Supervisor(s): Angela L. Jefferson, PhD, HSP & Katherine A. Gifford, PsyD, HSP
Location: Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer’s Center at 2525 West End Avenue and Clinical Research Center at Medical Center North
Clinical or Research Rotation: Clinical experience is in the context of visits for a longitudinal cognitive aging study of adults age 60 and older
Number of Positions Available: 1
Anticipated Number of Face-to-Face Clinical Hours per Week: 3
Overview & Setting: The clinical experience is based within the Memory & Aging Project at the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer’s Center, a research study longitudinally following older adults with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia. Training is provided in the context of a clinical research infrastructure with assessment and diagnostic procedures identical to an outpatient memory clinic. Interns will gain experience in clinical interviewing, interpretation of a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment, and case conceptualization focused on brain-behavior relationships. Each week, the intern participates in clinical research assessments for suspected of memory loss under the supervision of two licensed psychologists. The trainee orally presents case summaries in a multi-disciplinary conference (i.e., two neuropsychologists, a neurologist, and a nurse). Once a month, the intern co-facilitates a support group with patients with early stage Alzheimer’s disease or their care partners. Finally, the intern participates in brief feedback sessions with older adults regarding test results and recommendations (when applicable).
Therapeutic Orientation: Because the experience is based in a clinical research environment, assessments emphasize structured protocols in which the intern completes a social, development, and medical history in addition to evaluating all essential cognitive domains as part of the memory loss workup. Monthly group work is conducted in a support and psychoeducation framework.
Expected Duties: The intern is expected to complete 1 to 2 cases every Thursday. Each case includes a 90-minute clinical diagnostic interview with the identified patient and their loved one, completing visit paperwork, and participating in an interdisciplinary consensus meeting for diagnostic determination. The intern is expected to co-lead brief feedback sessions with Dr. Gifford. One Thursday evening each month, the intern is also expected to facilitate a one-hour support group, including preparing and delivering educational material to group members.
Time Commitment: Rotation is held on Thursdays, 8:30am-5:00pm. Once a month, group work is held 5:30pm-6:30pm on Thursdays.
Competency Goals: By the end of rotation, the intern is expected to demonstrate proficiency in conducting semi-structured clinical interviews for assessing and diagnosing mild cognitive impairment and dementia among older adults. The intern is expected to develop case formulation and diagnostic skills, including expertise in the interpretation of clinical neuropsychological tools. The intern is expected to increase his/her competency in clearly communicating results to older adults and their loved ones and clearly communicating clinical impressions to other interdisciplinary professionals, including neurology, neuroimaging, geriatrics, and nursing. The intern will gain skills in the conduct of supportive group therapy, including the delivery of educational content.
Prerequisites: Prior graduate level coursework and practicum experience in psychological or neuropsychological assessments
Contact Information: For more information or to inquire about the training experience, please contact Dr. Angela Jefferson at firstname.lastname@example.org.