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The postdoctoral fellowship training program in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Iowa (link to brochure) is administered through the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Benton Neuropsychology Laboratory and the Neuropsychology Service of the Department of Psychiatry are the principal training sites. The Program is directed by Daniel Tranel, PhD, and Douglas Whiteside, PhD, serves as Associate Director. The Program has close ties to the University of Iowa Neuroscience PhD Program, the Aging Mind and Brain Initiative, the Department of Neurosurgery, the Department of Psychology, and the Neuroscience Institute. The training program accepts 1 to 2 fellows per year, and emphasis is placed on individual instruction by maintaining a low fellow-to-faculty ratio. Our training model stems from the scientist-practitioner tradition, and conforms to the guidelines provided by the Houston Conference. The program is a charter member of the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN), and participates in the match program administered through APPCN. Most fellows graduating from the program have pursued careers in hospital-based practice, and many have maintained a balance between clinical practice, research, and teaching. The background of past fellows has been primarily in clinical psychology and counseling psychology.
The Program is housed in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), which is one of the largest university-owned teaching hospitals in the United States. The Benton Neuropsychology Laboratory and the Psychiatry Neuropsychology Service serve approximately 2500 patients per year with specialized diagnostic and rehabilitation services. Referral sources are located throughout the UIHC, including the departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, and Family Practice. The Program has special strengths in assessment of neuropsychological syndromes associated with stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions, traumatic brain injury, CNS tumors, epilepsy, metabolic/medical conditions, psychiatric disorders, and forensic evaluations. Given the setting in a tertiary medical center, and given the large catchment area of UIHC, fellows can expect to be involved in the care of patients with rare neuropsychological syndromes such as prosopagnosia, pure alexia, and Balint’s syndrome. Training includes understanding of the traditional syndromes of aphasia, amnesia, agnosia, executive dysfunction, and personality disturbance following brain damage. Similarly, fellows learn medical and psychiatric conditions ranging from the more common (Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, Huntington’s disease, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, depression) to the unusual (e.g., Moya-Moya, myotonic dystrophy, Charles Bonnet Syndrome). Fellows also participate in Wada evaluations for patients being considered for epilepsy surgery.
Instruction in neuropsychological assessment is the core of the fellowship. Fellows normally participate in the evaluation of one to two patients per day (typically one if the fellow is doing their own testing; typically two if the fellow is working with a technician). The Benton Neuropsychology Laboratory and the Psychiatry Neuropsychology Service use a core battery that is two to five hours in length, with additional assessment instruments guided by the referral question, the condition of the patient, findings from the core battery, and other factors (see Benton, 1994; Lezak et al., 2012; Tranel, 2009). Reports vary in length depending upon the referral question and patient issues, and typically range in length from two or fewer pages to five pages.
The program follows NIH guidelines for salary of postdoctoral fellows. There are full health insurance benefits, and interested candidates are encouraged to inquire about the specifics of such benefits. The community of Iowa City has a population of approximately 75,000. Iowa City has a small college town atmosphere, but with diverse entertainment and recreational activities associated with the University of Iowa including numerous concerts, literary events (including those through the Writer’s Workshop), theatre, and sporting events. Downtown Iowa City is a ten-minute walk from UIHC, or a five-minute bus ride via the free University shuttle. Many of our past fellows have lived within walking distance of the hospital.
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