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Psychology Doctoral Internship

Welcome to the Iowa City VA Psychology Internship website.

COVID-19 IMPACT STATEMENT

Welcome to the Iowa City VA Psychology Internship website. As COVID-19 has had lasting impact in our lives, changes have been made and implemented in our internship training program. That does not, however, imply that these changes diminish the strength of our program. What it does mean is greater health and safety for our trainees and staff, while also being mindful of maintaining adherence to accreditation guidelines and continuing to effectively meet the needs of the Veterans we service.

First and foremost is the fast approaching internship application process. Notable among the changes includes eliminating in-person candidate interviews. Candidates invited to interview will be expected to participate in a remote interview process involving a virtual introduction to our program staff as well as virtual interviews with both training supervisors and our current interns.

We appreciate that the change to virtual interviews may present particular challenges for some applicants. For those who, for example, have limited scheduling flexibility, or who lack access to reliable internet and accessible technology, or who face other barriers – e.g., difficulty securing a private location to conduct interviews - we ask that you reach out to us so that we can work with you to identify appropriate accommodations.

The VA is committed to ensuring Veterans access services and to providing a safe environment for trainees to develop their clinical skills. Current policies allow for providers and trainees to work in the clinic and deliver mental health care in person or via televideo.

The VA requires applicants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or meet the requirements for a waiver.

If after reviewing our website/brochure materials, you have questions that have not been addressed, please feel free to raise them with our Director of Training, Dr. Jaci L. Rolffs.


Internship Program

The predoctoral psychology internship at the Iowa City VA Health Care System located in Coralville, Iowa is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Our next site visit is scheduled for 2023.

The internship program utilizes the AAPI Online application forms that are available at the APPIC website. At that website, full instructions are available for use of the APPI Online. The APPIC website is an external link and is not associated with Department of Veterans Affairs. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for any material on external websites. Each applicant is required to submit a complete set of application materials, including the following:

  • A completed AAPI application form, including the Academic Program's
  • Verification of Internship Eligibility and Readiness.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Three letters of evaluation from individuals familiar with recent academic and clinical performance.
  • Official transcripts of all graduate training
  • A writing sample.

An applicant must be a U.S. citizen in good standing with and recommended for internship by an APA approved PhD or PsyD program in clinical or counseling psychology. The applicant's pre-internship training must include completed coursework and formally supervised applied training in the provision of psychological services to include assessment and psychotherapy. The applicant must demonstrate interests and goals that are consistent with the internship program, the ability to apply assessment and intervention knowledge in clinical areas, appropriate ethical conduct, the interpersonal skills necessary for the professional practice of psychology, and sufficient research skills as evidenced, at a minimum, by dissertation progress.

SETTING

Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VAHCS)

The Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VAHCS) is an affiliated teaching hospital and research center located in Iowa City, Iowa. This tertiary care Level I facility is classified as a VHA Level 1c medical center that serves a veteran population residing in 33 counties in eastern Iowa, 16 counties in western Illinois and one county in northern Missouri. In addition to Mental Health (psychology and psychiatry), specialty services include all internal medicine specialties, neurology, and dermatology. Inpatient care is provided with 93 acute care beds (15 in an acute psychiatric inpatient unit). The IC VAHCS is one of six VA regional kidney transplant centers. Extended care and rehabilitation services include home-based primary care, contract community nursing homes, advanced care planning, amputee clinic, spinal cord injury, geriatrics, home telehealth, caregiver support, hospice/palliative care, pain management, and a polytrauma support clinic team. A therapeutic lifestyle clinic has been added, as well. The research program at the Iowa City VAHCS has consistently been one of the top VA facilities nationwide in terms of VA and non-VA research funding.

Psychology and Psychiatry make up the Mental Health Service Line and our outpatient service providers are housed in the Coralville Clinic, a building we share with one of the Primary Care outpatient clinics. The clinic in Coralville, which is located 2 miles west of the medical center, has a shuttle van that makes regular trips daily transporting our patients between our Clinic and the main facility. The Mental Health Service Line is a large, interdisciplinary service made up of psychologists/neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, Ph.D.-level marriage and family therapists, outpatient substance abuse counselors, a psychometrician, and numerous support staff. In addition to the Coralville Clinic, which is an extension of the main medical center, there are service line clinical staff at all nine of our Community- Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), also serving our largely rural veteran population.

Iowa City/Coralville

Iowa City offers small town charm, big city excitement, and a great quality of life. And that’s not just our opinion: ask Money Magazine (Iowa City ranked #19 of 100 Best Places to Live in America, 2019), for example, and Sperling’s Best Places, Forbes Magazine, AARP, and Outside Magazine. These and others consistently rank Iowa City high on such variables as best places to live and work, most educated population, best college towns, best places to retire, and most affordable. According to a review from Livability.com, Iowa City earned a spot in the top 50 out of the more than 1000 cities examined – “Ask anyone who lives in Iowa City, IA, well, anything and they’ll gladly answer your question. The phenomenon of ‘Iowa Nice’ is alive and well in Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, a growing startup scene, top-notch health care and a charming, walkable downtown” (2021).

Why the appeal? For one, the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, a general medical and surgical facility located in Iowa City (steps from the VA), is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in a number of adult specialties as well pediatric specialties and is rated high performing in two adult specialties and four procedures and conditions among 5000 hospitals analyzed. Not only does the town boast a top-tier teaching hospital and public university, it is also known for its reasonable cost of living, low crime rate, and award-winning public schools. But wait, we’ve got extras to suit every taste. Foodies can explore flavors that span the globe with our creperies, gastropubs, microbreweries, and culinary hotspots like the Hamburg Inn, where visiting presidents and political candidates grab a burger and milkshake on their way to the caucus. From fresh falafel to vegan fare, you’re sure to find a new favorite dish. For outdoorsy types, we offer a multicity-spanning network of bike trails, multiple lakes ready for swimming or boating, wooded hiking trails, and even a Devonian fossil gorge, all mere minutes from the center of town. Whether walking, taking public transportation, or driving, many fresh residential developments make the average commute time less than 17 minutes. Sports fans can join up with a legion of enthusiastic Hawkeye football fans for BBQ and tailgating parties that last all day. Also, beginning in Fall 2021, Coralville will have a new ECHL hockey team and skating arena as the anchor for great shopping and dining at the Iowa River Landing.

Lovers of the arts will feel at home in this UNESCO City of Literature, which has turned out writers such as Flannery O’Connor and T.C. Boyle. Enjoy events at our two Performing Arts Centers, including the Hancher Auditorium, a beautiful new facility which welcomes professional performers from all over the world. The town hosts weekend-long festivals in our pedestrian-friendly downtown including Jazz Festival, the Iowa Arts Festival, Friday Night Concert Series, Pride Fest and Parade, an annual Human Rights Awards Breakfast, among others. For beer lovers, Iowa City boasts multiple award winning breweries, and Oktoberfest in the nearby historic Amana Colonies is not to be missed. Cinephiles can catch the latest indie at FilmScene, our local independent nonprofit cinema. And the historic Englert Theatre hosts everything from bands to vocalists, comedians to drag queens—stop in for Paula Poundstone one week and catch Wilco the next. We also have a well-known independent bookstore, fitness clubs, coffee shops galore, wine bars, and boutique shopping, all within walking distance of the VA hospital.

If that’s not enough to keep you occupied, we’re less than five hours drive from major metro areas such as Madison, Minneapolis, Chicago, Kansas City, and St. Louis. Come for an internship and you might just decide to stay. It’s all you could want in a compact package: Midwest friendliness, East Coast amenities, and (when state fair time rolls around) butter-sculpture cows. What could be better?

