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Emphasis Areas Descriptions 

Adult Positions  
There are 7 areas of emphasis areas in the Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Residency, primarily located in the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Health Care System. The program has an additional Psycho-Oncology position located at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center that is primarily adult focused but also provides clinical training experiences with children. 

Chronic Mental Illness 

The primary training site for one-year residency with an emphasis in Chronic Mental Illness (CMI) is the Oklahoma City VA HCS. The purpose of the program is to train residents in all aspects of providing treatment and rehabilitation to the chronically mentally ill, with specific focus on developing administrative and leadership skills relevant to complex multidisciplinary settings. Residents receive training on the inpatient psychiatric unit, the Substance Treatment and Recovery (STAR) clinic, and the Veterans Recovery Center (VRC). Depending on the interest and aptitude of the resident, training possibilities would also exist in other programs such as the Ambulatory Mental Health Clinic, Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM), Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program, and the PTSD program. Residents receive extensive didactic training in conjunction with the other residents at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and complete a required research/scholarly project. The expectation of the program is that by the end of their training Residents would be able to step into any health care system and provide assessment, treatment, program development, training to staff, administrative leadership, and research related to chronic mental illness. Please contact Dr. Slish for specific information regarding training experiences.

Meredith Slish, Ph.D,
E-mail: ​ Meredith.Slish@va.gov
Phone: 405-456-1000


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

The purpose of the PTSD Emphasis Area is to prepare Residents to provide effective trauma-focused treatment to Veterans of all eras. Training focuses on Veterans who​ have experienced military-related trauma, which includes combat trauma, military sexual trauma (MST), and exposure to other traumatic events as a part of one's military service. There is also an emphasis placed on addressing the needs of Veterans following deployment. Residents gain experience working with Veterans who present with diverse range of symptom presentation and severity.

Training is provided primarily in the Trauma and Deployment Recovery Services Clinic (TDRS), a specialty outpatient clinic at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Health Care System.  The Resident serves as an integral part of the clinic's interdisciplinary team, which includes 4 full-time and 1 part-time psychologists, four social workers, three psychiatrists, and a physician's assistant. The team works closely with the Transition Case Management Office, who provide case management services to OEF/OIF/OND veterans.

There are a variety of training opportunities available throughout the year. Residents are involved in clinical assessment, evidence-based individual, and group psychotherapy (such as Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure), and the measurement of treatment outcome. Alongside these key areas, residents also take part in a variety of other services including psychoeducational groups (such as Sleep and Nightmare Management or Stress Management through Mindfulness), psychotherapy groups (such as ACT, STAIR, DBT, and CBT for Chronic Pain), and community outreach (educational or awareness events, Post-Deployment Health Risk Assessments). Further customization of training year can be accomplished through the completion of a minor rotation in another clinic with an emphasis on trauma recovery, which is determined by the resident's professional interests. The TDRS clinic also serves as a rotation for pre-doctoral psychology interns and graduate practicum students. Residents have the opportunity to act as the intermediate supervisor to trainees on rotation in the clinic. Please contact Dr. Turner for specific information regarding training experiences.  

​Jerri Turner, Ph.D.
E-mail: Jerri.Turner@va.gov
Phone: 405-456-4191



Family Mental Health Program 
The Family Mental Health Program resides within the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System as a part of the general Mental Health Clinic (MHC). The Family Mental Health Program has a 30+ year history of developing, evaluating, and providing a range of family services at the Oklahoma City VA HCS. As such, the resident who is selected for this one-year training program will have a rich array of experiences from which to form a solid training plan while providing evidence-based and empirically supported couples and family services. This program provides a range of family services including family education and support (CARES), couples/family therapy, family consultation, and couples psycho-education (16-week TALK class). Additional family experiences may be gained through minor rotations in other programs including but not limited to the Palliative Care Unit/Community Living Center, Substance Treatment and Recovery program, and Child Studies Center (OUHSC).  The resident will have opportunities to clinically supervise psychology trainees rotating through the MHC. Please contact Dr. Thrash for additional specific information regarding training experiences.

