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Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA)

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta ranks among the “best children’s hospitals” in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has 673 licensed beds in three hospitals (Egleston, Hughes Spalding and Scottish Rite), an affiliate specialty outpatient center (Marcus Autism Center), the Center for Advanced Pediatrics (CAP), and 20 neighborhood locations throughout Atlanta. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta enhances the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research, and education. With over one million annual patient visits, it is one of the largest pediatric healthcare systems in the country. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is recognized for excellence in cancer treatment, neurosciences, rehabilitation medicine, cardiology, and transplant services, etc. Marcus Autism Center, a subsidiary of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, is one of the leading institutions in the country for autism spectrum disorder clinical care and research. More than 5500 children with autism and related disorders are treated there annually. As one of the largest autism centers in the U.S. and one of only three National Institutes of Health (NIH) Autism Centers of Excellence, Marcus Autism Center offers families access to the latest research, comprehensive evaluations and intensive behavior treatments. With the help of research grants, community support and government funding, Marcus Autism Center aims to maximize the potential of children with autism today and transform the nature of autism for future generations. There is an APA accredited doctoral internship program in health service psychology at the Marcus Autism Center that most recently was re-accredited in 2015.

Pediatric Psychology (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston and Scottish Rite). Two full-time pediatric psychology postdoctoral residency positions with a specialty in Hematology/Oncology will be offered at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Residents will be exposed to a wide variety of pediatric subspecialties, such as Oncology, Neuro-Oncology, Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT), Sickle Cell Disease, and Hemophilia. Residents will receive year-long training in outpatient and inpatient consultation-liaison, outpatient therapy for patients following BMT, outpatient cognitive-behavioral therapy for pain management including supervised training in biofeedback and neuropsychological and psychoeducational assessment. Additionally, Residents will rotate through at least two six-month clinics based on their areas of focus, which will be determined at the start of residency with the help of their mentors and faculty supervisors. Available clinic rotations include brain tumor survivorship, cancer survivorship, sickle cell teen transition, sickle cell chronic pain, sickle cell neurology, hemophilia, and research. A variety of current psychological research opportunities are available in Sickle Cell Disease, Oncology, and Cancer Survivorship. Up to 50% protected time will be made available to qualified candidates interested in pursuing research. Residents also are provided with professional development funds to support travel to conferences or specialty training. 

Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program (Marcus Autism Center, a Division of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). The Children’s Multidisciplinary Feeding Program is recruiting for a postdoctoral psychology fellow with experience in applied behavior analysis, pediatric psychology, and/or feeding disorders. The Feeding program is one of the largest in the country providing intensive day treatment services, outpatient therapy, parent consultation, and assessment for children with chronic feeding concerns. The program also involves treatment of food avoidance due to food allergy, pediatric obesity in children with autism spectrum disorders, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to address behavior management concerns outside the meal setting, and parent-mediated intervention to improve mealtime behavior.

The fellow will work with children with various chronic medical conditions, including but not limited to eosinophilic esophagitis, post-transplant status, cystic fibrosis, cancer, various gastrointestinal conditions, and genetic syndromes. The fellow will function within a multidisciplinary setting including professionals from pediatric gastroenterology, nutrition, occupational therapy, speech pathology, and nursing. Clinical training in pediatric feeding disorders will involve managing cases for patients in our day treatment program, conducting multidisciplinary evaluations, and providing direct services through our outpatient clinic. The fellow will also gain experience with consultation services within a pediatric gastroenterology clinic. Intervention focuses on evidenced-based treatments with a heavy emphasis on behavioral treatment, parent training models of care, and building community capacity. There will also be opportunities for independent and/or collaborative research – building upon our research lab that has ongoing clinical trials and epidemiological studies.

 Severe Behavior Program (Marcus Autism Center, a Division of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). The purpose of the Severe Behavior Program is to provide behavioral assessments and interventions for children who engage in problem behaviors that cause significant danger or disruption to their lives or the lives of their families. While there is no restriction on the type of problem behavior, those most frequently encountered include aggression, self-injury, property destruction, disruption, noncompliance, elopement (running away from supervision), pica (ingesting inedible objects), and stereotypy (repetitive behavior that interferes with adaptive behavior). Patients in the Severe Behavior Program also represent a range of backgrounds and diagnostic categories. Treatments are matched to the individual needs of the child and their family, but frequently include the teaching communicative alternatives to challenging behaviors. Caregiver training and generalization to the natural environment are key aspects of the treatment model: parents, teachers, or other care-providers are trained in the implementation of the treatment both at the Marcus Autism Center, as well as in naturalistic settings such as in the child’s home, classroom, or other public venues. Children admitted to the intensive outpatient program attend 6 hours per day for an average of 12 weeks. For children with less severe problem behaviors, outpatient admissions are available that focus on parent training.

These positions are a clinical training experience in treating individuals with autism and related disabilities who engage in severe behavior disorders within a multidisciplinary team. The trainee would oversee client cases under the supervision of a BCBA-D. This would include working with RBTs on protocol development, overseeing protocol implementation, supervising staff, implementing and overseeing behavior-management techniques, conducting parent training, and other programmatic responsibilities. The position would be primarily clinical in nature; however, the position is supportive of conducting research, whether through chart review, recruitment of research subjects, and/or conducting research protocols with existing clients.

