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Department of Neurology

Department of Neurology

Clinical Neuropsychology Fellowship

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology

Program Mission

The UC Davis Clinical Neuropsychology Training Program  provides high-quality advanced training in the practice of clinical neuropsychology.  The program’s training opportunities are structured to meet the recommendations set forth in the Houston Conference Guidelines for Postdoctoral Residency Training in Clinical Neuropsychology. 

Impairments in central nervous system function can cause extended and distressing changes in the quality of life for people with a neurological disorder – and to the lives of their families and loved ones as well. Our program is based on the belief that providing quality care for people experiencing these changes requires extensive specialized training in clinical and cognitive psychology, behavioral neurology, and neuroanatomy.  We also recognize that this is a rapidly growing and developing field that must be responsive to advances in scientific knowledge; hence, adherence to the scientist-practitioner model is especially crucial for rapid incorporation of new knowledge into highly competent clinical practice.

To train practitioners who are competent in all these areas, we have developed a program that incorporates the extensive resources available through a unique consortium of clinical, research, and academic services offered by the Medical Center at the University of California at Davis, various academic departments and research facilities within UC Davis, and the Northern California Veterans Administration Health Care System.

University Mission

As a comprehensive research university, the primary purpose of UC Davis is the generation, advancement, dissemination, and application of knowledge.  To this end, UC Davis is committed to developing and sustaining leading programs in the arts and humanities, biological and physical sciences, and social sciences – disciplines at the core of all universities – as well as in agricultural and environmental studies, engineering, and professional programs in education, law, management, medicine, nursing, and veterinary medicine.

In all of these programs, UC Davis strives to integrate three complementary pursuits: education and training as a partnership between faculty mentors and young scholars; the advancement of knowledge and pioneering studies through creative research and scholarship; and application of that knowledge to address the needs of our region, state, nation, and globe. UC Davis is committed to the tradition of the land-grant university, the basis of its founding. This tradition – based  on the premise that the broad purpose of a university is service to people and society – guides UC Davis’s special commitments and emphases. Collaborative studies and cooperation with state agencies and the legislature offer UC Davis both special responsibilities and unique opportunities.

Program Goals

The overall goal of the UC Davis Clinical Neuropsychology Training Program is to produce highly trained, scientifically knowledgeable, clinically skillful independent practitioners of clinical neuropsychology. Our program is committed to encouraging the development of complementary clinical and scientific skills to yield professionals who are motivated to follow the progress of a developing field and to incorporate that progress into their clinical practice. We encourage further development of the basic skills of clinical psychology and the integration of these skills with advanced knowledge of neurological disease, symptoms, treatment, and associated cognitive and emotional changes to provide the most pertinent and compassionate diagnosis and care for present and future clients.

Facilities

University of California at Davis and UCD Medical Center

The University of California at Davis enrolls over 25,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students on its 5,200 acre main campus.  It has extensive library and computing resources that offer in-depth coverage of many academic fields. The affiliated Medical School maintains its academic resources for over 1,200 students in the Health Sciences on the Sacramento campus, along with a 528 bed teaching hospital. Our program is jointly supported by the Neurology Department and the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center.  Students in our program may also have the opportunity to work with professionals from other clinical departments (e.g. Neurologic Surgery, Pain Management) and academic centers, such as the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience.  Our residents and fellows also have access to the combined resources that support the scientific and medical communities of UCD, including libraries, computers, and technical and research support staff.

The UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) is part of nationwide and statewide programs. The ADC has several important goals: to educate health professionals and the public about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias; to conduct research in clinical and community populations into the causes and potential treatments for dementia; to advocate changes in health policy and practice that will enhance the recognition, treatment and management of dementia; and to serve as an expert referral center for the diagnosis of dementia

The ADC is funded by the State of California through the Department of Public Health and by the NIH, National Institute on Aging (NIA), and has clinical centers in Sacramento and the East Bay. The UCD ADC conducts many different kinds of research studies. Many involve trying to describe and understand the behavioral, cognitive, and functional changes that occur with dementing illness.  Other areas of research include neuroimaging, the cerebrovascular contributions to cognitive aging, and the influences of lifestyle variables (e.g. cognitive, physical, and social activity throughout the life span) on cognitive aging and development of dementia.  Some studies involve clinical trials of potential new treatments, or ways of preventing cognitive loss. And the ADC’s longitudinal aging cohort includes a large portion of individuals representing a variety of ethnic/racial minorities.

