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Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center - Psychology Training

The Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LACC), located in heart of downtown Los Angeles, is part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Learn about Pre-Internship, Internship and Postdoctoral Residency opportunities at the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center.

Pre-Internship Program

*Due to staffing changes, the VA LAACC Psychology Training Program will not be offering pre-internship training during the 2024-2025 training year.

The pre-internship program at the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC) is considered an advanced clinical placement. Students must be in their third year or above of training. Applicants must have at least one year of an intervention-focused practicum placement before they will be considered for the pre-internship at LAACC. Students must be able to commit to at least 16 hours per week. LAACC Sepulveda can accommodate up to three pre-interns each year. Areas of clinical training may include the following: Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP), Behavioral Medicine, Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI), Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC), Trauma Recovery Services, and/or Women’s Mental Health.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: November 20, 2023

Interview Date: December 8, 2023 (Virtual)

Notification Date: December 14, 2023

Eligibility Requirements

The Pre-Internship program at VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC) is considered an advanced clinical Pre-Internship placement. We only consider students who are in their third year or above of training. Applicants must have at least one year of an intervention-focused practicum placement experience before they will be considered for placement at LAACC. Students must be able to commit to at least 16 hours (i.e., 2 days) per week at LAACC. LAACC can accommodate up to 3 pre-interns each year.

Application Requirements and Procedures

  1. Applicants must receive approval and recommendation from their DCT to apply to LAACC
  2. Please submit a cover letter indicating areas of interest and rank your top three rotations of preference (1=most interested)
  3. Provide two (2) letters of recommendation (one from your DCT and one from a supervisor familiar with your clinical work)
  4. Submit a current CV
  5. Submit graduate transcripts (unofficial is fine)
  6. Email application materials (i.e., cover letter, CV, and transcripts) to Dr. Romero at Elizabeth.Romero2@va.gov by November 20, 2023. 
  7. Please include in the subject line of every email and name your documents including those from recommenders “Pre-Internship Application – Your Name – Name of Document.”
    1. Example: Pre-Internship Application- Jane Doe – Letter of Recommendation

You will be notified by email about an interview (no later than November 27, 2023), which will be held virtually on December 8, 2023. Selection decisions will be communicated by December 14, 2023.

Hybrid Model of Training and Service Delivery

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the LAACC psychology training program successfully transitioned to a hybrid model of training and service delivery to Veterans. Trainees attended and participated in didactics and supervision via virtual video platforms as well as direct, face-to-face supervision; they also benefited from live, direct observation of clinical care by supervising psychologists.  Method of service delivery is dictated by specific clinics/programs and the needs of the Veterans they serve; although trainees primarily utilize telehealth modalities for individual and group therapy, while engaging in Veterans on-site for most cognitive and psychodiagnostic assessments, in-person, face-to-face care is provided when clinically indicated and/or specifically requested by the Veteran. Throughout the pandemic, as guidance allowed, the training program functioned in a hybrid model, with trainees engaging in a combination of work on-site and work-from-home. Although the public health emergency (i.e., the pandemic) has officially ended, the health and safety of our psychology trainees, along with the competent care of our nation’s Veterans, remains of utmost importance to us. We will continue to provide high-quality training in professional psychology while simultaneously keeping our trainees’ health and wellness at the forefront.

Potential Clinical Training Opportunities

1. Behavioral Health Interdisciplnary Program (BHIP)/Mental Health

  • Required Days: Mondays & Wednesdays

2. Psychosocial Recovery and Rehabilitation Center (PRRC)

  • Required Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays (some flexibility)

3.  Neuropsychological Assessment (NP)

  • Required Days: Mondays or Thursdays

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program Philosophy and Commitment

Our training program is committed to the ongoing process of developing multicultural competencies –for our trainees and ourselves as providers and trainers. This commitment is predicated on the belief that psychology practice is improved when we develop a broader and more compassionate view of our individual differences. Our practice is improved further as we better understand the complex forces that influence a person's psychological development, including cultural, social, structural, economic, and political factors. We are committed to offering training experiences that provide opportunities for trainees to expand their vision of the world and learn to understand the perspective of others more fully. When this occurs, our practice can be more responsive to the needs of our clients and less constrained by our biases. For these various reasons, the internship and postdoctoral residency programs place a high value on attracting a diverse group of trainees and on maintaining an awareness of multicultural issues throughout the training year.

LAACC is deeply committed to the training of future psychologists from a culturally competent framework and fostering an environment that is highly sensitive to and appreciative of all aspects of diversity. We believe that increased self-awareness and appreciation for other viewpoints and cultures make psychologists more effective practitioners, scientists, and teachers. Additionally, acknowledgment of historical systems of oppression is critical in changing the status quo. For these reasons, sensitivity to individual differences and cultural diversity is an integral part of our training philosophy.

Our overall objective is to provide trainees with the skills and knowledge to leave their training year to provide clinical services across cultures and diverse settings. Internship and residency are training years focused on the implementation of graduate school knowledge and the acquisition/ enhancement of clinical skill. Consistent with this aim and the program’s culture and diversity training philosophy, training is focused on learning how to integrate diversity-related knowledge, skills, awareness and sensitivity into clinical services.

Description of Rotations

Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)/Mental Health 

The Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) is an interprofessional clinic designed to meet a wide range of mental health needs for a diverse population of Veterans. BHIP is team-based care and pre-interns will learn about working with a range of disciplines to serve a specific panel of patients. BHIP focuses on improved access to care for Veterans, helping Veterans engage in indicated care (e.g., evidence-based psychotherapy), improve staff and trainee satisfaction, and decrease hospitalizations of Veterans due to team-based support. Disciplines include psychiatry, psychology, clinical social work, case managers, and mental health nursing. In this training setting, pre-interns will work with Veterans presenting with a variety of diagnoses. Psychotherapy referrals come from the BHIP intake clinic after an initial screening has been completed by a psychologist, clinical social worker, or case manager.  Pre-intern activities include functioning within the context of an interprofessional team to conduct weekly initial BHIP intakes (i.e., Mental Health Initial Assessments/MHIAs) and provide individual and group psychotherapy. Numerous groups are operated through BHIP, and pre-interns have the opportunity to co-facilitate with staff, (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy, Depression Management, Stress Management, and Mental Health Writing Workshop, etc.). Pre-interns may also engage in patient triage/crisis intervention with walk-in/open access appointments, which would include risk assessment and treatment planning (e.g., hospitalization, care coordination with psychiatry).

Clinical Supervisor: Kimberly Newsom, Ph.D.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) 

The Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) is an outpatient interdisciplinary treatment program that provides supportive social integration and mental health services for Veterans diagnosed with serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and chronic PTSD) with functional impairment.  The PRRC provides group and individual psychotherapy, assessment, and treatment planning services designed to prevent relapse, foster independence and self-esteem and maximize functioning in the community. The PRRC assists in the acquisition of new skills and understanding to promote mental health recovery. PRRC programming implements a recovery model to help Veterans reach their personally identified goals, develop new meaning and purpose in their lives, and increase engagement in their communities.

Clinical Supervisor: Elizabeth Romero, Psy.D

Neuropsychological Assessment (NP) 

Within the Neuropsychology/Assessment rotation the pre-intern will participate in outpatient neuropsychological evaluations which involves conducting clinical interviews, administrating neuropsychological test batteries, scoring, interpretation of test results, and report writing. Additional opportunities in these clinics include helping to deliver feedback to patients, families, and referral sources. There may be additional opportunities to assist in facilitating a cognitive skills group.

Veterans seen in the Neuropsychology Clinic are also typically older (65+) and present with complex cognitive, medical, and psychiatric comorbidities, though younger veterans with cognitive symptoms related to medical or psychiatric illness are sometimes seen.

Within these clinics, trainees gain experience in assessment and conceptualization of veterans with cognitive disorders, which are often impacted by other medical and psychiatric conditions. Cultural identities are considered in case conceptualization, choosing normative sources, and developing recommendations. Each case involves in-depth learning about neurocognitive syndromes, psychometrics, differential diagnosis, and the practice of evidence-based neuropsychology. Pre-interns are also welcome to attend the assessment seminar with the LAACC psychology interns every other Friday from 8:30am to 10am.

Expected workload is flexible with students typically seeing 1 case every other week up to 1 case per week (typically on a Monday or Thursday) or more depending on workload and desired training. Approximately one hour of individual supervision is scheduled each week as well. Note: Almost all clinical work involves in-person visits with appropriate PPE. There may be limited opportunities for telehealth assessment.

Training Staff

Hannah Brunet, Ph.D.

  • Gero-Neuropsychologist
  • Memory Clinic, Neuropsychological Assessment Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: Palo Alto University, 2017
  • Doctoral Internship: West Los Angeles VA, Geropsychology Track
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2019-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Neuropsychology, neurodegenerative disease, dementia caregiving

 

Sharon Jablon, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Training Role: Delegated Supervisor
  • Doctoral Program: California School of Professional Psychology, 1989
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Medical Center, Sepulveda, CA; UCI Medical Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 1990-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Depression, interpersonal issues, stress management, legal and ethical issues, psychodynamic psychotherapy, group therapy

 

Kimberly Newsom, Ph.D.

  • Director of Psychology Training
  • Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Training Role: Supervisor
  • Doctoral Program: University of Kentucky, 2004
  • Doctoral Internship: Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, TX
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Delaware, 2008-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Military Psychology; PTSD/Trauma; Women’s Issues; Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology; Children and Adolescents

 

Elizabeth Romero, Psy.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC)
  • Assistant Director of Training; Pre-Internship Training Coordinator
  • Training Role: Supervisor
  • Doctoral Program: Pepperdine University, 2016
  • Doctoral Internship: Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship:   Harbor UCLA-Behavioral Medicine
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Hawaii, 2019-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Serious Mental Illness Rehabilitation, Whole Health, Trauma,
  • Integrative Care/Behavioral Medicine, Dual-Diagnosis, Advocacy, and Applied Research

Internship Program

The doctoral internship at the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA). The next site visit will be during the academic year 2028. We currently offer four fully-funded internship positions. According to VA policy, internship funding can be provided only to students who are U.S. citizens and are in good standing at an American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) accredited graduate program in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined psychology or at a Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) accredited program in Clinical Science. Applicants with a doctorate in another area of psychology who meet the APA or CPA criteria for re-specialization training in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined Psychology are also eligible. In addition, we require that a prospective intern's university advisor or director of clinical training verify that they approve and recommend that the student receive an internship at this facility as specified on the APPIC "Academic Program's Verification of Internship Eligibility and Readiness" form. To be considered, internship applicants must demonstrate completion of at least three years of graduate course work and a minimum of 500 direct contact hours in intervention and 100 assessment hours by the application date. The Psychology Department at LAACC is committed to expanding the diversity characteristics of our staff and training programs; qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Hello Prospective Applicants!  Congratulations on achieving this level of your psychology training.  We are glad that you are considering completing your doctoral internship at a VA, and more specifically at our site.  We hope the following information will help you get to know our site, our staff, and our unique internship program.  Best wishes on your internship application process!

Kimberly Newsom

Kimberly Newsom Ph.D.

Director, Psychology Training

VA Greater Los Angeles health care

Phone: 213-253-2677 ext. 24837

Email: Kimberly.Newsom@va.gov

Important Dates and APPIC Match Number

APPIC MATCH NUMBER: 113911

Applications Due: Nov 1, 2023 (EST)

Accreditation Status

The doctoral internship program in psychology at VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC) is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA).  We have been continually accredited by APA since 1977 and our most recent re-accreditation cycle granted us 10 years of accreditation, to be reviewed again in 2028.

CoA is located at 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, and their telephone number is 202-336-5979.

Application Procedures

Applications for full-time doctoral internship positions in clinical psychology will be accepted from students who are enrolled in doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology that are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). The training program is funded to support four full-time internship positions. The 2024-2025 internship year will begin on July 29, 2024.

Applications must be submitted through the AAPI Online portal by midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST) on November 1, 2023, and must include the following:

  1. Completed on-line APPIC Application for Psychology Internship (AAPI) , see www.appic.org and click “on-line application.”
  2. Site-specific cover letter 
  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation from faculty members and practicum supervisors with whom you have worked. Letters are to be uploaded through the AAPI Reference Portal.
  4. Curriculum Vitae

5.   Transcripts from all graduate programs attended

We abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern. We also participate in the APPIC Internship Matching Program. To apply, please register for the Match using the online registration system at www.natmatch.com/psychint. Our program code number is 113911.

Please contact the Director of Training if you have any questions:

Kimberly Newsom, Ph.D.

Director of Psychology Training

VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center

351 E. Temple St. (116B)

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Telephone: 213-253-2677, ext. 24837

Email: Kimberly.Newsom@va.gov

Internship Admissions and Selection Process

Efforts are made to select interns consistent with the mission and values of LAACC and the population we serve. Our selection criteria are based on a goodness-of-fit model; we consider academic background, clinical experience and personal characteristics, as well as professional goals consistent with our training opportunities and clinical setting.

We require that applicants’ doctoral-level training includes experiences providing direct, face-to-face psychological services to diverse adult populations treating a variety of presenting conditions. The ideal candidate has experience with complex presentations. We seek applicants with experience in clinical interviewing, individual and group psychotherapy, and psychodiagnostic assessment (at least 400 intervention and 100 assessment hours). Applicants must be U.S. citizens in good standing at a clinical, counseling, or combined psychology doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) or Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). In addition, applicants must have completed all coursework and been approved for internship by the graduate program training director. All coursework required for the doctoral degree must be completed prior to the start of the internship year, as well as any qualifying or comprehensive doctoral examinations and approval of the dissertation proposal. Given the demands of the program, we prefer that the doctoral dissertation is well under way or completed prior to the start of the internship year.

LAACC psychology staff greatly value individual and cultural diversity and social justice.  We endeavor to form an internship class with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and life experiences. Ideal applicants engage in regular self-reflection, are committed to providing patient-centered care, and bring an openness to, respect for, and appreciation of working with diverse populations.

Department of Veterans Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We honor our policy prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), age, disability, genetic information, marital status, and parental status. It is the policy of VA to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Director of Training must receive completed applications no later than November 1, 2023. Our training staff will review all submitted materials and meet to complete our initial application screening. Clinical and academic interests, quality of practicum training experiences, letters of recommendation and educational background, as well as personal qualities communicated in application materials are all considered in determining applicant alignment with our fast-paced, internship program, as previously stated. Following review, all applicants will be notified whether they remain under consideration by December 15, 2023. Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in virtual interviews in January 2024. Typically, we offer four interview dates to choose from. Each day consists of orientation with the Director of Training, introductions to psychology staff, and individual interviews with supervisors and current interns. Following individual interviews, applicants will have the opportunity to ask any additional questions of all current interns and the Director of Training. We will make every effort to maintain ample opportunities to meet training staff and get a feel for the program via teleconferencing, virtual modalities.

Does the program require that applicants have received a minimum number of hours of the following at time of application? If Yes, indicate how many: Yes or No Amount Total Direct Contact Intervention Hours Yes 400 Total Direct Contact Assessment Hours Yes 100
Describe any other required minimum criteria used to screen applicants: N/A

Eligibility Requirements for Psychology Trainees in VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adheres to all Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action policies. As a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Health Professions Trainee (HPT), you will receive a Federal appointment, and the following requirements will apply prior to that appointment.

