About our program

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is seeking qualified graduate students to participate in our Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium. This training opportunity is created specifically for students who have a strong interest in pediatric psychology and an ability to work quickly and efficiently in a clinical setting. Students will gain experience working with various healthcare services including:


Endocrinology

The endocrinology team has availability to take one student, one day per week. The trainee will be given the opportunity to see patients as part of a study evaluating outcomes for high-risk patients with Type 1 diabetes (admitted in the past year with two or more DKA episodes). Students will also have the opportunity to see solid organ transplant patients who have gone on to develop Type 1 diabetes. For both projects, students will be involved in consultation and therapy in an outpatient setting. On occasion, the trainee will be given the opportunity to see inpatients. The trainee will be able to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and have the opportunity to be involved in consultation-liaison work. Trainees must have a very flexible schedule, as sites include Egleston, Pediatric Endocrine Associates (PEA) near Scottish Rite and a private practice in Johns Creek. The opportunity to work closely with a social worker and diabetes community nurse as part of the Diabetes Support Team for the high-risk project is also available.

Learn more about pediatric endocrinology at Children's

Gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition

Students will be involved primarily in outpatient therapy for patients affected by gastrointestinal conditions. Many gastrointestinal conditions include functional abdominal pain, inflammatory bowel disease, encopresis, rumination syndrome, and mood disorders. There will be opportunities for developing gastrointestinal-specific treatment materials as well.

Learn more about pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Children's

Hematology and oncology

Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has practicum training opportunities available on all three campuses with several training opportunities including consultation-liaison, neuropsychological assessments, biofeedback specialty clinic, brain tumor clinic, and cancer survivorship. Each campus presents the opportunity for students to work as part of an interdisciplinary team engaging in consultation-liaison work. Clinical responsibilities include consultation with patients, families and interdisciplinary teams, as well as time-limited individual and family therapy. Practicum students will also have an opportunity to conduct psycho-educational or neuropsychological assessments. There are opportunities for specialized training in biofeedback, pain management and other cognitive-behavioral modalities. Seventy-five percent of the student's time will be spent in actual patient care with the remaining 25 percent spent in educational seminars, supervision and research opportunities. Students will have the opportunity to work in the following areas and clinics within the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center:

  • Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Program
  • Consultation-Liaison
  • Sickle Cell Disease Program
  • Neuropsychology Program
  • Pediatric Psychology Outpatient Therapy

Learn more about Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center


Pain relief

Within the Center for Pain Relief, up to two advanced practicum placements are available. Clinical training will focus on pain assessment and pain management within the outpatient setting. Students will be exposed to a variety of acute and chronic pain conditions (i.e., complex regional pain syndrome, juvenile arthritis and functional abdominal pain) and work with a variety of medical disciplines (i.e., rheumatology, neurology, and gastroenterology). Training in pain management techniques includes progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, biofeedback, hypnosis and other cognitive behavioral modalities. Seventy-five percent of the student's time will be spent in actual patient care with the remaining 25 percent spent in educational seminars, supervision and research opportunities.

Learn more about pain relief at Children's

Rehabilitation

Trainees will have the opportunity to engage in psychological intervention with patients in both the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program and Day Rehabilitation Program under the supervision of the licensed psychologist. They will have the opportunity to assist with diagnostic interviews with caregivers, assess patients' emotional and behavioral functioning, and assist in developing and implementing individual and family interventions. Students will also have the opportunity to learn and assist with providing intervention within the interdisciplinary teams in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program and Day Rehab Program (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, medical team). Trainees will have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary rounds on a weekly basis. The training year runs from mid-August to mid-June. The possibility of a summer extension exists if students are interested and a yearlong practicum experience is preferred by the supervisor. Summer-only practicums are not available. Students are expected to devote two full days a week to this practicum, a total of 16 hours. Trainees with some therapy/intervention experience will be given priority. Child and Adolescent Assessment Course and Child and Adolescent Therapy Course are required for this site.

Learn more about Children's Inpatient Rehabilitation Program

Solid organ transplant

Students will be involved in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with solid organ transplants. We service three major organ groups-heart, liver and kidney. Patients are seen both pre- and post-operation. This program will be a focus on providing ongoing psychological care while patients are hospitalized and during outpatient medical clinics. There may also be opportunities for conducting comprehensive psychological/psychoeducational evaluations. The majority of the student's time will be spent in actual patient care with the remaining time spent in educational seminars, supervision and research opportunities.

Learn more about transplant at Children's

Wellness

The Strong4Life program is an interdisciplinary outpatient program focusing on family systems changes to encourage healthy weight stabilization. The patient population (from infancy to 21 years) includes patients with chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea and orthopaedic complications related to excess weight. Patients in remission from cancer or preparing for organ transplant are also referred on a regular basis. Common psychological comorbidities include depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders (ASD)and binge-eating disorder. Students will have the opportunity to engage in psychological interventions with patients in both the nonsurgical and surgical (bariatric) tracks under the supervision of the licensed psychologist. Students will also assist with diagnostic interviews and the development and implementation of individual and family interventions. Students will learn to work within the interdisciplinary team setting (nutrition, exercise physiology and medical) and lead interdisciplinary rounding.

Learn more about wellness at Children's

Dependent upon the specialty area selected, these practicum positions are located at all three campuses; Egleston, Scottish Rite and Hughes Spalding.  Students will receive ongoing supervision of all work, with a minimum of one hour per week of individual supervision. Considerable additional training occurs in the context of multidisciplinary rounds, group supervision, supervision of students by post-doctoral fellows, in-service training, and child and adolescent psychiatry grand rounds.

Length of training
The training year may follow the academic calendar. The start date is negotiable but typically falls around August 1, with an expected 10 to 11 month length. Time off for internship interviews will be given as needed and vacation leave will be negotiated with the student’s supervisor, with an expected one-week vacation in December.

Preferred/required days and times
Students must be able to be on-site at least one to two days per week, depending on their placement. Availability of practicum days depends on the specified site. Preferred days and times are to be negotiated with supervisors on each service.

Advisement notes
This is best suited for students who are comfortable with a high degree of autonomy and a fast-paced environment. A solid understanding of DSM criteria and experience conducting interviews is mandatory.

How to apply

Interested students should submit a cover letter and their CV by the second Friday in February to program coordinators Dr. Beth Thompson and Dr. Kindell Schoffner. Students must also complete the interview request form to determine which practicum sites they would like to be considered for interview.

Complete the interview request form

Beth Thompson, Psy.D.
Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium Coordinator
Pediatric Psychologist
beth.thompson@choa.org

Kindell Schoffner, Psy.D.
Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium Coordinator
Pediatric Psychologist
kindell.schoffner@choa.org