The UC Davis Center for Neuroscience draws from a wide variety of resources to conduct its teaching and research programs. Contributing to this interdisciplinary approach are Center faculty members, students, and collaborators who represent 13 academic departments and sections on the main campus and a number of off-campus sites. In addition, visiting faculty members from throughout the world bring outstanding talent to the Center's programs.

Research at the Center ranges from single-cell recordings and studies of neuronal populations in isolation, to studies of human perception, attention, memory, language, and the nature of consciousness.  The center places special emphasis on combining information obtained from different brain-imaging techniques, including fMRI, PET, and ERPs, to develop improved methods to treat brain injury and disease.

Populations Served

Our service is an adult neuropsychology service and we do not routinely see patients under 18.  At the Neurosciences Clinic, we see outpatients with a range of neurological disorders, including stroke, tumor, epilepsy, head injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and a range of degenerative diseases.

Our residents and fellows also participate in the clinical and research activities at the NIA-funded UCD Alzheimer’s Disease Centers in Sacramento and the East Bay. At the ADC, practicioners see a wide-range of dementing disorders with opportunities to follow patients though all stages of disease.

Training Schedule

Each fellow will have a primary site and be responsible for the full range of clinical duties at that site.  Residents will develop their training plan in conjunction with their primary supervisors within the first month.  Diverse experiences within the system are encouraged and faculty will work with residents to facilitate them.  Each post-doc will identify a research mentor and develop a research plan within the first two months.

Generally, fellows will remain in the program for two years. However, offer of a second year is contingent upon satisfactory performance in the first year of training and available funding.  Extension beyond two years will be considered if there is external funding and/or a specific training goal.  Successful completion of contact hours and educational goals may require more than 40 hours per week.

Distribution of Time  

A. 80% Clinical

a.     3 days per week (approx. 15 patient/family contact hours)
b.     1 hour of face-to-face scheduled supervision/ 1 hour of supervisory contact as needed (bedside, interview, consult, etc.)
c.      1 hour of group supervision per week, including case conferences, clinics, etc.
d.     Approx 1 hour a week general clinic management-type of activities (see below)

B. 20% Didactic/Education/Research

a.      One full day of didactic training is scheduled on the 1st Thursday of each month at UCDMC.  Numerous other didactic opportunities are also available (see below).
b.     Each fellow will identify a research mentor.  This may be a member of the NP faculty or an M.D. or Ph.D. with an appointment in the UC system. 
c.      Each post-doc will be expected to spend at least 4 hours a week engaged in some scholarly activity.  This may include participation in on-going research of a faculty member, preparation of a literature review, or development of an independent research project.  Each project will be expected to have a product suitable for presentation at a scientific meeting or submission to a journal. 
d.     Efforts will be made to provide monetary support for presentation of research results at a national conference.

Remuneration

Fellows will receive a per annum stipend plus medical benefits.  The stipend is based on the NIH postdoctoral salary schedule. Second year fellows who obtain outside funding can buy out of clinical duties to participate in research activities.  Additional funds beyond those necessary to buy out clinical time can be used to supplement the base salary.  Occasionally part-time positions are available.  Paid vacation and professional leave is also provided.

Didactic Program

First Thursday of each month: Neuropsychology Series, Sacramento UCDMC, Ambulatory Care Center

General schedule:

9-11         ADC Clinical Pathological Conference

11-12       NP Didactics: Neuroanatomy Series/ Neuropsychological
                Syndromes (each series presented in alternate years)

1-2           Neurology Grand Rounds

2-3           NP Didactics:  Research Series

Sample Didactics Schedule:

Month

Neuropsychological Syndromes Series

Research Series

September

Frontal Lobe Functions

Welcome and Introductions

October

Neglect

Ethnocultural Issues in NP

November

Aphasia

Learning Disabilities

December

Aphasia Part II

Parkinson’s disease

January

Anosognosia

Ethics & NP Testing

February

INS

INS

March

Visuospatial Functions

Pediatric TBI

April

Memory

Neuroimaging

May

Acalculia

Evaluating competency in older adults

June

Agraphia/Alexia

Neuropsychology of HIV

July

TBA

TBA

 

Month

Neuroanatomy Series

Research Series & Case Presentations

September

Ventricles

Word Encoding and Retrieval in Schizophrenia

October

Motor pathways

Alcohol and the Brain

November

Sensory Pathways

Cognitive impairment in MS

December

Vascular System

Speech Apraxia, Ataxia, and the Dysarthrias

January

Visual System

Balint’s Syndrome

February

Cranial Nerves

Neurological Exam

March

Brain Stem

Cognitive Reserve

April

Cerebellum

Event Indexing in the right hemisphere

May

Basal Ganglia

Non-AD Dementias

June

Limbic System

Psychometric issues

July

Pituitary/ Autonomic System

TBA

 