1. U.S. citizenship. HPTs who receive a direct stipend (pay) must be U.S. citizens.  

2. U.S. Social Security Number. All VA appointees must have a U.S. social security number (SSN) prior to beginning the pre-employment, onboarding process at the VA.

2. Selective Service Registration. Male applicants born after 12/31/1959 must have registered for the Selective Service by the age of 26 to be eligible for U.S. government employment, including selection as a paid or WOC VA trainee. For additional information about the Selective Service System, and to register or to check your registration status, visit https://www.sss.gov/.

3. Fingerprint Screening and Background Investigation. All HPTs will be fingerprinted and undergo screening and background investigations. Additional details about the required background checks can be found at the following website: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/10450.html.

4. Drug Testing. Per Executive Order 12564, the VA strives to be a Drug-Free Workplace. HPTs are not drug-tested prior to appointment, however, are subject to random drug testing throughout the entire VA appointment period. You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement form stating you are aware of this practice. This form authorizes your drug test results to be shares with VA officials, and others who have a need to know. Failure to sign the authorization form may result in disciplinary action up to and including removal.

As a trainee subject to random drug testing, you should be aware of the following:

Counseling and rehabilitation assistance are available to all trainees through existing Employee Assistance (EAP) at VA facilities (information on EAP can be obtained from your local Human Resources office).

You will be given the opportunity to submit supplemental medical documentation of lawful use of an otherwise illegal drug to a Medical Review Officer (MRO).

VA will initial termination of VA appointment and/or dismissal from VA rotation against any trainee who is found to use illegal drugs based on a verified positive drug test or refuses to be tested.

Although medical and recreational use of cannabis is legal in the state of California, it is illegal for federal employees and trainees to use marijuana and its derivative, including CBD, on or off duty.

The VA Drug-Free Workplace Program Guide for Veteran Health Administration Health Professions Trainees can be found at: VHA_HPTsDrug-FreeWorkplaceOAA_HRA.pdf (va.gov)

6. Additional Information. Please note that Health Professions Trainees (HPTs) are appointed as temporary employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, HPTs  are subject to laws, polices, and guidelines posted for VA staff members. There are infrequenet times in which this guidance can change during a training year which may create new requirements or responsibilities for HPTs. If employment requirements change during the course of a training year. HPTs will be notified of the change and impact as soon as possible and options provided. The VA training Director for your profession will provide yo with the information you need to understand the requirement and reason for the requirement in a timely manner.

Other eligibility requirements include:

To be eligible for our program you must be in good standing at an American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) accredited graduate program in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined psychology or Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) accredited program in Clinical Science. Persons with a doctorate in another area of psychology who meet the APA or CPA criteria for respecialization training in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined Psychology are also eligible.  You must be approved for internship status by your graduate Director of Clinical Training.  We also require that applicants have successfully completed their dissertation proposal prior to the application deadline. Applicants should have 400 hours of supervised experience in direct intervention and 100 hours of assessment experience at the time of application.  If you have fewer than those hours at the time of application, but will be accruing substantial hours before the internship start date, please indicate that in the application materials.

Additional information regarding eligibility requirements for appointment as a psychology HPT can be found at: http://www.psychologytraining.va.gov/eligibility.asp

Internship Admissions, Support, and Initial Placement Data

Date Program Tables are updated: May 17, 2023

Does the program or institution require students, trainees, and/or staff (faculty) to comply with specific policies or practices related to the institution’s affiliation or purpose? Such policies or practices may include, but are not limited to, admissions, hiring, retention policies, and/or requirements for completion that express mission and values? No If yes, provide website link (or content from brochure) where this specific information is presented: N/A
Briefly describe in narrative form important information to assist potential applicants in assessing their likely fit with your program. This description must be consistent with the program’s policies on intern selection and practicum and academic preparation requirements: Applicants are considered if they are in good standing at an American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) accredited graduate program in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined psychology or at a Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) accredited program in Clinical Science. Students with a doctorate in another area of psychology who meet the APA or CPA criteria for re-specialization training in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined Psychology are also eligible. Approval for internship status by your graduate program training director is also required. We expect at least three years of doctoral-level study and 400 clinical hours; however, we are aware of the impact the previous pandemic has had on training for many applicants over the past few training years, and we will consider that impact when reviewing applications where hours may not meet the minimum requirements. A minimum of 100 assessment hours is preferred to have been accrued by each applicant prior to the application deadline. Interns are selected based on multiple factors; these include the quality of their graduate and undergraduate education, the quality and diversity of practicum experiences, research and teaching experience, multicultural competence, letters of recommendation, and perhaps most importantly, the perceived alignment between the student, their training goals, and our training program. We seek applicants who have had a variety of clinical experiences with an emphasis on evidence-based therapy modalities with different adult patient populations. We require that applicants have passed their comprehensive exams and have had their dissertation proposal approved by the start of internship. We also prefer that applicants have completed or have made significant progress on their dissertations before the start of internship. Applications are reviewed by the Director of Training and members of the psychology training committee to determine whether an interview should be granted. Interviews for selected applicants will be held remotely using video technology on four days in January (tentatively scheduled for 1/4, 1/8, 1/9, and 1/11/2024). The interviews will include an open house and group overview of the program followed by staff introductions. Then, applicants will shift into three consecutive individual 30-minute interviews, followed by a Q&A session with our current intern cohort. It has always been our goal to make the interviews as comfortable as possible to provide an accurate representation of the collegial training environment at LAACC. All applicants will be notified of their interview status by December 15, 2023.
Does the program require that applicants have received a minimum number of hours of the following at time of application? If Yes, indicate how many: Yes or No Amount Total Direct Contact Intervention Hours Yes 400 (general) Total Direct Contact Assessment Hours Yes 100 (general)
Describe any other required minimum criteria used to screen applicants: Our procedures for intern recruitment and selection are governed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant. Our training program is committed to creating a supportive learning environment for individuals of diverse backgrounds, and as a federal agency, we abide by the U.S. Government Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Reasonable Accommodation policies. The Internship Program follows a policy of selecting the most qualified candidates and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes attempting to ensure an appropriate representation of individuals along many dimensions, including (but not limited to) gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnic/racial minorities, and persons with disabilities. Our internship program values cultural and individual diversity, and we strongly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to apply.
Financial and Other Benefit Support for Upcoming Training Year* Yes or No; if yes, amount Annual Stipend/Salary for Full-time Interns Yes, $38,484 Annual Stipend/Salary for Half-time Interns N/A Program provides access to medical insurance for intern? Yes, see below
Benefits Yes or No; if yes, amount Trainee contribution to cost required? Yes Coverage of family member(s) available? Yes Coverage of legally married partner available? Yes Coverage of domestic partner available? No Hours of Annual Paid Personal Time Off (PTO and/or Vacation) Yes, 104 Hours of Annual Paid Sick Leave Yes, 104 In the event of medical conditions and/or family needs that require extended leave, does the program allow reasonable unpaid leave to interns/residents in excess of personal time off and sick leave? Yes Other Benefits Interns get 11 paid Federal Holidays, 5 Authorized Absence Days for educational activities, and they are eligible for life insurance. Unfortunately, the VA no longer covers vision and dental insurance. Premiums are withheld from stipends on a pre-tax basis. 2023 Plan Information for California can be found at: https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/plans/2023/state/ca. 3332211

Post-Internship Activities

Because of the generalist nature of our internship program, interns are prepared for postdoctoral residencies in a number of different sub-specialty areas.  Interns from LAACC have been highly competitive for postdoctoral positions.  Below is a table listing the initial post-internship positions for the preceding 3 cohorts (2019-20 through 2021-22):

Initial Post-Internship Positions

Provide an Aggregated Tally for the Preceding 3 Cohorts ’19-‘20 through ’21-‘22 Total # of interns who were in the 3 cohorts 12 Total # of interns who did not seek employment because they returned to their doctoral program/are completing doctoral degree 0
Provide an Aggregated Tally for the Preceding 3 Cohorts PD (Postdoctoral residency position EP (Employed Position) Community mental health center 3 0 Federally qualified health center 0 0 Independent primary care facility/clinic 0 0 University counseling center 0 0 Veterans Affairs medical center 3 0 Military health center 0 0 Academic health center 0 0 Other medical center or hospital 4 0 Psychiatric hospital 0 0 Academic university/department 1 0 Academic university/department 0 0 Independent research institution 0 0 Correctional facility 0 0 School district/system 0 0 Independent practice setting 1 0 Not currently employed 0 0 Changed to another field 0 0 Other 0 0 Unknown 0 0

Postdoctoral Residency Positions for Interns from the 2019-20 through 2021-22 Classes

2021-2022

Adult Outpatient Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Comprehensive DBT and PTSD Clinics)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Los Angeles (CBT-LA)

Loma Linda VA Medical Center PTSD Clinical Team

Stanford University Counseling and Psychological Services

 

2020-2021

Harbor-UCLA Residency Program: Adult CBT/Dissemination Track

Behavioral Medicine/Gender Specialty Residency at Kaiser Permanente, Vallejo (CA)

San Francisco VA Advanced Residency in Women’s Health and Trauma

Adult Psychiatry Residency at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City (CA)

 

2019-2020

Hospital-Affiliated Behavioral Health Clinic (WA)

Private Practice

Homeless Mental Health/SUD Postdoctoral Residency, VA West Los Angeles

Stanford University Sleep Health and Insomnia Postdoctoral Residency

 

For those who prefer to seek employment versus a formal postdoctoral residency, our alumni have had considerable success obtaining jobs in a variety of settings such as the VA (as a graduate psychologist), prison system, community mental health, and private practice.  Lastly, a high percentage of our staff were psychology interns at LAACC.  A number of additional intern alumni hold staff psychologist positions through the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.   

Program Setting

VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC) is an oupatient care clinic located in downtown Los Angeles.  Our clinic is part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS), serving approximately 1.4 million Veterans in the central and southern California region. VAGLAHS has the largest number of healthcare trainees in the VA system and consists of one flagship medical center (West Los Angeles Healthcare Center), two ambulatory care facilities (Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center and Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center), and eight community-based outpatient clinics (Bakersfield, East Los Angeles, Lancaster, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, San Gabriel Valley, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo). VAGLAHS is part of the larger VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN22), serving Veterans who live in California and Nevada.

LAACC is a dynamic and exciting place to work.  Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the clinic is situated in one of the most diverse cities in the nation.  Veterans who come to LAACC represent a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  Recent statistics show that the Veteran population at LAACC is approximately 46% White, 30% Black or African-American, 24% Latinx, and 8% Asian and Pacific Islander, with 14% unknown or declined to answer.  Our clinic serves all socioeconomic levels; however, the majority of Veterans whose data was reported have low incomes.  Within this population of Veterans, trainees at LAACC have the opportunity to work with specific groups, including serving the unique needs of women Veterans, LGBTQ Veterans, and homeless Veterans.  Staff at LAACC also represent many different cultural groups and the clinic celebrates the diversity of its staff.

LAACC provides comprehensive medical and mental health services to its Veteran population. The twenty full-time (and two part-time psychologists on staff at LAACC coordinate the following mental health programs: Addictive Behaviors Clinic (ABC), Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP), Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT), Neuropsychology and Geropsychology assessment services, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC), Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI), Trauma Recovery Services (TRS), and the Women’s Mental Health Program.  TRS includes services provided at LAACC, as well as a formal PTSD Clinical Team located at our satelite clinic in East Los Angeles.

Our mission is to provide training that prepares interns for the practice of clinical psychology.  We aim to train interns in a wide variety of clinical psychological services and prepare them for successful entry into a postdoctoral residency or entry-level clinical psychology position.  With this in mind, we provide generalist training in a wide spectrum of outpatient services.  We offer practical experience, didactic training, and intensive supervision in order to help our interns become competent and prepared for the professional practice of psychology.

Local Information

LAACC is located in downtown Los Angeles, in the middle of the cultural, financial, and political hub of metropolitan Los Angeles, an area that extends west to Santa Monica, south to the Port of Los Angeles, north to the San Gabriel Mountains, and east to Whittier.  Our clinic is adjacent to Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, and Chinatown, and is very close to the Arts District.  Our location is in the midst of a physical and socio-cultural renaissance.  Businesses, shopping, restaurants, recreation, and cultural centers now dominate the area around the clinic.  The Geffen Contemporary Art Museum, the Japanese American Museum, the Music Center (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, and Mark Taper Forum), the Disney Performing Hall (home to the LA Philharmonic), the financial and garment districts, and the jewelry center are all within walking distance of the clinic.

Our interns take advantage of all that Los Angeles has to offer.  They have resided in many different areas of LA through the years, including Pasadena, Santa Monica, Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, and the San Fernando Valley.  Union Station, the main train station servicing the Metropolitan Los Angeles area, is also walking distance from our clinic thereby facilitating staff and interns to use public transportation and “go green.”  In some ways, our location couldn’t be better since the VA subsidizes public transportation expenses.

If you are interested in further information regarding downtown Los Angeles, please visit:  www.lacity.org

Training Model and Program Philosophy

The philosophy of the LAACC internship program is that internship is a time for applied clinical experiences and training based on current psychological science. Our training year prepares our interns to “wear many different hats” and depart from our program ready for postdoctoral residency or entry-level practice utilizing evidence-based psychological practice and providing high quality care rooted in understanding of the cultural and individual level differences affecting health care.  An important principle of our program is that training and supervision is a priority.  We view delivery of services as the platform upon which interns’ learning takes place and provide generalist training and supervision in support of this learning.

Our internship provides training according to a scientist-practitioner model, placing a strong value on scientific knowledge and inquiry.  We offer a supervision-rich atmosphere, and interns have the opportunity to work with many different staff members who are very committed to training.  Students are exposed to a variety of supervision orientations and while supervision styles vary, the quality of supervision is regularly regarded as one of the program’s signature strengths.

At LAACC, interns are well-respected by the psychology training staff as well as by staff from a variety of other disciplines and departments.  We believe that training is best provided through good working relationships and mutual respect. We work beside our interns every day (staying in close contact and maintaining availability, even while working remotely and via telehealth channels). While they are on internship, we support interns as advanced practitioners while embracing them with support though numerous opportunities for supervision and learning.  Our goal is to help interns attain the competence and confidence they will need to take the next step in their careers, by providing them with diverse challenges relevant to the profession of psychology. We believe that we are successful in this mission because of the success of our alumni who have secured a wide variety of positions as practicing psychologists, many of them within our own clinic and the VA healthcare system

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Philosophy and Commitment

Our training program is committed to the ongoing process of developing multicultural competencies –for our trainees and ourselves as providers and trainers. This commitment is predicated on the belief that psychology practice is improved when we develop a broader and more compassionate view of our individual differences. Our practice is improved further as we better understand the complex forces that influence a person's psychological development, including cultural, social, structural, economic, and political factors. We are committed to offering training experiences that provide opportunities for trainees to expand their vision of the world and learn to understand the perspective of others more fully. When this occurs, our practice can be more responsive to the needs of our clients and less constrained by our biases. For these various reasons, the internship and postdoctoral residency programs place a high value on attracting a diverse group of trainees and on maintaining an awareness of multicultural issues throughout the training year.