For more information, you can check out Iowa City’s official website: http://www.icgov.org/default/?id-1359 as well as https://www.thinkiowacity.com/plan-your-trip/

OVERVIEW

The Iowa City VA Medical Center has been a training site for graduate students from the University of Iowa's APA-accredited doctoral psychology training programs for many years. The Psychology Internship Program at the Iowa City VAHCS is accredited by the American Psychological Association, and has been since 2010. The program is also a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and abides by its policies and procedures.

Training Philosophy and Model

The philosophy of our program is based on the practitioner-scholar model, with the primary focus of training on direct clinical work. We endorse the view that good clinical practice is based on the science of psychology and, likewise, the science of psychology is enhanced by the experience of working with real patients. In all facets of their training, our interns are expected to apply scholarly inquiry and critical thinking to their work. And, while research is not required as part of the internship, we require that our interns learn about evidence-based practice and expect that they have an understanding of and appreciation for the relationship between science and practice and are able to incorporate empirical literature into their professional practice. Interns are, for example, encouraged to apply scholarly inquiry and critical thinking to all facets of their work, including the application of scientific inquiry to case conceptualizations, the formulation and testing of clinical hypotheses, the critical analysis of cases, and the development of thoughtful strategies to address mental health consultations and evaluating ethical dilemmas. At the same time, we acknowledge the complexity of real patients and the limitations of our empirical base. While implementing scientifically validated treatments, we respect the uniqueness of individual patients and base our clinical decisions on a sequence of hypothesis testing.

Our program embraces a generalist training approach and a developmental training model. We believe that interns are best trained by developing their generalist skills across a spectrum of clinical areas. This is accomplished through various didactic and professional seminars and deliberate case assignments that gradually expand interns' repertoire of skills. Interns are encouraged to choose training rotations that meet their individual training goals while also allowing them to become more broadly competent. Supervisors are identified as mentors and role models who are accomplished in the areas of emphasis selected by the interns. Over the course of the year, intern training moves from close supervision and mentoring to more autonomous functioning. The training model for the pre-doctoral training program at the Iowa City VAHCS, therefore, has three key components: (1) empirically-supported practice, (2) self-guided learning through mentorship, (3) and broad-based training with increasing depth. Interns are expected to be active participants in shaping their training experiences in a variety of ways.

Interns are required to take responsibility for their own learning by identifying individualized training goals, by self-observations, self-evaluation, and participation in continuing education. Interns are also expected to participate in the development and improvement of the training program itself by providing feedback and evaluation of supervisors and training experiences.

Diversity

The Iowa City VAHCS Psychology Internship is committed to helping to train psychologists who can practice with an awareness of the richness and variety within human experience. Our program places high value on increasing and/or maintaining an awareness of diversity issues throughout the training year. We strive to be sensitive to individual differences and diversity, including recognizing cultural and social factors as they influence a person's experience and world view. We believe that clinical practice is strengthened by understanding the perspective of others and responding with sensitivity to individual variations and differences. As a program, the Iowa City VA training team works to provide clinical and training opportunities for interns to deepen their cultural awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity. To this end, interns participate in a yearlong diversity-focused didactic series that includes review of relevant research, experiential activities, group discussion, and reflective exercises.

Additionally, the intern cohort is encouraged to select a handful of community events to attend that can help deepen their knowledge in a specific area of cultural diversity. The intern class also participates in group supervision where interns present cases that highlight diversity issues for interactive discussion with fellow interns as well as staff.

Evidence- and Measurement-Based Care

The Iowa City VAHCS Psychology Internship prepares our trainees to enter postdoctoral and staff positions with knowledge, training, and experience in effective treatments and practices. Throughout the internship, there are opportunities for experience in learning and practicing evidence-based therapies. In addition to didactics exploring evidence-based practices, each rotation will provide opportunities to learn 

relevant evidence-based therapies and/or practice, e.g., the PTSD rotation offers training in prolonged exposure therapy and/or cognitive processing therapy.

Interns can elect to virtually attend a VA national rollout for cognitive processing therapy. Interns who participate can complete all requirements, similar to staff attending the training, and earn a certificate of completion that will be recognized in future VA positions. We believe this is a great opportunity for interns going into VA therapy positions as most VAs will expect training in evidence-based therapies for PTSD.

In addition to evidence-based therapies, each rotation and the internship as a whole, is dedicated to the thoughtful and purposeful use of measurement-based care. In practice, measurement-based care involves gathering some form of feedback from patients to help plan treatment, determine progress or lack thereof, and make adjustments as appropriate. We frequently (but not exclusively) do this by getting repeated and frequent measures of mental health (often symptom inventories, such as the BDI-II or the PTSD Checklist (PCL)). When these measures are thoughtfully combined with clinical insights and experience, they can provide additional insights into the therapy process. These measures can be used in a variety of ways but some of the most common uses include assessment of current mental health, progress toward treatment goals, identification of worsening symptoms/functioning, and assistance in treatment planning. Given the emphasis in modern mental health services of providing evidence of patient improvement, this is a critical skill to have whether interns stay in the VA system or find opportunities elsewhere.

Training Competencies

  1. Intervention - Interns will acquire the requisite knowledge and skills in psychotherapeutic interventions for a minimum of entry-level practice of professional psychology.
  1. Assessment - Interns will acquire the requisite knowledge and skills in psychological assessment for a minimum of entry-level practice of professional psychology.
  1. Individual and Cultural Diversity - Interns will acquire requisite knowledge of and respect for cultural and individual diversity for a minimum of entry-level practice of professional psychology.
  1. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills - Interns will acquire the requisite knowledge in consultation and demonstrate effective interpersonal/interdisciplinary skills for a minimum of intermediate level of competence.
  1. Ethical and Legal Standards - Interns will acquire the requisite knowledge and conduct themselves according to professional, ethical, and legal standards for a minimum of entry-level practice of professional psychology.
  2. Science of Psychology - Interns will demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate research and integrate empirical literature as it relates to discussion of clinically-relevant practice, presenting clinical cases, and application of evidence-based practice at a minimum of an intermediate level of competence.
  3. Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors - Interns will demonstrate attitudes and behaviors consistent with professional values and develop maturing professional identities as Psychologists at a minimum of an intermediate level of competence.
  4. Supervision - Interns will acquire knowledge of theories and/or methods of supervision and apply this knowledge in supervising at least one case at a minimum of an intermediate level of competence.
  5. Communication and Interpersonal Skills - Interns will demonstrate effective professional communication and interpersonal skills for a minimum of intermediate level of competence.

Supervision

We are committed to providing interns with access to multiple supervisors who are actively involved in the intern's training. Supervisors are available regularly to provide guidance or direct support with cases based on the intern's developmental and training needs. Having multiple supervisors concurrently and throughout the year provides interns with exposure to varied clinical skills and theoretical orientations. Interns receive 2-3 hours of individual supervision with a licensed psychologist plus a minimum of two hours of supervised activities (including case conference, group co-facilitation, etc.) per week. At any given time, each intern will have a Major Rotation Supervisor, a Minor Rotation Supervisor, and contact with the Director of Training. Interns are expected and encouraged to seek additional informal supervision and consultation as needed in addition to the formal scheduled supervision times. Interns are also made aware that clinical staff members are available to provide consultation and supervision on specific issues as the need arises and schedules allow.

