VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System

VA Internship Director of Training:  Erin Patel, Psy.D., ABPP

VA Internship Assistant Director of Training:  Randy Petersen, Ph.D.

Number of Positions: 6 (5 General Track, 1 Neuropsychology Track)

Salary: $24,014

Term: June 26, 2017 - June 22, 2018

National Matching Service (NMS) Numbers: 156618 (General); 156619 (Neuropsychology)


The VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) Internship in Clinical Psychology consists of two primary campuses, the Nashville Campus, located adjacent to Vanderbilt Medical Center, and the Alvin C. York Campus, located approximately 37 miles from Nashville in Murfreesboro.  In addition to these campuses, the TVHS also includes thirteen Community-Based Outpatient Clinics which provide services closer to Veterans who live at a distance from the main campuses.  Interns may also work at one of the two annex clinics in Nashville which are located only a few miles from the main campus.  Over the last several years, TVHS has hired a significant number of new psychologists and initiated new Mental Health programs, and the training program has been structured to incorporate new faculty interested in training and new training experiences.  These changes included the decision to reserve one position for a Neuropsychology training track, featuring two four-month assessment focused rotations with different supervisors.  This track is described in detail below and is considered a separate program by NMS with its own match number.  The other five positions are labeled as General Track and are considered a single program by NMS.  The training experience for these positions will consist of three four-month rotation periods. Each track is described in detail in the "Training Experiences/Structure" section below.

GRECC:  The Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, a research oriented consortium involving TVHS, Vanderbilt Medical Center and Meharry Medical Center, and supported nationally by the VA, funds two internship positions.  We have chosen not to single out particular intern slots as geropsychology training slots, so all interns participate in the training sponsored by the GRECC and thus acquire some training and experience in geriatrics.  Psychology does not design the GRECC Training Program, and it changes somewhat from year to year.

Travel:  The Campuses are located approximately forty miles apart, and the internship will require travel between campuses during the course of the training year.  Travel time from campus to campus varies from 50 to 60 minutes with the time of day and direction of travel. 

  • It is the objective of the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System training program to prepare interns as generalists with a strong base of experience in assessment, intervention, and consultation.  Although most training in this primary placement takes place in a medical center, the experience is sufficiently broad that it should generalize to a wide range of post-internship settings.  A second important objective is to prepare interns to move with competence and confidence into the role of working professional at the conclusion of the internship.  Interns who successfully complete the program are prepared, by the depth and variety of their internship experience, to function confidently in a variety of work settings including medical centers, academic departments, university counseling centers, and community mental health centers, depending somewhat on their choice of rotations and secondary placement.  A third objective is to assist interns in learning to function as effective participants in the health care delivery system, interacting professionally and with appropriate assertiveness with other disciplines involved in the provision of health care.  It is the intention of the faculty to model behavior reflective of committed, competent, caring, thoughtful, and ethical psychological practitioners and to encourage interns to reflect on their personal characteristics and how these affect their work in therapy and other professional interactions.

  • Unlike the other Consortium sites TVHS has a system of training rotations structured so that interns receive significant depth of experience across a broad range of specialty areas.  The interns' time at the VA will be divided into three, four-month rotations, with approximately three days a week spent in rotation-related activities.  The rotations are grouped into three categories as follows with the campus location indicated by Nashville (N) or Murfreesboro (M). 


    Behavioral Medicine Rotations: 

    Geropsychology/Hospice (M)

    Organ Transplant Psychology (N)

    Pain Management (N & M)

    Primary Mental Health Integration (N & M)


    Mental Health Rotations:

    Inpatient Psychiatry (M)

    Outpatient Psychotherapy (N & M)

    Post Deployment (N & M)



    Neuropsychology Rotations:

    Neuropsychology (N & M)


    **PTSD is not currently offered, but should be available for the 2017-2018 training year.


    Rotations are further classified as Major and Minor training opportunities.  Major Rotations are 24 hrs/week that includes a wide variety of training experiences within the single rotation (i.e. Neuropsychology, Geropsychology).  Minor Rotations are 12/hrs per week of training that is a focused experience (i.e. CPT, Group therapy) and is combined with another TVHS training opportunity to complete a full work week. 

    Training Tracks:  VA TVHS Internship has two tracks: Neuropsychology and General.  Each has a unique NMS match number.  Applicants applying to the Neuropsychology track should have an interest in specializing in Neuropsychology.   Interns in the Neuropsychology track complete one neuropsychology rotation.   For breadth of training, the Neuropsychology Intern will choose the remaining rotations from among the Mental Health and Behavioral Medicine rotations.  The other five VA Internship positions are in the General track.  Interns in the General track may choose to complete a Neuropsychology rotation. 

