Geropsychology Program


Project Title: Geropsychology Program.

Trainees may choose from a variety of clinical and clinical-research experiences that focus on issues in geropsychology. Rotations are typically 20% time for 6-12 months each; one or more can be selected from the following:

Neuropsychological Assessment: The Neuropsychology Rotation is designed to provide a training experience in neuropsychological assessment for individuals interested in working with older adult, neurological and medical patient populations. The rotation is geared toward refining skills in the neuropsychological assessment of adult inpatients and outpatients drawn from the medical center's Departments of Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Neuropsychiatry, Rehabilitation, Neurology, Geriatrics, and Medicine, as well as from outside referral sources. These referrals span the entire list of neuropathological conditions such as dementia, cerebrovascular disorders, tumor, HIV, epilepsy, degenerative disorders and traumatic brain injury. Trainees receive supervised experience in planning test selection, implementing, and writing up neuropsychological evaluations using a broad range of tests and procedures, as well as oral communication of test results to interdisciplinary teams. Major supervisor: Neil Pliskin, Ph.D., ABPP.

Oncology Outpatient Clinic: Psychological services are provided for geriatric patients and their families who are dealing with cancer diagnosis and treatment. Comprehensive care is provided through collaboration with the patient's physicians, nursing staff, and other specialists. The patient population is being treated for a variety of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. They may be newly diagnosed, be undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, may be pre- or post-surgical intervention or stem cell transplantation. Major supervisors: Susan Labott, Ph.D.; ABPP; Sarah Shelby, Ph.D.

Menopause and cognition rotation: Trainees in this rotation work in a comprehensive clinical-research program studying the effects of sex steroid hormones, alternative menopausal therapies and SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) on age-related changes in cognition and brain function. The program comprises a series of observational studies and clinical intervention trials. Neuropsychological and neuroimaging tools (i.e., positron emission tomography and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging) are used to study estrogen replacement, botanical treatments for menopausal symptoms, testosterone supplementation, premature ovarian failure, menstrual cycle, endogenous estrogens, hormone suppression, and SERMs. This program provides opportunities for trainees to gain clinical-research experiences in methodological approaches to the study of cognitive aging, with a particular emphasis on pharmacological interventions. Training includes an emphasis on research skills, conceptual foundations, neuropsychological test administration and scoring, research design, data management, and basic data analysis. Opportunities to administer neuroimaging tasks and analyze neuroimaging data are also available. Conceptual issues focus on age-related changes in cognition, endocrine underpinnings of such changes, and mechanisms of neuroprotection. Supervisor: Pauline Maki, Ph.D