Our training model is developmental. Interns move from close supervision, mentorship, and intensive instruction to relatively autonomous functioning over the course of each clinical rotation. We also anticipate that, within each rotation, supervision will be more intensive at the beginning and will become less intensive as the intern displays increasing knowledge and competence. Similarly, as the training year progresses, interns are expected to function with increasing autonomy as their skill and competence warrants and their supervisors deem appropriate.

 Requirements for Completion

As the foundation for independent professional practice, and as measured by supervisor evaluations, interns should demonstrate competence in the following areas by the completion of the internship year:

Psychotherapeutic Intervention

Interns should work effectively with diverse populations, providing appropriate intervention in response to a range of presenting problems and treatment concerns. Interns should demonstrate competent psychotherapy skills in a variety of modalities (including group and individual).

Assessment

Interns should be able to competently assess patients with a broad variety of problems, utilizing a variety of evaluation methods (e.g., interviews and psychological inventories). Selection and use of assessment tools should be appropriate to the clinical needs of the patient and be responsive to the needs of referring professionals.

Awareness of ethical, legal, and cultural issues

Interns should demonstrate knowledge of ethical and legal principles bearing on psychological practice and awareness of these principles in their daily practice. Interns should show an awareness of, and sensitivity to, cultural issues that impact patient lives and the practice of psychology.

Consultation and Communication

Interns should be able to conceptualize and clearly communicate their assessment strategies, results, opinions, and recommendations to other professionals, in verbal and written form. Clinical documentation should be timely, responsive to the needs of other professionals, and sensitive to issues of confidentiality and patient respect.

Development of professional identity

Interns should demonstrate a growing sense of identity as psychologists over the course of the internship year. They should show an understanding of the unique contribution and perspective they bring as a psychologist and put this into practice by assuming an increasing level of professional responsibility.

Professional judgment

Interns should demonstrate sound professional judgment. In particular, they should be able to accurately interpret clinical information, make sound decisions, and take appropriate action. They should be able to recognize and respond appropriately in cases of severe psychopathology, potential for self-injury, and dangerousness to others.

Interpersonal skills

Interns should demonstrate an ability to interact appropriately and professionally with peers, professional staff, colleagues from other disciplines, and support staff. Interns should conduct themselves in an ethical manner consistent with the guidelines of the profession.

Openness to feedback

Interns should be receptive to feedback from supervisors, peers, and other professional colleagues. They should be able to examine feedback objectively and respond with appropriate behavior changes. Interns should also show the ability to self-monitor and to change their behavior in response to experience.

Awareness of strengths and limitations

Interns should be able to accurately recognize their strengths and limitations. They should practice within their capabilities and recognize when to seek supervision, consultation, or training in response to clinical situations beyond their capabilities. They should demonstrate a commitment to continued self-education and to their continued growth as professionals.

Stipend and Benefits

For the internship year 2023-2024, the total stipend will be $33,469; interns are also eligible for federal health insurance. State and federal income tax and FICA (Social Security) are withheld from interns' paychecks. Interns are not covered by Civil Service retirement or leave and are not eligible for federal life insurance benefits. The United States Government covers interns for malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act

STRUCTURE

The internship is full-time for one year beginning July 15, 2024; one year at full-time equals 2080 hours. Interns are entitled to 11 federal holidays and earn sick leave and vacation (annual leave) days at a rate of 4 hours for each two-week pay period (a total of 13 days each). Interns are encouraged to use all of their annual leave before completion of internship; unused sick leave may be applied to future federal employment. An additional five(5) days of approved absence may be granted to complete activities required by your university (e.g., dissertation defense). Additional days for post-doc/job interviews will be allowed as appropriate.

Internship Training Tracks

General Psychology Track: The General Psychology Track is intended for individuals who opt to choose from a variety of treatment-based major and minor rotations. In other words, this Track is designed for interns wishing to pursue careers as a generalist or in emphasis areas such as PTSD or Acute (Inpatient) Care, for example. Those who intend to pursue a postdoc/career in neuropsychology should not choose this Track. Major rotations in this Track include: General Mental Health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Geropsychology, and Neuropsychology. Minor rotation offerings include: Neuropsychology, Pain Clinic, Polytrauma, Substance Abuse/Dual Diagnosis, MST/Women’s Health Clinic, Clinical Leadership. All of the above rotations are six months in duration and interns are required to select both a major and a minor clinical rotation for each the first and the second six months of internship. We attempt to be accommodating of interns’ choices and, with the exception of those pursuing the Neuropsychology Track, strongly encourage a training plan that favors a breadth of clinical training. Those in the General Track who want to take the Neuropsychology major rotation must do so in the second six months (the first six months of that rotation are reserved for those choosing the Neuropsychology Track). The minor neuropsychology rotation may be available either six months assuming supervisor availability.

Neuropsychology Track: The Neuropsychology Track is designed for individuals who plan to pursue a formal post-doctoral fellowship and a future career in neuropsychology. This track seeks to keep the balance of providing generalist training with also allowing for specialized focus in the area of neuropsychology. To this end, the Neuropsychology Track follows the same format as the General Track with two 6 month majors and two 6 month minors. The following rotations are required of individuals in the Neuropsychology Track: Neuropsychology for the first major rotation and Neuropsychology for the second minor rotation, each six months long. Interns in this Track are involved in all aspects of the neuropsychological evaluation. Rotations include assessment both in inpatient and outpatient settings from referrals throughout the VA. Interns are encouraged to participate in the Polytrauma rotation for their first minor rotation, though may choose from any of the other available rotations with supervisor approval. Individuals who chose the Neuropsychology Track are also expected to attend and participate in a weekly neuropsychology-specific didactics shared with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Of note, past neuropsychology interns have had good success obtaining competitive two-year post- doctoral fellowships in neuropsychology.

Training Schedule:

24 hrs./week for major rotations (each six months long) 8 hrs./week for minor rotations (each six months long)

4 hrs./week for research (including dissertation if applicable) and/or program development/program evaluation

1.5 hrs./weekly for clinical didactics (including diversity didactics on alternate weeks) 1 hr./weekly group supervision

+ miscellaneous (prep, notes/reports, informal consults, phone follow-ups, monthly

Meetings with the Director of Training, staff meetings, MHSL meetings, Training Team meetings)

Protected Time

General Description

Interns are given four hours of protected time weekly to work either on research, program development, or program evaluation. Interns may contribute to research, specifically, by using the protected time given them to work on completion of their dissertations and/or to participate with staff on research/program evaluation projects related to various aspects of mental health care for veterans.

ROTATIONS

MAJOR ROTATIONS

General Mental Health

General Description

The general mental health rotation will help interns to improve their skills in psychotherapy intervention, conceptualization, and treatment planning by working with veterans with diverse characteristics and mental health challenges. The largest patient demographic is Vietnam era veterans, but more and more we are seeing veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The most common problems include major depression, PTSD, comorbid PTSD and substance abuse, generalized anxiety, and adjustment disorders. In addition to these types of problems, interns will see unique and interesting cases; for example, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, OCD/hoarding, grief from the death of a pet, social phobia, and various personality disorders. The majority of cases also have chronic medical issues, such as chronic pain, cardiac disease, stroke, or neurological conditions. Many veterans are also experiencing psychosocial challenges, such as unemployment and underemployment, poverty, social isolation, homelessness, and divorce. The intern will build a caseload with many clinical presentations, some familiar and some new.

