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Durham VA Medical Center MHSL Psychology Section (116B) - page 2 / 14





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Training Model and Program Philosophy

Our program follows the scientist-practitioner philosophy of training. We provide training in and encourage use of evidence-based psychological practice.  Competencies in professional practice are developed through graduated experiential learning, supervision, didactic training and mentorship.  Delivery of patient care is balanced with the post-doctoral educational mission, and fellows play an important role in selecting their own training opportunities and developing training plans to meet their specific needs.

Program Goals & Objectives

The primary goal of the program is to train fellows for advanced-level practice and leadership roles in professional psychology through comprehensive, interdisciplinary, specialist research and clinical training. It is expected that fellows will become licensed and prepared to assume roles as mental health leaders in academic psychology and the VA healthcare system.

The program is broad and offers a variety of research, educational, and clinical experiences with the flexibility to insure that the interests and training needs of fellows are met. Training has sufficient breadth to ensure advanced competence in professional psychology and sufficient depth to ensure that fellows will graduate with professional and technical expertise in their chosen specialty research and practice area. The program requires all fellows to demonstrate an advanced level of professional competency, skill, and proficiency in the following seven content areas:

1. Evidence-based mental health practice. Depending on the track, fellows spend up to 75% of their time in clinical training in their specialty area, which will serve to enhance their clinical skills, inform their research activities, and facilitate the translation of research to practice. Fellows will demonstrate knowledge and skill in evidence-based practice and demonstrate an advanced- practice level of skill in the ability to develop individually tailored treatment plans, utilize healthcare informatics, demonstrate effective working relationships with veteran patients, conduct reliable and valid clinical assessments, implement effective interventions, effectively utilize advanced medical technology including telemedicine, and understand the influence of cultural and individual diversity in mental health treatment.

2. Research and research methodology. Depending on their track, fellows spend up to 25% (PSR track, PTSD-OEF/OIF/OND & PTSD-WVCHC tracks) or 75% (MIRT track) of their time on research, provision of psychological services in a research context, and related educational activities. Given the broad range of psychology research and MIRECC-affiliated research opportunities and resources at the DVAMC, Psychology Fellows are able to identify a research emphasis and mentor within their specialty area. The identified primary research mentor, selected from senior faculty, oversee the research component of training, with guidance and oversight provided by each Fellow’s Mentoring Committee. Formal didactic training on research, research design, execution, statistical analysis, and dissemination is an important aspect of the program.

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