Rotations & Faculty

Med/Health Faculty
Top row L to R: Glenn Ashkanazi, Ph.D.; Deidre Pereira, PhD., ABPP; Robert Guenther, Ph.D., ABPP
Bottom row L to R: Lisa King, Ph.D., ABPP; Jessica Payne-Murphy, Ph.D., ABPP; Lori Waxenberg, PhD., ABPP; Patricia Durning, Ph.D. Not pictured: Allison Holgerson, Ph.D., ABPP; Olivia Suddarth, Psy.D.

Clinical Health Psychology

Interns in the Clinical Health Psychology area practice in a consult liaison model.  This means that rather than doing an in depth rotation for an entire quarter, interns are able to work with all populations and supervisors throughout the year.  For example on a Tuesday morning, an intern might conduct inpatient consults for the Liver team in the hospital and assess a pain patient in the afternoon.  Or on a Thursday, an intern might evaluate a heart transplant patient in the morning and an oncology patient in the afternoon.  Interns partner with the faculty to create the schedule each day; this allows for more flexibility in creating your own training program and having the experiences you want throughout the year.

Assessment of Solid Organ Transplantation – Lung, Heart/LVD, Kidney

Supervisor:  Glenn Ashkanazi, Ph.D.

The Internship experience in Transplant provides interns with opportunities to conduct semi-structured interviews with adults with a wide variety of disorders that require transplantation of solid organs (heart, lung, liver, kidney-pancreas) for survival or improvement in the quality of life. Assessment can be conducted on either inpatients or outpatients. Patients are routinely evaluated pre-transplant for a variety of psycho-social issues including the presence of psychopathology, adherence/compliance issues, substance abuse, coping skills, support system adequacy, Quality of Life, risk-benefit analysis, etc. The assessment of these patients also includes some Psychological testing using a variety of instruments including, but not limited to, the Million Behavioral Medicine Diagnostic, the SF-36, Beck Depression Inventory, etc.

Assessment of Solid Organ Transplantation – Liver

Supervisor: Olivia Suddarth, Psy.D.

This rotation offers a wide range of opportunities to provide psychological services within the inpatient medical and outpatient settings to individuals as they navigate liver transplantation. Trainees will conduct pre-surgical evaluations to assess psychosocial factors that could diminish post-transplant quality of life, as well as evaluate for risk of post-operative nonadherence, psychological decompensation, and alcohol/illicit substance relapse. In addition, experiences include responding to consults from physicians throughout the hospital system and delivering short- and long-term psychotherapy. Referral questions include evaluating delirium/encephalopathy, improving treatment nonadherence, providing brief interventions for anxiety and depression, conducting risk assessments, and addressing end-of-life issues. If interested, there are additional opportunities to present at weekly Medical Review Board meetings, attend grand rounds, participate in quality improvement projects, facilitate psychoeducational/support groups, conduct research, and aid in program development.

Assessment of Chronic Pain/GI/Chronic Illness

Supervisor:  Lori B. Waxenberg, Ph.D., ABPP

Interns have the opportunity to work with patients who have a variety of pain conditions including back pain, limb pain, facial pain, fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, lupus, etc…  Interns are also able to conduct pre-surgical evaluations for candidates for a spinal cord stimulator.  Assessments are outpatient and conducted in the Psychology clinic.  Interns conduct semi-structured interviews to evaluate pain/illness history and experience, the interaction of pain and mood, substance abuse and psychosocial history.  Psychological testing involves the administration of several paper and pencil measures such as the McGill Pain Questionnaire, the Coping Strategies Questionnaire revised, the Pain Anxiety Symptom Scale, the Pain Disability Inventory and the SF-36.  Patients are often referred for treatment and interns have the opportunity to continue working with a particular patient they assess in order to provide evidence-based CBT and/or ACT interventions in therapy.