LAACC is deeply committed to the training of future psychologists from a culturally competent framework and fostering an environment that is highly sensitive to and appreciative of all aspects of diversity. We believe that increased self-awareness and appreciation for other viewpoints and cultures make psychologists more effective practitioners, scientists, and teachers. Additionally, acknowledgment of historical systems of oppression is critical in changing the status quo. For these reasons, sensitivity to individual differences and cultural diversity is an integral part of our training philosophy.

Our overall objective is to provide trainees with the skills and knowledge to leave their training year to provide clinical services across cultures and diverse settings. Internship and residency are training years focused on the implementation of graduate school knowledge and the acquisition/ enhancement of clinical skill. Consistent with this aim and the program’s culture and diversity training philosophy, training is focused on learning how to integrate diversity-related knowledge, skills, awareness and sensitivity into clinical services.

Hybrid Model of Training and Service Delivery

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the LAACC psychology training program successfully transitioned to a hybrid model of training and service delivery to Veterans. Trainees attended and participated in didactics and supervision via virtual video platforms as well as direct, face-to-face supervision; they also benefited from live, direct observation of clinical care by supervising psychologists.  Method of service delivery is dictated by specific clinics/programs and the needs of the Veterans they serve; although trainees primarily utilize telehealth modalities for individual and group therapy, while engaging in Veterans on-site for most cognitive and psychodiagnostic assessments, in-person, face-to-face care is provided when clinically indicated and/or specifically requested by the Veteran. Throughout the pandemic, as guidance allowed, the training program functioned in a hybrid model, with trainees engaging in a combination of work on-site and work-from-home. Although the public health emergency (i.e., the pandemic) has officially ended, the health and safety of our psychology trainees, along with the competent care of our nation’s Veterans, remains of utmost importance to us. We will continue to provide high-quality training in professional psychology while simultaneously keeping our trainees’ health and wellness at the forefront.

Program Competencies and Goals

Competencies

The nine profession-wide competencies that we consider central to internship training at our site, consistent with APA’s Standards of Accreditation, are as follows:

 Intervention

This competency includes the development and maintenance of effective therapeutic relationships, the establishment of evidence-based intervention plans specific to service delivery goals, and the application of relevant research in clinical decision-making.  Interns will demonstrate competency in providing evidence-based individual and group interventions that are informed by assessment findings, therapeutic goals, context, culture, and the scientific literature. They will also evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions and adapt their approach accordingly, using appropriate methods or measures.

Assessment

Interns will be able to select and apply appropriate assessment methods based on the scientific literature, the referral question and goals for assessment, and relevant diversity characteristics.  Test interpretation, case conceptualization, and recommendations will be informed by current research and professional standards, and information will obtained from multiple sources.  Interns are expected to demonstrate the ability to communicate findings and recommendations in an accurate, effective manner.

Ethical and Legal Standards

This competency includes knowing and acting in accordance with all professional ethics, laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines governing health service psychology.  Interns will recognize ethical dilemmas when they arise and apply ethical decision-making to resolve them appropriately.  Interns are expected to conduct themselves ethically in all professional activities.

Individual and Cultural Diversity

This competency requires interns to demonstrate and apply an understanding of individual and cultural diversity in psychological assessment, treatment, consultation, supervision, and research. Interns are expected to reflect on how their own social identities and culture/diversity characteristics impact relationships with others.  Interns are also expected to work effectively with all areas of individual and cultural diversity and provide competent care for individuals whose cultural identity/worldview conflict with their own (e.g. race, religion, sexual orientation, ability status, gender identity, national origin, etc.).   To support trainees in this work, interns will attend diversity seminars that include diversity related didactics, regular case presentations/consultations, and self-reflection on their own reactions and interactions with others.  Interns will also be asked to complete a semi-formal presentation on a topic of their choice related to diversity/culture.

Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors

For this competency, interns are expected to act in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of the profession, including integrity, comportment, professional identity, accountability, and concern for the welfare of others. They will engage in self-reflection regarding their own personal and professional functioning, amd work to improve performance and wellbeing.  The will demonstrate an openness and responsiveness to supervision and feedback and develop greater independence as they progress across the training year.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

This competency involves developing and maintaining effective relationships with patients, peers, supervisors, staff members, and professionals from other disciplines. Interns are expected to use effective interpersonal skills and manage difficult communication well.  This competency also includes the effective use of verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills, and a thorough understanding of professional language.

Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

This competency includes a knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other disciplines.  Interns will demonstrate the ability to function effectively as a member of an interprofessional or interdisciplinary team and to engage in the practice of consultation with individuals/families, other healthcare professionals, interprofessional groups, and/or systems.

Supervision

Interns will demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices and apply this knowledge in either direct or simulated practice.  Competency in supervision includes awareness and knowledge of ethical and legal issues and cultural/diversity factors as they relate to the supervisory role.

Research

This competency includes the ability to critically evaluate research literature, integrate scientific literature into clinical practice, and disseminate clincial research or engage in other scholarly activities.  Interns will apply clinical research findings to clinical decision making, integrate research into case conference presentations, attend seminars and workshops on evidence-based practices, and present current research in the Team Training Seminar.

Program Goals

Our program goals are based on our training model, program philosophy, and competency-based supervision.  Our goal is to train interns to be generalist clinicians who are competent in these nine areas listed above.  Consequently, upon graduation, our interns will be ready to handle the demands of a job as a postdoctoral resident or entry-level psychologist in most mental health settings. Psychologists within the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center provide a wide variety of psychological services throughout the clinic. Interns are trained to provide these same services, and the staff clearly models the roles that interns are expected to develop.

Interns are provided with training to increase their competency in each of the required areas throughout the training year.  For instance, training in the area of individual and cultural diversity is an ongoing year-long practice that is integrated into all other areas of clinical and professional work, explored in supervision, didactics, and the Diversity Seminar.  Respect for, and understanding of, the importance of individual and cultural diversity, including the development self-reflective practice, it relates to psychological and professional practice is a core value of the training program at LAACC.  Training in ethical and legal standards are also incorporated into the training program year-long, through clinical experiences, supervision, and the weekly Law & Ethics seminar that all interns attend.

Training in assessment includes clinical interviewing, psychodiagnostic assessment, and opportunities for neuropsychological assessment. Students will learn how to administer the VA-wide Mental Health Initial Assessment interview. Interns will also learn how to hone their skills in the administration, scoring, and interpretation of comprehensive test batteries including numerous psychological and cognitive screening tests, as well as neuropsychological tests. Assessment training at LAACC also includes teaching interns to improve skills in assessment report writing, communicating assessment findings, and incorporating test results into case conceptualization and treatment planning. 

Program Structure

Internship activities are structured to provide training in evidence-based assessment, treatment, and consultation for Veterans with behavioral and mental health problems as part of interprofessional teams. We provide a broad range of opportunities, of varying lengths and time commitments. Interns at LAACC participate in four MAJOR rotations for 6-months each (two each during the first and second six months of the training year), which will provide the generalist training needed to implement care for a wide range of psychiatric conditions, including evidence-based trauma-focused treatment to Veterans who have been exposed to traumatic events across their lifespan. Concurrently, there is a rich catalogue of elective training experiences/opportunities available to interns that can be incorporated into individual training plans as time allows, including the ACT Seminar/Clinic, Mindfulness Facilitation, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Clinical Practice and an option to participate in one of several GLA Psychology DEI Subcommittees for some portion of the training year. Additionally, interns will attend didactic and discussion-based seminars dedicated to topics such as Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, law and ethics, and supervision. We believe this training structure emphasizes generalist training while allowing room for interns to enhance their knowledge and skills in areas they view as important to their professional development.

Throughout all of these different training experiences, we expect that interns will spend about 12-18 hours per week engaged in direct patient contact.  The minimum number of hours of direct patient care expected on internship is 7-10 hours per week.  These hours spent in patient care include conducting psychological assessments, completing intake assessments, providing individual psychotherapy, and facilitating group psychotherapy.

Supervision

Each intern will receive a minimum of four (4) hours of supervision per week, at least two hours of which includes individual face-to-face supervision with rotation supervisors. Additionally, two hours per week will include group supervision with other supervisors (e.g., Behavioral Medicine, BHIP Case Conference).  Our training program employs a developmental model of training. Specifically, there is more intensive supervision at the outset of the internship and at the beginning of each new rotation, with the goal of increasing the interns’ independence and ability to manage increasingly complex situations as their knowledge and skills develop, which is in alignment with our Graduated Levels of Responsibility. Supervision takes place through a number of different modalities, including direct observation, audio/video sessio review, case presentations, role plays/response to vignettes, review of written work, review of test data, observations in interdisciplinary team meetings, and feedback from other staff members. Interns have the opportunity to observe supervisors providing services in many settings, especially at the start of the rotation, and frequently serve as co-facilitators for group interventions.

Evaluation 

The internship program encourages ongoing feedback among interns, supervisors, and the Training Committee. Staff members informally review interns’ progress at monthly staff meetings. Supervisors and interns complete formal, written, competency-based evaluations at 3-months, 6-months and 12-months and, specifically, at the end of each rotation, with the expectation that feedback in an ongoing process throughout the year. These evaluations encourage communication, identify strengths and weaknesses, and set goals for training. Interns are required to complete evaluations of their supervisors, the rotations, the didactics, and their elective placements. The internship program also solicits feedback from interns on programmatic issues informally throughout the year. Interns are scheduled to meet with the Director of Training on a monthly basis to discuss any problems, concerns, or suggestions for program improvement. Interns complete a formal evaluation and an exit interview with the Director of Training at the completion of the year.

Training records are maintained in a locked cabinet within a locked room and are kept indefinitely. Interns are asked to comment upon the evaluations both orally and in writing. Any disagreements are discussed, and evaluations are modified, as appropriate.

Professional Development

Professional development is emphasized through a variety of methods, including routine supervision with the primary supervisor, Team Training presentations focused on professional development issues (e.g. postdoctoral applications, licensure, etc.), and regularly scheduled individual intern check-in meetings with the Director of Training. In addition, our program maintains close contact with former interns in order to help facilitate the transition into professional positions.

Training Experiences*

The program consists of a variety of training experiences to develop competency in the following nine areas: psychological intervention (e.g. individual and group psychotherapy); psychological assessment; ethical and legal standards; individual and cultural diversity; professional values, attitudes, and behaviors; communication and interpersonal skills; consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills; supervision, and research. Training in these competency areas is provided through the programs outlined below.

*Subject to Change

Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)

The Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) is an interprofessional clinic designed to meet a wide range of mental health needs for a diverse population of Veterans. BHIP is team-based care and interns will learn about working with a range of disciplines to serve a specific panel of patients. BHIP focuses on improved access to care for Veterans, helping Veterans engage indicated care (e.g., evidence-based  psychotherapy), improve staff and intern satisfaction, and decrease hospitalizations of Veterans due to team-based support. Disciplines include psychiatry, psychology, clinical social work, case managers, and mental health nursing. In this training setting, interns will work with Veterans presenting with a variety of diagnoses. Psychotherapy referrals come from the BHIP intake clinic after an initial screening has been completed by a psychologist, clinical social worker, or case manager.  Intern activities while on this rotation include functioning within the context of an interprofessional team to conduct weekly initial BHIP intakes (i.e., Mental Health Initial Assessments/MHIAs) and provide individual and group psychotherapy. Numerous groups are operated through BHIP, and interns have the opportunity to co-facilitate with staff, (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy, Interpersonal Issues, Depression Process, etc.). Interns may also engage in patient triage/crisis intervention with walk-in/open access appointments, which would include risk assessment and treatment planning (e.g., hospitalization, care coordination with psychiatry).

Supervisors:                   Drs. Carrera-Pinedo, Jablon, Lo, Midgette, Newsom, Poosti, & Potts

Hours per week:           16

Number of months:     6

East Los Angeles (ELA) Community-Based Outpatient Clinic

Located at the East Los Angeles (ELA) Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, a community that since World War II has been predominantly Latinx American. East Los Angeles has been strongly influenced by Mexican and Chicano cultures, which historians highlight as giving this part of Los Angeles its essential character. This clinical rotation gives interns the unique opportunity to work with Veterans of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, but specifically with Latinx American Veterans. This group makes up the fastest growing population of the military. During the six-month rotation, interns receive education and training in the Mental Health Clinic (MHC). Interns will have the opportunity to provide treatment for a wide range of mental health and behavioral health conditions, including lifespan trauma (e.g., childhood trauma, race-based trauma, military sexual trauma/MST, combat trauma).  Interns will receive supervision in multicultural case conceptualization and evidence-based interventions including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Prolonged Exposure (PE) for PTSD. 

Interns on this rotation will spend Wednesdays and Thursdays at ELA. Treatment at the clinic includes psychological assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, and psychiatric medication management. Most groups are built on a cognitive-behavioral framework and emphasize the development of coping skills. As part of MHC, trainees will complete a 60-minute Mental Health Initial Assessment (MHIA) every week and see up to four (4) individual therapy cases using ACT, CBT, DBT-informed care, CPT or STAIR.  Additionally, interns will have the opportunity to co-facilitate a group with Dr. Nuñez, the Managing Emotions group, a transdiagnostic DBT-informed Skills group. Lastly, interns will participate in a weekly intake case consultation with Drs. Nuñez and Wiblin to practice case conceptualization and presentation, as well as collaboratively treatment planning.  Interns will be given time for session preparation and to write up intakes and psychotherapy notes for MHC cases.

Supervisors:                   Drs. Nuñez and Wiblin 

Hours per week:           16

Number of months:     6

Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT)

The LAACC Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT) uses a Housing First model to provide wrap-around services within the context of a patient-centered medical home with highly integrated mental health and social work services. The mission of HPACT is to identify and engage the highest-risk, highest-need unhoused Veterans who are not able to get the care they need through traditional channels.  We focus on providing care that facilitates stabilization of mental health and medical problems, incorporates social determinants of health into their care delivery, and expedites placement in housing. HPACT psychologists provide assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, consultation and coordination with other HPACT providers, as well as Veterans’ Justice Outreach, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), supported employment services and the Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP). In HPACT, interns participate in the interprofessional team huddle, conduct assessments, conduct one (1) hour of individual psychotherapy a week, co-facilitate one (1) hour of group psychotherapy, and receive individual supervision.  If group therapy is not available, interns will complete two hours of individual work (therapy or assessment).  Given the purpose of our clinic, trainees will also engage in additional trainings focusing on different aspects of care that are emblematic of the social justice orientation of our providers and the high acuity work of HPACT.  Training topics may include: comprehensive risk assessment, means safety, health impacts of housing insecurity, health disparities among unhoused populations, the Addressing Model and how to apply this framework into clinical practice, boundary setting, gender affirming care (in therapy, advocacy, hormone evals, and our Gender Resilience Workgroup), race based trauma, strategies for coping with minority stress, LGBT affirming practices, ability status/neurodiversity, and more. 

