Eating Disorders Program

Eating Disorders Program: Bariatric Surgery Externship

Supervisors: Jennifer Wildes, Ph.D.; Christine Daemicke, LCSW; Nicole Gauthier, LCSW

1-2 positions

Overview: This training experience is designed for externs who are interested in gaining clinical experience with obese adults seeking weight loss surgery.  Activities take place primarily within The University of Chicago's Center for Surgical Treatment of Obesity (CSTO), which has been designated as an American Society for Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The CSTO is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, nurses, dietitians, psychologists, and social workers, all of whom work together to evaluate and follow up with bariatric surgery patients. The psychology team has an integral role in making recommendations to surgery candidates and to the CSTO team regarding patient readiness for surgery.

Bariatric surgery clinics are held Monday, from 8am to 12pm; Wednesday, from 8am to 5pm; and Thursday, from 1pm to 5pm. Practicum days are negotiable, but attendance on Mondays and Wednesdays is strongly encouraged. Part-time placements (10 hours/week) may be allowed for exceptional candidates. The extern's primary responsibilities include: 1) conducting psychosocial assessments with bariatric surgery candidates (i.e., evaluating appraisal and motivation for surgery; past and present eating-related and general psychopathology; coping skills; and social support); and 2) following up with patients who already have undergone surgery to assess ongoing psychosocial functioning and assist with goal-setting, behavior change, and motivation. Other responsibilities may include managing the research database (e.g., collecting and entering data); assisting with the maintenance of IRB protocols; preparing materials for a variety of patient groups (e.g., preoperative readiness education program; surgery support group); and attending CSTO team rounds (held Mondays from 3-4pm).

All trainees receive at least one hour of individual supervision per week provided by Dr. Wildes. On-site supervision at CSTO is provided by staff social workers. Additional supervision in individual and groups formats may be provided by a psychology intern or postdoctoral fellow.

Didactics: Externs are expected to participate in a weekly Eating Disorders Program didactics meeting that includes assigned readings and discussion of relevant clinical materials (e.g., treatment manuals). Externs also will have the opportunity to attend Eating Disorders Program research meetings, as well as a variety of didactics offered through the Department of Psychiatry, depending on the days they are on site.

Requirements: Please read the following list carefully to determine whether you are eligible to apply for this externship.

  • Able to devote 20 hours per week to the bariatric surgery team (10 hours per week for a part-time externship).
  • Current enrollment in an APA-accredited doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology.
  • Completion of master’s degree at the time of application.
  • Completion of graduate coursework preferred.
  • At least 2 previous practicum experiences, with one of them involving diagnostic assessment.
  • Training year runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

Application: Students interested in applying for the Eating Disorders Program: Bariatric Surgery Externship should send the following materials by electronic mail to Dr. Jennifer Wildes ( by Friday, November 16, 2018. 

  1.  Letter of interest
  2. Current curriculum vita (CV)
  3. Copy of current academic transcript
  4. Two letters of recommendation (one letter must be from a current faculty member supervising your training).  Letters should be emailed directly or sent by mail to the following address:

Jennifer Wildes, Ph.D.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

The University of Chicago
5841 S. Maryland Ave, MC 3077
Chicago, IL 60637

Questions about the externship may be directed to Dr. Wildes via email.  Qualified candidates will be invited to interview between November 26 and December 14, 2018. Offers may be held until 9 am on December 17, 2018.