Eating Disorders Program

Eating Disorders Program: Bariatric Surgery Externship

Supervisor: Andrea Goldschmidt, Ph.D.
2-3 positions

This training experience is designed for externs who are interested in gaining research and clinical experience with obese adults undergoing weight loss surgery. Applicants should be enrolled in an APA-accredited doctoral program in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. 

The University of Chicago's Center for Surgical Treatment of Obesity (CSTO) program has been designated as an American Society for Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, indicating that we meet the highest standards in bariatric surgery. 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. We also conduct research on psychosocial factors relevant to bariatric surgery candidates. Externs have the opportunity to gain valuable clinical and research experience working with bariatric surgery patients. Externs are expected contribute approximately 20 hours per week to the bariatric surgery team.

Bariatric surgery clinics are held Monday, from 8am to 12pm; Wednesday, from 8am to 5pm; Thursday, from 1pm to 5pm; and Friday, from 8am to 12pm. 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 conducting psychosocial assessments with bariatric surgery candidates (evaluating appraisal and motivation for surgery; past and present eating-related and general psychopathology; coping skills; and social support), the results of which will be used to determine whether the candidate is psychologically fit for surgery and to generate recommendations to help the candidate improve his/her readiness for surgery; and following up with patients who have already undergone surgery to assess ongoing psychosocial functioning and assist with goal-setting, behavior change, and motivation. Other responsibilities include managing our research database (e.g., collecting and entering data); assisting with the maintenance of our IRB protocol; 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).

Applicants should have experience conducting psychosocial assessments with adults, and excellent organizational skills to manage research-related tasks. This position is ideal for a graduate student who is familiar with the basics of Excel and SPSS and is looking for clinical and research experience with an emphasis on health psychology and bariatric surgery.

If interested, please send a cover letter detailing the nature of your interest in the externship, your career goals, and any relevant previous clinical and research experience; a current CV/resume; and two letters of recommendation to Dr. Andrea Goldschmidt ( by January 8th, 2016. Questions about this training opportunity should also be directed to Dr. Goldschmidt. Qualified candidates will be invited to interview in February and March, 2016. Offers will be extended on an ongoing basis. Please note that we DO NOT follow ACEPT guidelines.