Supervisor(s):                Drs. Canizales and Novacek          

Hours per week:           8

Number of months:     6

Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI)

Nationally, the VA has implemented PC-MHI programs (also referred to as integrated care). PC-MHI programs embed mental health specialists such as psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers in primary care settings to assist healthcare providers with the management of common psychological conditions that often co-occur with chronic health conditions among Veterans (i.e. depression, PTSD, substance abuse).  The goal of psychologists in these settings is to provide specialized evidence-based care of mild to moderate mental health conditions to primary care patients.  Distinct from the services offered in the mental health specialty clinic, PC-MHI provides short-term services to primary care patients, who may present with acute mental health issues as well as longstanding psychological conditions that can interfere with medical compliance. PC-MHI offers a rich training experience in fast-paced primary care and women’s health clinic settings in which the intern will advance their skills of functional assessment, consultation, working with a multidisciplinary team, facilitating brief individual and group treatments, treatment planning, and differential diagnosis. Additionally, this experience exposes the intern to the growing and unique role of psychologists in medical settings, while increasing the interns’ familiarity with cutting-edge mental health practices in primary care.  The services promote a “tiered” model of mental healthcare within the medical system, whereby Veterans with mild to moderate problems amenable to brief or short-term interventions are treated in the primary care setting with their primary care provider (PCP) remaining the “center” and leader of care, while Veterans with more severe difficulties or requiring longer-term, or more complex care are ultimately referred to specialty mental health (Specialty MH) care clinics (e.g., Mental Health Clinic, Addictive Behaviors Clinic, Trauma Recovery Services, Women’s Mental Health Program). PC-MHI is an integrated care model that focuses on care coordination with other healthcare providers and short-term management of psychological conditions.

Supervisors:                   Drs. Chereji and Karakashian 

Hours per week:           8

Number of months:     6           

Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC)

On this rotation, interns will spend one day within the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC).  The clinic's Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC), is an outpatient interdisciplinary treatment program that provides supportive social integration and mental health services for Veterans diagnosed with serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and PTSD) with functional impairment.  The PRRC provides group and individual psychotherapy, assessment, and treatment planning services designed to prevent relapse, foster independence and self-esteem, maximize functioning in the community, and assist in the acquisition of new skills and understanding to promote mental health recovery. PRRC programming implements a recovery model to help Veterans reach their personally identified goals, develop new meaning and purpose in their lives, and increase engagement in their communities.

Supervisor:                     Dr. Romero

Hours per week:           8

Number of months:     6

Substance Use Disorders (SUD)

The SUD Clinic provides the full spectrum of outpatient substance use and addictive behavior treatment services, including an abstinence-based Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a more flexible harm reduction program, an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) for methadone maintenance, and other medications for addiction. Interns who rotate in the SUD clinic conduct intake assessments and provide individual and group psychotherapy as well as care coordination services across these programs. Although addiction is usually the focus of treatment, most patients present with comorbid medical, social, and mental health vulnerabilities including mood disorders, trauma, and psychosis, and thus a range of approaches are commonly used in the clinic, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Substance Use Disorders (CBT-SUD), Matrix Model, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and emotion-focused treatment. Interdisciplinary work is emphasized, and interns are expected to collaborate effectively with SUD Clinic psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, addiction therapists, and peers.

Supervisor:                     Dr. Barglow     

Hours per week:           16-20

Number of months:     6           

Trauma Recovery Services (TRS)

Located at both LAACC and the East Los Angeles (ELA) Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, TRS serves Veterans diagnosed with PTSD. During the six-month rotation, interns receive education and training in all aspects of trauma-related disorders, including etiology, diagnosis (i.e., CAPS-5), and utilizing empirically based treatments for trauma, including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) protocols for PTSD. The patient population is ethnically diverse and consists primarily of  military-related disorders at both ELA and LAACC. Interns on this rotation will spend one day at LAACC and one day at the ELA clinic.

At the ELA clinic treatment includes psychological assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, and psychiatric treatment. Most groups are built on a cognitive-behavioral framework and emphasize the development of coping skills. Trainees will complete one 90-minute CAPS-5 and PCL-5 and write-up  every other week and engage in group treatment weekly. They will co-facilitate a STAIR (Skills Training in Affective & Interpersonal Regulation) group with Dr. Feigel.  Additionally, there is opportunity for interns to co-facilitate a PTSD psychoeducation group based on interest/specialty areas.

At LAACC, interns will complete either one 90-minute PTSD-specific intake (i.e., CAPS-5, PCL-5, PHQ-9) or engage in group treatment weekly, as well as carry a caseload of two individual therapy cases. The intern will also participate in weekly team discussion about intakes and cases as well as individual supervision. Interns will be given administrative time for session preparation and intake report writing.

Supervisors:                   Drs. Argueta and Suyematsu (LAACC) and Feigel (ELA)

Hours per week:           8-16

Number of months:     6

Women's Mental Health Program (WMHP)

The LAACC WMHP provides psychological assessment and evidence-based individual and group psychotherapy to a diverse population of women and gender expansive Veterans. We aim to provide mental health services in an affirming and respectful environment with consideration to the unique needs of the Veterans we serve. Referrals for the WMHP come from primary care and specialty mental health clinics for a wide-range of difficulties, including mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD and trauma-related disorders, race-based stress and trauma, grief, emotion dysregulation, borderline personality disorder, mild to moderate eating disorders, co-occurring substance use, sleep problems, reproductive mental health, parenting difficulties, and relationship problems. Interns are supervised in individual empirically-supported psychotherapies such as mindfulness-based interventions, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy. Additional opportunities include group therapy, and mental health evaluations of readiness for hormone therapy. Current groups include a Third Wave Depression Group, DBT Skills Group, Still I Rise (a race-based stress and trauma group), and a Grief and Loss Support Group. Psychologists, psychology residents, interns and pre-interns provide clinical care in the WMHP, with collaboration from psychiatrists in the Behavioral Health Interdiscplinary Program (BHIP) and other GLA women’s health clinics.  

Supervisors:                   Drs. Adams-Stevenson and Schweizer

Hours per week:           16

Number of months:     6 months

Psychodiagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment 

The goal of the training in assessment is to facilitate intern competence in the area of psychodiagnostic and/or cognitive assessment by the end of the year. Assessment training is provided via didactic seminar(s) and through supervision of testing cases. Interns are required to complete a minimum of two (2) comprehensive batteries during the year. Assessment cases typically involve referral questions related to psychiatric diagnostic clarification or characterizing neuropsychological functioning in veterans with cognitive concerns.  Referrals for comprehensive assessments come from psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other professionals throughout the clinic.  Interns are expected to be involved in clinical interview, test selection and administration, report writing, and delivering feedback. Computerized administration, scoring, and interpretation are available for many tests.

Assessment Seminar

As described above, this weekly seminar will provide interns with information about test administration, clinical interviewing skills, and applied neuropsychology topics such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), healthy aging, and how to use neuropsychology as a complementary service to inform other clinical service delivery.  The seminar will support intern’s competency in assessment as they also engage in administering, scoring, and interpreting psychodiagnostic and/or neuropsychological tests.

Supervisors:                   Drs. Brunet and Harrell (didactics and supervision); Various (clinical practice)

Hours per week:           Variable

Number of months:     Year-long

Electives

Interested interns may also take part in the following elective programs. Generally, students may choose to participate an elective program over the course of the training year, schedule permitting.  Elective programs make up a small (~15%) percentage of our training. Entry is at the discretion of the Director of Training and rotation/program supervisors.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Seminar/Clinic

The ACT Seminar/Clinic elective is available to interns at their choosing following completion of a two-day ACT seminar/training. ACT is a transdiagnostic third-wave cognitive-behavioral treatment that addresses human pain and suffering; patients are encouraged to accept thoughts and feelings, choose valued directions, and take action.  Interns will attend a two-day didactic and experiential training in ACT at the beginning of the training year.  After the completion of the training, interns will work with a range of clinical applications and implement ACT for two clinical hours per week. Patients will be scheduled during the seminar time, and, as time permits, the supervisor will provide direct observation.  Supervision will be conducted in a group format and will incorporate the use of behaviorally based feedback, ACT exercises, videos, and reading lists.  Individual supervision is available upon request

Supervisor:                     Dr. Deleeuw

Hours per week:           4-6

Number of months:     6

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Clinical Practice and Program Development

This elective is for interns interested in participating in program development, creating a capstone project centered on an area(s) of diversity, equity, and inclusion or completing diversity specific assessments, and application of culturally centered psychological interventions. Note that we recognize diversity, and multiculturalism in all patient interactions, and aim to explore the salient diversity, and multicultural issues that arise during all patient interactions, and how they impact the therapeutic context.  Participation in this elective may include developing a group intervention based on a primary diversity factor (e.g., race-based trauma group, LGBT affirming group, women/gender diverse veterans groups), or creating a capstone project that can be presented to LAACC staff, or at one of the monthly GLA Mental Health DEI Lunch and Learn meetings.  This may also include completing culturally centered evaluations (e.g., cultural formulation interview, race based traumatic stress symptoms scale), and/or administering HRT evaluations, and gaining greater expertise within the provision of gender-affirming care for transgender/gender diverse veterans. Interns may also have the opportunity to learn multiculturally-oriented, or adapted interventions for specific populations, and receive consultation within the provision of adapting EBPs for specific populations (e.g., liberation psychology, narrative testimony therapy, DBT-PE for race-based stress and trauma).  Research opportunities may also be possible, such as a creating a needs assessment based on a primary diversity factor.  Additional program development, and research opportunities may also exist as part of participation on one of the subcommittees or workgroups that comprise the GLA Psychology DEI Steering Committee (Training, Hiring and Retention, Consultation, and Staff Development).  This elective will be available as part of the Women’s Health Clinic Program rotation.

Supervisors:                   Dr. Adams-Stevenson

Hours per week:           Flexible, 1-2 minimum

Number of months:     Varies

Program Development

This elective allows interns to design and implement a clinical treatment program in a need area. Staff provides guidance from the needs assessment stage through resource allocation, program implementation, and cost-benefit analysis.  For example, under the direction of Dr. Sobol, previous interns have elected to engage in a 16-week Behavioral Medicine Program Development elective, which focused on enhancing psychological adjustment and improving disease-relevant outcomes in such areas as diabetes, hypertension, tinnitus, obesity, effective aging, sleep, etc. Multidisciplinary teaming is at the core of the program.

Supervisor:                     Various Staff

Hours per week:         3-4

Number of months:     Varies

Clinical Research

This elective allows interns to devote a portion of their training time to research. Interns may use this time to develop an empirical project, carry out an existing study, obtain research-related training, etc. Staff is available to provide expertise, resources, and a variety of research opportunities. A number of our previous interns have worked with staff members on clinical research that resulted in co-authored publications, including a book. Previous students have conducted psychological research in Behavioral Medicine/Clinical Health Psychology and in the Dental Program. There may be other opportunities for research across sites/programs within the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System as well. If needed, interns may have dedicated research time during the first 6 months of internship to focus on the completion of their dissertation.

Supervisors:                   Various Staff

Hours per week:           Flexible; 4-hours maximum

Number of months:     Varies

Didactics and Continuing Education Workshop Opportunities

At the beginning of the year, all interns receive training via didactic seminars in evidence-based psychotherapies, including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Prolonged Exposure (PE). Additionally, interns participate in several ongoing seminars and attend day-long continuing education workshops offered throughout the year.

Assessment Seminar

See Psychodiagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment description under Training Experiences section.

Clinical Supervision Seminar

The Clinical Supervision Seminar meets monthly and is designed to provide interns and postdoctoral residents with training in evidence-based supervision practice and develop supervision competency. Seminars include formal didactic presentations, assigned readings, exercises, case discussions, self-assessments, and role-plays. Topics include APA Guidelines for Clinical Supervision, models and theories of supervision, roles and responsibilities, the supervisory relationship, legal and ethical issues, diversity, reflective practice, and evaluation and feedback. Trainee Competency is determined by the trainee’s ability to meet behavioral objectives through participation in discussions and simulations and completion of in-class assignments.

Supervisor: Dr. Joy Lin, Staff Psychologist, Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar and Clinical Consultation

The overarching goal of the weekly Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar at LAACC is to increase trainees’ cultural competence, by enhancing understanding and appreciation for diversity and culture.  Central to this training is examining various dimensions of our cultural selves (e.g., social identities, privilege, diversity characteristics, etc.) as we intersect with the dimensions of cultural others. We use this understanding to inform our clinical interpretations, treatment goals and relationships with our clients.  To achieve these objectives, we use case discussions, didactic presentations, and experiential practice. To support trainees in this work, interns will attend diversity seminars that include diversity related didactics and self-reflection on their own reactions and interactions with others. Discussions about self-as-therapist, and how one’s social identities intersect with veterans’ identities will also be paramount to the seminar.   Interns will also be asked to complete a semi-formal presentation on a topic of their choice related to diversity/culture.

The seminar is comprised of a formal didactic topics spanning a variety of diversity topics, as well as a formal cultural (clinical) consultation hour, and a diversity oriented journal club.

Culturally-informed Clinical Consultation

The seminar is comprised of a formal didactic topics spanning a variety of diversity topics, as well as a formal cultural (clinical) consultation hour, and a diversity oriented journal club. As part of the LAACC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar, the experiential training component has been formalized as a biweekly clinical consultation hour dedicated to the discussion of diversity related issues in clinical cases. One goal is to provide trainees with the opportunity to develop cultural competence/humility related to practical and professional issues. A second aim is to help trainees build practical knowledge and skill in treating diverse patients across settings, presenting problems, and treatment modalities.

DEI Journal Club

As an additional component of the LAACC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar, trainees will be asked to participate in a journal club.  The aim of the journal club is to engage in further reflection about various DEI topics, and discuss various intersections of identity.  The journal club each year will be an immersive training experience, and follow a specific theme(s) to guide student’s reflections, and processing.  Past topics included a year-long review of Caste, and self-reflecion about the themes of the book, and accompanying podcast.

Supervisors: Drs. Adams-Stevenson and Nuñez

Legal/Ethical Issues Seminar

Interns attend a weekly brown bag lunch in which legal and ethical issues are discussed in relation to California Law, the APA Ethics Code, and situations that arise in the course of clinical care.

Supervisor: Dr. Jablon

Psychology Training Seminar

Interns and residents attend a bi-monthly Psychology Training Seminar, which is attended by psychology staff and other mental health professionals. Each trainee provides a research presentation on a topic of interest at this meeting twice during the training year. Training staff and invited speakers also present on a range of subjects including psychotherapy, assessment, professional development issues, and ethics.

Supervisors: Drs. Newsom, Romero and various psychology training staff

GLA Continuing Education (CE) Workshops

The GLA Psychology Department sponsors all-day Continuing Education programs two to three times per year, which all psychology interns and residents attend. Recent past programs/workshops have covered the following topics: Death, Dying, & Grief; Legal and Ethical Issues, Supervision, Working with Suicidality, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Working with Gender and Sexual Minority Veterans, Moral Injury, and Race-Based Trauma.

