To be fully qualified as clinicians in primary care and other medical settings, clinical psychologists need a broad preparation in the delivery of clinical services in an interdisciplinary healthcare setting, with an additional emphasis on the role of the psychologist as a consultant to a variety of medical personnel. The Health Psychology Major Area of Study prepares students to work in a variety of health care settings, with a focus on integrated primary care. The MAS course work focuses on the field of health psychology in general, reviewing the role of the health psychologist, assessment and intervention strategies in health psychology, and common clinical presentations in health psychology settings. Specific coursework on integrated primary care helps students understand how assessment and intervention are qualitatively different in primary care, population health, measurement-based care, and reviews consultation and interprofessional team-based care competencies.
The coursework is augmented with primary care-based practicum experiences. Currently, AUNE has a Graduate Psychology Education grant to offer financial supports to students who complete an approved primary care practicum experience. Students also engage in ongoing primary care focused consultation with their peer group, supervisors, and faculty over and above the case consultation offered as part of the general practicum experience. These experiences serve as excellent preparation for specialization in integrated primary care and health psychology. A large percentage of predoctoral internship programs in psychology include a primary care rotation, yet few graduate psychology programs offer these experiences. The AUNE Health Psychology MAS helps students develop competencies that are highly valued in subsequent training opportunities at the internship and post-doctoral fellowship levels.
AUNE emphasizes primary care behavioral health integration because preparing psychologists to work in this model is care is currently a top priority of federal (Medicare, VA, DoD), state (Medicaid), and private health plans. Robust evidence of the benefits of integrated primary care has driven a national movement to integrated care. Consequently, there is a shortage of well-prepared clinicians. The transformation of medical settings into fully integrated care requires broadly trained clinical health psychologists who can address concepts of population health delivery, clinical metrics, quality improvement, and assessment and intervention skills that align with the primary care environment. Psychologists with training and experience in these areas are in great demand, with subsequent pay scales that align with the high need.
To address this need, AUNE Dept. of Clinical Psychology has instituted a Major Area of Study (MAS) in Clinical Health Psychology. The concentration is directed by Nancy Ruddy, a nationally recognized leader in behavioral health integration.
Concentration Director: Nancy Ruddy, Ph.D. ([email protected])
For more information about psychologists in different primary care settings, please watch the following short videos from the American Psychological Association:
For more information on Behavioral Health Integration please visit integrationacademy.ahrq.gov.
This degree is offered by AU New England.
- Meet all regular program degree requirements to complete the doctoral in Clinical Psychology
- Notify the Director of the M.A.S. of the student’s intention to follow the course of study and to receive the credential that its completion bestows. Preferably this is done at the beginning of the third year.
- 9 credits and a project as follows:
- The Biological Bases of Behavior (3)
- Health Psychology (3)
- Integrated Primary Care (3)
- Population Behavioral Health course or equivalent project/independent study (3) (The population health project in the GPE practicum program or another population health project of equal substance may be used to fulfill this requirement.)
- At least 3 additional elective credits in a relevant area, defined broadly (e.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Substance Abuse, Brief Therapy, Mindfulness, Psychopharmacology)
- At least one behavioral health integration/population health practicum (e.g., in a primary care or other medical setting serving underserved populations)
- Dissertation on a topic relevant to behavioral health integration/population health. Students should present their dissertation topics to the Director before they are finally determined to be sure that they are judged to meet the criteria.
- Second practicum in behavioral health integration/population health with underserved populations.
Job Demand: Both federal and state health care authorities have defined the need for behavioral health clinicians in primary care as a crisis. It is hard to imagine an area of psychology that could possibly be in higher demand once you have finished your training.
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