Adult Neuropsychology Track

Adult Neuropsychology Track

The Adult Neuropsychology Track is designed to provide training experiences in adult neuropsychological assessment and treatment for individuals interested in pursuing a career in Clinical Neuropsychology. While the Adult Neuropsychology track intern will also participate in the other aspects of the general internship including supervised psychotherapy training and attendance at required seminars, a yearlong experience in Adult Neuropsychology is the hallmark of this track. The track adheres to APA Division 40 and Houston Conference guidelines for training in Clinical Neuropsychology, and is designed to prepare the intern for pursuing an advanced postdoctoral residency in the field.

The Adult Neuropsychology Service typically receives requests for assessment and treatment from the Adult Psychiatry, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuropsychiatry, Geriatrics, Oncology, and General Medicine services in the Medical Center, as well as from private referral sources across the Chicagoland region. These referrals span the entire range of neuropathological entities, including aphasia, epilepsy, degenerative disorders, tumors, learning disabilities, and traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychology-related treatment experiences are available through the Memory Disorders Clinic and the Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic.

The Adult Neuropsychology intern devotes part of his/her full year training experience to the various programs within the Adult Neuropsychology Service in addition to the time spent in the general internship program, although these percentages can vary based on the experience and interest of the intern. As part of the general training in neuropsychology, the intern participates in an assessment clinic, working independently in collaboration with his/her supervisor and the technician, while in turn also having the chance to provide supervision to the externs on the service.

The Adult Neuropsychology intern will develop broad skills in the assessment and treatment of psychological disorders stemming from cognitive, psychiatric, and medical disability. Through neuropsychology rotations, the intern will become familiar with the selection, administration, scoring, and interpretation of commonly used assessments; develop appropriate case conceptualizations through integration of history, test data, and behavioral observation; and communicate test results in oral and written formats to patients, families, and other providers. The intern will develop a working knowledge and experiential base in neurological diagnosis, neurosurgery, and psychiatry and be able to provide neuropsychological consultation to neurology, neurosurgery, pediatrics, and other referral sources. 

The Adult Neuropsychology intern attends a number of specialty seminars including the Clinical Neuroscience Series, a weekly meeting addressing special topics and clinical case presentations in adult neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry; Neuropathology Rounds (“Brain Cutting”), devoted to the examination of gross brain anatomy, and geared towards understanding the neuropathology of neurological diseases; and Neurology Teaching Rounds, which provides the intern with the opportunity to participate in bedside evaluations conducted by neurologists on their inpatient service.

Specific clinic rotations offered within the Adult Neuropsychology Track are detailed below:

The Memory Disorders Rotation exposes the intern to patients for whom memory impairment is a major complaint or feature of their cognitive impairment profile. The etiology of the deficits seen can vary widely and includes patients with primary progressive dementias, vascular dementia, or amnestic syndromes (e.g., alcohol-related illness, traumatic head injury, brain tumor resection). On the Memory Disorders rotation, the intern learns to administer a brief, focused neuropsychological evaluation, with an emphasis on differential diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The intern will learn to gather relevant information in a timely manner, yet remain sensitive to individual patient concerns and needs. In the biweekly Memory Disorders Journal Club, the intern will select, and then moderate the discussion about a peer reviewed article that pertains to dementia or a related topic. The intern learns the basics of clinical neuroimaging techniques and will be able to identify structural brain abnormalities that are associated with aging.  Participation in a weekly Memory Disorders Conference provides the intern with the opportunity to interact with geriatricians, neurologists, nurses, and social workers, in a multidisciplinary format.  During this meeting, the intern learns to integrate data from multiple sources and develops a comprehensive analysis and treatment plan, while sharing the unique contributions made by neuropsychological assessment. This rotation is required for interns on the Adult Neuropsychology track.

The Adult Neuropsychology Clinic Rotations are geared towards refining and extending an intern’s skills in the neuropsychological assessment of adult patients drawn from Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuropsychiatry, Geriatrics, Oncology, and General Medicine clinics, as well as from private referral sources. Referrals include adult ADHD, aphasia, epilepsy, degenerative disorders, tumors, learning disabilities, and traumatic brain injury. The experience focuses on the selection, administration, and scoring of neuropsychological tests, as well as in formulating interpretations and communicating results through written reports and oral presentations. Outpatient evaluations are typically conducted in day-long (seven hour) sessions. The intensive nature of these assessment sessions provides an opportunity to learn in-depth about different types of neuropsychological syndromes, as well as to participate in case formulation and plan test selection. Interns will also be exposed to intracarotid amytal (WADA) testing used with prospective neurosurgical patients. Clinics take place either on site at the University of Chicago Medical Center or at the satellite clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital in Hobart, IN, located approximately one-half hour south of Hyde Park. Two clinic rotations are required in order to meet Houston Conference guidelines for Neuropsychology training.

The Adult Neuropsychology Research Rotation provides the intern with the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on either ongoing programmatic research projects, or to develop a question of their own associated with already in place research. Data collection and analysis, preparation of posters and papers, and presentations of research findings are emphasized elements of the rotation.

The Neurocognition and Psychosis Research Rotation is directed by Dr. Sarah Keedy.  Specific activities will be customized to the intern’s interests and skill level.  They may include participating in data collection with study participants (e.g., research clinical interviewing and symptom rating, EEG, fMRI, cognitive testing), analysis projects with existing data, grant preparation experience, and poster or paper presentations as appropriate.