The Cleveland Clinic's postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology is under the aegis of the Section of Neuropsychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology. It is designed for individuals who have completed a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, and have a strong academic and clinical training background in the fundamentals of neuroscience and neuropsychological assessment.
Cleveland Clinic's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Neuropsychology is a founding member of the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN; www.appcn.org). The program operates in accordance to the INS-Division 40 guidelines (The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 1987, 1, 29-34) and the goals espoused by the Houston conference (Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 1998, 2, 203-240). Our postdoctoral positions are designed to provide fellows with didactics and experiences necessary for developing professional-level clinical interpretative and consultation skills while under the supervision of experienced neuropsychologists. In addition, specific training opportunities include active involvement in clinical research and education within the context of a nationally known tertiary medical center.
Our fellowship begins on or about Sept. 1. The two-year experience will be divided into time periods that allow for general clinical neuropsychological training with particular age groups (children/adolescents and/or younger and older adults) with the opportunity for specialization with a particular population such as epilepsy patients, research, teaching, and participation in didactics. During the first weeks of each rotation, training concentrates on skill building and refinement in the areas of test administration, test interpretation, and report writing. For the first 12 months, two four-month rotations will be completed with the fellow’s primary age group (e.g., adult or pediatric neuropsychology) and one four-month rotation with the other age group. A fellow with “lifespan” interests will alternate between adult and child rotations for the first 16 months. The last 8 to 12 months consist of rotations tailored as much as possible to meet the fellow’s specific interests and training needs; the ultimate goal is preparation for the initial professional position.
First “year” (12 to 16 months):
- Child Focus: Pediatric rotation, adult rotation, pediatric rotation (four months each)
- Adult Focus: Adult rotation, pediatric rotation, adult rotation (four months each)
- Lifespan: Adult rotation, pediatric rotation, adult rotation, pediatric rotation (four months each)
Second “year” (8 to 12 months):
Advanced Specialization and Special Projects
Examples: A fellow with interests in adult neuropsychology, particularly dementia, had rotations in general adult neuropsychology and movement disorders including deep brain stimulation. The clinical demands were adjusted to accommodate a year-long experience evaluating patients for dementia syndromes at the Center for Brain Health.
A fellow with interests in pediatric neuropsychology completed rotations in pediatric neuropsychology emphasizing epilepsy and oncology populations and rehabilitation neuropsychology. The clinical demands were adjusted to accommodate year-long experiences evaluating adult patients in the Burkhardt Brain Tumor Center and providing group therapy for children with epilepsy and, separately, their parents with supervision by a pediatric health psychologist.
A fellow with interests in adult neuropsychology, particularly epilepsy, had rotations in adult epilepsy, general adult neuropsychology, and movement disorders including deep brain stimulation. The clinical demands were adjusted to accommodate a year-long clinical research project for which the fellow sought and received grant funding (Epilepsy Foundation) in the first year.
A fellow with interests in lifespan neuropsychology completed a rotation in general pediatric neuropsychology (the last in the first “year” sequence). This was followed by rotations in Center for Brain Health (evaluating patients for dementia syndromes) and lifespan assessment with adjusted clinical demands to accommodate a simultaneous 8-month experience in movement disorders including deep brain stimulation.
Our clinical evaluations strive to integrate medical, neurological, and behavioral data with neuropsychological test findings to answer any of a number of referral questions. Our referrals often consist of, but are not limited to, questions concerning:
- Differential diagnoses (e.g., depression versus dementia, dementia of the Alzheimer’s type versus Primary Progressive Aphasia)
- Delineation of spared and impaired cognitive functions secondary to known central nervous system dysfunction
- Establishment of a neuropsychological baseline against which to monitor recovery or progression of central nervous system dysfunction
- Comparison of neuropsychological functioning prior to and following a variety of pharmacological, surgical, and behavioral interventions as part of ongoing treatment outcome evaluations and standard clinical care
- Assessment of cognitive/behavioral functions to assist with rehabilitation, management strategies and/or educational or employment placement
- Evaluation of cognitive status for the purpose of disability determination
The Section of Neuropsychology provides primarily outpatient consultation and evaluation services for the staff of Cleveland Clinic and community referral sources. Currently, the Section of Neuropsychology receives the majority of its referrals from Adult and Pediatric Neurology, Burkhardt Brain Tumor Center, Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology, the Mellen Center (Multiple Sclerosis), Neurosurgery, the Center for Neurological Restoration (DBS), Adult and Child Psychiatry, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Internal and Geriatric Medicine, Cardiology, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Pediatric Oncology/Hematology.