​Lee Thrash, Ph.D.
E-mail:  ​​Lee.Thrash@va.gov
Phone: 405-456-5​183

 
 
Geropsychology 

This Geropsychology Residency training emphasizes the Pikes Peak Model for Training in Geropsychology. The aims of the one year residency are to: 1.) Develop clinical competencies in clinical geropsychology. 2.) Develop specific competencies in telemental health technologies and working with older patients in rural settings. 3.) Develop overall competence in assessing and treating psychological, familial, and social strengths and liabilities in older adults and their families. These skills will be learned within the following interdisciplinary care team settings: Community Living Center, Palliative Care, Home Based Primary Care, CCHT/HBPC/telemental health integration, and Patient Aligned Care Teams. The Geropsychology emphasis area provides residents with an emotionally supportive learning environment in which to develop an advanced understanding of the multiple issues affecting older adults with complex medical and mental problems. We also strive to teach the necessary clinical and administrative leadership skills to provide appropriate services to older adults within an interdisciplinary setting. Residents will receive competency-based supervision, didactic training, and complete a required research project. Please contact Dr. Sorocco for additional specific information regarding training experiences.

Kristen Sorocco, Ph.D.
E-mail: Kristen-Sorocco@ouhsc.edu
Phone: 405-456-1454



Health Psychology 
This position emphasizes advanced training in consulting and collaborating in acute and outpatient medical settings. The resident assists providers with the diagnosis of behavioral disorders and symptoms that can affect health status, adaptation to illness, and compliance with treatment regimens. The clinical programs in which the Resident works include Pain Management Program, Organ Transplant Program, GI-Liver Clinic and the Smoking Cessation Program. Opportunities are also available in oncology, cardiology and pulmonology. The resident will be trained in identifying patients’ readiness for active intervention and assist patients with life-style changes, as well as developing interventions to facilitate commitment and motivation of those patients who are contemplating life-style changes. The resident will have opportunities to act as the clinical supervisor to psychology trainees rotating in Health Psychology. The resident is expected to work collaboratively or independently on research relating to the integration of psychology and health care. Various didactic and clinical opportunities are available. The primary training site is the Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Please contact Dr. Tassey for specific information regarding training experiences.

John Tassey, Ph.D.
E-mail: john.tassey@va.gov
Phone: 405-456-3220


Primary Care Mental Health Integration 
This emphasis area provides training in assessment, treatment, and consultation appropriate to an Integrated Care Model. Located on site in the VA Ambulatory Care Clinics, Residents are part of multidisciplinary (PACT) teams who collaborate to provide a continuum of preventive and restorative patient centered care to patients presenting in primary care.  Residents will learn to operate in a same day access model conducting functional assessments (including suicidal risk assessments), brief evidence-based interventions and short-term therapy, and triaging to specialty mental health services when appropriate.  Consultation with members of multidisciplinary teams is daily.  In addition, Residents will have the opportunity to participate in groups for depression management, anxiety management, insomnia and pain management and work closely with the Diabetes Educational Program. Residents may select to do an elective (4 hours per week) in an OUHSC behavioral health program as part of this residency if desired. Please contact Dr. Fischer for more specific information regarding training experiences.


Pam Fischer, Ph.D.
email: Pamela.Fischer@va.gov
405-456-4106
   

Psycho-Oncology
The  Psycho-Oncology emphasis area provides advanced knowledge and skills necessary to work within academic and hospital-based cancer treatment settings. Residents will receive supervised clinical experiences in primarily an adult oncology clinic but will also have a training experience in a  pediatric oncology clinic.  Fifty percent effort will be spent at the NCI-designated Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC) on the OUHSC campus, providing primarily outpatient services to adults receiving treatment for various forms of cancer.  Residents will spend an additional 30% of their clinical time at the Jimmy Everest Center for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center where they will work with families, children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer and blood disorders.  Additionally, residents will receive extensive didactic training, participate in professional development activities, work as part of multidisciplinary teams, and conduct research with individuals with cancer and/or blood disorders and their families.  Across both adult and pediatric sites, residents will receive training in distress screening, inpatient interventions during stem cell transplant, clinical interviewing, brief assessment, clinical consultation, and psychotherapy skills, including end of life care.  Opportunities for observation of neuropsychological evaluations and feedback are also available.  Please contact Dr. Rachel Funk-Lawler, Psychologist at Stephenson Cancer Center for more information regarding training experiences.     

Rachel Funk-Lawler, Ph.D                                                                                      
email: Rachel-funklawler@ouhsc.edu
405-271-8001,ext 48654