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 7:30 - 8:00 SUD SUD BHIP BHIP Admin 8:00 - 9:00 SUD SUD BHIP BHIP Seminar 9:00 - 10:00 SUD SUD BHIP BHIP Intern Hudle 10:00 - 11:00 SUD SUD BHIP BHIP Admin 11:00 - 12:00 SUD SUD BHIP Seminar Admin 12:00 - 1:00 Admin/Lunch Admin/Lunch BHIP Law & Ethics Admin/Lunch 1:00 - 2:00 SUD SUD BHIP BHIP Act Clinic 2:00-3:00 SUD SUD BHIP BHIP ACT Clinic 3:00 - 4:00 SUD SUD BHIP BHIP Act Clinic
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 7:30 - 8:00 WMHP WMHP ELA MHC ELA MHC Admin 8:00 - 9:00 WMHP WMHP ELA MHC ELA MHC Seminar 9:00 - 10:00 WMHP WMHP ELA MHC ELA MHC Seminar 10:00 - 11:00 WMHP WMHP ELA MC ELA MHC Intern Huddle 11:00 - 12:00 WMHP WMHP ELA MHC Seminar Admin 12:00 - 1:00 Admin/Lunch Admin/Lunch ELA MHC Law & Ethics Admin/Lunch 1:00 - 2:00 WMHP WMHP ELA MHC ELA MHC Act Clinic 2:00 - 3:00 WMHP WMHP ELA MHC ELA MHC ACT Clinic 3:00 - 4:00 WMHP ELA MHC ELA MHC Act Clinic

Requirements for Completion of Internship

Hours Requirement

The internship is a full-time, year-long program involving 2080 hours. Approximately 85-100% of the training hours can be spent in required programs and activities, with no more than 15% coming from elective activities.

Interns must complete the full year of training and spend at least 10% of their time in supervision and 25% of their time in direct patient care. In addition, the intern must complete all program requirements unless given permission to be excused from a particular requirement. 

Minimum Levels of Achievement (MLAs)

Competency Rating Scale

1=Substantial Supervision                                    2=Close Supervision on Basic & Advanced Tasks

3=Close Supervision on Advanced Tasks         4=Ready for Entry-Level Practice    

5=Approaching Autonomous Practice              6=Ready for Autonomous Practice

7= Autonomous Practice - Advanced Skill       N/A=Not Applicable

In order to maintain good standing in the program, interns must:

  1. Abide by the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and all VA policies, rules, and regulations.
  2. Obtain a rating of “3” or higher on at least 80% of evaluation items in each competency area at the 3-month and mid-year (6-month) evaluation. Ratings of “2” require increased focus in supervision. Ratings of “1” require a learning and/or subsequent remediation plan.
  3. Attend required seminars and Psychology Department workshops. In addition, interns must attend educational activities required on their rotations.
  4. Meet all administrative requirements.

In order to successfully complete the internship program, interns must:

  1. Abide by the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and all VA policies, rules, and regulations.
  2. Obtain a rating of “4” (Ready for Entry-Level Practice) or higher on ALL items in each required competency area. These are the Minimum Levels of Achievement required to graduate from internship.  If an intern does not meet this requirement, the program will follow the Due Process policy to address identified deficiencies.
  3. Attend required seminars and Psychology Department workshops. In addition, interns must attend educational activities required on their rotations.
  4. Meet all administrative requirements.

Facility and Training Resources

Centrally located in the heart of downtown, LAACC has occupied an important place in the LA community for the past sixty years. Relocated to a newly constructed, state-of-the-art building in 1993, LAACC has been a downtown fixture providing comprehensive medical and mental services to its Veteran population. The clinic is bright and sunny, encourages social interaction, and is easily accessed by disabled patients and staff. Our department has group rooms with one-way mirrors, videotape equipment, and digital recorders for recording patient sessions. We have excellent psychological testing resources with software to score and interpret most major tests. Interns are provided with shared office space as well as on-site desktop computers, VA laptops, and voicemail.  We provide Microsoft Office software, internet access, and electronic charting through CPRS. Interns have full use of all clinic resources including LCD projectors for presentations, and electronic research databases through the Medical Library. There is free parking in an off-site lot close to the building. Ms. Leona Payton-Franklin, our departmental administrative assistant, is available to the interns for non-patient related clerical support, and our Medical Support Assistants provide patient-related clerical support. 

Administrative Policies and Procedures

Authorized Leave Policy

Psychology interns accrue 13 days of Annual Leave (LA) and 13 days of Sick Leave (LS) over the course of the year at a rate of 4 hours per pay period.  Interns also receive 11 paid federal holidays. LAACC provides a maximum of five (5) additional days of educational/administrative leave to psychology interns that can be used for off-site educational purposes. The following professional activities qualify: defending one's dissertation, postdoctoral residency or job interviews, conferences and workshops, presentations at professional meetings, and graduation.  Requests for educational leave must be made in advance and approved by the Primary Supervisor and the Training Director.

Family and Medical Leave

The internship program allows for parental leave as well as for leave in the event of serious illness. Family and Medical Leave are granted for the birth of a child and care of a newborn, or placement of a child with oneself for adoption or foster care; a serious health condition of a spouse, son or daughter, or parent; or one’s own serious health condition. Interns are required to complete the full 2080-hour requirement; any leave time will result in an extension of the training contract. Interns are encouraged to address any requests for leave with the Director of Training as early as possible.

Nondiscrimination Policy and Respect for Diversity

LAACC highly values cultural and individual diversity.  We are an equal opportunity employer, and prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a parent.  In addition, we aim to foster a training environment that supports trainees in gaining greater competence in issues of diversity as they relate to patient care. 

Reasonable Accommodations

It is the policy of VA to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities (including Health Professions Trainees/HPTs) in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). LAACC is committed to providing access for all people with disabilities and will provide accommodations, as needed. Interns are encouraged to address any questions regarding reasonable accommodations or the process for requesting such to the Director of Training.

Liability Protection for Trainees

When providing professional services at a VA healthcare facility, VA-sponsored trainees acting within the scope of their educational programs are protected from personal liability under the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act 28, U.S.C.2679 (b)-(d).

Privacy Policy

We will collect no personal information about you when you visit our website.

Self-Disclosure

Our program sets no requirement for self-disclosure unless the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for interns whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training-related activities in a competent manner or if posing a threat to others.

Due Process and Grievance Procedures

All trainees are afforded the right to due process in matters of problematic behavior and grievances. A copy of our due process policy is available on request and is provided to all interns at the beginning of the training yea

Training Staff

The Psychology Training Committee currently consists of nineteen full-time psychologists and four part-time psychologists. We also have two auxiliary training faculty who are on staff at our sister site, the Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center. Training staff come from diverse academic backgrounds and represent a variety of theoretical orientations, including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, family systems, and psychodynamic. Our staff members hold appointments at local academic institutions including El Camino College, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, Pepperdine University, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Southern California. All staff psychologists at LAACC participate in the training program and all training supervisors are involved in direct patient care. Many of our staff members have worked at this facility for over 10 years, and staff retention is excellent as the staff at LAACC enjoy their jobs as well as the opportunities to work with psychology trainees. The recruitment of staff is quite effective, and jobs fill quickly and easily with well-qualified psychologists. In fact, two new psychologists joined the team during the previous training year as we are anticipating the arrival of two additional staff momentarily, both of whom have expressed a strong commitment to training. Many former interns voice a preference to work at this facility after their training year and are often hired when appropriate positions become available. Nine current staff members were interns here at LAACC, and additional staff members were interns at other local VA facilities. 

Psychology Training Supervisors include the following full-time psychologists:

Tyonna Adams-Stevenson, Psy.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Women’s Mental Health Program (WMHP)
  • Doctoral Program: Pepperdine University, 2018
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2021-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Women’s Mental Health/TGNC Veterans, Race Based Trauma and Stress, Black Mental Health, Intersectional Oppression, Disability Affirmative Care, Behavioral Medicine/Holistic Health, Social Justice/Advocacy, Trauma & Related Disorders, Culturally Informed Treatment

 

Nanci Argueta, Ph.D.

  • Site Lead, Trauma Recovery Services (TRS)
  • Doctoral Program: The University of Texas at Austin, 2013
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2015-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Anxiety Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Emotion Regulation, Multiculturalism and Diversity, Substance Abuse, Mental Health Treatment in Homeless Populations 

 

Jesse D. Barglow, Ph.D.

  • Chief, LAACC Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: Fordham University, Clinical Psychology, 2015
  • Doctoral Internship: VA West Los Angeles, General Track
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: VA West Los Angeles, Interprofessional Integrative Health Track
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2016-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Substance use, trauma, psychosis, group psychotherapy, program development, interdisciplinary collaboration 

 

Hannah Brunet, Ph.D.

  • Gero-Neuropsychologist, Memory Clinic, Neuropsychological Assessment Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: Palo Alto University, 2017
  • Doctoral Internship: West Los Angeles VA, Geropsychology Track
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2019-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Neuropsychology, neurodegenerative disease, dementia caregiving

 

Kyoko Canizales, Ph.D.

  • Graduate Psychologist, Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT)
  • Doctoral Program: Alliant International University/California School of Professional Psychology, 2021
  • Doctoral Internship: University of Kentucky-College Counseling
  • Clinical Interests: Black psychology, Psychodynamic therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

 

Ayli Carrero Pinedo, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program
  • Doctoral Program: University of North Dakota, 2021
  • Doctoral Internship: El Paso VA, 2021
  • Postdoctoral Residency: Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center, 2022
  • Clinical Interests: Women’s Mental Health, Immigrant Mental Health, Black and Latinx Mental Health, Gender Affirming Care, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Race Based Trauma and Stress, Intersectional Oppression, Liberation Psychology, Social Justice and Advocacy, Social Determinants of Mental Health, Culturally Affirming and Responsive Psychotherapy

 

Elizabeth Chereji, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Primary Care-Mental Health Integration Program
  • Doctoral Program: University of Southern California, 2014
  • Doctoral Internship: West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
  • Postdoctoral Residency: Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center—VA Long Beach Healthcare System
  • Clinical Interests: Psychosocial adjustment to medical concerns, coping with chronic illness, substance abuse (e.g., motivational interviewing, abstinence- and harm reduction-based approaches)

 

Carolyn Feigel, Ph.D.,

  • Coordinator, PTSD Clinical Team (PCT) at ELA Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: University of Southern California, 2003
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship:  Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2004-Present
  • Clinical Interests: PTSD assessment and EBTs for trauma (e.g., CPT, PE, EMDR); HIV treatment and medication adherence; health psychology, end of life issues; psychology and spirituality, ethnic minority mental health

 

Kathryn Harrell, Ph.D.

  • Neuropsychologist, Clinical Director, Veterans’ Cognitive Management and Assessment Program
  • Doctoral Program: Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, 2011
  • Doctoral Internship: VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2013- Present
  • Clinical Interests: Geriatric Neuropsychology, Teleneuropsychology, Dementia Care Management

 

Michael Karakashian, Ph.D.

  • Chief and Facility Training Lead, VA GLAHCS Primary Care–Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) Section
  • Whole Health Champion/VA CALM Mindfulness Program Faculty – VA OPCC&CT
  • Doctoral Program: University of Memphis, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, 2011
  • Doctoral Internship: VA-Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; Behavioral Medicine/HIV Mental Health
  • Licensure: Psychologist: California, 2017-present; Illinois, 2012-present
  • Clinical Interests: Clinical Application of Mindfulness and Compassion, Buddhist Psychology, ACT, Experiential Psychotherapy/Emotion-Focused Therapy, HIV Mental Health Care, PTSD, Substance Use, Motivational Interviewing, Primary Care-Mental Health Integration

 

Paul Lo, Ph.D.

  • Chief, Mental Health Services Section (LAACC, ELA), Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Doctoral Program: Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2001
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2003-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Military Psychology; Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Treatment of PTSD; Anxiety Disorders Treatment; Spirituality and Mental Health; Crisis Negotiation; Substance Abuse Treatment

 

Vianey Midgette, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Doctoral Program: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Counseling Psychology, 2008
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2012-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Assessment and treatment of PTSD, Multiculturalism/Diversity-informed Treatment, Social Justice, Couples & Families, Individual and Group Therapy

 

Kimberly Newsom, Ph.D.

  • Director of Psychology Training
  • Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP), Behavioral Medicine Program
  • VISN-22 Regional Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) Trainer/Consultant
  • GLA Psychology Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Training Subcomittee Co-Chair
  • Doctoral Program: University of Kentucky, 2004
  • Doctoral Internship: Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, TX
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Delaware, 2008-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Military Psychology; PTSD/Trauma; Women’s Issues; Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology; Children and Adolescents

 

Derek Novacek, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT)
  • Doctoral Program: Emory University, 2019
  • Doctoral Internship: UCLA Semel Institute
  • Postdoctoral Residency: VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Iowa, 2022 – Present
  • Clinical Interests: Homelessness, Psychosis, Stress and Trauma, Culturally Responsive Interventions, Black Mental Health

 

Kimia Poosti, Psy.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Doctoral Program:  Pepperdine University, 2019
  • Doctoral Internship:  Oklahoma UC Santa Barbara Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2022
  • Clinical Interests: Evidence-Based Treatments, Trauma and PTSD, Posttraumatic Growth, Mindfulness and Compassion, Individual and Cultural Diversity Factors, Women’s Health

 

Amy Potts, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Doctoral Program:  Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, 2010
  • Doctoral Internship:  Atlanta VA Medical Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Georgia, 2011
  • Clinical Interests: PTSD Assessment and Treatment, Vicarious Traumatization and Burnout, Military Sexual Trauma, First-Episode Psychosis and the Prodrome, Social Justice and Treatment of Underserved Populations

 

Jefferson Pou, Psy.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, San Gabriel Valley (SGV) Mental Health Clinic 
  • Doctoral Program: Biola University, 2019
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship/Residency: VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Iowa, 2021-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Assessment and Treatment of PTSD, DBT, ACT, Mindfulness, Diversity and Cultural Issues in Mental Health, Psychology and Spirituality

 

Elizabeth Romero, Psy.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC)
  • Assistant Director of Training, Pre-Internship Program Coordinator
  • Doctoral Program: Pepperdine University, 2016
  • Doctoral Internship: Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship:   Harbor UCLA-Behavioral Medicine
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Hawaii, 2019-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Serious Mental Illness Rehabilitation, Whole Health, Trauma, Integrative
  • Care/Behavioral Medicine, Dual-Diagnosis, Advocacy, and Applied Research

 

Jade Suyematsu, Psy.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Trauma Recovery Services (LAACC)
  • Doctoral Program: Pepperdine University
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center
  • Postdoctoral Residency: West Los Angeles VA Healthcare System
  • Clinical Interests: Trauma, Couple’s Therapy

 

Part-time Psychology Training Supervisors include:

Sharon Jablon, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Mental Health Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: California School of Professional Psychology, 1989
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Medical Center, Sepulveda, CA; UCI Medical Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 1990-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Depression, interpersonal issues, stress management, legal and ethical
  • issues, psychodynamic psychotherapy, group therapy

 

Esmeralda Nuñez, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, East Los Angeles CBOC-Mental Health Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: Loma Linda University, 2019
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center, 2018
  • Postdoctoral Residency: Holistic Mental Health Resident, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2021-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Cultural Psychology, Diversity and Cultural Issues in Health Disparities, Race-based Traumatic Stress, Latinx Mental Health, Mental Health Integration, Holistic MH, Acceptance-based Psychotherapy, Evidence-based Practices

 

C. Amanda Schweizer, Ph.D., MPH

  • Site Lead, Women’s Mental Health Program (WMHP)
  • Transgender Care Team
  • Doctoral Program:  San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, 2015
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: VAGLAHS Advanced Fellowship in Women’s Health
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2017-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Emotion regulation; trauma-related disorders; dual diagnosis; behavioral medicine/health psychology; diversity, equity, and inclusion; social justice; women’s mental health; gender-affirming care

 

Jessica Wiblin, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Mental Health Clinic (LAACC)
  • Doctoral Program: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 2019
  • Doctoral Internship: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2021-Present 
  • Clinical Interests: Evidence-based treatments (including DBT, CPT, CBT, MI), Military Sexual Trauma-related PTSD, Risk assessment and prevention of NSSI and suicidal self-directed violence, Women’s mental health, Healthcare disparities for underserved populations

 

Adjunct Psychology Training Supervisors:

Charles E. DeLeeuw, Ph.D.