Bariatric Pre-Surgical Assessment

Supervisor:  Allison Holgerson, Ph.D., ABPP

Interns on the Bariatric Surgery rotation will participate in pre-surgical evaluations of adolescents and adults seeking surgical weight loss. All patients are referred from the UF Health Weight Loss Surgery Center. Patients are also occasionally referred from the regional bariatric program. Psychological evaluations are conducted outpatient and are part of a more comprehensive assessment process involving the bariatric surgeons, cardiology, endocrinology, neurology/sleep medicine, and nutrition. Psychological evaluations involve medical chart review, a semi-structured interview, and self-report measures of mood, disordered eating behaviors, and cognitive and behavioral factors associated with weight management. As part of the evaluation process interns will also participate in brief and focused problem-solving of goals for behavioral modification of health behaviors. Psychosocial results and recommendations are integrated into a report that is shared with the bariatric surgical team and used to inform the team’s decision to proceed with surgery. Patients seeking surgical weight loss commonly present with substantial comorbid medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid disorder, GERD, cardiovascular disease), maladaptive health behaviors (binge eating, substance use, medical non-adherence), and may also present with significant psychological concerns (e.g., depression, anxiety, poor coping). Therefore, in addition to psychosocial evaluations, interns will also have the opportunity to pick-up cases for therapy with patients who present with potential contraindications for surgical weight-loss. Interns also have the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team and most commonly work in collaboration with the team’s registered dietitian.

Behavioral Sleep Medicine

Supervisor:  Jessica Payne-Murphy, Ph.D., ABPP

A rotation experience in the Insomnia & Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic provides interns with opportunities to conduct diagnostic interviews and deliver short-term interventions to adult outpatients with a wide variety of sleep disorders (e.g., insomnia, sleep apnea, delayed sleep phase syndrome, shift work, hypnotic dependence). Interns will also become familiar with a variety of behavioral sleep interventions (sleep hygiene, stimulus control & sleep restriction).  The clinic receives referrals from UF’s accredited Sleep Disorder Center (SDC) as well as regional psychiatrists, neurologists, and internal medicine physicians.

Psycho-Oncology Assessment

Supervisor:  Deidre B. Pereira, Ph.D., ABPP

Interns on this rotation conduct psychological evaluations on oncology outpatients and inpatients referred for a wide variety of adjustment, anxiety, behavioral, and mood concerns. Evaluations are typically comprised of a 60 minute diagnostic interview with the patient (and family/caregivers, as appropriate) and brief self-report psychological testing. Patients are predominantly referred by UF Health providers for the assessment and treatment of a wide range of psychopathology, including adjustment disorders, anxiety, delirium, depression, end-of-life issues, personality disorders, serious premorbid psychopathology, suicidality, and treatment nonadherence. Common referral sources include the Breast Center, ENT (Division of Head and Neck Surgery), Gastrointestinal Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, Hematology/Oncology (Medical Oncology), Internal Medicine, Neurosurgery (Neuro-Oncology), Radiation Oncology, Psychiatry, Patient and Family Services, and Surgical Oncology. In addition, interns perform routine psychological evaluations on the following: (a) patients with hematologic malignancies being evaluated for hematopoietic stem cell transplant (in conjunction with the Transplant Service), (b) patients being evaluated by the Breast Center for contralateral/bilateral prophylactic mastectomy for the reduction of breast cancer risk, and (c) patients presenting for care within the UF Health Cancer Center’s Multidisciplinary Gastrointestinal Oncology Clinic.

Women’s Health and Infertility Assessment

Supervisor: Patricia E. Durning, Ph.D.

Interns have the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Durning in an outpatient Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility clinic.   Unfortunately, this experience is not available as a full rotation, but interns are able to spend a day or two across the year with Dr. Durning.  As a member of the infertility group, Dr. Durning sees all couples or individuals preparing for in vitro fertilization (IVF) as well as all individuals involved in third party reproduction (i.e., oocyte donor candidates, recipients of donor sperm or oocytes, and gestational host surrogacy candidates and commissioning couples) for psychological consultation that includes a brief psychosocial interview and psychoeducation.  Interns will also have the opportunity to see patients referred through Obstetrics and Gynecology for psychological assessment and treatment for a range of difficulties, including prenatal anxiety, post-partum depression, and more general psychological difficulties.

Sample med-health intern schedule

*Interns maintain an ongoing caseload of adult and child treatment cases that are obtained through the Psychology Clinic outpatient and inpatient services.  Interns are encouraged to carry a diverse caseload in terms of demographics, presenting problems and clinical supervisors.  Interns typically carry a caseload of 5-7 patients at a time, aiming for 4 contacts per week.