MPS Clinical Practicum
San Mateo Medical Center (SMMC) is an approximately 100-bed county hospital that provides inpatient and outpatient medical and psychiatric services to low income individuals residing within San Mateo County. Medical Psychiatry Services (MPS) work in partnership with primary care and specialty clinics to integrate psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral medicine in the care of a culturally and linguistically diverse patient population. We provide both psychotherapy and neuropsychological assessment services to the hospital and certain affiliated clinics. MPS services have recently expanded to Fair Oaks Health Center, providing psychosocial support to patients with diabetes.
Most MPS referrals for our outpatient psychotherapy services come from SMMC's Primary Care Clinic, but we also support medical specialties such as Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, and Cardiology. Typical referrals addressed by MPS are for individuals with mild to moderate psychopathology and consist of depression, anxiety, bipolar II, relationship problems or adjustment disorders related to patients' medical or social issues. In general, we provide individual and group therapy, with occasional opportunities to engage in couples and family therapy. Our services span specialty categories of health psychology, behavioral medicine, and community mental health, whereas preferred treatment modalities are brief and evidence-based.
Separately, MPS is responsible for providing psychological assessment services to various parts of the hospital, encompassing psychodiagnostic and neuropsychological testing. Referral conditions include victims of cerebrovascular accident and stroke, geriatric populations experiencing new onset memory difficulties, Dementia, Parkinson’s, mental health patients experiencing cognitive impairment, substance abuse, learning disorders, and adults with various somatoform disorders, traumatic brain injuries and other psychiatric illnesses.
Medical Psychiatry Services is seeking clinical practicum students to provide culturally-sensitive assessment and/or psychotherapy services to its adult patient population presenting with a broad range of psychiatric and/or medical issues. There are three available tracks:
1) Integrated Behavioral Health Track
On the integrated behavioral health track, students will provide both individual and group interventions at our outpatient clinic to individuals presenting with mild to moderate psychopathology. Trainees may also be assigned to one or more rotations depending on interest, experience, and fit. Possible rotations include behavioral medicine with the endocrinology clinic, consultation with primary care, specialized palliative care, and inpatient work in our psychiatric ward.
2) Assessment Track
Assessment track trainees will complete outpatient neuropsychological and personality assessments on a variety of populations, with possible opportunities for inpatient work as well. Trainees will spend the majority of their clinical time in a geriatric outpatient clinic that serves as a base to complete referred evaluations from the departments of Neurology, Primary Care, various outpatient mental health clinics, and occasionally Aging and Adult Services. The typical process includes a) an extensive diagnostic interview conducted together with the supervising neuropsychologist; b) testing sessions with the patient after the student has received relevant training in test administration and scoring; c) report preparation with close review by the supervisor; and d) a feedback session with the patient, trainee, and supervisor. Trainees are expected to complete between 8-10 assessment evaluations throughout the training year.
3) La Clinica Latina Track (for bilingual Spanish speakers)
On the La Clinica Latina track, bilingual students will provide outpatient individual and group services to our monolingual Spanish-speaking patients. Typical presenting concerns include mild to moderate psychopathology, including mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, acculturation issues, and interpersonal difficulties. Trainees may have an opportunity to work with our Behavioral Medicine team co-leading therapeutic groups focused on behavioral change for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or obesity. In addition, trainees in the La Clinica Latina track will receive supervision in culturally-sensitive approaches to treat Latino immigrants and support to refine their clinical vocabulary in Spanish, if needed.
Practicum students have the option of receiving training at one or both of our training locations:
Fair Oaks Health Center is a community clinic that serves low-income and underserved residents of San Mateo County. Trainees are part of a diabetes specialty team integrating health psychology, behavioral medicine, and endocrinology within the larger context of a community health center. Trainees are embedded in the medical clinic and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, dietitians, nutritionists, and certified diabetes educators. Trainees conduct brief psychosocial assessments and provide short-term and solution-focused interventions to help alleviate patients’ psychosocial barriers to effective diabetes management.
San Mateo Medical Center (SMMC) is an approximately 100-bed county hospital that provides inpatient and outpatient medical and psychiatric services to low income individuals residing within San Mateo County. Our Medical Psychiatry Services (MPS) work in partnership with primary and specialty clinics to integrate psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral medicine in the care of a culturally and linguistically diverse patient population. We provide both clinical and assessment services to the hospital and certain affiliated clinics.
Prior clinical experience is required, with preference given to applicants who have worked with evidence-based interventions, ideally in a short-term format, and/or have a strong foundation in psychological assessment. Experience or strong interest in medical settings, health psychology, and behavioral health is also preferred. A demonstrated desire and openness to serve diverse populations is expected.
For regular practicum students, placement details are:
- Start date: Open
- Duration: 12 months
- Time commitment: 16 to 24 hours per week; clinic hours are 8AM to 5PM. Students are expected to be on site on Wednesdays for staff meetings; other days are negotiable.
- At least 50% of practicum hours to be allocated to clinical work.
- Minimum of one hour individual supervision per week with a licensed psychologist.
- Weekly group supervision, didactic seminars, and Psychiatry Grand Rounds are available depending on specific days on site.
Supplemental practica opportunities with fewer than 16 hours per week may be available for advanced students who have already completed their their regular practicum training.