  • Chief, General Care Division
  • Staff Psychologist
  • Doctoral Program: Fuller Graduate School of Psychology (Clinical), 2011
  • Doctoral Internship: Pacific Clinics, Arroyo FSP, 2010-2011
  • Clinical Interests:  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

Joy Y. Lin, Psy.D., MFT

  • Staff Psychologist, Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center (SACC) Mental Health Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: Pepperdine University, 2019
  • Doctoral Internship: VA West Los Angeles, 2018-2019
  • Postdoctoral Residency: VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center, Trauma Recovery Services/Women’s Health Clinic, 2019-2020
  • Clinical Interests:  Diversity and Multicultural Psychology, Integrative Health, Anxiety Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, MST, Women’s Health, Multicultural Supervision

 

Interns also frequently interact with a variety of agency personnel from other disciplines (e.g. psychiatry, social work, nursing, primary care, etc.).  

Postdoctoral Residency Program

The postdoctoral residency program at the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA). The next site visit will be during the academic year 2029. Prior to the start of residency, a candidate must have obtained a doctorate in Clinical or Counseling Psychology from a graduate program approved by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) at the time the program was completed. The applicant may have a doctoral degree in any area of psychology and have successfully completed a re-specialization program in Clinical or Counseling Psychology that is APA or CPA accredited. The applicant is expected to have completed an internship program accredited by APA or CPA or have completed a VA-sponsored internship. We currently offer two funded postdoctoral residency positions, one in the areas of Primary Care Mental Health Integration and Substance Use Disorders (PC-MHI/SUD)and the other in General Mental Health/Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP). We are seeking residency applicants with strong skills in intervention, assessment, consultation, program development, and program evaluation activities. Our selection criteria focus on background training, clinical experiences, and the perceived alignment between the applicant’s goals and the objectives of the training program. The Psychology Department at LAACC is committed to expanding the diversity characteristics of our staff and training programs; qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Welcome! VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC) is excited to offer a Psychology Postdoctoral Residency position with an emphasis in Primary Care-Mental Health Integration and Substance Use Disorders (PC-MHI/SUD) for the 2024-2025 training year as well as a Postdoctoral Residency position in General Mental Health/Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) for the 2024-2025 training year.  Both are one year, funded, full-time positions.

 

Kimberly Newsom

Kimberly Newsom Ph.D.

Director, Psychology Training

VA Greater Los Angeles health care

Phone: 213-253-2677 ext. 24837

Email: Kimberly.Newsom@va.gov

Important Dates

Applications due: December 15, 2023 (EST)

Accreditation Status

The Postdoctoral Residency program at VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center successfully submitted an initial application for accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA) and had its first site visit in June 2019.  The program was granted the maximum of 10 years accreditation, with the next APA site visit in 2029. Inquiries regarding the accreditation of our residency program may be directed to:

 

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation

American Psychological Association

750 First Street, NE

Washington, DC 20002-4242

Telephone: 202-336-5979

Fax: 202-336-5978

http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Email: apaaccred@apa.org

 

The residency program has been a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) since August 2016. 

Application Procedures

To apply, please submit the following documents through the APPIC Psychology Postdoctoral Application Centralized Application Service (APPA CAS) portal before 11:59 EST on December 15, 2023:

 

  1. A site-specific cover letter detailing experience and interest in these specialty areas, training goals, as well as how this postdoctoral residency will fit into your future career goals.  Please also include information on your approach to diversity in the assessment and treatment of patients.
  2. An updated copy of your Curriculum Vitae
  3. Graduate Transcripts (undergraduate transcripts are not needed)
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation from supervisors who are familiar with your clinical work  
  5. A letter from your Internship Training Director verifying that you are in good standing and on track for successful completion of internship prior to August 2024.
    • If your Internship Training Director is writing one of your letters of recommendation, please have him/her clearly state this information in the body of the letter.
    • If you have already completed your internship, you may include a copy of your certificate of completion in lieu of a letter from your Internship Training Director.
  6. A letter from your dissertation advisor describing the status of your dissertation and the anticipated (or completed) defense date.  This letter should also indicate that your doctoral degree has been, or will be, completed prior to August 2024.
    • If your dissertation advisor is writing one of your letters of recommendation, please have them clearly state this information in the body of the letter.

 

For questions about application submission issues please contact:

 

Kimberly Newsom, Ph.D.

Director of Psychology Training

Email: Kimberly.Newsom@va.gov

Phone: 213-253-2677 ext. 24837

Postdoctoral Residency Program Tables

Date Program Tables were updated: 6/26/23

Postdoctoral Program Admissions

Briefly describe in narrative form important information to assist potential applicants in assessing their likely fit with your program. This description must be consistent with the program’s policies on intern selection and practicum and academic preparation requirements: VA LAACC is looking for applicants with strong skills in individual and group interventions, psychological assessment, interdisciplinary team work and consultation, who also have specific interests and training in Primary Care Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders and/or Trauma Psychology and Women’s Mental Health. We greatly value individual and cultural diversity and seek applicants with strong backgrounds and interests in treating diverse patient populations. We are also seeking applicants with the personal and professional characteristics necessary to function well as a doctoral-level trainee in a fast-paced outpatient medical setting. Our selection team specifically focuses on applicants’ background training and experience as well as their expressed training and future career goals. We are looking for the best fit between applicants and what our training program has to offer. LAACC is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for our programs without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We encourage eligible applicants from all backgrounds to apply. Applications are reviewed by the Postdoctoral Residency Primary Supervisors in addition to all members of the residency selection committee. This committee is comprised of psychologists who serve as primary or delegated supervisors for each of the program emphasis areas, as well as the Director of Training. Following this review, highly ranked applicants are asked to participate in interviews, which may be either by telephone or video conferencing (preferred).. After the interview process is complete, the selection committee ranks the applicants and an offer will be extended to the top applicant. When applicants are no longer under consideration, we strive to notify them of this as soon as possible. This site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any postdoctoral residency applicant. For additional information, our separate Postdoctoral Recruitment and Selection policy is available upon request.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered, applicants must complete all of the requirements for the doctoral degree, including internship and dissertation prior to the residency start date.  The Department of Veterans Affairs requires that the applicant’s doctoral degree and internship both be completed at programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).

In addition, the following VA-wide eligibility requirements apply:

  1. U.S. citizenship. VA is unable to consider applications from anyone who is not currently a U.S. citizen. Verification of citizenship is required following selection. All Interns and Residents must complete a Certification of Citizenship in the United States prior to beginning VA training.
  2. A male applicant born after 12/31/1959 must have registered for the draft by age 26 to be eligible for any US government employment, including selection as a paid VA trainee. Male applicants must sign a pre-appointment Certification Statement for Selective Service Registration before they can be processed into a training program. Exceptions can be granted only by the US Office of Personnel Management; exceptions are very rarely granted.
  3. Interns and Residents are subject to fingerprinting and background checks. Match result and selection decisions are contingent on passing these screens.
  4. VA conducts drug screening exams on randomly selected personnel as well as new employees. Interns and Residents are not required to be tested prior to beginning work, but once on staff they are subject to random selection for testing as are other employees.

(For more information, please see: http://www.psychologytraining.va.gov/eligibility.asp)

Financial and Other Benefit Support for Upcoming Training Year

*Note. Programs are not required by the Commission on Accreditation to provide all benefits listed in this table

 

Financial and Other Benefit Support for Upcoming Training Year Yes or No; if yes, amount Annual Stipend/Salary for Full-time Residents Yes, $59,797 Annual Stipend/Salary for Half-time Residents N/A Program provides access to medical insurance for resident? Yes, see below
Benefits Yes or No; if yes, amount Trainee contribution to cost required? Yes Coverage of family member(s) available? Yes Coverage of legally married partner available? Yes Coverage of domestic partner available? No Hours of Annual Paid Personal Time Off (PTO and/or Vacation) Yes, 104 Hours of Annual Paid Sick Leave Yes, 104 In the event of medical conditions and/or family needs that require extended leave, does the program allow reasonable unpaid leave to interns/residents in excess of personal time off and sick leave? Yes Other Benefits Interns get 11 paid Federal Holidays, 5 Authorized Absence Days for educational activities, and they are eligible for life insurance. Unfortunately, the VA no longer covers vision and dental insurance. Premiums are withheld from stipends on a pre-tax basis. 2023 Plan Information for California can be found at: https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/plans/2023/state/ca.

Post-Residency Activities

Residents from LAACC have been highly competitive for employment opportunities.  Below is a table listing the initial post-residency positions for the preceding 3 cohorts (2019-20 through 2021-22):

Provide an Aggregated Tally for the Preceding 3 Cohorts ’19-‘20 through ’21-‘22 Total # of residents who were in the 3 cohorts 4 Total # of residents who did not seek employment because they returned to their doctoral program/are completing doctoral degree 0
Each individual represented in this table should be counted only one time. For former trainees working in more than one setting, select the setting that represents their primary position. PD (Postdoctoral residency position) EP (Employed position) Community mental health center 0 0 Federally qualified health center 0 0 Independent primary care facility/clinic 0 0 University counseling center 0 0 Veterans Affairs medical center 1 0 Military health center 0 0 Academic health center 0 0 Other medical center or hospital 1 0 Psychiatric hospital 0 0 Academic university/department 1 0 Community college or other teaching setting 0 0 Independent research institution 0 0 Correctional facility 0 0 School district/system 0 0 Independent practice setting 0 0 Not currently employed 0 0 Changed to another field 0 0 Other 0 0 Unknown 0 0

Post-Residency Positions for Residents from the 2019-20 through 2021-22 Classes

2021-2022

Independent Practice Setting (i.e., Forensic Assessment)

 

2020-2021

California Medical Facility (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

 

2019-2020

Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center-Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI)

Program Setting

VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (VA LAACC) is an outpatient care clinic located in downtown Los Angeles.  Our clinic is part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS), serving approximately 1.4 million Veterans in the central and southern California region. VAGLAHS is one of the largest health care systems within the VA and consists of one flagship medical center (West Los Angeles Healthcare Center), two ambulatory care facilities (Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center and Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center), and eight community-based outpatient clinics (Bakersfield, East Los Angeles, Gardena, Lancaster, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo). VAGLAHS is part of the larger VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN22), serving Veterans who live in California and Nevada.

VA LAACC provides comprehensive medical and mental health services to its veteran population.  The ten full-time and four part-time psychologists on staff coordinate the following mental health programs: General Mental Health, Addictive Behaviors Clinic & Opioid Treatment Program (ABC-OTP), Behavioral Medicine, Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT), Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC), Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder program (a PTSD Clinical Team located at our satellite clinic in East Los Angeles), and Women’s Mental Health.

The program setting is rich in cultural diversity.  Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the clinic is situated in one of the most diverse cities in the nation.  Veterans who come to LAACC represent a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  Recent statistics show that the Veteran population at LAACC is approximately 46% White, 30% African American, 24% Latino/a, and 8% Asian and Pacific Islander, with 14% unknown or declined to answer.  Our clinic serves all socioeconomic levels; however, the majority of Veterans whose data was reported have low incomes.  Within this population of Veterans, trainees at LAACC also have the opportunity to work with specific minority populations, including serving the unique needs of women veterans, LGBT veterans, homeless veterans, etc.  Staff at LAACC also represent many different cultural groups including ethnicity, disability, gender, and sexual orientation.  VA LAACC celebrates the diversity of its staff through regular clinic-wide events, which trainees can elect to help organize (e.g. Black History Month events, Hispanic Heritage events, etc.).  Trainees are also encouraged to attend monthly Psychology Diversity Committee meetings.

Our mission is to provide training that prepares residents for the duties typical of a professional psychologist, particularly with regard to PC-MHI and SUD as well as General Mental Health.  We provide specialty training in the collaborative integration of mental health into the primary care setting (i.e., PC-MHI), and the necessary skills to treat the sequelae associated with addictive behaviors (i.e., SUD). The residency program in General Mental Health is housed within the LAACC Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) and offers an integrated, team-based, patient-centered approach to the provision of a wide-range if services, including medication management, consultation/liaison services, and evidence-based individual and group psychotherapy services for a diverse patient population, including men, women, and gender-diverse veterans. We offer extensive clinical, practical experience and area-specific didactic training in order to help the residents master required competency areas and continue their growth regarding the integration of diversity-related knowledge, skills, awareness, and sensitivity into clinical practice.

One of the notable characteristics of the psychology setting at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in general and LAACC specifically is that staff retention is excellent.  It is a special source of pride for the psychology department at VA-LAACC that almost 50% of the psychology staff were former VA-LAACC psychology trainees, and many staff members completed their internships and/or postdoctoral residencies in the VA system as well.  We anticipate that our Postdoctoral Residents will also be competitive for positions that become available within our local VA system.

Facility and Training Resources

Residents will be provided with personal office space, a computer, telephone, email access, and all other resources necessary for patient care and administrative responsibilities.  They will be trained in use of the VA electronic patient charting system and will have full access to VA Intranet and internet resources needed for clinical work and research.  They will also have full access to VA Medical Library services as well as the LAACC training library with books and videos.  Residents will also have access to materials available through the LAACC Psychology Assessment Lab, which includes a wide variety of psychological assessment instruments and scoring programs, including computerized scoring software. 

Training Aims, Model, and Program Philosophy

The aim of our Psychology Residency Program is to promote advanced levels of competency in order to prepare Residents for independent practice in psychology in a variety of settings (e.g., VA medical center, private practice, medical setting, etc.).  The residency program provides broad training in core competencies combined with in-depth training and education in the specific areas of emphasis.  We believe that psychology training is most effective through the provision of quality supervision and didactic training integrated with considerable direct experience in service delivery.

Our developmental training model acknowledges and appreciates that our Postdoctoral Residents will come with varying degrees of experience.  We strive to build upon foundational skills and competency benchmarks acquired during their internship year. In practice, this means that Residents will be granted progressive autonomy and responsibility over the course of their training to reflect their increasing competency. The VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center Psychology training program is based on the practitioner-scholar model, emphasizing the application of scientific understanding in clinical practice.  We believe that training is best provided through didactic training, experiential learning, and strong working relationships with supervisors who can serve as models in the profession.