    Example Training Year: Below are example training experiences for the General and Neuropsychology tracks. In the first example, an Intern in the General track completes major rotations in Post Deployment (rotation #1) and Primary Care Mental Health Integration (rotation #3), and two minor rotations in Geropsychology and Inpatient Psychiatry during their second rotation period. In the second example, an Intern in the Neuropsychology track completes the required major rotation in neuropsychology, the possibility of one major assessment focused rotation, and two minor rotations in Outpatient Psychotherapy and Hospice/Palliative Care.

      Training Year
    Track Rotation 1 Rotation 2 Rotation 3
    General Post Deployment

    Geropsychology and Inpatient Psychiatry

    Primary Care Mental Health Integration

    Neuropsychology Neuropsychology

    Transplant Psychology

    Outpatient Psychotherapy and Geropsychology/Hospice


    Rotation Selection:  There are more potential training rotations within TVHS than there are interns to fill them.  Assignment of specific rotations will be accomplished within the first two weeks of the internship.  Assignments will be based primarily on intern preference, although faculty judgment in relation to interns' training needs, practical issues such as office space availability, and the number of interns interested in specific rotations will also be taken into account.  Rotation assignment will be guided by the following factors/constraints derived from practical limits and faculty judgment.

    Independent Project: In addition to their rotation-based training activities interns are asked to complete an individual project (IP) during the course of the year under the supervision of a VA faculty member. The project subject matter is flexible and may be Clinical (i.e. development of a new intervention or treatment group), Administrative (i.e. program evaluations), Research (i.e. treatment outcomes), or another appropriate task. Regardless of whether an intern chooses to complete a project during the training year, all interns will be asked to participate in a research day at the end of the training year where they give a short oral presentation on a scholarly work they have engaged in.  Interns not participating in a project will spend an extra half-day on their primary rotation each week.

  • There is great potential for research within the TVHS and intern involvement in research is possible.  In particular VA interns will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) projects involving the examination of long-term cognitive outcomes of in critical illness.  Other research opportunities are described briefly under the appropriate rotation description.  The primary focus of the internship, however, remains the acquisition of clinical experience, and significant involvement in research is optional and will require initiative and a commitment of additional time on the part of the intern.

  • The training experience within TVHS is diverse and covers many of the various kinds of experiences interns are expected to receive; therefore, relatively few constraints are placed on interns’ secondary placement choices other than the requirement that interns select a placement outside of either VA facility.  Faculty judgment of intern training needs will still take precedence in some cases, and choices are always constrained by the interaction of the availability of training experiences and supervision and the preferences expressed by other members of the intern class.

  • American citizenship and an APA accredited graduate program are nationwide requirements for VA internship positions.  Please Note: The requirements noted here are necessary for all VA Internships nationwide.  Before being accepted for employment in the VA system all potential employees including interns must pass a pre-employment physical examination and a background check. These will be performed after match day, but before the beginning of the internship.  Below is the text from a national VA internship website regarding citizenship, drug screening, and for males, selective service registration.

    A CERTIFICATION OF REGISTRATION STATUS, CERTIFICATION OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP, and DRUG SCREENING are required to become a VA intern or VA postdoctoral fellow. The Federal Government requires that male applicants to VA positions who were born after 12/31/59 must sign a Pre-appointment Certification Statement for Selective Service Registration before they are employed. All interns will have to complete a Certification of Citizenship in the United States prior to beginning the internship. VA will not consider applications from anyone who is not currently a U.S. citizen. VA conducts drug screening exams on randomly selected personnel as well as new employees. Interns and Fellows are not required to be tested prior to beginning work, but once on staff they are subject to random selection as are other staff. Interns and Fellows are also subject to fingerprinting and background checks. Match result and selection decisions are contingent on passing these screens.

  • Erlete Ascencao, Ph.D.; Emory University, Social Psychology Ph.D. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Clinical Psychology, Ph.D.  Interests: Behavioral Medicine, Body-Mind Connection, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. 

    Eric Aureille, Ph.D.Interests:  PTSD

    Erica Barnes, Psy.D.; Indiana University.  Interests: Adjustment and Relationship Issues, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma, Problem Solving Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy. 

    Ashley Barroquillo, Psy.D.:  Xavier University. Interests: Health Psychology, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma.

    Jennifer Beeghly, Psy.D.; Georgia School of Professional Psychology.  Interests: Trauma, Evidence-based Psychotherapies, Hypnosis, ACT, DBT, Couples Therapy. 

    Deborah Bonitz, Ph.D.; Ball State University, Counseling Psychology, Ph.D. Interests: Health Psychology, Integration of Psychology and Primary Care Medicine, Health-Promotion and Disease-Prevention Initiatives in VA, Adjustment to Illness and Disease, Motivational Interviewing (to improve patient self-management), CBT.

    Allison Bradshaw, Ph.D.; Indiana State University, Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Interests: PTSD and Treatment of Other Anxiety Disorders, Psychological Assessment, Personality Disorders. 

    Melissa V. Broome, Ph.D.; University of Missouri-St. Louis.  Interests: Substance Use Disorders, Trauma, Dual Diagnosis, Health/Rehabilitation Psychology, Clinical Training, Intra-Professional Collaboration. 

