Program Overview

Thank you for your interest in the Clinical Health Psychology Training Program at Mercy Health St. Rita’s Medical Center. This program has a health psychology emphasis, focusing on delivering evidenced based care within bariatric psychology and rehabilitation psychology. This allows trainees to gain an in-depth experience in a specific area of practice.  

Bariatric Psychology

Within the bariatric psychology track, the focus is on completing pre-surgical bariatric evaluations to determine candidacy for outpatient bariatric surgery. The trainee will also provide brief treatment aimed at improving patients’ psychological symptoms and problematic eating behaviors that could interfere with long-term weight management success. The trainee will also be able to co-facilitate pre-surgical support groups throughout the year that promote short- and long-term behavioral changes. 

Furthermore, the trainee will gain experience working on an interdisciplinary team that consists of a nurse manager, medical assistants, physician assistant, dietician and surgeon, in addition to community mental health providers. There are formal interdisciplinary team meetings that take place every other week. 

Although most of this training experience would be clinically focused, there are opportunities to assist in research if this is an area of interest for trainees. Current projects include health literacy and cognitive functioning within bariatric surgery candidates as well as physicians’ perceptions of mid-level providers within interdisciplinary teams. 

Rehabilitation Psychology

The student will gain experience completing bedside evaluations and providing evidence-based psychological services in an excellent acute rehab setting. Patients in rehab have had life-changing medical challenges such as strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and multiple fractures requiring inpatient rehabilitation. Conversion disorder patients can also appear in acute rehab settings and they provide a fascinating team-based training experience.

The trainee will be an integral part of a multidisciplinary team that includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social work, recreation therapy and physical medicine providers. The trainee will have the opportunity to attend rehab team meetings to report on their patients and get a more complete picture of challenges the patient is facing. The team is very receptive to suggestions on behavior management strategies, improving mood, managing delirium and promoting good readjustment to community life.

There are other training experiences available within this track, such as leading a weekly “Relaxation and Reflection” mindfulness group for patients, attending and providing staff trainings, co-training with medical students and residents, performing bedside competency evaluations and learning more about CBT for chronic pain and other medical conditions. An opportunity to observe evidence-based clinical hypnosis interventions for phantom limb pain, irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders may be provided, depending on patient needs.

Accreditation Status

Program Name: Mercy Health St. Rita’s Medical Center Clinical Psychology Training Program
Length of Training: One year
Approved Resident Positions: Two funded – program accepts two funded positions per year with opportunities for non-funded positions