Neuropsychology Externship

Unpaid beginning and advanced practicum training (externship) are offered in clinical neuropsychology.  Students in the clinical diagnostic practicum gain experience in the assessment of neuropsychological disorders resulting from stroke, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, brain neoplasm, dementia, and other neurological diseases and conditions.  Students also learn ways of evaluating the impact of emotional disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) on neuropsychological functioning.  The primary training site for externs is the Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine (CRM).  Externs also have the option of rotation to the Atlanta VA Medical Center or Kaiser Permanente to work with Emory affiliated neuropsychologists at each of these sites.  The patient population at the Emory CRM is a mixed, outpatient neurological population with diagnoses including stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, dementia, major organ transplant, and epilepsy.  The Atlanta VA population consists of veterans suspected of having such neurological conditions as traumatic brain injury or dementia.  The Kaiser population is again a mixed neurological population including both adults and children.  

Practicum training usually begins in September and runs for twelve months.  Students work a minimum of 16 hours per week, which includes time spent in supervision with faculty.  Report writing and review of literature relevant to cases being evaluated are expected to be done outside of the regular practicum hours.  Students are also expected to participate in a weekly, 2-hour neuropsychology case seminar.  This seminar provides an opportunity for students and faculty to present interesting cases, discuss relevant clinical literature, and to share different perspectives on neuropsychological diagnosis.  

General Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed graduate course work in basic psychological assessment and should be familiar with interview procedures.  Graduate course work in neuropsychological assessment is desirable but not required for admission to the practicum.  

Applicants should be familiar with the most common intellectual and personality measures such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Preference is given to applicants currently enrolled in a graduate program in clinical psychology/neuropsychology.  We will consider applicants from any accredited graduate program and will assist applicants in meeting the practicum requirements of their schools.

Application Procedure & Contact Information

Applications for the practicum year beginning in September, may be submitted as early as February 1st, but not later than June 1st.  The application consists of your curriculum vitae.  Interviews (by invitation) are conducted throughout the application period, but it is a definite advantage to submit application materials early.  All materials should be submitted to:

Dr. Suzanne Penna
Neuropsychology Training Director
Division of Rehabilitation Neuropsychology
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Emory University
1441 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30322  

To inquire about the practicum, contact Dr. Penna at 404.712.5667 or email: spenna@emory.edu.

Student Progress and Evaluation

During the first two months of the clinical neuropsychology practicum, students are expected to become proficient at basic neuropsychological test administration and scoring, although students will continue to be introduced to new tests throughout the practicum year.  From months 2-6, students concentrate on test interpretation and report writing.  Students also begin to acquire information about various neuropsychological disorders through supervision, case seminars, and suggested outside reading.  This acquisition of knowledge continues during months 7-12 with students becoming skilled not only at diagnosis, but also at making recommendations for patient rehabilitation.  Students may also begin to observe feedback and recommendations to patients and other professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, and rehabilitation therapists) based on the patient=s neuropsychological examination.

Student progress is evaluated informally on a week-to-week basis by faculty and feedback will be given as part of the weekly supervision sessions.  Formal evaluation occurs at the end of every semester at which time students will receive oral and written feedback from their faculty supervisors.  The evaluation process is not meant to foster anxiety, but rather to provide students with information needed for their professional growth and development. 

Elective Research

The neuropsychology faculty maintain active research programs.  Practicum students have the option of involving themselves with ongoing or proposed faculty research.  Opportunities are also available for students to conduct masters thesis or doctoral dissertation research in the Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.  All student research must be conducted outside of the routine practicum hours, although the project may utilize data collected as part of the student's routine duties.  All research projects must be done under the auspices of, or in collaboration with the neuropsychology faculty.

Leave of Absence and Unsatisfactory Termination of the Practicum

Secular and Religious Holidays and Vacation Leave  

Practicum students may take off official Emory holidays.  A list of recognized holidays may be requested from your Emory faculty supervisor.  In addition, students may take off any holidays associated with religious observances.  Students may take 2 weeks of vacation during the practicum year, but must follow procedures for requesting this leave time in force during their training year.  Time off for other than Emory officially recognized holidays must be approved by the Emory faculty supervisor.  Please speak with your supervisor regarding leave request procedures.  

Leave of Absence and Unsatisfactory Termination of the Practicum  

Students may request to take a leave of absence from the practicum for medical or personal reasons.  Students may also be asked to take a leave of absence from the practicum when, in the judgment of the faculty, their physical or mental health prevents them from successfully performing their clinical duties.  All leaves are for a maximum of three months (counted cumulatively during the year), with the time to be made up after the student returns to the practicum.  Students unable to return from a leave within three months, will be terminated from the practicum, but may apply for readmission at a later date when a practicum slot becomes available.   

Students who take a leave of absence due to health concerns may be required to furnish proof that the health problem has been resolved prior to their return.  If such proof cannot be furnished, faculty may elect to terminate the student's practicum.  In most cases, the student's word that the problem is resolved will be accepted, but faculty may require more stringent proof in selected instances.  

Only in rare cases when students fail to show consistent progress and do not appear to benefit from supervision and feedback, will a student be asked to leave the practicum.  This will occur only after every effort has been made to remediate the problem.  Students engaging in unprofessional conduct or conduct that is in violation of the ethical principles of the American Psychological Association will be terminated immediately from the practicum.  Students who are terminated for reasons of unethical or unprofessional conduct will not be considered for readmission.