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Primary Care Family Psychology Track

Overview and Distinct Training Goals

The Primary Care Family Psychology Fellowship track, consistent with the broad training goals of the postdoctoral fellowship program, trains psychologists to fulfill clinical and academic roles in primary care medical settings through education in family psychology and systems theory, collaboration, and health psychology. Fellows provide assessment, consultation, and treatment to patients and families in a variety of health-related settings. Fellows are also provided with opportunities to teach medical students, psychology interns, medical residents and fellows in primary care, outpatient psychiatric, and inpatient medical settings. Lastly, fellows are encouraged to participate in scholarly activities related to providing biopsychosocial systems-oriented care in a medical setting. Working in close proximity with providers from a wide range of disciplines also provides the fellow with opportunities for professional differentiation and professional identity development. All fellows receive individual and group supervision weekly. At least two individual hours are provided by a licensed clinical psychologist.

Dependent on previous training, first year fellows focus primarily on

  1. learning or enhancing basic family therapy skills
  2. developing collaborative skills in working with other health care providers
  3. identifying a specialty area of interest.

Second year fellows

  1. develop and apply more advanced family therapy and collaboration skills
  2. become more involved in scholarship, teaching and supervisory activities with medical students, medical residents, and psychology interns
  3. gain experience and knowledge in their identified specialty area


Specific Training Experiences: Primary Care Family Psychology Track

Each of our fellowship tracks is designed to give the fellow the opportunity to acquire the needed skills to practice family-oriented health psychology in a primary care setting. In all tracks, the focus is on using the biopsychosocial model, collaborative clinical care with medical providers, and systems thinking. The Primary Care Family Psychology fellows participate together in seminars that highlight the generalist nature of working in primary care and help to hone their clinical, collaborative, academic, and administrative skills. The clinical/teaching placements are in three different primary care settings:


Specific training in this fellowship includes pediatric psychology, integrated primary care psychology, family and broader systems, and family psychology.  Coursework and professional seminars are dedicated to expanding knowledge base and skill development for primary care psychology and medical family therapy principles.  The primary placement for the pediatric Fellow is in an urban pediatric clinic. The Fellow provides therapy to children and their families, collaborates and consults with medical professionals as part of an interdisciplinary team, works with multiple systems such as schools and community agencies, and provides consultation and teaching to pediatric residents and primary care teams.  In one fellowship year, the Fellow also has opportunities for teaching and supervision.  In addition, the clinical service at the academic health center allows for variety in clinical caseload an skill development to include focus on families who are coping with comorbid medical problems as well as those with relationship difficulties.  Opportunities also exist for partnership with Fellowship faculty working on ongoing scholarly projects, clinical quality improvement, and research in the areas of pediatric primary care and integrated healthcare.

Women's Health

The women’s health fellow specializes in providing consultation, assessment, and treatment to women's health patients and their families. Close collaboration with a team of clinicians--including medical clinicians, social workers, and nutritionists-- is an essential component of the role. The fellow provides individual, couples, and family therapy to a largely underserved population in a clinic that provides general obstetrics and gynecology, high-risk pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain care, among other services. The fellow also provides psychoeducational groups and brief consultation and counseling for women and couples attending a specialty care Fertility Clinic. The fellow may choose to participate in women's health-related supervision, teaching and research.

Family Medicine / Geriatric Internal Medicine

This track features intensive clinical training in integrated care, primary care behavioral health, and medical family therapy. This position offers opportunities for collaborative care with physicians and other health professionals, interprofessional education, family therapy training, teaching, and scholarship in urban primary care settings.  Time is equally divided between two settings; an urban, primary care family medicine clinic and a community based hospital (Highland Hospital) affiliated with URMC. The fellow provides behavioral health consultation and brief therapy to family medicine patients and families, many of whom are disadvantaged.  There is daily opportunity for collaboration and consultation with medical professionals, as the fellow serves a critical role as part of interdisciplinary team-based care.  At Highland Hospital, the fellow serves as an educator to internal medicine residents in a hospital-to-home program.  The fellow provides one-to-one coaching pertaining to geriatric patient care and late-life transitions.  Additionally, the fellow has opportunity to develop skills in interprofessional teaching, working with residents from internal and family medicine in multiple group formats.