Supervision for the PC-MHI component of the postdoctoral residency will be provided mostly through the PC-MHI psychologists on staff and with supplemental supervision by other members of our mental health staff.  The psychologist who serves as the Director of the SUD program will be the primary supervisor for the SUD portion of the PC-MHI/SUD residency training program, aided by multidisciplinary staff on the SUD team.  Supervision of the Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) residency training program will be assigned to one primary supervisor within BHIP, with adjunct supervision provided by other licensed psychologists within the program, in addition to consultative services from a number of other clinics/programs due to the interdisciplinary model of outpatient mental health service delivery.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Philosophy and Commitment

Our training program is committed to the ongoing process of developing multicultural competencies –for our trainees and ourselves as providers and trainers. This commitment is predicated on the belief that psychology practice is improved when we develop a broader and more compassionate view of our individual differences. Our practice is improved further as we better understand the complex forces that influence a person's psychological development, including cultural, social, structural, economic, and political factors. We are committed to offering training experiences that provide opportunities for trainees to expand their vision of the world and learn to understand the perspective of others more fully. When this occurs, our practice can be more responsive to the needs of our clients and less constrained by our biases. For these various reasons, the internship and postdoctoral residency programs place a high value on attracting a diverse group of trainees and on maintaining an awareness of multicultural issues throughout the training year.

LAACC is deeply committed to the training of future psychologists from a culturally competent framework and fostering an environment that is highly sensitive to and appreciative of all aspects of diversity. We believe that increased self-awareness and appreciation for other viewpoints and cultures make psychologists more effective practitioners, scientists, and teachers. Additionally, acknowledgment of historical systems of oppression is critical in changing the status quo. For these reasons, sensitivity to individual differences and cultural diversity is an integral part of our training philosophy.

Our overall objective is to provide trainees with the skills and knowledge to leave their training year to provide clinical services across cultures and diverse settings. Internship and residency are training years focused on the implementation of graduate school knowledge and the acquisition/enhancement of clinical skill. Consistent with this aim and the program’s culture and diversity training philosophy, training is focused on learning how to integrate diversity-related knowledge, skills, awareness and sensitivity into clinical services.

Hybrid Model of Training and Service Delivery

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the LAACC psychology training program successfully transitioned to a hybrid model of training and service delivery to Veterans. Trainees attended and participated in didactics and supervision via virtual video platforms as well as direct, face-to-face supervision; they also benefited from live, direct observation of clinical care by supervising psychologists.  Method of service delivery is dictated by specific clinics/programs and the needs of the Veterans they serve; although trainees primarily utilize telehealth modalities for individual and group therapy, while engaging in Veterans on-site for most cognitive and psychodiagnostic assessments, in-person, face-to-face care is provided when clinically indicated and/or specifically requested by the Veteran. Throughout the pandemic, as guidance allowed, the training program functioned in a hybrid model, with trainees engaging in a combination of work on-site and work-from-home. Although the public health emergency (i.e., the pandemic) has officially ended, the health and safety of our psychology trainees, along with the competent care of our nation’s Veterans, remains of utmost importance to us. We will continue to provide high-quality training in professional psychology while simultaneously keeping our trainees’ health and wellness at the forefront.

Program Goals and Objectives

There are nine profession-wide competencies that we consider central to postdoctoral training at our site and are consistent with APA’s Standards of Accreditation are as follows:

  1. Integration of Science and Practice
  2. Ethical and Legal Standards
  3. Individual and Cultural Diversity
  4. Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
  5. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  6. Assessment
  7. Intervention
  8. Supervision
  9. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

The objectives of the program are to promote advanced competency in all of these domains, with the goal of preparing Postdoctoral Residents for the independent practice of psychology.

The incoming PC-MHI/SUD Resident will receive concurrent, year-long training in the two identified specialty areas, either Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) and Substance Use Disorders (SUD) while the Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) Resident will receive year-long training in the evaluation and treatment of Veterans with complex psychiatric diagnoses and co-morbid psychiatric and medical diagnoses.  The Resident trains in the clinic that is associated with each particular emphasis area and will have an assigned primary supervisor who is an expert within that area.  While there may be some occasions when consultation may be provided by other mental health specialists (e.g., psychiatrists, social workers), all of the Residents’ clinical supervision will be received from licensed staff psychologists.

Competence in each of these areas is promoted through supervised clinical experiences, didactic training, and professional activities.  For the research component, Residents are expected to critically evaluate research literature, apply research findings to clinical decision making, integrate research into case conference presentations, attend seminars and workshops on evidence-based practices, and present current research in the Psychology Training Seminar on two occasions throughout the training year.   Advanced training in ethical and legal standards is conducted through clinical experiences, supervision, and the weekly Law & Ethics seminar that all Residents attend. Cultural and individual diversity as well as issues related to social justice and disparities related to healthcare and other issues within the larger community are explored in supervision, didactics, and through opportunities to participate in special workshops, diversity-focused clinical activities, and our GLA Psychology Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.  Competence in professional values, attitudes, and behaviors are emphasized in supervision, which focuses not only on clinical care but also helps to socialize Residents to the profession of psychology and assist with professional development issues that arise.  Communication and interpersonal skills are also addressed in supervision to support Residents’ ability to negotiate difficult and complex interpersonal situations and hone their grasp on advanced professional language.  Competence in assessment and intervention skills are attained through direct service delivery, quality supervision, and specific training in evidence-based models of care.  Residents all receive didactic instruction in models and practices of supervision and will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through supervision of other psychology trainees.  Each emphasis area also offers the opportunity for interdisciplinary consultation and collaboration with the Resident operating as part of an interdisciplinary team of professionals.

Emphasis Areas

Primary Care-Mental Health Integration

Nationally, the VA has implemented Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) programs (also referred to as integrated care) which serve as an integral link for Veterans to more easily access mental health care.  PC-MHI programs embed mental health specialists such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers in primary care settings to assist healthcare providers with the management of common psychological conditions that often co-occur with health conditions (e.g., depression, PTSD, substance abuse).  The goal of psychologists in these settings is to provide specialized evidence-based care of mild-moderate mental health conditions to primary care patients, and to decrease barriers to accessing mental health services at the VA.  Distinct from the services offered in the mental health specialty clinic, PC-MHI provides short-term therapies to primary care patients, who may present with acute mental health issues as well as longstanding psychological conditions that can interfere with medical compliance. PC-MHI offers a rich training experience in fast-paced primary care and women’s health clinic settings in which the Postdoctoral Resident will advance their skills of: assessment, consultation, triage, working within a multi-disciplinary team, care management, facilitating brief-term individual and group treatments, treatment planning, crisis management, and differential diagnosis. Additionally, this experience exposes the Postdoctoral Resident to the growing and unique role of psychologists in medical settings, while increasing the Postdoctoral Resident’s familiarity with cutting-edge mental health practices in primary care.  The services offered in PC-MHI will be based according to an integrated, co-located care model that focuses on care coordination with other healthcare providers and the short-term management of psychological conditions. Program development, implementation, and evaluation will be a large part of the Resident’s postdoctoral year in PC-MHI.  Additional postdoctoral experiences in PC-MHI will include training in biofeedback and mindfulness facilitation, as well as opportunities in Women’s PC-MHI, and providing care to gender and sexual minority veterans.

 

PC-MHI Training Experiences:

  • Functional Assessments
  • Brief Intervention and Assessment
  • Interprofessional Consultation and Collaboration
  • Open Access

 

Substance Use Disorders (SUD)

The SUD Clinic provides the full spectrum of outpatient substance use and addictive behavior treatment services, including an abstinence-based Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a more flexible harm reduction program, an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) for methadone maintenance, other medications for addiction, and Contingency Management (CM). The resident is an integral member of the team and has the opportunity to participate in any and all aspects of the program.

Required clinical activities include individual and group psychotherapy and weekly intake evaluations. Addiction is usually the focus of treatment, and therefore the resident can expect to develop competence providing evidence-based treatments like Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Substance Use Disorders (CBT-SUD), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Matrix Model. In addition, most patients present with co-occurring mental health vulnerabilities including mood disorders, trauma, and psychosis, so a range of other approaches are commonly used in the clinic, including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) for trauma, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Seeking Safety, and emotion-focused treatments.

The SUD Clinic serves many patients at elevated risk for suicide, accidental overdose, and other high-risk behaviors, and thus the resident will be supported in developing crisis evaluation and intervention skills and learn to coordinate effectively with emergency services within GLA and in the broader Los Angeles County region.

Interdisciplinary work is emphasized. The SUD Clinic team is comprised of internal medicine and addiction doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, addiction therapists, and peers, and the resident is expected to collaborate effectively within the team and across the GLA network.

There are also numerous opportunities to contribute to program development projects. The SUD Clinic is rapidly evolving to meet the fluctuating needs of our complex patient population and provide treatment that is line with new research. This requires that we adapt current programs and develop new ones, and the resident is encouraged to participate in this work.

 

Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)

The Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) at LAACC is an interprofessional clinic designed to meet a wide range of mental health needs for a diverse population of Veterans. Our aim is to provide recovery-oriented services in a safe, inclusive and affirming environment. BHIP is team-based care, and the resident will work with a range of disciplines to serve across two specific panels of patients.

The Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) focuses on improved access to care for Veterans, helping Veterans engage in appropriate, indicated care (e.g., evidence-based psychotherapy and/or medication management), improve staff and trainee satisfaction, and decrease hospitalizations of Veterans due to team-based support. Disciplines include psychiatry, psychology, clinical social work, case managers, and mental health nursing.

Each team provides an integrated, patient-centered approach in the provision of a wide variety of services, including medication management, psychoeducation, motivational enhancement, tele-mental health, and evidence-based individual and group psychotherapy services.

The BHIP resident will be involved in treating Veterans with complex psychiatric diagnoses and co-morbid psychiatric and medical diagnoses. During the training year, the resident will further refine diagnostic skills, gain experience in working with complicated and challenging patients, enhance generalist training, and hone skills within specialty areas. As a part of the team, the resident will provide time-limited, evidence-based treatment to adults and older adults with a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Substance Use Disorders, and Schizophrenia. Additionally, as a General Mental Health/BHIP interdisciplinary team member, the resident will actively participate in weekly team meetings to address and solve patient-specific and system/process concerns. The resident will conduct general BHIP intake assessments and treatment planning. Treatment is individualized to assist Veterans in achieving their personal goals in the community, with a strength-based and recovery orientation.

Numerous groups are offered through BHIP, and the resident will have the opportunity to co-facilitate with staff, (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy, Anger Management, etc.). The resident will also have the opportunity to participate in the VA’s Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) Training Program, which includes a formal 3-day training as well as 6-months of consultation with a regional CPT trainer/consultant.  Residents may also engage in patient triage/crisis intervention with walk-in/open access appointments, which would include risk assessment and treatment planning (e.g., hospitalization, care coordination with psychiatry).

Patients receiving care in BHIP are veterans ranging in age from their 20s to their 80s, comprising a diverse range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Veterans  present with a wide range of mental health disorders, including Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Substance Use Disorders, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia, and many other co-morbid psychiatric and medical conditions.

The outpatient mental health clinic currently consists of 2 Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) teams which include 9 Psychiatrists, 7 Clinical Psychologists, 2 Clinical Social Workers, 2 Mental Health Registered Nurses, and 2 Social Work Case Managers. Each team also has a psychology intern on rotation for 6 months throughout the course of the training year. As a General Mental Health/Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) team member, the resident gains experience as part of a team that fosters the provision of mental and behavioral health services using a patient-centered, interdisciplinary model. In addition to the resident, the team will be comprised of staff from various disciplines (Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, and Nurses) and trainees (Psychology Interns and potentially, psychology pre-interns).

Additional Training Experiences

Supervised Supervision of Other Psychology Trainees

LAACC trains four psychology interns and two psychology pre-interns/practicum students each year.  Interns have the opportunity to rotate through BHIP for advanced-level clinical training in general mental health and often there is a pre-intern/practicum student also receiving training in BHIP.  Residents will have an opportunity to supervise the psychology pre-intern in either group therapy, brief evidence-based psychotherapy, assessment, or “open access” veteran care.  Several of our trainees are involved in the SUD program, and thus the PC-MHI/SUD Resident will also have opportunities for supervision in that program as well. 

Research/Scholarly Development

Residents will be required to prepare two scholarly presentations over the course of the year and present them to our mental health staff and trainees during the Psychology Training Seminar.  Each presentation will cover one of the sub-specialty areas: PC-MHI, SUD, or BHIP/ General Mental Health.  Residents will also complete a written final project that incorporates research and/or program development as part of their emphasis areas or elective interests. There may also be opportunities for additional treatment outcome assessment/research. 

Residents are encouraged to avail themselves of opportunities to develop their research interests with the help of faculty mentors with funded projects, and by participating in mental health grand rounds and research seminars along with UCLA psychiatry residents.  At GLA, there is a lively Research Service with more than 225 investigators conducting over 540 research projects in all areas of medicine and mental health, and numerous VA and NIH funded Clinical Research Centers, for example, the VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), the VISN 22 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC), and so much more.  

Program Development

Residents at LAACC have ample opportunities to create new groups, services, and clinic-wide programs to meet the needs of our veterans.  A requirement of the Postdoctoral Residency program is to create at least one such group/service/program during their training year.  This project may be the central focus of the final written scholarly project described above or could be a separate endeavor depending on the Resident’s interests.

Elective Training Opportunities

Elective training opportunities vary year-by-year and may be arranged based on the incoming Resident’s interest areas and available clinic resources.  The following electives have been completed by previous Residents in the PC-MHI/SUD residency program:

  • Women’s Mental Health
  • Tinnitus Management
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Seminar/Clinic

The ACT Seminar/Clinic elective is available to the BHIP resident at their choosing. ACT is a transdiagnostic third-wave cognitive-behavioral treatment that addresses human pain and suffering; patients are encouraged to accept thoughts and feelings, choose valued directions, and take action.  The resident would work with a range of clinical applications and implement ACT for 2-4 clinical hours per week. Supervision includes the use of behaviorally based feedback, ACT exercises, videos, and reading lists.   

Program Structure

At the outset of the training year, Residents will work closely with their primary supervisor to design a program consistent with the Residents’ needs and interests and the program’s goals and objectives.  The primary supervisor and Resident will identify individual strengths and weaknesses in the nine (9) core competency areas.  The Resident will gain increased independence and responsibility as their knowledge and skills develop over the course of the training year.  In addition to ongoing assessment, there will be a minimum of two formal evaluations of the Resident’s skills: at six months and at the end of the year.  The Resident will also be asked, on an ongoing basis, to evaluate their supervisors and training experiences as well as to complete formal evaluations of supervision and training two times a year: at mid-year and at the end of the year.  This approach helps the training program to alter or modify the Residents learning experiences if needed. 

Time Commitment

The Resident will be expected to spend 40-44 hours per week in training activities.  All work hours will be on site at LAACC, with the exception of pre-approved off-site training experiences (e.g., seminars, workshops, trainings, etc.). Consistent with APPIC standards, Residents are required to spend a minimum of 25% of their time in direct patient care activities, though Postdoctoral Residents in this position typically spend closer to 40-55% of their time in direct patient care.

Supervision

Training will be provided using a combination of methods including experiential learning, direct observation by supervisor, shadowing supervisors, audio tape review of sessions, weekly clinical supervision, didactics and other educational activities, and focused readings.  Residents will be assigned a primary supervisor as well as adjunct supervisors in all subspecialty areas that will be part of the postdoctoral residency.  Residents will receive a minimum of four (4) hours of supervision weekly, at least two (2) of which will be direct, face-to-face individual supervision.

Depending on local and national guidance and directives, some supervision may continue to be provided via HIPAA-compliant web-based video platforms. Our full Supervision Policy is available upon request.