Training Opportunities

  1. See veterans in individual therapy and these cases will cover a variety of issues, such as those noted above.

  2. Conduct interviews and administer measures to gather psychosocial information and diagnose.
  3. Conduct short and long-term therapy. If possible, interns can continue to see a patient from another rotation.
  4. Co-lead a therapy group with me. Typically, interns and I co-lead an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) group. The ACT group is an 8-week group that is experiential and psychoeducational. Veterans practice the psychological flexibility components of ACT in order to increase vitality and meaning in their lives.
  5. Participate in the DBT program (optional). This program follows the DBT model of individual and group therapy, and typically involves seeing a DBT patient weekly for individual therapy and attending DBT team meetings. There may be opportunities to co-lead a DBT skills group but this is not guaranteed; time for this activity will come out of this rotation, meaning this would not create extra work for you in this rotation.
  6. Co-lead a therapy group with another provider. You are free to co-lead a therapy group with any other staff member. This might include anger management, CBT for depression, Seeking Safety, or any other group you can arrange to co-lead; time for this activity will come out of this rotation, meaning this would not create extra work in your rotation.

Training Goals

  1. Assess and diagnose patients suffering from a variety of conditions. Effectively rule out and differentially diagnose patients.

  2. Conduct efficient and well-tailored psychosocial assessments.
  3. Develop clear and thorough case conceptualizations that take into account personal, social, cultural, ethnic, and other factors.
  4. Learn an evidence-based therapy. Interns can select from a variety of treatments but most opt to learn an EBP for PTSD.
  5. Further develop your own therapeutic style and strengthen your own theoretical orientation.
  6. Learn to conceptualize and treat cases using a clear theoretical orientation.
  7. Learn to work with cases using a more flexible approach, responding to the patient’s in-the-moment behaviors and needs.
  8. Learn how to effectively lead a therapy group and carry out therapeutic interventions.
  9. Become skilled in managing therapy group dynamics in order to effectively utilize the time, facilitate participation, and develop group cohesiveness.
  10. Effectively use measurement-based care in psychotherapy.

(Supervisor: G. Nelson, Ph.D.)

Neuropsychology

General Description

The Neuropsychology service provides primarily outpatient consultation to other VA departments including: Inpatient Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Polytrauma Support Clinic, Primary Care, Psychiatry, and Vocational Rehabilitation. Typical referrals include assessment for dementia syndromes (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, and Parkinson-plus syndromes), traumatic brain injury of varying severity, cerebrovascular accident, multiple sclerosis, psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression and PTSD), learning disability, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, etc. Personality assessment is also a component of neuropsychological assessment given mood and personality changes can occur in various neurologic conditions.

Neuropsychology service is also consulted to perform inpatient evaluations primarily when there are concerns about capacity and ability to function independently.

The intern completing the Neuropsychology Track will complete this rotation during the first 6-months of the training year and then the Neuropsychology Minor rotation during the second 6-months. The

Neuropsychology Major Rotation meets APA Division 40 standards for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship and career. Clinical expectations for this rotation include the intern being involved in all aspects of the assessment of two patients per week.

Individuals in the General Track may select this rotation if it meets their training goals. A developmental model for supervision will be employed with the goal of the intern working up to seeing two full cases per week.

Training Opportunities

  1. Select, administer, score, and interpret a range of neuropsychological tests using a flexible battery approach.
  1. Write comprehensive neuropsychological reports that include detailed recommendations for patient care.
  1. Participate in feedback sessions regarding test results and recommendations with patients and their families.
  1. Attend weekly Iowa City VA/University of Iowa, Psychiatry Department Neuropsychology case conferences and journal club. Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry Grand Rounds are also available at the University of Iowa.
  1. Conduct psychotherapy with individuals with neurocognitive disorders when available.

Training Goals Interns will complete two supervised neuropsychological assessments each week.

  1. Gain knowledge of functional neuroanatomy and neurological conditions through weekly didactics.
  1. For those in the Neuropsychology Track, this training meets all clinical and didactic requirements to apply for a Neuropsychology postdoctoral fellowship.
  1. For those in the General Track, this training will enhance understanding of the brain-behavior relationship, learning to be better consumers of neuropsychology and strengthen assessment skills.

(Supervisors: M. Semla, Psy.D., D. Cordry, Ph.D.)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

General Description

A PTSD major rotation experience under the supervision of Dr. Rolffs will focus on developing skills in delivering evidence based treatments for PTSD with a focus on Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE). The most common identified trauma is military combat and military sexual trauma, with opportunities for working with individuals with a history of childhood trauma. Additional training experiences include diagnostic interviewing utilizing the CAPS-5, delivering Imagery Rehearsal Therapy for trauma-related nightmares, learning to differentiate moral injury from PTSD, and providing treatment for moral injury. Interns will also learn to provide effective treatment in a telehealth setting and develop the necessary skills for flexible intervention.

Training Opportunities

  1. Conduct interviews and administer measures to assess and diagnosis PTSD
  2. Develop diagnostic report writing
  3. Deliver CPT and PE to veterans with PTSD
  4. Provide IRT to veterans with trauma-related nightmares
  5. Identify and provide treatment for moral injury

Training Goals

  1. Trainees will be able to assess and diagnose patients with PTSD
  2. Further develop skills in treatment planning with patients
  3. Become proficient in providing Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy
  4. Become proficient in providing IRT for trauma-related nightmares
  5. Develop an understanding of moral injury and how it differs from PTSD
  6. Develop skills in treating moral injury (Supervisor: Jaci Rolffs, Ph.D.)

Outpatient Geropsychology 

General Description

The Outpatient Geropsychology rotation is a focused rotation within the Coralville CBOC. The rotation will provide interns opportunities to develop and improve their skills in working with older adults utilizing a psychosocial and Whole Health approach to meet their unique psychotherapy needs. The rotation also provides exposure to collaborating with multidisciplinary team members (e.g., Social Work) to address the complex needs of the older adult Veteran population. Interns will learn about general aging-related changes and concerns and how to individualize and adjust evidence-based treatment approaches to improve treatment effectiveness in this population. Geropsychology referrals are individuals who are an older adult (i.e., 65 years old and older) with mental health concerns that are related to, exacerbated by, and/or influenced by aging-related factors. Specific criteria for Geropsychology consults are:

Veterans 65 years old and older with:

New onset or worsening significant mental health concerns

AND

Aging-related behavioral health concerns and/or late life developmental concerns

Ex. Decline in health or functioning from geriatric syndromes or medical/neurological comorbidities, significant difficulties adjusting to retirement, complex medical problems, complex grief

OR

Mild cognitive impairment AND comorbid mental health concerns

Training Opportunities

  1. Conduct interviews and administer age-appropriate measures to assess and diagnose a variety of mental health conditions and screen for significant cognitive impairment, when appropriate.
  2. Conduct evidence-based psychotherapy (e.g., CBT, ACT) in a manner and at a pace that is appropriate for older adults.
  3. Communicate with other disciplines to collaborate on treating the patient using the Whole Health model and place appropriate referrals to other services (e.g., Social Work, Medicine, Nutrition).

Training Goals

  1. Effectively assess and diagnose patients with complex mental health and medical comorbidities.
  1. Formulate case conceptualizations that consider the whole person including social, cultural, ethnic, medical, cognitive, and other factors.
  2. Differentiate between normal and abnormal aging-related changes and treat, refer, and collaborate with other disciplines appropriately to address the Veteran’s treatment needs.
  3. Utilize measurement-based care in psychotherapy to inform treatment decisions.
  1. Gain experience working on interdisciplinary teams and effectively collaborating and communicating across disciplines.

