Please note: We do NOT accept self-referrals. All patients must be are referred by a medical specialist or primary care physician.
Our center is located three blocks from the main entrance of Mass General. If you are driving directly to our building, set your GPS device to: 15 New Chardon Street.
Due to the length of the evaluations and cost of the nearby commercial garages, parking at the hospital garages is recommended. A free campus shuttle van may be requested at the Yawkey Lobby Information Desk which will be bring you to 25 New Chardon Street. Shuttles run from 8 am to 4 pm.
Explore This Treatment Program
Evaluations in the Psychiatry Assessment Center (PAC) provide in-depth information regarding cognitive, behavioral and social-emotional functioning in order to establish diagnosis and inform treatment planning.
The Psychology Assessment Center receives referrals from a wide range of medical specialties, including neurology, psychiatry, primary care, pediatrics and oncology. We also provide educational liaison services for children, including school-based referrals for evaluations and school consultations.
What Should I Expect?
You may be referred by your doctor for neuropsychological testing if you are experiencing problems in thinking, such as memory difficulties or trouble concentrating. Results of the evaluation can help clarify what your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to thinking and processing information. This may help your doctor understand your diagnosis more clearly or may help with treatment.
A neuropsychological evaluation consists of a 20- to 30-minute interview with a neuropsychologist or clinical fellow, the patient and, with the patient's permission, their family members or significant others. The testing will consist of written or one-on-one verbal tests and may include some tasks on a computer. The evaluation involves listening, writing, drawing or using a computer. There are no invasive procedures, no pain, no needles or electrodes.
Appointments are typically scheduled in the morning. Depending upon the patient’s age and referral questions you should expect the evaluation to last between three and five hours.
Prior to the appointment, please eat as normal. If applicable, bring or wear your eyeglasses, hearing aids and take your medications as normal. During the testing, you will be allowed to take short breaks as needed. In addition, because the testing will require mental effort, you may feel fatigued when it is over and should take this into consideration when scheduling any other appointments or activities before or after your evaluation.
Questions may be addressed to your referring doctor or to our center.
The list below is a sample of the types of disorders for which the Psychology Assessment Center receives referrals.
* Pediatric and adult patients
Primary progressive aphasia
Mild cognitive impairment vs. Normal aging
Cognitive and language sequelae (e.g., aphasia)
Traumatic brain injury*
Post-traumatic stress disorder*
Substance use disorders
Oppositional defiant disorder/Conduct disorder
Autism spectrum disorder*
Attention deficit disorder*
Prenatal substance exposure
Additional Assessment Options
Additional testing is available through the Psychological Evaluation and Research Laboratory (PEaRL), which conducts clinical assessments and research.
Neuropsychologists within the Mass General Psychology Assessment Center (PAC) are specialists with extensive training and experience conducting neuropsychological assessments across the lifespan. We consult and collaborate with referring providers to ensure that our evaluations address the individual needs and specific concerns of each patient.
Janet Sherman, PhD Clinical Director Chief Neuropsychologist Director, Clinician-Scientist Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuropsychology Lifespan Clinical Neuropsychologist Associate Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Lauren Pollak, PhD, ABPP-CN Director of Adult Clinical Services Adult Clinical Neuropsychologist Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Margaret Pulsifer, PhD Director of Pediatric Clinical Services Director, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology Lifespan Clinical Neuropsychologist Associate Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Medical specialists or primary care physicians make referrals for neuropsychological and psychological evaluation. We do NOT accept self-referrals. All patients are referred back to their specialists for treatment.
If you would like to use your health insurance to cover the cost of the evaluation, you should call your insurance company to ask if neuropsychological testing is a covered benefit under your specific health plan. Some insurance plans will require the testing psychologist to submit clinical information together with the referring specialist for review before authorizing the evaluations. Other insurance plans may not require authorization but could deny coverage if the completed evaluation does not support the medical necessity requirement per your health insurance’s guidelines.
If you have been referred for the purpose of diagnosing learning disabilities, be aware that most insurance companies will not cover intellectual, academic, cognitive or neuropsychological testing. For school age children, local special education departments may cover the cost of an independent educational evaluation if your family qualifies. In such cases, a letter must be submitted by the parent or guardian indicating the school system’s approval to cover the cost before the appointment process can proceed.
Parents and Care Providers in Massachusetts
The following are possible resources for parents and other care providers in Massachusetts that provide information about special education and distance learning as well as mental health support during COVID-19:
Anna Haring is a mom of two young girls. She’s a board-certified clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy and highly values research. After her traumatic birth experience with her younger daughter, she learned about the childbirth-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research.
Although seemingly rapid increases in ADHD treatment-seeking may cause alarm, they may be medically appropriate for adult women.
Pioneering Psychiatry Research
The integration of patient care and clinical research has been a hallmark of the Department of Psychiatry for more than 30 years. Today, the department has the largest clinical research program in the hospital, with studies at the forefront of neuroscience, molecular biology and genetics.