Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Psychology

The Tim and Kay Flesch Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was initially established through the generous donations of a few local professionals. It is a one-year fellowship based in the St. Mary's Center for Children.

The purpose of the postdoctoral program is to provide enhanced training to an individual who has acquired his or her doctorate degree in psychology and is seeking further expertise in providing services for children and families.

Our program strives to provide our trainee with excellent experience in the areas of consultation, evaluation and treatment for youth with a variety of difficulties and backgrounds.

Through this program, we hope to provide increased access to psychological services for children in the community through services offered at our facility and partnerships with other local agencies. It is our goal that, by the end of the fellowship year our trainee will have further refined and broadened his or her professional skills, and will have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with many of the caregivers that have a daily impact in the lives of our children.

Outpatient Services

The fellow will receive advanced, onsite training in the evaluation, assessment and treatment of youth with a variety of issues. Focus is placed on using evidence-based methods of assessment and treatment and work within larger multi-disciplinary teams.

The fellow will have an opportunity to be supervised on a variety of cases, with specific focus on providing assessment/treatment of children with developmental, autism spectrum, sleep, eating disorder and learning issues.

These children are seen by a pediatric psychologist, neurodevelopmental specialist, speech/language pathologist and occupational therapist. The goal is to provide the child's family with an empirically-based assessment of concerns and individualized, targeted treatment recommendations for home and school entry.

Consultation Liaison

Pediatric Consultation-Liaison (CL) describes a dynamic form of collaboration between pediatric psychologists and health care specialists aiming to alleviate distress, attend to disease management issues, and facilitate patient and family coping in childhood illness.

CL psychologists in the role of a consultant become involved in patient care upon the request of the referring physician and, while in the role of a liaison, CL psychologists are more involved in the daily workings of a particular hospital service (e.g. attending rounds) and suggest systems-level changes that improve coping and adjustment of all patients, family, and staff.

Our service provides multifaceted interventions that address a myriad of issues, including:

  • Adherence/Compliance: Given adherence to treatment regimens within pediatric populations is about 50% (Litt & Cusky, 1980), CL psychologists are frequently called upon to increase supervision, feedback, incentives, social support, problem-solving, and education to enhance compliance with treatment recommendations (La Greca & Bearman, 2003).
  • Behavioral Management: CL psychologists can provide guidance for medical staff and parents on how to respond to a patient's aggressive, defiant or unmanageable behavior during hospitalization while also assessing whether this behavior should be further targeted following discharge.
  • Communication: CL psychologists can assist in providing explanations of illness and treatment in language that is appropriate for a child's age as well as facilitating communication between patients, families and medical personnel.
  • Coping and Adjustment: Adjusting to functional limitations as well as coping with emotional distress in forms such as anxiety, worry and hopelessness are often addressed.
  • Pain Management: Strategies implemented by CL psychologists address children's perception of pain and aim to change environmental influences that maintain pain behaviors.
  • Somatization Issues: CL psychologists often assess for psychological contributions to somatic complaints with unknown organic etiology and provide treatment to reduce somatic manifestations of emotional distress.
  • School Re-entry: CL psychologists serve as liaisons by recommending school accommodations and preparing children for reintegration into the school setting after an absence.
  • Triage: Identifying diagnosable psychological disorders, assessing patient safety and linking children with appropriate psychological treatment providers are important tasks of CL psychologists.

School Corporation Partnership

The postdoctoral fellow will spend a half-day a week at a local early childhood program in direct collaboration with the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC). The purpose of this partnership is to provide ongoing education for parents about early developmental issues and also to work directly in providing resources for children in the program through groups, consultation and follow-up services.

The EVSC Early Childhood Learning Center Initiative is one of the five core focus areas to improve student achievement as part of the EVSC Strategic Plan. Currently, almost half of the community's children do not receive early childhood education before entering kindergarten, starting them at a disadvantage.

The purpose of this initiative is to increase the number of children receiving a quality early childhood education in our community in order to decrease the achievement gap. The key partner is Community Action Program of Evansville (CAPE)/Head Start. Other community partners include Lampion, Evansville Public Library, University of Southern Indiana, First Presbyterian Church, Early Childhood Development Coalition and the City of Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development.

The postdoctoral fellow will spend most of this collaboration at the Early Childhood Learning Center housed at Culver Community School. Culver serves approximately 200 children (ages 3-5) in a variety of programming including six Head Start classrooms, early childhood special education assessment and developmental preschool classes, and an Even Start Family Literacy program. The school is located in one of the highest poverty communities in Evansville (2009-2010 free reduced lunch rate 98% for prior Culver students).

The fellow will participate directly in an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) inclusion classroom designed specifically for children ages 3-5 diagnosed with an ASD. The STAR program (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research) is used as the primary curriculum in the classroom. Children from Even Start and Title 1 programs are also enrolled. The fellow will collaborate with the EVSC team as part of the initial evaluation, and will also provide ongoing consultation. The focus of the classroom is creating a model environment that can be replicated at other locations.

Didactics

The postdoctoral fellow will be provided with regular opportunities for ongoing education.

Weekly grand rounds are available through the hospital. Participation in a monthly journal club with the psychologists on staff will be required.

The fellow will be encouraged to seek out other ongoing education and will be supported by a professional fund for the training year.

Other supervision and teaching opportunities will be made available.

Research Opportunities

Research involvement will be encouraged but not required during the training year. The training faculty are currently involved in multiple research projects and the fellow will be given the opportunity to collaborate if desired.

Stipend & Benefits

Fellows receive a comprehensive St. Mary's Medical Center employee compensation package including a competitive salary, paid time off, medical, life, dental and vision insurance. Additionally, financial support is also available for professional conferences.

Licensure Requirements

Fellows will be expected to apply for temporary licensure in the State of Indiana prior to starting their training year if they currently hold licensure in another state. This is not a requirement for being offered the position.

Opportunities will be provided for pursuing full licensure in Indiana during the course of their training.

Application Requirements & Procedure

The following information should be provided in order to complete the application:

  • Letter of application delineating specific interests and goals for fellowship
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of professional reference
  • Two samples of clinical reports should be provided. One sample should be a comprehensive psychological evaluation report. Any identifying information should be removed.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received and interviews and offers will be made on a rolling basis. Starting date is flexible between July 1 and September 1. Applicants are encouraged to send in materials as soon as possible.

Any inquiries can be made by contacting Dr. Jim Schroeder.

All materials should be sent to:
Jim Schroeder, Ph.D.
Pediatric/Clinical Child Psychologist
St. Mary's Center for Children
3700 Washington Avenue
Evansville, IN 47750

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