A flexible battery approach is adopted by most Cleveland Clinic Staff Neuropsychologists. The Section uses a number of specialized test batteries for specific patient populations. For example, a formal pre- and post-surgery protocol is in place for epilepsy surgery candidates, and standard protocols are in place for evaluating candidates for deep brain stimulation for treatment of psychiatric or movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia) and surgery for coronary artery disease.
The combination of a rich clinical referral base at Cleveland Clinic and an innovative service delivery model has created a strong trajectory of growth for the Section of Neuropsychology. More than 2,100 patients are referred for evaluation annually, making the Section of Neuropsychology one of the most clinically active neuropsychological services in the country for its size.
On average, a minimum of 60% of fellows’ time will be devoted to direct clinical service. A portion of this commitment can be focused on services directed at specific patient populations (e.g., epilepsy, pediatric, geriatric, or movement disorder patients). In addition, fellows are afforded the opportunity to work with culturally diverse populations including international patients who seek specialized health care at Cleveland Clinic. Although the Section is largely a psychometrist-based service, we recognize the importance of direct patient contact in developing a strong clinical understanding of process variables and patient behaviors that underlie test performance. Consequently, the fellows will be responsible for testing some patients each week throughout the two-year fellowship. Fellows will have the opportunity to supervise psychometrists (and potentially undergraduate students), generally more often in the second year. It is anticipated that this assessment experience will provide the fellows with the opportunity to enhance their existing knowledge and experience with a variety of neuropsychological assessment procedures.
Assessment is only one component of the fellows’ clinical duties. The primary goal of the fellows’ clinical activities is to expand their expertise in clinical interpretation and reporting of neuropsychological data. Report writing and consultation with patients and other health-care professionals are, therefore, central to this postdoctoral experience. The fellows will also be expected to participate actively with members of the Section in one or more clinical team meetings (e.g., Epilepsy Surgery, Brain Tumor and DBS Patient Management) on an ongoing basis.
Formal clinical supervision is provided on an individual basis, typically two to three hours weekly, to review cases. Informal supervision is also available on a daily basis. Group supervision in the form of weekly postdoctoral conference meetings to review topics of interest, deposition transcripts and videotapes, ethical issues, noteworthy cases, research data, etc. generally accounts for approximately one hour weekly. Practice management issues, such as scheduling patients, managing technical support services, and billing and coding practices are discussed.
Formal written evaluations of the postdoctoral fellows’ progress are prepared by the supervising Staff Neuropsychologist(s) at the conclusion of each rotation. Information is forwarded to the Cleveland Clinic's Graduate Medical Education (GME) office. In the course of these regularly scheduled evaluations, fellows are asked to evaluate the program Performance is also assessed via a clinical fact-finding exercise modeled after that portion of the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN)’s Oral Exam. This is conducted at the beginning of the first and second training years, and may be repeated more frequently if needed to monitor fellows’ clinical skills. Fellows whose performance is not at an expected level of competence will be advised regarding the problem areas, and a specific plan to remediate those weaknesses will be developed per GME policies.
In keeping with the scientific basis of clinical neuropsychology, Cleveland Clinic's Section of Neuropsychology is actively involved in ongoing clinical research (e.g., epilepsy surgery, deep brain stimulation for treatment of movement disorders, brain tumor and imaging). In addition, the Section has been committed to advancing scientific inquiry via collaborative projects with other institutions. These collaborations extend our research activities and collegial relationships with other professionals in the neuropsychological community.
Research will be an integral component of the postdoctoral experience. The Section maintains a number of IRB-approved patient registries and is involved in a number of ongoing collaborative research projects both within and outside the institution. Cleveland Clinic is highly supportive of research activities, and provides excellent statistical, computer, graphic art, photography and editorial support services. It is expected that the fellows will become involved in one or more of the existing research projects within the Section, with the goal of preparing at least one paper for publication and/or presentation at a national meeting. Independent and/or new collaborative research projects will be encouraged, and grant activity is highly supported. Travel time is provided to make presentations at professional meetings, and some financial support for travel is available in the second year, especially for first-authored papers based on work accomplished at Cleveland Clinic.
Terms & Conditions
Fellows must have completed all of the formal requirements for the doctorate before beginning postdoctoral training; appointments begin in September. Although the Cleveland Clinic's Clinical Neuropsychology Fellowship is designed as a two-year program, contracts are made on a year-to-year basis, with renewal for the second year being made by mutual consent. Note: Cleveland Clinic employees must be tobacco-free.
