Kim Whalen, RN, nursing director at Mass General for Children (MGfC), has worked at the MGH in various roles and departments since 1996.
The Lifespan Health Elective provides both clinical and research training. Our program is designed to launch careers in psychology with a focus on the integration of mind, brain, body, and behavior across the lifespan.
Interns receive training in a variety of multidisciplinary, integrated clinical and research teams across medical, community, and virtual settings.
- Delivering psychoeducation and technology-enhanced, evidence-based mind-body skills within patient, dyadic, and group interventions that aim to:
- Preserve health and prevent chronic illness through lifestyle changes, such as mindfulness, exercise, social support, adaptive thoughts
- Optimize the management of chronic illness
- Promote recovery and prevent chronic illness after injury or surgery
This curriculum overlaps with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Elective and Behavioral Medicine Elective, but the research interests of interns in this track should be primarily in technology-enhanced mind-body intervention development, testing and implementation to promote health, well-being, and resilience over the continuum of health to illness and across the lifespan.
Successful candidates have demonstrated a commitment to clinical research through in-progress or completed peer-reviewed publications (~3-5 published or in press), presentations, awards, or small grants. Ideally, interns have fully completed their dissertations (or nearly completed them) before starting the internship. Interns who are interested in an academic research career, intervention development and implementation, and team-based science are well suited for this training program.
We highly encourage applicants with diverse backgrounds to apply. We value diversity, inclusion, and equity in all aspects of our work. Interns develop expertise delivering integrated, manualized, in-person or virtual skills interventions to populations diverse in age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, religion, gender identity, sexual identity, physical and mental health conditions.
Treatment, Assessment & Evaluation
An effort is made to expose interns in the Lifespan Elective to diverse cases, while also catering to their specific training needs and clinical and research interests.
Interns provide services to patients coping with medical conditions and psychological distress as part of a multidisciplinary collaboration across Neurology, Psychiatry , Orthopedics, Palliative Care & Geriatrics Medicine, the Center for Health Outcomes and Interdisciplinary Research (CHOIR). Interns also provide individual and group treatments to a variety of medical populations as part of clinical research conducted at CHIOR.
Interns see patients and their families as part of the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-ICU). They also work in the psychiatric inpatient unit as part of their general rotation and have opportunity to work in other ICU settings. Interns learn to deliver empathic, direct, and brief skills training using second and third-wave cognitive behavioral approaches and work closely with the medical teams.
Interns receive both individual and group supervision designed to provide training, support, and integrative perspectives on the care of patients and their families. Typically, interns carry approximately eight cases, with some as a part of ongoing clinical trials. Treatment is both individual and group, in person or virtual.
Interns provide consultations to medical patients and staff in the Intensive Care Units directly triggered from inpatient medical practices.
The goal of this elective is to prepare interns for a career in academic research. Interns receive 1 day/week of protected time to complete dissertation projects, write manuscripts, and prepare small grants. Interns are supported to develop new research collaborations in medical practices that fit the mission of this program. Interns who stay on as postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to also develop a grant proposal idea during the second part of the internship year.
Interns have opportunities for clinical research in a variety of topics, including:
- Aging adults
- Chronic pain
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Critical care illness
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neurodegenerative illness (e.g., MS, ALS)
- Caregivers and families
- Healthy adults interested in preserving brain health
Each week, interns receive the following research support:
- Protected research time
- Elective rotations with research component
- Grant and manuscript writing
- Presentations at professional conferences
- Mentorship on qualitative and quantitative methods
- Research and multidisciplinary seminars (e.g., “K-Club” seminar)
A successful career requires effective mentoring. In addition to supervision, interns receive weekly mentoring in career development and specific areas of research.
The Lifespan Health Elective is co-led by Ana-Maria Vranceanu, PhD, Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Interdisciplinary Research (CHOIR), and Victoria Grunberg, PhD, Assistant Director of Training at CHOIR.
Interns attend weekly required didactics, including:
- Behavioral medicine seminar (½ year)
- CBT seminar (½ year)
- Proseminar (1 year)
- Integrative Seminar (1 year)
- Research Seminar (e.g., Methods, Journal Club, Works in Progress) (1 year)
Postdoctoral Training Opportunities
Interns who demonstrate outstanding performance and commitment to clinical research in an academic medical center may have the option to transition to a clinical research postdoctoral fellowship. Interested interns are encouraged to organize their research activities such that they can make a smooth transition to a fellowship year if positions are available. In addition, Lifespan Health interns have been successful in securing T32 postdoctoral fellowships, including the HMS Integrative Health Fellowship and MGH Translational Neuroscience Training for Clinicians, under Dr. Vranceanu’s mentorship.
- More detailed information on training and our alumni can be found at Center for Health Outcomes and Interdisciplinary Research internship website
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