Primary Clinical Rotations
Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic: The intern will provide psychotherapy services one day a week (Thursday) in the Ben Taub Mental Health Services Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic. The intern will provide short-term weekly individual psychotherapy to children and adults 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 patients from diverse and underserved communities. Supervision will be provided by a staff psychologist.
Assessment Clinic: The intern will conduct psychological and cognitive assessments one day a week (Friday). The intern will conduct assessments for children and adults 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 appropriate assessment services and understanding the intricacies of assessment and diagnosis in this population. Supervision will be provided by a staff psychologist.
Inpatient Hospital Services
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. Yasmine Omar, 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.
Inpatient Psychiatry Service: The intern will be supervised by Dr. Phuong Nguyen (Monday & Tuesday) 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.
Additional Elective Opportunities
Adult Intensive Outpatient Program: This elective is supervised by Dr. Jonathan Blassingame, the program director for the Adult Intensive Outpatient Program. The IOP program 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 may include providing weekly individual psychotherapy and/or co-leading (with a psychiatry resident) an interpersonal process group.
Research Elective: This elective will provide the intern with an opportunity to collaborate with a BCM faculty member on a research project to produce a scholarly product by the end of the training year.
Human Trafficking Elective: This elective is supervised by Dr. Phuong Nguyen. 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.
Assessment Elective: This elective will allow the intern to gain additional experience conducting psychological and cognitive assessments children and/or adults.
Individual Therapy Elective: this elective will allow the intern to get experience providing individual therapy to children and/or adults by carrying up to three additional individual therapy cases.
Support, Treatment, and Rehabilitation (STAR) Program Elective: This elective is supervised by Dr. Katharine Wojcik. 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
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 fellows.
Abby Candelari, Ph.D. – Dr. Candelari is a Staff Psychologist at Ben Taub Hospital in the Obstetrical Care Department and the Maternal Perinatal Addiction Treatment Clinic (MPAT), where she provides evidenced-based psychological interventions for perinatal mental health concerns and substance use disorders within pregnancy. Dr. Candelari also provides psychological/cognitive assessments in the outpatient clinic and supervision for fellows providing individual psychotherapy on the outpatient 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. He provides supervision for the fellow on the inpatient unit and the Anti-Human Trafficking Program.
Yasmine Omar, Ph.D. – Dr. Omar 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.
Katharine D. Wojcik, Ph.D. – Dr. Wojcik is the Program Director for the Support, Treatment, and Rehabilitation (STAR) Program. Dr. Wojcik primarily provides individual psychotherapy and psychological/cognitive assessments in the outpatient clinic and psychiatric inpatient service. Dr. Wojcik provides clinical supervision for psychology interns and monthly didactics for medical students and residents on the inpatient service. Dr. Wojcik also supervises the inpatient fellow on the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit (PIU).
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.