Evaluation

The Training Program strongly promotes consistent and ongoing feedback between postdoctoral Residents, supervisors, and the Postdoctoral Training Committee.

Our program will evaluate our effectiveness for meeting training goals and objectives in the following ways:

  • Supervisors' formal evaluations of the Resident's performance in core competency areas at least twice per year: mid-year and end-of-year.  Both the Resident and the primary supervisor sign all evaluations .
  • Residents' evaluation of clinical supervisors twice per year.  Residents provide written and verbal feedback to all of their clinical supervisors.
  • Regular communication between the Director of Training and postdoctoral Residency supervisors to discuss the Residents' performance and progress.
  • Mid-year progress review with the Primary Supervisor and Director of Training.
  • Exit interview with the Primary Supervisor and Director of Training.
  • Residents' representation at Training Committee Meetings.
  • Mid-year and end-of-year evaluation of residency program including recommendations for program improvement.  Feedback from the Resident's survey is discussed with supervisors and the Training Committee and used to for program improvement.  
  • One year post-residency program survey to assess program satisfaction, achievements, scholarly activities, licensure status and employment .
  • Regular programmatic review by the Psychology Training Committee.
  • Representation by the Director of Training at the Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC).  The GMEC provides oversight, monitoring and advisement on all aspects of graduate medical education and associated health programs sponsored by GLA and governs grievance procedures.

Didactics and Seminars

The following didactics will be required for the Resident(s):

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar and Clinical Consultation

The overarching goal of the weekly Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar at LAACC is to increase trainees’ cultural competence, by enhancing understanding and appreciation for diversity and culture.  Central to this training is examining various dimensions of our cultural selves (e.g., social identities, privilege, diversity characteristics, etc.) as we intersect with the dimensions of cultural others. We use this understanding to inform our clinical interpretations, treatment goals and relationships with our clients.  To achieve these objectives, we use case discussions, didactic presentations, and experiential practice. To support trainees in this work, interns will attend diversity seminars that include diversity related didactics and self-reflection on their own reactions and interactions with others. Discussions about self-as-therapist, and how one’s social identities intersect with veterans’ identities will also be paramount to the seminar.   Interns will also be asked to complete a semi-formal presentation on a topic of their choice related to diversity/culture.

The seminar is comprised of a formal didactic topics spanning a variety of diversity topics, as well as a formal cultural (clinical) consultation hour, and a diversity-oriented journal club.

Culturally informed Clinical Consultation

The seminar is comprised of a formal didactic topics spanning a variety of diversity topics, as well as a formal cultural (clinical) consultation hour, and a diversity-oriented journal club. As part of the LAACC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar, the experiential training component has been formalized as a biweekly clinical consultation hour dedicated to the discussion of diversity related issues in clinical cases. One goal is to provide trainees with the opportunity to develop cultural competence/humility related to practical and professional issues. A second aim is to help trainees build practical knowledge and skill in treating diverse patients across settings, presenting problems, and treatment modalities.

DEI Journal Club

As an additional component of the LAACC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Seminar, trainees will be asked to participate in a journal club.  The aim of the journal club is to engage in further reflection about various DEI topics and discuss various intersections of identity.  The journal club each year will be an immersive training experience and follow a specific theme(s) to guide student’s reflections, and processing.  Past topics included a year-long review of Caste, and self-reflection about the themes of the book, and accompanying podcast.

Supervisors: Drs. Adams-Stevenson and Nuñez

Law & Ethics Seminar

This seminar provides the most up to date information regarding legal and ethical consideration for psychologists.  The seminar is facilitated by Dr. Sharon Jablon, the owner and developer of PsychPrep, which specializes in the preparation of psychologists for the EPPP and additional California licensure requirements. Legal and ethical issues are discussed in relation to California Law, the Ethics Code, and situations that arise in the course of clinical care.

Clinical Supervision Seminar

The GLA Psychology Clinical Supervision Seminar meets monthly and is designed to provide postdoctoral residents with training in evidence-based supervision practice and develop supervision competency. Seminar includes formal didactic presentations, assigned readings, exercises, case discussions, self-assessments, and role-plays. Topics include APA Guidelines for Clinical Supervision, models and theories of supervision, roles and responsibilities, the supervisory relationship, legal and ethical issues, diversity, reflective practice, and evaluation and feedback. Trainee Competency is determined by the trainee’s ability to meet behavioral objectives through participation in discussions and simulations and completion of in-class assignments.

Mindfulness Facilitation

Residents interested in specialized mindfulness training may participate in training to hone their skills in mindfulness facilitation.  This training experience (which may represent either an elective or a mini rotation) includes weekly supervision focused on mindfulness skills training, personal practice review, and exploration of the cultural context and Buddhist teachings that birthed the mindfulness clinical movement in the U.S.  This elective/minor rotation also includes participation in the Mindfulness Skills class for Veterans in primary care, and at least one other mindfulness-based clinical activity, which is approved by supervising faculty (e.g., groups such as Mindfulness in Recovery, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion, etc., or individual mindfulness training, staff intervention, additional ACT cases, mindfulness self-study, and/or program development activities).  Please note that the resident(s) will also be asked to commit to a daily personal mindfulness practice.

Supervisor:                    Dr. Karakashian          

Hours per week:         3-4 (plus personal practice)

Number of months:     First 6 months

GLA Psychology Continuing Education Workshops

The GLA Psychology Department sponsors all-day Continuing Education programs two to three times per year, which all psychology interns and residents attend. Recent past programs/ workshops have covered the following topics: Death, Dying, & Grief; Legal and Ethical Issues, Supervision, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Working with Gender and Sexual Minority Veterans, and Race-Based Trauma.

In addition to the required and optional seminars listed above, the following training activities are available to all Residents:

  • Access to additional training activities offered to interns and practicum students at LAACC.  For instance, past Residents have elected to participate in the weekly Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Practices seminar.
  • Access to weekly GLA Mental Health Grand Rounds featuring a wide range of topics presented by local and national presenters
  • Potential opportunities to participate in VA Central Office roll-out trainings in evidence-based psychotherapies such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure (PE), CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), etc.

Requirements for Completion of Residency

Hours Requirement

The residency is a full-time, year-long program involving approximately 2080 hours of supervised professional experience. Note: Residents who leave the program prior to completion of one full year of training will not be considered to have completed the program.

Postdoctoral Residents who successfully complete the program will have met the licensure requirements for postdoctoral supervised professional experience (SPE) hours as required by the California Board of Psychology. A supervision agreement form, and plan will be signed by the postdoctoral primary supervisor and the resident prior to the commencement of the training experience as required for licensure.

Competency Rating Scale

1=Substantial Supervision                                   2=Close Supervision on Basic & Advanced Tasks

3=Close Supervision on Advanced Tasks         4=Ready for Entry-Level Practice            

5=Approaching Autonomous Practice              6=Ready for Autonomous Practice

7= Autonomous Practice - Advanced Skill       N/A=Not Applicable

 

In order to maintain good standing in the program, residents must:

  1. Abide by the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and all VA policies, rules, and regulations.
  2. Obtain a rating of “5” or higher on at least 80% of evaluation items in each competency area at the 3-month and mid-year (6-month) evaluation. Ratings of “2” require increased focus in supervision. Ratings of “1” require a learning and/or subsequent remediation plan.
  3. Attend required seminars and Psychology Department workshops. In addition, residents must attend educational activities required on their rotations.
  4. Meet all administrative requirements.

 

In order to successfully complete the residency program, residents must:

  1. Abide by the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and all VA policies, rules, and regulations.
  2. Obtain a rating of “6” (Ready for Autonomous Practice) or higher on ALL items in each required competency area. These are the Minimum Levels of Achievement required to graduate from residency.  If a resident does not meet this requirement, the program will follow the Due Process policy to address identified deficiencies.
  3. Attend required seminars and Psychology Department workshops. In addition, interns must attend educational activities required on their rotations.
  4. Meet all administrative requirements.

 

Administrative Policies and Procedures

Due Process: Procedures for due process and grievance are in place for any problems that may arise.  Residents receive a Due Process and Grievance Procedures policy during orientation and this policy is also available upon request.

Privacy policy: We collect no personal information about you when you visit our website.

Self-Disclosure: We do not require Residents to disclose personal information to the program administrators or clinical supervisors, except in cases where personal issues may be adversely affecting the Residents' performance and such information is necessary to address any difficulties.

Non-Discrimination Policy and Respect for Diversity: VA LAACC highly values cultural and individual diversity.  We are an equal opportunity employer, and prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a parent.  We avoid any actions that would restrict program completion on grounds that are not relevant to success in training.  In addition, we aim to foster a training environment that supports trainees in gaining greater competence in issues of diversity as they relate to patient care.

The VA Office of Diversity and Inclusion (https://www.diversity.va.gov/) provides additional information on policies and resources related to individual and cultural diversity.   

Reasonable Accommodations: It is the policy of VA to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). VA LAACC is committed to providing access for all people with disabilities and will provide accommodations, if needed.

Liability Protection for Trainees: When providing professional services at a VA healthcare facility, VA sponsored trainees acting within the scope of their educational programs are protected from personal liability under the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act 28, U.S.C.2679 (b)-(d).

Training Staff

Psychology Postdoctoral Training Supervisors:

Jesse D. Barglow, Ph.D.

  • Chief, LAACC Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Clinic
  • Doctoral Program: Fordham University, Clinical Psychology, 2015
  • Doctoral Internship: VA West Los Angeles, General Track
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: VA West Los Angeles, Interprofessional Integrative Health Track
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2016-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Substance use, trauma, psychosis, group psychotherapy, program development, interdisciplinary collaboration 

 

Elizabeth Chereji, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Primary Care-Mental Health Integration Program (PC-MHI)
  • Doctoral Program: University of Southern California, 2014
  • Doctoral Internship: West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
  • Postdoctoral Residency: Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center—VA Long Beach Healthcare System
  • Clinical Interests: Psychosocial adjustment to medical concerns, coping with chronic illness, substance abuse (e.g., motivational interviewing, abstinence- and harm reduction-based approaches)

 

Michael Karakashian, Ph.D.

  • Section Chief, VA GLAHCS Primary Care–Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI)
  • Doctoral Program: University of Memphis, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, 2011
  • Doctoral Internship: VA-Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; Behavioral Medicine/HIV Mental Health
  • Clinical Interests: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Clinical Application of Mindfulness and Compassion, Coherence Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy, HIV Mental Health Care, PTSD, Substance Misuse, Motivational Interviewing, Primary Care-Mental Health Integration, Interpersonal Process Group Therapy

 

Paul Lo, Ph.D.

  • Section Chief, Mental Health Clinic/Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (MHC/BHIP) (LAACC, ELA, SGV)
  • Doctoral Program: Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, 2001
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2003-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Military Psychology; Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Treatment of PTSD; Anxiety Disorders Treatment; Spirituality and Mental Health; Crisis Negotiation; Substance Abuse Treatment

 

Vianey Midgette, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Doctoral Program: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Counseling Psychology, 2008
  • Doctoral Internship: VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, California, 2012-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Assessment and treatment of PTSD, Multiculturalism/Diversity-informed Treatment, Social Justice, Couples & Families, Individual and Group Therapy

 

Amy Potts, Ph.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Doctoral Program:  Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, 2010
  • Doctoral Internship:  Atlanta VA Medical Center
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Georgia, 2011
  • Clinical Interests: PTSD Assessment and Treatment, Vicarious Traumatization and Burnout, Military Sexual Trauma, First-Episode Psychosis and the Prodrome, Social Justice and Treatment of Underserved Populations

 

Potential Adjunct Supervisors:

Charles E. Deleeuw, Ph.D.

  • Chief, General Care Division
  • Staff Psychologist, VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center
  • Doctoral Program: Fuller Graduate School of Psychology (Clinical), 2011
  • Doctoral Internship: Pacific Clinics, Arroyo FSP, 2010-2011
  • Clinical Interests:  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

Kimberly Newsom, Ph.D.

  • Director of Psychology Training
  • Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP)
  • Doctoral Program: University of Kentucky, 2004
  • Doctoral Internship: Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, TX
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Delaware, 2008-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Military Psychology; PTSD/Trauma; Women’s Issues; Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology; Children and Adolescents

 

Elizabeth Romero, Psy.D.

  • Staff Psychologist, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC)
  • Assistant Director of Training, Pre-Internship Program Coordinator
  • Doctoral Program: Pepperdine University, 2016
  • Doctoral Internship: Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship:   Harbor UCLA-Behavioral Medicine
  • Licensure: Psychologist, Hawaii, 2019-Present
  • Clinical Interests: Serious Mental Illness Rehabilitation, Whole Health, Trauma, Integrative
  • Care/Behavioral Medicine, Dual-Diagnosis, Advocacy, and Applied Research

 

Rosenbluth, Susan C., Ph.D.

  • Director, Psychology Research Training
  • Doctoral Program: Derner Institute at Adelphi University (Clinical), 1992
  • Doctoral Internship: Rusk Rehabilitation Institute at New York University
  • Clinical Interests: Personality/Identity Development, Friendships and Intimate Relationships, Multi-disciplinary team based training and clinical care

 

Recent Trainees

Resident (Name, Year, Graduate Program, Internship):

 

Chelsea Cox (2022-2023)

  • Graduate Program: University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Internship Program: West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center

 

Kaitlyn Lindsay (2022-2023)

  • Graduate Program: Alliant International University/California School of Professional Psychology-San Diego
  • Internship Program: Bright Future Foundation (Colorado Psychology Internship Consortium)

 

Kathryn Fokas (2021-2022)

  • Graduate Program: University of New Mexico
  • Internship Program: Federal Correctional Institution-Terminal Island

 

Sarah Kappen (2021-2022)

  • Graduate Program: California Lutheran University
  • Internship Program: VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center

 

Jordan Daylor, Ph.D. (2020-2021)

  • Graduate Program:  George Mason University
  • Internship Program: Federal Bureau of Prisons, Metropolitan Detention Center-Los Angeles

 

Gabrielle Lewine, Ph.D. (2019-2020)

  • Graduate Program: University of Southern California
  • Internship Program: VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center

Local Information

LAACC is located in downtown Los Angeles, in the middle of the cultural, financial, and political hub of metropolitan Los Angeles, an area that extends west to Santa Monica, south to the Port of Los Angeles, north to the San Gabriel Mountains, and east to Whittier.  Our clinic is adjacent to Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and the Arts District.  Our location is in the midst of a physical and socio-cultural renaissance.  Businesses, shopping, restaurants, recreation, and cultural centers now dominate the area around the clinic.  The Geffen Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Japanese American Museum, the Music Center (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, and Mark Taper Forum), the Disney Performing Hall (home to the L.A. Philharmonic), the financial and garment districts, and the jewelry center are all within walking distance of the clinic.

Our trainees take advantage of all that Los Angeles has to offer.  They have resided in many different areas of Los Angeles throughout the years, including Santa Monica, Pasadena, Downtown Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley.  Union Station, the main train station servicing the Metropolitan Los Angeles area, is also walking distance from our clinic thereby facilitating staff and interns to use public transportation and “go green.”  In some ways, our location couldn’t be better since the VA subsidizes public transportation expenses.

If you are interested in further information regarding downtown Los Angeles, please visit: www.lacity.org