(Supervisor: Hannah Ottmar, PsyD.)

MINOR

Mental Health Acute Care

General Description

The Mental Health Acute Care unit at the Iowa City VAMC provides mental health treatment for adult Veterans in need of acute stabilization. Common diagnoses include psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety and PTSD, and alcohol or substance use issues. Psychological services provided include multidisciplinary treatment planning and care coordination, provision of direct clinical care (individual and group psychotherapy, risk assessment, family education, behavioral treatment planning), and implementation of psychosocial programming on the unit. This rotation also includes the opportunity to provide group services in the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC). The PRRC mission is to create an environment that supports Veterans in creating and actively pursuing their personal vision of wellness and recovery in a transitional educational center for Veterans with serious mental illness.

Training Opportunities

  1. Participate in treatment rounds
  2. Provide individual and group psychotherapy
  3. Learn crisis intervention skills
  4. Complete psychological testing and diagnostic interviewing as available
  5. Develop curriculums for inpatient treatment groups as well as the PRRC

Training Goals

  1. Interns will lead one psychotherapy group and provide two individual therapy sessions per week.
  2. Gain knowledge of diagnosis, crisis intervention skills, and multidisciplinary team approach to treatment.
  3. Develop and lead one psychotherapy group in the PRRC per week.
  4. Gain a better understanding of flow from inpatient to outpatient services for Veterans with serious mental illness.
  5. Gain knowledge of infusing recovery-oriented care for program development.

(Supervisor: K. Baker, Psy.D.)

Neuropsychology

General Description

For interns in the Neuropsychology Track, this rotation will be completed during the final 6 months of their internship. The Neuropsychology minor rotation may also be completed (either during the initial or final 6 months of the internship) by interns in the General Track. While these individuals are not likely interested in the independent practice of neuropsychological assessment, this rotation may be useful to gain a better understanding of brain-behavior relationships and how they may impact their patients. Interns will also learn when to refer for neuropsychological evaluation and will obtain a general understanding of neuropsychological reports. Clinical expectations including completing one comprehensive evaluation per week.

Training Opportunities

  1. Obtain experience with test administration, scoring, normative standards, and report writing.
  1. Weekly Neuropsychology and Psychiatry didactics are available at the Iowa City VA and University of Iowa.

Training Goals

  1. Interns will assist with one neuropsychological evaluation per week with the level of involvement contingent on prior assessment experience.
  2. Conduct brief cognitive screenings.
  3. Attend weekly Neuropsychology case conference/journal club at the Iowa City VA to obtain knowledge of functional neuroanatomy and neurological conditions.

(Supervisors: M. Semla, Psy.D., D. Cordry, Ph.D.)

Pain Clinic

General Description

The Pain Clinic at the Iowa City VA is an interdisciplinary clinic providing whole person care in line with a biopsychosocial understanding of chronic pain. Clinic staff includes psychology, medical provider, physical therapy, pharmacy, and nursing. The psychologist’s role includes addressing mental health concerns, as well as comorbid substance use concerns, pain-perpetuating behaviors/lifestyles, contributing comorbid chronic medical conditions, and adjustment and coping to life with a chronic condition. Given the elevated prevalence of opioid use disorder and concerns, interns will have opportunities to offer support to the patient and team in regard to opioid tapers/MAT treatment. Common presenting MH concerns include mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD, personality disorders, and relational problems. Pain concerns and clinical conditions reported in our clinic include, but are not limited to, low back pain, joint pain, fibromyalgia, and hypermobility syndromes. Interns will complete initial psychological assessments, including collection of a comprehensive history, psychodiagnostic interview, and brief symptom inventories, with additional personality testing and cognitive screening as clinically indicated. Interns would be supervised primarily in evidence-based treatments including, but not limited to, CBT-CP, ACT-CP, DBT skills training, and biofeedback (as permitted given COVID-19 precautions and via VVC). The intern would be expected to complete readings on therapeutic neuroscience education and integrate this into their treatment approach. The intern may have the opportunity to co-facilitate group therapy, including CBT-CP, ACT-CP, and psychoeducational/support groups. As well, the intern would be expected to collaborate and communicate with members of the interdisciplinary team, including observation of their sessions and participation in team meetings.

(Supervisor: Angela Benavides, Ph.D.)

Polytrauma

General Description

Interns work as a member of an interdisciplinary team in our Polytrauma Clinical Support Clinic. Veterans are generally referred to this clinic due to concerns regarding the presence of a traumatic brain injury; however, the focus of the clinic is to provide support to Veterans who have sustained multiple traumas, including psychological trauma, while combat deployed. Members of the Polytrauma Support team include a physiatrist, psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, speech pathologist, and social worker. The psychologist/intern serves in a consultative role providing brief assessment of symptoms and functioning, providing psychoeducation regarding mental health and mTBI, and making recommendations. Veterans served in this clinic have most commonly served in the OIF/OEF/OND conflicts, sustained a mild traumatic brain injury, and have mental health, chronic pain, and/or sleep concerns.

Training Opportunities

  1. Interns will have the opportunity to provide brief assessment of current symptoms and functioning, provide psychoeducation, and make recommendations for Veterans seen in this clinic.
  2. Interns will have the opportunity to interact with, provide information to, and discuss treatment plans with members of the interdisciplinary team.
  3. Interns will obtain didactic training on traumatic brain injury, particularly with regard to mild traumatic brain injury in our Veteran population.

Training Goals

  1. Interns will participate in and serve a consultative role in two polytrauma clinics per week with increasing autonomy as the rotation progresses.
  2. Interns will complete and discuss readings regarding traumatic brain injury.
  3. Interns will gain a better understanding of the impact of traumatic brain injury, often in the context of multiple co-occurring problems.

(Supervisor: M. Semla, Psy.D., D. Cordry, Ph.D.)

Substance Abuse/Dual Diagnosis

General Description

The Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program (OSATP) provides outpatient substance abuse/dual diagnosis counseling to Veterans in all service eras for a multitude of addictions with the most prevalent addiction treatment focusing on Alcohol Use Disorders, Opioid Use Disorders, and Cannabis Use Disorders. Interns may also have the opportunity to work with gambling disorders. This rotation is primarily located at the Coralville Outpatient Mental Health Clinic with some additional training opportunities available on the acute psychiatric unit at the main VA Hospital. Interns will focus on providing individual and group therapy in an outpatient or intensive outpatient setting as well as substance abuse assessments in an acute setting. Motivational Interviewing, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are the primary focus of intervention.

Training Opportunities

  1. Administer and score the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Placement Criteria to help determine appropriate level of care for substance abuse patients.
  1. Complete comprehensive biopsychosocial assessments with treatment recommendations for voluntary, hospitalized, and court mandated patients
  1. Developing comprehensive treatment plans in coordination with the patient.
  1. Individual and group therapy in an outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment setting
  1. Utilize Motivational Interviewing and CBT techniques for Substance Use Disorders in individual and group settings.
  1. Brief intervention with patients in an acute psychiatric setting.
  1. Participate in multi-disciplinary team meetings for both outpatient and inpatient programs.
  1. Learn evidenced-based treatment for smoking cessation

Training Goals

  1. Develop knowledge in diagnosing Substance Use Disorders and implementing treatment modalities specific to SUD, including Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  2. Establish a caseload of outpatient clients within the Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program.
  3. Developing assessment skills and brief interventions in an acute psychiatric setting. (Supervisor: E. McCandless, LISW, ACSW, CADC)

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

General Description

The VA is required by federal law to provide services free of charge to veterans who experienced sexual assault or harassment during their military service. MST services within VA ICVHA are coordinated by Dr. Sylvia Shay, which may include direct provision of care or consultation/education to VA providers. There is no formal MST program; instead clinicians throughout the Mental Health Patient Care Line provide outpatient clinical services for veterans with MST.