Brief Description of didactics (including some that are in addition to the 1st TH schedule):

Clinical Pathological Conference (CPC) 
During this teaching conference UCD ADC faculty present clinical information on patients that have been seen at the Alzheimer’s Center who have donated their brains upon death. Clinical course and brain imaging scans are reviewed by the neurologist, cognitive testing (often available over the course of multiple years) is reviewed by a neuropsychologist, and finally the pathologist reviews autopsy findings. The conference offers a rare opportunity to correlate clinical findings with post-mortem pathology.

Clinical Neuropsychology Lecture Series (Neuroanatomy & Neuropsychological Syndromes) 
The goal of this lecture series is in part to help fellows prepare for the written Board Certification exam. The two required textbooks are among those that have been reported to be most helpful in studying for the exam. There will be some preparation time on the part of fellows and other students prior to the lecture.  All participants are expected to have read the relevant material before the lecture.

This lecture series is a two-part/two-year series.  One year is spent reviewing major neuroanatomical systems.  There will be required reading out of Blumenfeld’s Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases (see reference below).  Neuroanatomical systems reviewed will range from primary motor and sensory systems, to the basal ganglia cerebellum, to the vascular system and limbic systems. In most cases a faculty member will be responsible for reviewing the chapter, but sometimes fellows will take the lead in presenting material..  All fellows are expected to read the material and be prepared to participate in discussion related to the material.

During the other year, common neuropsychological syndromes will be reviewed. Most of the material for these lectures will be taken from the Feinberg and Farah text (see reference below) but will require supplementation in some areas.  The format of these lectures will be similar to above.  In some cases faculty may be the primary presenter and in some cases fellows may present the material.

Required texts: Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases. Blumenfeld, H. 2002. Sinauer Associ. Inc. Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology. Feinberg, TE, Farah, MJ Eds. 1997. McGraw-Hill Co.

Recommended texts: Neuropsychological Assessment.4th edition. Lezak, Howieson, Loring. 2004 Oxford University Press. Clinical Neuropsychology, 4th edition. Heilman & Valenstein Eds. 2003. Oxford Press. Principles of Neurology. 6th edition. Adams, Victor, and Ropper, McGraw-Hill, 1997.

NP Research Series/Case Presentations

In the Research Lecture Series faculty will present on their current research. Fellows are also expected to present on either a current research project or their dissertation at some point during their two-year position.  Topics will vary from year to year but will always include one lecture related to ethical issues in neuropsychology and one lecture on cultural/racial issue in neuropsychology.

Neurology Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds is held weekly by the Neurology Department at UCDMC.  Familiarity with a broad range of neurological symptoms and diseases is an important part of your development as an independent practitioner and attendance at additional Grand Rounds is encouraged.  Postdoctoral fellows located in Sacramento are expected to attend on a weekly basis.

Neuropathology/Brain Cutting

Brain cuttings that are part of UCDMC autopsies are held on most Tuesdays in the Pathology Building (behind the main hospital). A wide variety of pathologies will be covered.

Additional didactics

  • Mock ABPP oral examinations
  • ADC case conferences
  • ADC Research Meetings
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Journal Club
  • Neurosurgery Grand Rounds
  • PM & Journal Club
  • Psychiatry Grand Rounds
  • Brain Tumor Board
  • Epilepsy Journal Club
  • Epilepsy Case Conference
  • Neuroscience Lecture Series, UCD Neuroscience Center
  • ADC Family Conference
  • UCD HD Clinic
  • UCD PD Clinic
  • Wada testing
  • Intra-operative brain mapping

Application Process

Qualifications:

Applicants must hold a doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology from an APA-accredited program and must have completed an APA-accredited predoctoral internship.

Required application materials:

Applications consist of a letter of interest/statement of career goals, CV, official graduate school transcript, two samples reports and three letters of recommendation.

Applications should be sent to:

Sarah Tomaszewski Farias, Ph.D., ABPP-CN
University of California, Davis Medical Center
4860 Y Street, Suite 3700
Sacramento, CA 95817

Application deadline: January 1

For additional information about the program contact: 
Sarah Tomaszewski Farias, Ph.D., Clinical Director, at (916) 734-6442, or
sarah.farias@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu