Location: Harris Health System - Ben Taub Hospital
Ben Taub Hospital is a public facility of the Harris Health System with over 400 beds serving the medically indigent population of Harris County. Ben Taub Hospital offers mental health inpatient and outpatient care, including an intensive outpatient program for individuals with personality disorders and complex mood and anxiety disorders. Ben Taub Hospital is a primary teaching facility for Baylor College of Medicine.
The Ben Taub Hospital Mental Health Service is a training site for many health care professions, including clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, nursing, occupational therapy and pharmacy, among others. The Child and Adolescent Psychology Track is focused on the provision of outpatient psychological services for children and adolescents (ages 5-21). Opportunities for additional elective training experiences will be available for the intern throughout the year.
Primary Clinical Rotations
Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic: The intern will provide psychotherapy services two days a week (Tuesday and Thursday) in the Ben Taub Mental Health Services Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic. The intern will provide short-term weekly individual psychotherapy to child and adolescent outpatients presenting with a wide variety of concerns including attention issues, depression, anxiety, trauma, self-harm, OCD, grief, perfectionism, and adjustment issues. The intern will gain experience in providing evidence-based treatments, monitoring treatment progress, consultation, and further honing their case conceptualization skills for children and adolescents from diverse and underserved communities. Supervision will be provided by a staff psychologist (TBD).
Child Assessment Clinic: The intern will conduct psychological and cognitive assessments one day a week (Monday). The intern will conduct assessments for children ages 6-17 years old referred through the Harris Health System. Initially, the intern will observe several assessments and familiarize themselves with assessment measures and common clinical presentations. Ultimately, the intern will independently conduct clinical interviews, utilize evidence-based assessment measures, interpret data, write psychological reports, and provide feedback to families and referring medical providers to clarify the diagnostic picture. Common referral questions include assessment of autism, ADHD, mood disorders, trauma reactions, somatic symptoms, psychosis, and intellectual/academic functioning. Emphasis will be placed on improving intern competence in providing assessment services to underserved children, adolescents, and their families and understanding the intricacies of assessment and diagnosis in this population. Supervision will be provided by a staff psychologist (TBD).
Elective Minor Rotations
During the internship year, the intern will have the opportunity to gain experience in a specialized area of interest for one day a week (Friday). The intern will be allowed to pick from several elective minor rotations. After completion of their first month on internship, the intern will then pick an elective to continue with one day a week for the following five months. After six months, the intern can choose to stay on their current elective rotation, or they can choose another elective rotation for their final six months.
Adult Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service: Psychology is part of a multidisciplinary C & L Psychiatry Service providing consultations to patients throughout BTH. The intern will be supervised by Dr. Lynn Norwood, the staff psychologist for the C & L service. The intern will provide bed-side psychotherapy and brief psychological assessments such as suicide, depression, anxiety and cognitive screeners. The intern provides consultation services to inform diagnoses, treatment decisions, and discharge planning as part of a multidisciplinary team by working in direct contact with a team of medical students, medical residents, social workers, spirituality as well as nursing staff. The intern will also have opportunities to provide time-limited psychotherapy to patients with extended medical admissions.
Adult Inpatient Psychiatry Service: The intern will be supervised by Dr. Phuong Nguyen on the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit. The intern will provide brief assessments, as well as time-limited psychotherapy services to patients who have been identified by the treatment team as likely to benefit from short-term supportive-expressive or cognitive-behavioral treatment. The intern also co-leads a daily skills training group for inpatients. The intern is encouraged to be an active participant by interviewing patients and providing feedback to the team regarding observations during intake interviews, interactions with patients on the unit, observations during group or individual therapy, and results of psychological testing. A primary goal for each intern is to learn the team member role and consultation role of a psychologist in a hospital setting.
Adult Intensive Outpatient Program: The intern will be supervised by Dr. Jonathan Blassingame, the program director for the Adult Intensive Outpatient Program. The intern serves as a program clinician for the IOP program, which is a short-term (Ten week), multi-disciplinary program geared towards patients with borderline personality disorder with chronic suicidal ideation and/or complex mood and anxiety disorders who have tried and failed standard outpatient care. Responsibilities include providing weekly individual psychotherapy, co-leading (with a psychiatry resident) an interpersonal process group and attending weekly multi-disciplinary staff meetings.
Additional Elective Opportunities
Research Elective: this elective will provide the intern with an opportunity to collaborate with a faculty member on a research project to produce a scholarly product by the end of the training year.
Human Trafficking Elective: this elective will allow the intern to learn how to better identify and treat victims of human trafficking.
Substance Abuse Treatment Elective: this elective is supervised by Dr. Moukkadam (psychiatrist) and will allow the intern to assist with the Chemical Dependency Group and carry a small caseload of individual therapy patients suffering from substance abuse/dependency issues.
Adult Assessment Elective: this elective will allow the intern to gain additional experience conducting psychological and cognitive assessments with adults.
Adult Individual Therapy Elective: this elective will allow the intern to get experience providing individual therapy to adults by carrying up to three additional individual therapy cases.
Support, Treatment, and Rehabilitation (STAR) Program Elective: the intern will serve as a group co-facilitator in the STAR program, a group-based, multidisciplinary program for patients who experience psychoses as part of a primary psychotic disorder or as secondary symptoms of a primary mood disorder.
Access to Diverse Populations
The intern has the unique opportunity to work in both the outpatient and inpatient hospital settings, with patients who have a variety of psychiatric illnesses that are frequently complicated by major health issues. Psychiatric problems addressed vary greatly in terms of severity and diagnoses; however, Ben Taub often treats some of the most treatment resistant patients in the greater Houston area.
Ben Taub provides excellent representation of the sociocultural diversity that exists within Houston, and patients receiving services often reflect underserved populations. Approximately 75 percent of patients served are racial/ethnic minorities, with approximately 40 percent receiving treatment under indigent or charity care and another 40 percent under Medicaid or Medicare. Spanish is the most spoken foreign language among patients. As Houston has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the United States, Vietnamese is the second most spoken foreign language among patients. Interpreting services are available in 150 different languages, offering the intern the opportunity to develop skills working with interpreters.
Various faculty members at Baylor College of Medicine are engaged in research and publication. Current research interests of the faculty include: issues of diversity/multiculturalism, severe psychopathology in racial and ethnic groups, clinical characteristics for psychiatric patients, and human trafficking. The intern is encouraged to become involved in ongoing research projects at Ben Taub and are also expected to make use of the scientific literature on assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment planning in their clinical activities.
Supervision and Meetings
Staff Psychologist 1 – TBD, Will be responsible for supervision of the intern’s psychotherapy cases.
Staff Psychologist 2 – TBD, Will be responsible for supervision of the intern’s psychological assessment cases.
Jonathan Blassingame, III, Ph.D. – Dr. Blassingame is the program director for the Adult Intensive Outpatient Program. He provides clinical oversight for the psychology fellows on the outpatient rotation. He also conducts individual psychotherapy and psychological/cognitive assessments in the outpatient clinic. He supervises individual therapy cases, group therapy sessions, and outpatient assessment cases for the postdoctoral fellows and interns on the IOP Minor Elective Rotation.
Phuong T. Nguyen, Ph.D. - Dr. Nguyen is the director of Psychology Services at Ben Taub Hospital. He is training director for the BTH-BCM Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship and the program director for the BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. He works primarily in the psychiatric inpatient service, teaching both a team member role and the consultation model to the inpatient fellow. Dr. Nguyen also serves as the Program Director for the STAR Program. He provides supervision for the fellow on the inpatient unit, for the STAR program, as well as the Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Dr. Nguyen is the Internship Training Director for the BCM Internship Program and provides supervision for intern on the Inpatient Unit Minor Elective Rotation.
Lynn Norwood, Psy.D. – Dr. Norwood is a staff psychologist for the Ben Taub Hospital Consultation and Liaison Service. She supervises the fellow rotating through the C & L service and oversees fellow’s clinical activities, which include consultation, assessment, and brief therapy with medically-ill patients. She also provides didactics to medical students and residents throughout the training year. She encourages fellow participation on these didactics. Dr. Norwood is the associate training director for the BTH/BCM Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship and provides supervision for intern on the Consultation/Liaison Minor Elective Rotation.
Monthly Psychology Team Meeting - This time is used as a monthly check-in for psychology team members. Supervisors, postdoctoral fellows, and Interns are encouraged to utilize this supportive space to discuss and address issues that might arise during the training year. Topics of discussion have included patient risk assessment, treatment strategies, licensing process, and administrative issues.
Psychology Postdoctoral Fellows may also provide additional supervision for interns.