Neuropsychology

Matthew J. Wright, Ph.D., Director, Neuropsychology Service

The Clinical Neuropsychology program is a two year commitment, beginning on or about September 1 and ending August 15 of the second year of fellowship, with time off between August 15 and the beginning of the second fellowship year.

Fellows typically spend 50-60% time in clinical services and the remainder in didactic and research activities, although clinical effort may be increased per student interests and/or program needs.  Our program is a member of the APPCN, and meets the specialty requirements of APA’s Division 40 for postdoctoral training in clinical neuropsychology.

 Clinical Service

Fellows provide direct neuropsychological assessments, assist in supervision of graduate student externs, attend and co-lead weekly group supervision meetings, and help maintain the organization and operations of the lab. With regard to assessment, we utilize a fixed-flexible battery approach, process observations, and qualitative assessment methods.  We see a broad spectrum of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, as we are a primary referral for Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neurosurgery at Harbor-UCLA.  Additionally, we receive referrals from other hospitals and mental health clinics.  Most of our clients are adults who suffer from multiple medical and psychiatric co-morbidities and are from diverse cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds.  Optional training experiences are available in cognitive neuropsychological methods and Spanish language assessments.

Research

The primary goal of our lab is to gain a detailed understanding of the neurocognitive sequelae of traumatic brain injury via cognitive paradigms, standard neuropsychological tests, and neuroimaging.  We also have interests in improving methods of neuropsychological measurement, particularly with regard to populations with diverse cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds.  Research opportunities include analysis of neuropsychological and neuroimaging datasets, participation in onsite and collaborative projects, preparation of research presentations and peer-reviewed publications, and coordination of lab projects.

Required Didactics

  • Neuropsychology Service Group Supervision
  • Neuropsychology Seminar
    • History & Development of Neuropsychology
    • Principles & Methods of Neuropsychological Assessment & Research
    • Functional Neuroanatomy
    • Psychiatric and Neurologic Disorders/Syndromes
    • Advanced Topics & Professional Development (e.g., assessment of diverse populations, ethical Issues, job talk development, malingering, etc.)
  • Case Conference in Psychology
    • Psychopharmacology
    • Culture & Ethnicity
    • Professional Development & Careers in Psychology

Optional Didactics

  • Harbor-UCLA Psychiatry Grand Rounds (recommended)
  • Harbor-UCLA Neurology Conference Series (recommended)
    • Neuroradiology
    • Neuropathology
    • Neuroscience
  • Other onsite & offsite seminars

 Program Objectives

At completion of their post-doctoral fellowship, fellows will be proficient in the following areas of competence:

  • Neuropsychological Assessment
    • Provision of comprehensive, individually tailored neuropsychological assessments
    • Diagnostic proficiency with psychiatric and neurologic disorders/syndromes
    • Identify and adjust for sources of bias (e.g., effort/malingering, ESL)
    • Account for the impact of diversity in the neuropsychological assessment process
    • Ability to write concise, tailored assessment reports
    • Consultation with family members and healthcare professionals
    • Ethical practice of neuropsychology
    • Supervision of neuropsychological assessments
  • Neuropsychology Knowledge Base
    • Understanding of brain-behavior relationships
    • Grasp of theories germaine to neuropsycholoy
    • Understanding of neuropsychological and psychodiagnostic test interpretation issues
    • Understanding of psychiatric and neurologic disorders/syndromes
  • Neuropsychological Research
    • Ability to develop a relevant research question
    • Ability to design and conduct an appropriate prospective or retrospective study
    • Use of appropriate statistical analyses and/or analytical methods
    • Ability to disseminate findings at a national/international research conference and/or via publication in a peer-reviewed journal

Prerequisites

  • Completion of an APA approved doctoral program and internship in clinical or counseling psychology
  • Experience in intellectual, neuropsychological, and psychodiagnostic assessment
  • Graduate coursework in neuropsychology or a closely related field

Determination of Satisfactory Progress

  • Individual and group supervision of assessments
  • Evaluation of supervised-supervision of externs
  • Observations of contributions to meetings, rounds, and conferences
  • Assessment of knowledge base related to clinical neuropsychology
  • Evaluation of the scientific merit of research projects