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Pediatric Autism Fellowship

Pediatric Behavioral Health/Pediatric Autism

The Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health in the Pediatric Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism offers a one-year Postdoctoral Pediatric Psychology Fellowship in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The purpose of the fellowship is to offer advanced training in the diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and patient-centered research directed toward youth with pervasive developmental disorders to an accomplished psychologist-in-training with a PhD or PsyD. from an APA-accredited psychology doctoral program. Our goal is to prepare the fellow to function independently as a psychologist in an academic medical center or outpatient pediatric setting.

Overview of the Fellowship

Clinical Service

Postdoctoral training within the Pediatric Institute includes clinical, teaching, and research opportunities designed to foster the professional development of the fellow. The fellow will spend approximately 45% of their engaged in the evaluation, assessment, and treatment of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. This would involve participating in Baby Day Evaluations (multidisciplinary early developmental assessments), individualized assessments/evaluation, and participation in group therapy programs for children, adolescents, and families. Throughout the year, fellows will also engage in more minor rotations (approx.10% time), including providing ongoing outpatient therapy services to patients and families, working within the Lerner School for Autism, and providing outreach services through the Autism program. Since we offer a single fellowship position, we have traditionally been able to tailor the fellowship experience to accommodate the individual training needs and interests of the fellow.

Teaching Opportunities

The fellow is involved in the training of pediatric residents who rotate through a month-long block rotation in Behavior and Development. Each month, the fellow provides 2-4 resident lectures on topics related to child development, behavioral pediatric practice, and psychological evaluation and treatment of children. In addition, residents observe 1 – 2 initial evaluations conducted by the fellow, and the fellow reviews and discusses those cases with the residents. Additionally, umbrella supervision of psychology assistants may be available.

Research Activities

The fellow is expected to engage in research activities, and a portion of the weekly schedule is designated for these pursuits. Center staff are involved in numerous research projects and typically work with the fellow to identify an area of interest or a potential research project. Twenty-five percent of the fellow’s time will be funded through a combination of NIMH funding of the ongoing Genetic, Biochemical, Behavioral, and Neuroimaging Phenotypes of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) study. Fellows will have an active role in this study. They may also develop an independent project or join in the ongoing research of a staff member. It is also possible to develop a circumscribed project conducted independently (as opposed to being part of an ongoing study), but using data already collected in the database of the Center. Over the past several years, fellows have initiated independent projects and presented their work in progress at regional and national meetings, and co-authored book chapters and review articles. Fellows will be required to engage in scholarly activity as part of the fellowship (i.e., one poster/oral presentation at the International Meeting for Autism Research and submission for peer-review).

Training Activities

Additional training activities include weekly Pediatric and Psychiatry Grand Rounds presentations and monthly Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds talks. The fellow is welcome to attend any presentations of interest or relevance to their training. Fellows have also enrolled in Professional Development courses offered by the Division of Education. Although there are initial orientation meetings with Center staff, the majority of fellow “teaching” occurs in supervision meetings and other Center activities (e.g., monthly case conference, individual monthly didactics). Fellows typically have 4 – 5 hours of individual supervision a week.

Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health

The mission of the Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health is to provide clinical care to patients and families using empirically-supported diagnostic and treatment techniques, implemented with caring and respect. We provide a range of specialized psychological evaluation and treatment services to individuals from infancy through young adulthood, coordinating care with other specialists and professionals to best meet the needs of each child and family.

Staff in Behavioral Health include pediatric psychologists, fellows, assistants, and research, administrative, and support personnel. Professional staff are involved in clinical teaching, research, and professional associations and are recognized regionally and nationally as experts in their subspecialty fields.

In addition to the areas previously identified, staff psychologists have special expertise in psychological treatment of eating and feeding disorders, developmental disabilities, chronic and acute pain, coping with illness and disease, behavioral treatment of physical health problems, attentional and learning difficulties, and physical symptoms associated with stress. Diagnostic evaluations are available for children with attentional, learning, developmental, behavioral, or emotional problems, with psychological and psychoeducational testing conducted when appropriate.

Unique to many psychology services in medical settings, the Center is administratively housed within the Pediatric Institute. Our offices are located across the region, on the main hospital campus, the  Rehabilitation Hospital Campus, and at the Regional Family Health Centers. Our staff work closely with the general pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists of the Division, and the fellow typically gains a great deal of experience working closely and collaboratively with these physicians.

Application Process

All requirements for the doctoral degree, including internship and successful dissertation defense, must be completed prior to the start of the fellowship on September 1. Applicants must have a PhD or PsyD from an APA-accredited psychology doctoral program. To apply, submit a letter of interest, curriculum vita, and three letters of reference to: Kate Eshleman, PsyD, Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health (S20), Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195 by January 24, 2013. On-site interviews will occur the first week of March. Email inquiries can be directed to: eshlemk@ccf.org. Visit Cleveland Clinic for more information.