Interns are able to gain experience working with veterans with a history of MST, and develop competence working with clinical issues unique to this population . Veterans seen through this rotation will be referred through the PTSD Clinical Team or the Women’s Health Clinic. Therapy is time-limited and based on veterans’ goals and presenting concerns, with an emphasis on flexible implementation of EBPs for PTSD (Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Written Exposure Therapy). Caseload will be 4-6 individual patients, with the flexibility to adjust depending on goals for internship.

For interested interns, they may opt for more involvement in the MST Coordinator role, which includes staff education, program development, outreach, and inter-disciplinary collaboration. Other unique rotation offerings upon request, include exposure to clinical hypnosis/relaxation interventions, and education on Functional Neurological Symptom Disorders (FND). Dr. Shay is the only provider at the ICVHA trained in Neurobehavioral Therapy, which is an evidenced based treatment for Psychogenic Non-epileptic Seizures, a subtype of FND.

Training goals:

  1. Proficiency in clinical case conceptualization and development of evidence-based plans of treatment.
  2. Knowledge of impact of interpersonal trauma in conceptualization, therapy process, and treatment planning.
  3. Comfort with flexible/patient centered implementation of manualized therapies.
  4. Gain entry-level skill in consultation to providers with a range of clinical backgrounds.

Location: Main hospital (Supervisor: S Shay, Psy.D.)

Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI)

General Description

The PC-MHI service provides mental health primary care services to primary care patients throughout the Iowa City VAHCS and Iowa City specialty clinics. We are a team of interdisciplinary providers who work as part of the primary care team to help support the entire primary care population and their health needs. Our Veterans present with a range of complex psychological and physical health concerns. Chronic pain syndromes, coping with chronic illness, childhood and/or military sexual trauma, PTSD, adjustment disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, compliance issues, sleep difficulty, and substance use are common presenting problems in this population.

In the COVID-19 environment, the majority of our services are being conducted via telehealth.

Training Opportunities

  1. Offering same-day clinical care to patients and consultation to primary care team members.
  2. Conduct brief screening and assessment measures to help guide treatment decision-making.
  3. Provide a variety of EBT therapy services to meet a wide range of mental health and physical health needs.
  4. Participate with other multidisciplinary team, particularly primary care providers, to coordinate patient care.
  5. Attend primary care mental health integration team meetings, and other clinic meetings where able.

Training Goals

  1. Be in clinic at least 1 day a week to be available for same-day access for initial consultation visits while also balancing scheduled follow-up visits with an limited panel of patients.
  1. Develop proficiency utilizing a battery of screening tools to help guide patient care.
  1. Obtain competency utilizing brief interviewing skills to conduct targeted, focused assessments appropriate to the primary care setting.
  1. Demonstrate proficiency in brief interventions appropriate to the primary care setting.
  1. Develop a stronger knowledge of medical disorders, psychotropic medications, and other chronic health factors that impact mental health.

(Supervisor: TBD)

Clinical Leadership

General Description

The clinical leadership minor rotation allows interns an opportunity to explore aspects of clinical leadership within a large healthcare organization. Interns will learn about the emerging trends in health care, across settings and professional disciplines and how to lead others in the delivery of care. Discussion topics include clinic management, leadership styles, and how to incorporate psychological skills to be an effective leader

Training Opportunities:

  1. Interns will have the opportunity to provide brief assessment of current symptoms and functioning, provide psychoeducation, and make recommendations for Veterans seen in this clinic.
  1. Interns will have the opportunity to interact with, provide information to, and discuss treatment plans with members of the interdisciplinary team.
  1. Interns will obtain didactic training on traumatic brain injury, particularly with regard to mild traumatic brain injury in our Veteran population.

Training Goals:

  1. Interns will participate in and serve a consultative role in two polytrauma clinics per week with increasing autonomy as the rotation progresses.
  1. Interns will complete and discuss readings regarding traumatic brain injury.
  1. Interns will gain a better understanding of the impact of traumatic brain injury, often in the context of multiple co-occurring problems.

(Supervisor: David Cordry, Ph.D.)

ADMISSIONS, SUPPORT and PLACEMENT DATA

Iowa City VAHCS/Coralville Clinic is open to applicants who are interested in gaining training experience with adults with a wide range of mental health problems, including the psychological sequalae of medical illnesses, and neuropsychological disorders. Also, an interest in and ability to treat Veterans with the above noted problems. Graduate students from clinical and counseling programs, Ph.D. or Psy.D., are equally eligible to apply. We welcome applicants who value our commitment to fostering multicultural competence and increasing sensitivity to individual differences and diversity awareness as they apply to clinical settings. Our fundamental goals of internship involve the developments of a strong sense of professional identity and dedication to the highest standards of practice within the profession and the science of psychology. The philosophy of our training program is based on the practitioner-scholar model, a generalist approach to training, and a developmental training model.

MINIMUM CRITERIA

Our program requires that applicants have achieved a minimum number of hours as noted below at the time of application:

  • Total Direct Contact Intervention Hours Yes = 350
  • Total Direct Contact Assessment Hours Yes = 85
  • Other Minimum Requirements
  • U. S. Citizenship Yes

Financial and Other Benefit Support for Upcoming Training

  • Annual Stipend for Full-Time Interns = $33,469
  • Annual Stipend for Part-Time Interns = NA

  • Program provides access to medical insurance for interns? = Yes

  • Trainee contribution required = Yes

  • Coverage of family member(s) available = Yes

  • Coverage of legally married partner available = Yes

  • Hours of Paid Annual Leave = 4 hrs. every two weeks

  • Hours of Paid Sick Leave = 4 hrs. every two weeks

  • In the event of medical conditions and/or family needs that require leave beyond available annual and sick leave, extended unpaid leave = Yes is an option if necessary to ensure the 2000 required internship hours.

  • Other Benefits = 11 Federal Holidays = 5 days of paid leave for professional activities (e.g.., conference attendance, dissertation defense, postdoc/job interviews as appropriate)

INITIAL POST-INTERNSHIP POSITIONS (2018/19-2021/22)

  • Total # of Interns who were in the previous 4 cohorts = 13
  • Total # of Interns who did not seek employment (i.e., they returned = 0 to their doctoral program/are completing their doctoral degree

ACCREDITATION

The doctoral internship program in Clinical Psychology at the Iowa City VAHCS is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Our next self-study is scheduled for 2023.

Questions related to the program's accreditation status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
Email: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

APPLICATION INFORMATION

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL PROGRAMS

  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 fellows 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 Fellows are subject to fingerprinting and background checks. Match result and selection decisions are contingent on passing these screens.
  4. VA training occurs in a health care setting. Some of the patients served by VA are elderly or infirm, and could succumb to common illnesses like influenza. It is important to be able to document that your vaccinations are up to date and that you have been screened for active tuberculosis prior to starting your training at VA or other hospitals.  Securing a statement from university student health center, your regular health provider, or an urgent care clinic can expedite your appointment. Additionally, maintaining a current flu vaccination during the training year (or taking additional preventative measures to limit patient exposure to the flu) will be required. Please discuss this with the program training director after you have matched and well before your start date to facilitate your onboarding

ADDITIONAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR INTERNSHIP

Internship applicants also must meet these criteria to be considered for any VA Psychology Internship Program:

  1. Doctoral student 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.
  2. Approved for internship status by graduate program training director.

 ADDITIONAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  1. Doctoral student in an APA-accredited Clinical, Counseling Psychology, Professional Psychology program or in an APA-approved respecialization training program in Clinical or Counseling Psychology
  2. Approval for internship status by graduate program training director 
  3. A minimum of 350 direct intervention hours and 85 direct assessment hours of supervised graduate level pre-internship practicum experience

ELIGIBILITY FOR VA EMPLOYMENT

To be eligible for employment as a VA Psychologist, a person must be a U.S. citizen and must have completed an APA, or CPA accredited graduate program in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined psychology or PCSAS accredited Clinical Science program AND must have completed an APA or CPA accredited internship in Psychology, with the emphasis area of the degree consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. The only exception is for those who complete a new VA internship that is not yet accredited.
 

Selection Process

Initial Screening

A selection of committee members from our Training Team will review applications. Applications not meeting the eligibility requirements will not be considered. We seek applicants who have a sound clinical and scientific knowledge base from their academic program, who have strong basic skills in standard assessment and intervention and who have the personal characteristics necessary to function well in our internship setting (i.e., who share a positive approach to teamwork). Our selection criteria are based on both the applicant's match with our practitioner-scholar model and the fit of our training program offerings with applicant goals.

Our training program as well as the Iowa City VA Health Care System is committed to Equal Opportunity in Employment. As an equal opportunity training program, the internship welcomes and strongly encourages applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other minority status.

Interviews

Virtual interviews will be required of all applicants who make the final selection and will involve at least two training staff members; this may include discussion of a clinical vignette presented by the interviewers. These interviews will occur in the context of an “Interview Day” designed also to provide opportunities to meet and talk with our training staff and, in private, with our current interns, and to receive brief overviews of the clinical rotations offered by supervisors. We recognize that the virtual format poses potential challenges, some anticipated and others not. Despite that, it is our intention to create a welcoming experience that optimizes the opportunity for shared information so that you and we can assess the goodness of fit between your goals and ours for the internship year. We truly look forward to meeting you and spending the better part of an enjoyable day together.

Match Policies

The Iowa City HCS is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and follows APPIC guidelines and policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant.

Application Procedures

Applications are due by November 11, 2022. Application materials should be submitted to David D. Cordry, Ph.D. utilizing AAPI online (www.appic.org).

Please submit the following:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. APPIC Application for Psychology Internship (AAPI online) including:
    1. Certification of Readiness for Internship by academic program Training Director;
    2. all graduate transcripts;
    3. three letters of recommendation.
  4. A clinical writing sample (i.e., clinical history/conceptualization or report of a neuropsychological assessment), attached via the AAPI online supplemental section.

The above materials will be used to screen potential applicants for follow-up interviews.

In accordance with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program, interns accepted here may be asked to submit a urine specimen at the beginning of the training year. In addition, the Office of Personnel Management requires a criminal background check of all prospective interns.

Statement of nondiscrimination

We do not discriminate in the recruitment of interns who are eligible for our program based on any non- merit factors, including race, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or status as a parent.

We also highly value cultural diversity and encourage applicants from all backgrounds to apply.

STAFF

Kathryn Baker, Psy.D.

Dr. Baker joined the Iowa City VA in 2013 where she serves as the Inpatient Psychologist. Her clinical interests include serious and persistent mental illness, personality disorders, motivational interviewing, strengths-based treatment, trauma-informed care, and mindfulness. Dr. Baker received her Psy.D. from the Washington, DC campus of Argosy University in 2008. She completed her doctoral internship at a large community mental health center, Human Services, Inc., in Oakdale, Minnesota, with clinical rotations in DBT and Intensive Outpatient Treatment. More recently she was employed through State Operated Forensic Services in St. Peter, Minnesota, providing therapy and assessment to individuals civilly committed as Mentally Ill and Dangerous. Kathryn finds joy in spending time with her family and drinking pumpkin spice coffee. She manages stress through aromatherapy and meditation. She is also a proud University of Iowa alumna and loves cheering on Hawkeye football!

Angela Benavides, Ph.D.

Dr. Angela Benavides joined the Iowa City VA in 2018 and serves as the clinical psychologist in the Pain Clinic. Her interests include chronic pain management, chronic disease management, health promotion, and stress management. She relies on CBT- and ACT-based protocols and techniques with heavy integration of mindfulness and relaxation training. She works as part of an interdisciplinary team, often consulting with and referring to other team members over the plan of care. She also enjoys weight lifting, exploring outdoors, and making annual journeys with her family to someplace new.

Deborah Betsworth, Ph.D.

Dr. Betsworth joined the VA in 2016 as the Health Behavior Coordinator. This position has a health psychology emphasis with both clinical and consulting responsibilities including working with Veterans individually and in groups on behavioral health change, consulting with medical staff on motivational interviewing and health behavior coaching, and developing and providing health and wellness programs. Dr. Betsworth received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Minnesota, with an additional focus in vocational psychology (i.e. career development-enhancement). Prior to shifting to her role in the VA, she had 25 years of experience in higher education including 18 years as director of a counseling center. She has expertise in several areas, including teaching (psychology and counseling courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels), counseling individuals (using brief therapy approaches), developing and facilitating psychoeducational programs, consulting for a college community, and addressing wellness behaviors (e.g., stress management, eating and exercise habits, alcohol and drug use, smoking, etc.). Dr. Betsworth is a health nut, and enjoys cycling, weightlifting, and yoga. She frequents the farmer’s market and spends much time perusing recipes and cooking. She also likes to travel to destinations near and far.

David Cordry, Ph.D

Dr. Cordry is a staff neuropsychologist at the Iowa City VA Health Care System and is the Chief of Psychology. He previously served as a psychologist/neuropsychologist and training director while on active duty in the United States Air Force, retiring after 20 years of service. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas, and his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Michigan State University. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base, and a fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Iowa. His current clinical work includes neuropsychological and psychological assessment. He has extensive experience with treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and interest in assessment and treatment of co-occurring PTSD and TBI. Dr. Cordry is a member of the Training Team and he supervises both the Major and Minor Neuropsychology rotations. Dr. Cordry is an avid college basketball fan (Rock Chalk Jayhawks!) and comic book enthusiast. He enjoys spending leisure time with his family and will happily regale you with “old man stories” if the opportunity arises.

*Dr. Rolffs will be deployed from September 2023 – March 2024. Dr. Cordry will be acting Director of Training.

Ethan Lantz, Ph.D.

Dr. Lantz joined the Iowa City VA in 2020 where he serves as the clinical psychologist at the CBOC in Quincy, Illinois. Dr. Lantz obtained his bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from Harding University and his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University. His clinical interests include PTSD, nightmares, anger management, positive psychology, and intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. His past research focused on custodial grandparenting, gratitude, and religiosity. He completed his internship with the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Dr. Lantz’s hobbies include gardening; taking care of his menagerie of pets (two dogs, ducks, chickens, and geese); woodworking; studying Mongolian history, language, and culture; and walks in the park with his wife and son.

Erin McCandless, LISW, CADC

Erin received her MSW from the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa. She is a clinical social worker for the Iowa City VA Health Care System specializing in dual diagnosis treatment and participating in the Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program (OSATP). Erin is the OSATP liaison to the Psychology Service and provides dual diagnosis counseling services to patients with addiction problems referred to psychology. While her clinical focus is primarily counseling for substance abuse and dual diagnosis patients, she also has a clinical interest in working with patients diagnosed with eating disorders and bereavement. Outside of work, Erin loves spending time with family, taking pictures, and traveling.

