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GME > Residency Programs > Psychology > About The Program
About Rush University


Program Overview

The Department of Behavioral Sciences offers a one-year, full-time pre-doctoral training program in clinical psychology that fulfills the predoctoral internship requirement for doctoral programs in clinical psychology. The program has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1967 and has trained over 280 psychologists working in Chicago and throughout the country.

Pre-doctoral interns/residents engage in assessment, testing and intervention with a wide variety of inpatients and outpatients, and have the opportunity to participate in research projects. The program accepts nine residents each year and is highly competitive.

The accreditation status of the Rush University Medical Center pre-doctoral internship/residency, as well as the current standards for accreditation can be viewed here. or by contacting the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, Phone: (202) 336-5979.

The program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and participates in the APPIC Internship Matching Program.

Medical Center

Rush University Medical Center is one of the major centers of health care delivery, education and research in Chicago and the Midwest. With a distinguished history going back over 150 years, the Medical Center, its components and affiliated institutions, offer educational and training programs in all major health and health-related fields. It currently comprises 24 buildings, including the Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital, the Rush University Medical Center Library and the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center. Rush University is the academic arm of the Medical Center and includes Rush Medical College, the College of Health Sciences, the Graduate College and the Rush College of Nursing.

The Department of Behavioral Sciences is an independent department within the Basic Sciences Division of Rush Medical College and Rush University Medical Center. As a result of this autonomy, psychologists here function with a high degree of independence in their scientific, academic and clinical endeavors.

Philosophy And Goals

The philosophy underlying the residency program is that the highest competency level of the scientist-practitioner psychologist is based on broad and deep knowledge, in particular of the scientific and professional bases of psychology, in the context of ethical concern for others. The training model of the department holds that the resident comes here as an emerging professional. The resident is given all the independence of function he or she is ready to assume. Residents are considered integral department members; they attend departmental meetings and have a representative on the advisory committee of the department.

By the end of the training year, the resident should be able to work independently as a scientist-practitioner. The resident should be competent at diagnostic evaluation, methods of intervention and consultation, and should adhere to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and the Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association. In addition, the resident should be able to evaluate, use and contribute to the scientific, professional, and applied literature. The resident should demonstrate an increase in knowledge and skill related to supervision and teaching. The resident should also know and be able to integrate relevant matters from other disciplines and work effectively with other professionals in interdisciplinary settings. Finally, the resident should know about and be sensitive to cultural and individual diversity and apply this knowledge and sensitivity in all of his or her work.

At completion of training, performance is expected to be at the junior faculty level, in preparation for the job market or post-doctoral training in sub-specialty areas. Graduates have gone on to successful careers in colleges and universities, medical centers, community hospitals, mental health agencies, child guidance centers, counseling centers, schools and private practices.

Residency Tracks

Residents select one of the three basic training emphases of the program: child and adolescent psychology, health psychology or neuropsychology. Across tracks, there is a common focus on the roles and functions of clinical psychologists in a general medical setting and a common emphasis on a broad understanding of the life adaptation of children and adults. Each track provides both didactic training and clinical experience aimed at developing professional competence and achieving the goals of training described earlier. This area of emphasis training model dovetails with our training philosophy which highlights both breadth and depth of knowledge.

Cross-track experiences are encouraged and are often incorporated into required training. For example, neuropsychology track residents may work with a pediatric neuropsychologist in the child and adolescent service. Health track residents frequently choose electives in the neuropsychology service. In addition, all supervisors are available to each resident for consultation.

Training Seminars And Research

Residents are required to attend three seminars that are offered by department faculty and guest speakers and are held throughout the training year. The Assessment and Teaching Conference is a didactic seminar which meets weekly for 1-1/2 hours and covers advanced assessment and treatment issues, including empirically-supported treatments, ethical and professional issues and issues of cultural and individual diversity. The Psychotherapy Case Conference meets every other week for 1-1/2 hours and focuses on presentation and discussion of diverse diagnostic and treatment cases. Residents meet bi-weekly as a group with the director of clinical training and on alternate weeks attend a support group specifically for psychology residents.