Skill Acquisition Program: Language and Learning Clinic (Marcus Autism Center, a Division of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). The Language and Learning Clinic (LLC) at Marcus Autism Center serves children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 2 and 12 years (average 4 years of age) who are exhibiting significant language and social communication delays. Services provided in the LLC focus on building communication and vocal skills, bolstering appropriate play and social skills, targeting foundational learning skills such as imitation and matching, and reducing barriers to learning (e.g., limited reinforcers, mild to moderate problem behavior). The goal for each child admitted to the LLC is to acquire the critical skills they need in order to thrive in a less intensive setting. Children receive services between 3 and 6 hours per day, 5 days per week. All services are provided in a 1:1 format that utilizes a combination of discrete trial training and natural environment teaching to meet each child’s individual and developmental needs. Postdoctoral fellows in the LLC will have the opportunity to gain direct and indirect experiences with this population by overseeing case management responsibilities and supervising a clinical team. The fellow will learn to conduct and utilize comprehensive language assessments to aid in intervention programming.  The fellow will also contribute to broader parent-training programs that include education about autism spectrum disorder and basic principles of applied behavior analysis as it applied to skill acquisition and behavior management. Mentored experience will focus on developing expertise in clinical and supervision skills and conducting and publishing research in the context of ongoing clinical services. The optimal candidate will have interest in experience with the following research areas: skill acquisition procedures, verbal behavior, social and play skills, and caregiver and staff training.

Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis Program (Marcus Autism Center, a Division of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). The Clinical Assessment and Diagnostic Department at Marcus Autism Center is a multidisciplinary clinic and research enterprise that provides diagnostic assessments of individuals with a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders. Children seen in the CAD clinic range from infancy to late adolescence with a focus on children ages 16 months to 6 years. Each child is assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as the many differential diagnoses commonly seen in this population, including developmental delay, intellectual disability, anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, ADHD, genetic syndromes, such as Fragile X syndrome, as well as many others. The children seen in the CAD are highly diverse in their race, ethnicity, urbanacity, socioeconomic status, and age.

Assessments identify cognitive and developmental strengths and weaknesses, assess adaptive functioning, provide diagnostic clarification, and to determine the need for intervention. The fellowship provides the opportunity to work on cases within a multidisciplinary team that includes clinical psychologists, as well as developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, speech and language pathologists, and social workers/case managers. Opportunities to conduct diagnostic assessments within one or more of the over 25 active research studies are also available. Further, the resident may provide follow-up intervention services, such as parent training and social skills training.  In addition, the resident will participate in existing research and conduct secondary supervision of graduate students and doctoral interns. 

Pediatric Neuropsychology/ Division of Neurosciences (Center for Advanced Pediatrics (CAP) & Scottish Rite Campuses). The Department of Neuropsychology at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine will have one opening for a postdoctoral resident for 2020-2022, beginning September 1, 2021. Our training program is a member of the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN) and meets criteria set forth by the Houston Conference Policy Statement. Children’s Pediatric Neuropsychology Residency program builds competency in the neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children (newborn to young adult) with a variety of neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders. Upon completion of the two-year, full-time program, residents have gained clinical and research skills required for independent practice and/or academic pursuits in pediatric neuropsychology and pursue board certification (ABBP-CN).

Approximately 75% of the resident’s time is devoted to clinical activities, and 25% to research and education. The Children’s Neuropsychology department includes 13 neuropsychologists, seven of whom are certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP/CN), and four pediatric psychologists who work with patients in the rehabilitation, cardiac, and neurology services. Remaining staff are in the process of pursuing board certification through ABPP/CN. All have adjunct faculty appointments in the Emory University School of Medicine and some hold academic appointments at Georgia State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, or the Morehouse University School of Medicine as well. These neuropsychologists reflect a diversity of training backgrounds and bring to supervision a variety of developmental models and theoretical orientations. Additional details about the program and the facilities are available at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Department of Neuropsychology web page and the online Neuropsychology Residency brochure:– https://www.choa.org/medical-professionals/fellowships-and-residencies/neuropsychology-fellowship.

The areas of training consist of interdisciplinary involvement in a CARF-Accredited inpatient and partial-day rehabilitation program for acquired brain injury and medical disorders that affect cognition and physical functioning; inpatient/outpatient epilepsy, including video-EEG monitoring, Wada and epilepsy surgery; outpatient epilepsy social support group; inpatient neuropsychological consultation; concussion evaluation and education; congenital heart disease outcome; fMRI, cortical mapping procedures, and neurological and neurosurgical outpatient evaluations. Treatment opportunities are offered through a cognitive remediation program targeting executive functioning in pre-adolescents and adolescents, with a parent-training component, to prepare for transition of care to adult medical providers and young adulthood. There is short-term psychotherapy/education for inpatients and day treatment patients and their parents.

Residents participate in and/or develop research topics and are encouraged to present at national meetings. Current faculty research interests include learning/memory in children with epilepsy and traumatic brain injury, cognitive and family functioning in children with neuromuscular disorders, fMRI / DTI / Morphometry in children with frontal and temporal epilepsy, and the effectiveness of cognitive remediation with children with neurological disorders. New research projects include neuroimaging grant funded studies involving sports medicine and concussion, neurocardiac developmental disorders, and neuroimaging and cognitive effects for Sickle Cell Disease. Future grant initiatives include treatment efficacy and imaging studies involving cognitive remediation. Opportunities are also available for the resident to be mentored in book, test and journal article reviews.

Residents receive mentoring by their faculty supervisors to participate in hierarchical supervision of doctoral externs, in didactic, assessment, and clinical treatment situations. Residents also receive mentoring so that they are prepared for board certification. This mentoring effort includes weekly didactic opportunities within the department and with the Emory University School of Medicine on such topics as neuroanatomy, case conceptualization, ethics and fact-finding. Residents also can observe brain cuttings and attend neuroradiology rounds.