    Lucille Carriere, Ph.D.; Auburn University.  Interests:  Health Psychology, Management of Chronic Illnesses, Multiple Sclerosis, Primary Care.

    Elizabeth Corsentino, Ph.D.; Florida State University.  Interests:  Geropsychology, Cognitive Assessment, Geriatric Depression.

    Maria Cottingham, Ph.D.:  Fuller Graduate School of Psychology.  Interests:  Neuropsychology.

    Mary Beth Covert, Psy.D., ABPP;  Regent University.  Interests: Positive Psychology, Integration of Psychology and Spirituality, Forgiveness of Self and Others, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Women’s Issues.

    Jennifer Devan, Ph.D.; Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.  Interests: Health-Promotion and Disease-Prevention, Health Psychology, Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Shared Medical Appointments, Health Coaching, Patient Chronic Disease Self-Management, Health Behavior Change Issues such as Tobacco Cessation and Weight Managment.

    Elizabeth Fenimore, Ph.D.; Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. Interests: Posttraumatic Stress, Neuropsychology, Rehabilitation, Geropsychology. 

    Cara Freudenberg, Psy.D.; Georgia School of Professional Psychology. Interests: LGBT-Related Concerns; Eating Disorders; Relationship Issues; Individual, Couples, and Group Psychotherapy. 

    Sharon M. Gordon, Psy.D.; Antioch/New England Graduate School.  Chief of Psychology Section.  Interests:  Neuropsychology, Geropsychology, Behavioral  Medicine.

    Natalie Heidelberg, Ph.D.; Auburn University. Interests: Health Psychology, Geropsychology

    Jennifer Kasey, Psy.D.; James Madison University. Interests: Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Multicultural Issues, Supervision/Training, Relationship Issues, Depression, PTSD

    Eun Ha Kim, Ph.D.; University of Mississippi. Interests: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Anxiety Disorders, Depression, and Eating Disorders, Health Psychology and Holistic Treatment of Medical and Mental Health Disorders, Yoga as a Complimentary and Alternative Treatment for Mental Health Disorders. 

    Lisa Lorenzen, Ph.D.; Tennessee State University. Interests: Group, Couples, and Individual Psychotherapy, Psychological Training and Supervision, Treatment of Trauma, Anxiety and Depression. 

    Kimberly C. Marshman, Ph.D.; Florida State University. Interests: Neuropsychological Assessment and Consultation, Behavioral Medicine, Geropsychology, Clinical Research.

    Joseph Minifie, Psy.D.; Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.  Interests:  Transitional Issues, Interpersonal and Family Relationships, Anxiety/Depression/Trauma/Substance Abuse, Multicultural Diversity, Chronic Pain, Group Therapy

    Michele M. Panucci, Ph.D.; University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Interests:  Psychotherapy, Treatment of Female Veterans, Personality Assessment, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Attachment, Health Psychology Issues, e.g. weight management and smoking cessation.

    Erin L. Patel, Psy.D., ABPP; Nova Southeastern University.  Interests:  Geropsychology, Behavioral Medicine, Interprofessional Collaboration.

    Randolph S. Petersen, Ph.D.; Nova Southeastern University.  Interests: Neuropsychological Assessment, Psychological Assessment, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Rehabilitation, and Co-morbidity in TBI. 

    Whitney Pierce, Psy.D., RN, BCB; Wright State University.  Interests: Pain Psychology, Biofeedback, Hypnosis, Whole Health Approaches, Recovery Orientated Services, Interdisciplinary Collaboration.

    Arthur Preston, Psy.D.; Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Interests: Psychological Assessment, Acute Inpatient, Sexual Dysfunction. 

    Kristin Reed, Ph.D.; University of North Texas. Interests: Trauma, Health Psychology, Hypnosis, Mindfulness. 

    Chelsea Rothschild, Ph.D.; University of Louisville. Interests: Health Psychology, Chronic Disease Management, Trauma, Aging, Problem Solving Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. 

    Jonathan Rudiger, Psy.D.; Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psycholgy.  Interests: Psychodynamic Therapy, Depression/Anxiety, Relationship Issues, Couples Therapy, Axis II Disorders. 

    Saundra A. Saporiti, Psy.D.; Nova Southeastern University. Interests: Psychological Aspects of Organ Transplantation, Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology, Trauma.

    Lori Simms, Ph.D.; University of North Texas. Interests:  Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Treatment of Co-occurring Disorders, Evidenced-Based Psychotherapies, Personality Assessment. 

    Rhonda Venable, Ph.D.; Georgia State University.  Interests:  PTSD, Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, Health Psychology, Behavioral Medicine, Training and Supervision.

    Nicole Webb, Ph.D.; University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Interests:  Behavioral Medicine,  Primary Care- Mental Health Integration.

    Erica White, Ph.D.;  University of Michigan.  Interests:  Psychotherapy.