Each of the three residency tracks also requires and provides other track-specific seminars, as detailed in the individual track descriptions. The department maintains a research colloquium series, which focuses on significant research investigations carried out here and elsewhere. In addition, the medical center is replete with opportunities for additional didactic learning. Most departments in the medical center offer grand rounds, ward rounds, conferences and topical seminars that residents are also able to attend.

Although the residency at Rush is primarily a clinical year, residents are expected to devote 10% time to research endeavors with faculty. Most residency supervisors are involved in active programs of research, reflecting the department's emphasis on both the science and the practice of psychology. As a result, a wide variety of research opportunities are available. Residents attend research presentations from all faculty members at the start of the year so that they may learn about current research projects and align themselves with specific faculty members' research interests. Faculty in the department actively publish their research in scholarly journals, and the number of publications has risen dramatically over the past five years:

The number of publications over the course of 5 years (2007 – 2012) from faculty in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. Original publications are shown in blue and total publications are in red. The green bars indicate the number of total publications corrected for the increased faculty size over this time.

To provide an opportunity to develop skills in presenting research and to give faculty a chance to learn about residents' dissertation research, residents give a brief research presentation at the department's monthly psychology rounds. The resident presentations are held during the months of March and May.
As the largest medical center in the city of Chicago, Rush attracts ethnically and racially diverse patients from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. This wealth of individual differences enriches all aspects of residency training.

Hours And Environment

The work environment for psychology residents includes medical center inpatient units and Department of Behavioral Sciences and Department of Pediatrics offices and counseling/assessment rooms. Residents share offices and have individual desks, desktop computers with email and telephones with private voicemail. Overnight facilities are not required as psychology residents typically work Monday through Friday during the day and have no on-call or overnight duties.

Residents are expected to be at the medical center at least from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some residents attend seminars or rounds that begin at 7 a.m. Residents frequently stay past 5 p.m. to complete their work, including test scoring and report writing. Residents are not to see outpatients during evening or weekend times, unless a psychology faculty member/supervisor is physically present nearby. This is for the residents' protection in case of an emergency and for needed supervision.

Residents will not work more than 60 hours per week, and even hours approaching this level of work should be temporary, for an occasional week during the training year. Residents are encouraged to report excessive work hours to the training director, who will review the situation with supervisors and identify ways to reduce duty hours. This limitation serves to enhance the educational goals and learning objectives of the program and the resident.

Evaluation Procedures

By the end of the training year, the resident is expected to be prepared for competent, independent clinical practice. To this end, evaluation procedures are instituted to ensure the resident's progress throughout the year, to provide feedback when changes are necessary, and to give the resident a clear idea whether or not he or she is proceeding satisfactorily and if there will be any difficulty in finishing the residency successfully. Evaluations are conducted three times per year, at three months, six months and twelve months into the residency. The first evaluation is informal, with the resident, program coordinator, and the director of clinical training exchanging information, face-to-face, in verbal, and sometimes written, format. The second and third evaluations are more formal in that all supervising faculty are required to complete a written evaluation of the resident's progress. In addition to face-to-face encounters, these evaluations are summarized in an overall evaluation report which is sent to the resident's university clinical training director.

At each evaluation period, the resident is asked to comment on his or her own experiences and to evaluate the program itself. These comments are used to address specific resident needs as they change through the year. At the end of the training year, written evaluations of the program and of the supervisors are required from the resident. These are compiled by the director of clinical training and, together with earlier resident comments, used to modify training policies.

Stipend and Benefits

Stipends are provided through the Medical Center and are currently $28,500. Resident stipends are adjusted each May for the following training year.

Fringe benefits are excellent and include free individual premiums and (very) low-cost family premiums for health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, malpractice insurance, disability insurance, prescription benefits and parking.

Other benefits include access to the McCormick Educational Technology Center (METC) and the Library of Rush University, and four weeks vacation/educational (professional) time. Also included are a bookstore allowance, up to $1,000.00 reimbursement for conference and workshop registration, flexible spending accounts and a 403(b) plan.


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