Graham Nelson, Ph.D.

Dr. Graham Nelson joined the Iowa City VA Health Care System as a staff psychologist in September 2020. Dr. Nelson completed his graduate training in the clinical psychology program at the University of Iowa in 2020 following the completion of his pre-doctoral internship at the Ann Arbor VA. His clinical interests include social and personality related aspects of treatment of depression and related internalizing disorders, and treatment of PTSD. His past research primarily examined the role of adult attachment in internalizing disorder symptoms. He is a member of the DBT team at the Iowa City VA and has received significant training in multiple evidence-based therapy modalities, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Processing Therapy. As a member of the training team, Dr. Nelson supervises the General Mental Health major rotation. Graham enjoys spending time with his family, watching documentaries, struggling with crossword puzzles, and fanatically following the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Hannah Ottmar, Psy.D.

Dr. Ottmar joined the Iowa City VA in October 2020 as the Behavioral Recovery Outreach (BRO) Team Psychologist and now serves as a Staff Psychologist in the Coralville CBOC. Dr. Ottmar earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Xavier University in Cincinnati in 2019. She completed a clinical psychology internship at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center in 2019 and a geropsychology postdoctoral fellowship at the Salem VA Medical Center in 2020. Dr. Ottmar utilizes a strengths- and evidence-based approach, mainly utilizing CBT and ACT strategies and protocols that are individualized based on the patient’s age and cognitive abilities. She also provides care within the context of a Whole Health/biopsychosocial model to ensure patients are engaged in care and activities that address many aspects of well-being. Her clinical interests include: evidence-based individual and group psychotherapy with older adults for a variety of presenting concerns (e.g., mood disorders, personality disorders, health and/or cognitive concerns, caregiving), assessment (e.g., personality, symptom-focused, pre- transplant/surgery, cognitive), multidisciplinary teamwork, staff education and development, and behavioral interventions for individuals with dementia and their caregivers (both formal and informal caregivers). Dr. Ottmar is a member of the Iowa City VA Disruptive Behavior Committee, Dementia Committee (both local and VISN), and Training Committee. Dr. Ottmar supervises an Outpatient Geropsychology rotation. In her free time, Dr. Ottmar enjoys spending time with her husband and pets; cooking; streaming movies and TV shows; gardening; and traveling.

Jaci Rolffs, Ph. D.

Dr. Jaci Rolffs joined the Iowa City VA in 2019 and serves as a staff psychologist in the PCT and has taken on the roles of Director of Training and PCT Program Manager. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Rochester. Throughout training she has focused on treating trauma throughout the lifespan. Her experiences growing up in the military and living overseas created a passion for working with veterans. Her clinical focus is working with combat veterans with PTSD and moral injury. Dr. Rolffs’ treatment specialties include evidence based therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and mindfulness interventions. Dr. Rolffs is also the PTSD major rotation supervisor. Outside of work she is the mother of two wonderful daughters, a quilting and craft enthusiast, and a psychologist in the Army Reserves.

*Dr. Rolffs will be deployed from September 2023 – March 2024. Dr. Cordry will be acting Director of Training.

Anne G. Sadler, R.N., Ph.D.

Anne G. Sadler, R.N., Ph.D. is a core investigator in the Center for Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) COIN at the Iowa City VA, and a professor in the University of Iowa Department of Psychiatry. She has been funded for sixteen years by Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, investigating the risk factors for sexual violence in military women and the health consequences and care access of military women and Veteran’s post-deployment. Dr. Sadler was the first VA investigator to receive a grant focused on the reproductive health of women veterans. This work has been foundational to her mentoring and research development of multiple investigators focused on gynecologic health outcomes. Dr. Sadler is an expert in mixed methods research, employing this in 5 prior grants. She developed and oversees the computer-assisted telephone interview laboratory at CADRE, her VA Health Services Research Center. She was essential to the development of the women’s research section of CADRE and now is the Women’s Research Lead for the Iowa City Rural Health Resource Center, attracting and mentoring high-quality women’s health investigators, career development awardees, and graduate students. She has served on multiple national level committees and scientific review panels. Dr. Sadler is a licensed Marital & Family Therapist. Her current VA HSR&D implementation study integrates VA provider engagement and training in shared decision-making with Veterans regarding post-deployment mental health care access and engagement. Her current Office of Rural Health funded research focuses on suicide risk factors and suicide risk mitigation preferences for gun suicide in rural versus urban Reserve and National Guard Women Veterans and Service members.

Matthew Semla, Psy.D.

Dr. Matthew Semla recently joined our team as a staff neuropsychologist at the Iowa City VA Health Care System in September 2020. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology (neuropsychology track) at Adler University in Chicago. He completed his neuropsychology-focused internship at the Phoenix VA Health Care System in 2018 and then his neuropsychology fellowship at the VA Connecticut Health Care System in 2020. Dr. Semla’s expertise includes dementia, TBI, stroke, and psychiatric comorbidities. He primarily conducts culturally sensitive neuropsychological assessments for a wide range of clinical presentations and provides psychoeducational feedback. He also offers psychological assessment as a part of the major General Mental Health Rotation. His areas of research have focused on neurodevelopmental conditions as well as performance validity tests. With an interest in developing the core competencies of trainees, Dr. Semla is a member of the Training Team and supervises both the Major and Minor Neuropsychology rotations.

Sylvia Shay, Psy.D.

Dr. Sylvia Shay is a staff psychologist with the Women's Clinic, PCT Clinic, and the MST coordinator at the Iowa City VAMC. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Smith College, and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Iowa City VA, and her fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute. Dr. Shay has dedicated the majority of her training to PTSD/trauma psychology and evidenced based treatments. She has specialized training in the treatment of Functional Neurological Symptom Disorders, specifically psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) and functional movement disorder (FMD). She has extensive experience working with sexual assault/abuse survivors and largely works within an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy framework. Outside of work, she enjoys rock climbing, bad horror films, and animals wearing little outfits.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Further information regarding the Iowa City VAHCS Psychology Internship Program may be obtained by e-mail or telephone from Jaci Rolffs, Ph.D., Director of Training.

                Iowa City VA Health Care System (IC VAHCS)

                Coralville Outpatient Clinic (116/CC)

                520 10th Avenue

                Coralville, Iowa 52241

                319-688-3366

                Email: jaci.rolffs@va.gov

Please contact David Cordry, Ph.D., Acting Training Director from September 2023 – March 2024.

                Iowa City VA Health Care System (IC VAHCS)

                Coralville Outpatient Clinic (116/CC)

                520 10th Avenue

                Coralville, Iowa 52241

                319-688-3366

                Email: david.cordry@va.gov

The Iowa City VA Health Care System, Coralville Clinic, welcomes your interest in our psychology internship training program.

LINKS

American Psychological Association

750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242

800-374-2721 or

202-336-5500

Web: www.apa.org (*External site-see disclaimer below)

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association

750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242

202-336-5979

202-336-6123 TDD/TTY

Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/index.aspx (*External site-see disclaimer below)

APPIC – Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers

17225 El Camino Real Onyx One - Suite 170 Houston, TX 77058

832-284-4080

Web: www.appic.org (*External site-see disclaimer below)

National Matching Services Inc.

20 Holly Street, Suite 301 Toronto, Ontario

Canada, M4S 3B1 Telephone: 800-461-6322

Fax: 844-977-0555

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