The fellowship currently carries a 12-month, first year salary of $51,020, which typically increases prior to the second year (current second year salary is $52,665). Fifteen days of vacation and five personal days of paid time away of provided each academic year. Comprehensive health, dental and vision insurance (fellow and immediate family) at minimal cost to the fellow are among the benefits provided. Salary determination, grievance process, allotment of vacation and meeting time, and other institutional procedures occur in accordance with the General Policies for Graduate Medical Education. Please see GME for additional details.
The Neuropsychology Section was organized in 1985 and officially established as a formal patient care center within the department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Cleveland Clinic in 1986. As neuropsychologists, we are members of the Professional Staff Several staff members have academic appointments or pending appointments with Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM).
- Aaron Bonner-Jackson, PhD joined the Section in 2011 bringing expertise in neuropsychological assessment of dementia syndromes. He is the Director of the Clinical Neuropsychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program. His primary appointment is in the Center for Brain Health and he sees patients in Neuropsychology at least one day per week. He has dedicated time for research and this involves longitudinal studies of progressive neurological conditions.
- Darlene Floden, PhD, ABPP-CN joined the Section in 2007 and has appointments in the Center for Neurological Restoration (CNR) and Cerebrovascular Center. She primarily provides services to adult patients seeking deep brain stimulation for the treatment of movement disorders, and patients with acute and chronic stroke. Part of her time is devoted to research related to frontostriatal function and deep brain stimulation.
- Jennifer Haut, PhD, ABPP-CN joined the Section in 2001 and provides clinical coverage to the pediatric neuropsychology service. Her current research is focused on assessment of reliable cognitive change after pediatric epilepsy surgery.
- Patricia Klaas, PhD joined the Section in 2004 with clinical responsibilities in pediatric neuropsychology. Her research interests involve memory, mood and adjustment issues in pediatric epilepsy surgery patients. Current research is focused on the use of MEG to assess evoked responses in epilepsy patients.
- Cynthia Kubu, PhD, ABPP-CN joined the Section in November 2001 to provide clinical services to adult patients, primarily candidates for deep brain stimulation. A portion of her time is devoted to research related to deep brain stimulation in conjunction with the CNR. Her other research involves neuroethics. She serves as the Co-President of Cleveland Clinic's Women's Professional Staff Association and is active in the CCLCM.
- Richard Naugle, PhD, ABPP-CN joined the Section in 1987 and is the Associate Director of the Clinical Neuropsychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program. He maintains a broad-based adult clinical practice with a portion of his time devoted to the Epilepsy Center. Dr. Naugle serves as a long-standing member of Cleveland Clinic’s Institutional Review Board.
- Michael Parsons, PhD, ABPP-CN joined the Section in 2007 as an adult neuropsychologist and has an appointment to the Rose Ella Burkhardt Brain Tumor Center (BBTC). His clinical caseload includes the full range of neuropsychological referral questions; he consults throughout the clinic and community. His research involves the use of functional and structural brain imaging techniques to study learning and memory in cognitively intact individuals and patient populations.
- Kelly Wadeson, PhD joined the Section in 2012, adding expertise in rehabilitation. Her primary appointment is in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and she sees patients in Neuropsychology at least one day per week. Her clinical neuropsychology practice includes school-age children through adults.
The Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Residency Program participates in the APPCN Resident Matching Program operated by National Matching Services (NMS; www.natmatch.com). The deadline for receipt of all application materials is Dec. 21 (or the next business day if the 21st falls on a weekend).
Applicants are encouraged to call or write for information or clarification of the program’s description or opportunities. Applicants’ rights to make a free choice among residencies are recognized and Cleveland Clinic complies fully with the stipulations of the Match.
Application materials should be directed to:
- A letter of interest describing relevant academic and training experiences, desired postdoctoral training objectives, perceived “fit” with this program, and future professional goals
- Current curriculum vitae
- Three letters of reference, including at least two from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic and clinical training in neuropsychology
- A statement from the applicant's graduate school clinical training director indicating the applicant's status in the program and probability of completing the requirements for the doctorate prior to the fellowship year (waived for those already holding the doctorate). APPCN’s Verification of Doctoral Training Form (APPCN Doctorate Verification) is acceptable for this purpose.
- An official copy of the applicant's graduate transcripts
Electronic submission of the above items by email in a Word or PDF file is acceptable. Please send email to: