Clinical Health Psychology Fellowship
At Ascension Genesys Hospital, our Clinical Health Psychology program is embedded in our medical primary care residency programs (Family Medicine and Internal Medicine, OB/GYN). Since 1987, the core of our fellowship program has been to train psychology fellows alongside their medical colleagues. The psychology fellows are able to lend their expertise to and teach the medical resident in the learning of behavioral issues related to disease and health. Likewise, the medical resident has a role in teaching the psychology fellow more about medical diagnoses and treatment so that the psychologist can be a more effective colleague.
We focus on Primary Care applications of clinical health psychology. This area has broad implication for psychologists in medical settings as primary-care physicians identify a large portion of their patients as needing some mental health treatment, but fewer than 10 percent of these patients actually see a mental health professional. In order to meet this demand, we have focused on training primary-care psychologists to offer counseling and behavioral interventions to patients in medical settings. Our arrangement is collaborative and integrated. Our assessment and interventions work to help patients—often on the same day and sometimes without the patients ever leaving the exam room— and to train primary care physicians as to how to work collaboratively.
Our clinical training operates from an Integrated Primary Care (IPC) Model where clinical assessments and interventions are provided with primary care medicine to more fully address the spectrum of problems that patients bring to a primary medical site. This model functions with the psychologists as behavioral health providers (BHP) in the primary care clinic area receiving immediate "hallway handoffs", triaging cases, providing brief (15-20 minutes) behavioral interventions as well as short-term (3-6 sessions) solution-focused and evidence based interventions, and offering quick feedback to providers. The CHP fellows collaborate with the medical team to provide ongoing assessment, flexible treatment services, and regular monitoring of patient progress. Interventions target behavioral issues that affect a specific physical health problem (e.g., motivational interviewing for a patient with medication non-adherence; behavioral activation for patient with diabetes displaying symptoms of depression). These brief and focused interventions serve to complement the complete medical care of the patient, while reducing the burden on the primary care medical team.
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