropsychology intern may be able to collaborate on research or quality improvement projects during their training year. Activities consist of collaboration with faculty on ongoing research programs. Opportunities exist to participate in externally funded research and unfunded clinical research projects. The intern will participate in a monthly research meeting with faculty involved in research and neuropsychology trainees. This meeting involves discussion of research proposals, data analyses, manuscript preparation, and other issues related to ongoing departmental research projects. Current research opportunities exist in psychological interventions for children and teens with TBI (concussion and moderate to severe TBI), the impact of neuropsychological screening and consultation in multidisciplinary clinic settings (epilepsy and concussion clinics), social outcomes associated with neurological injury (stroke and TBI), and functional, structural, and diffusion tensor imaging in TBI and stroke. 

Didactics

Didactic experiences in the Neuropsychology track are both formal and informal. The intern will be expected to complete readings in clinical neuropsychology, especially as they pertain to pediatric populations. Readings will be chosen in consultation with clinical supervisors.
 
In addition to internship-wide formal didactic activities, the Neuropsychology intern participates in Neuropsychology and Pediatric Psychology seminars. These seminars are designed to introduce faculty and trainees to current research, clinical, professional development, and ethical topics in Neuropsychology and Pediatric Psychology. Hospital based interns also attend Clinical Services Hour for the first portion of the training year. Medical professionals throughout the hospital are invited to present on the etiology, treatment, and psychosocial impact of a wide range of pediatric health conditions.  
 
The Neuropsychology intern has the option of attending weekly Epilepsy Surgery Conference and bi-monthly Neuroradiology Rounds. Neuroradiology Rounds are led by a neuroradiologist and attended by Neurology physicians, nurse practitioners, and trainees, as well as Neuropsychology faculty and trainees. Clinical aspects and neuroradiology findings of cases are discussed.
 
Many additional educational opportunities exist including Medical Grand Rounds, Tumor Board, Clinical Research Seminars, and the Multicultural Brown Bag Lunch Series.

Professional Development

A large goal of the Neuropsychology Track is to provide support and mentoring to enhance professional development of future neuropsychologists. These activities occur both formally as part of supervision and didactics, but also informally. Neuropsychology trainees and faculty go to lunch together on some Fridays. This provides an opportunity for trainees and faculty to interact in an informal, friendly setting, but discussions may also focus on professional development topics. Neuropsychology trainees also are included in problem solving and discussions about practice issues and quality improvement such as clinical program development, improved access to care, increased efficiency of services, and business practices. 

Hours

The Neuropsychology intern works five days per week. Under faculty supervision, hospital based trainees rotate responsibility for coverage of weekend and evening emergency consultations. Interns may be assigned to cover a major holiday  Hours worked per week vary, but are generally 40-50, depending on case load, special interests, and consultation coverage.
 
Neuropsychology Track
Sample Weekly Schedule
Activity Hours
Neuropsychology Evaluations 7-8
Early Developmental Evaluations 2-4
Outpatient Psychotherapy 4-6
Hospital Clinics 4-5
Inpatient Consultation 1-2
Individual Supervision 4-5
Research Seminar 1
Didactic Seminars 4-5
Report Writing, Clinical Notes, Phone Calls 12
Hours Weekly 40-50

Pediatric Psychology/Neuropsychology Track Faculty

Even though faculty are listed below in categories, it should be noted that faculty may take part in each intern’s training to different degrees, including clinical supervision, mentoring, and/or didactic training.

Pediatric Psychology
Pediatric Neuropsychology
Research
 

Successful Applicants

Many factors are considered when reviewing applications. Intervention with children using behavioral or cognitive-behavioral approaches and neuropsychological evaluation experience with children are required to be considered for the Neuropsychology Track. Candidates with intervention experience with only adolescents and/or adults are not considered for interview. Applicants who have been invited to interview for the Neuropsychology Track typically have the following experiences:
  • Completion of at least 1-2 formal courses in neuropsychology

  • Research experience in neuropsychology

  • Experience working in a medical or hospital setting

  • Neuropsychological evaluation experience with child medical populations

  • Experience with pediatric psychology interventions focusing on coping, adjustment, and adherence in children or adolescents with acute or chronic medical conditions

  • A minimum of 200-300 intervention hours

  • A minimum of 200-300 neuropsychological assessment hours

  • A minimum of 15 child integrated psychological evaluation reports

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000