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Clinical Health Psychology Residency-Oncology Emphasis

Our clinical health psychology residency is for clinicians specializing in caring for people with cancer.

About the APA-Accredited Clinical Health Psychology Residency-Oncology Emphasis

Through our Clinical Health Psychology residency, the resident develops the full range of clinical skills necessary to becoming successful, independent clinical health psychologist with specialized, in-depth knowledge and expertise in providing psychological care and support to people with cancer and their families.

Our program was accredited by the American Psychology Association in 2019. It’s designed to be less didactic and more experiential, with opportunities for a greater degree of flexibility, autonomy and development as an independent psychology provider.

This postdoctoral residency spans a calendar year of full-time supervised training, which typically begins on or around September 1 annually. An earlier or later start date may be arranged under special circumstances at the discretion of the onco-psychology program director and the training director for the Division of Psychology. Regardless of the start date, the total training time will equal at least one full calendar year.

The program includes 2,080 hours of total training time, assuming approximately 40-45 work hours per week, which ensures the resident meets licensure requirements in Kansas and Missouri.

Core competencies

  • Professional conduct and relationships.
  • Value for individual and cultural diversity.
  • Knowledge and application of evidence-based practice.
  • Knowledge and application of practice-informed research.
  • Ethical and legal practice.
  • Knowledge and skill in the subspecialty of onco-psychology

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Clinical Health Psychology Training

The primary focus of the Clinical Health Psychology Residency in onco-psychology is clinical training. Our resident spends approximately 80% of the week or the equivalent of four full days involved in various clinical activities.

  • Our resident carries a weekly case load of 10-12 individual, couples or family therapy appointments with patients with cancer and/or their family or caregivers
  • Therapy sessions take place at KU Cancer Center outpatient locations or via telehealth, with the resident completing appropriate documentation in the electronic medical record.
  • The focus of the therapy will be on helping the resident learn how to use empirically supported treatments such as CBT, ACT, Meaning-Centered Therapy, and CPT.
  • The resident will conduct brief cognitive assessments such as the RBANS and Trail Making Test to evaluate the mental status of cancer patients.
  • Our residents are responsible for completing reports summarizing findings, offering recommendations and communicating results to patients and relevant or referring medical team members.
  • Our residents gain exposure to a wide variety of specialty and disease-specific oncology clinics in 3-month mini-rotations.
  • During each rotation, residents work with interprofessional teams to provide a range of services to patients as part of their ongoing clinical care with their oncology team – including point-of-care brief health and behavior consultation, assessment, intervention, and triage.
  • As part of the training experience, residents will gain important insight into specific factors related to disease, symptoms and treatment side effects, medical interventions, and unique patient concerns.
  • Residents conduct approximately one pre-BMT or Cellular Therapy evaluation each week for patients preparing for autologous, allogeneic, haploidentical, cord blood transplant, or cellular therapy infusion for a hematological malignancy. The evaluation will include:
    • An assessment and summary of a patient’s social, mental health and substance use history.
    • Recommendations on ways to aid the patient in managing preexisting and/or concurrent psychological distress or diagnoses as the transplant is completed.
  • Our residents receive crisis consultation training for handling patients reporting suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation or the abuse and/or neglect of vulnerable populations.
  • Direct, in-person crisis consultation to cancer patients and/or their families/caregivers is provided on an as needed basis, in collaboration with clinical supervisor(s).
  • Our residents are expected to be able to identify situations where there is an “imminent threat,” and the proper protocol to ensure patient and public safety.
  • Our residents provide inpatient consultation/liaison services to hematology/oncology patients at various inpatient units at The University of Kansas Hospital.
  • Residents typically spend 4-5 hours each week in inpatient units and usually follow 3-7 patients per week, though that number may fluctuate based on referrals and need.
  • Our residents are responsible for completing at least two Psychodiagnostic Evaluations for Medical Intervention (PEMI) per week including, but not limited to, liver transplant and spinal cord stimulators.
  • Residents meet weekly with the PEMI director for individual supervision and guidance in using empirically supported evaluation tools and clinical observation as well as to providing recommendations to treatment teams.
Additional Psychology Training

At least 2 hours of formal individual supervision is provided each week and informal consultation is available any time. The director of the Onco-Psychology Program serves as the primary supervisor, and has final oversight of resident’s activities during the training year, including providing at least one hour of formal individual supervision to the resident each week. Formal and informal secondary supervision will be provided by other onco-psychology faculty related to specific activities such as inpatient consultation liaison services and PEMI activities. The constructive supervision is designed to help residents grow personally and professionally while also cultivating important clinical skills.

Other KU Medical Center faculty and staff will provide additional informal supervision and learning opportunities that enhance the resident’s interprofessional training experiences throughout the residency year.

Our tiered didactics and group supervision meetings are a cornerstone of the onco-psychology training program. These 90-minute weekly meetings are intended to help both trainees and faculty members grow and develop their professional and clinical expertise. Practicum students, interns and the postdoctoral resident attend the meetings, which cover a wide range of topics:

  • Oncology special topics (presented by oncology faculty/staff)
  • Psychotherapy techniques
  • Ethics
  • Professional development topics
  • Journal articles
  • Clinical case presentations

Meetings also may include site visits to relevant facilities and organizations such as:

  • Hematological Malignancies and Cellular Therapy (HMCT) Units
  • American Cancer Society Hope Lodge
  • Hospice facility
Other Cross-Program Psychology Residency-Specific Training

All psychology residents in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences participate in postdoctoral didactics and peer development. The one-hour, biweekly didactic sessions provide advanced training in areas such as, but not limited to, professional development, ethics, psychotherapy and leadership.

Peer group interactions are scheduled on alternating weeks. Since our residents are based in multiple locations and settings, these interactions give them a chance to build professional and collegial relationships.

Although this is primarily a clinical training program, residents are encouraged to engage in research and scholarly activities. The resident may devote 10% of the week, or the equivalent of one-half day, to pursuing clinically relevant research or education projects. The faculty is committed to supporting and aiding the resident in submitting a project to a national conference, such as the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). We also expect the resident’s clinical work to incorporate both science and practice.

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The Clinical Health Psychology Postdoctoral Residency Program is strongly committed to supporting all aspects of cultural and individual diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race/ethnicity, color, religion, sex, including marital or parental status, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, genetic information, or veteran status in its recruitment, retention, or development of residents, faculty or staff.

We welcome and encourage well-qualified individuals with a commitment to diversity to apply for positions in our program. We foster an attractive and nurturing atmosphere of learning where diverse residents, faculty, staff and patients can understand, learn from, accept and appreciate one another.

KU Medical Center offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package to our residents and fellows, which includes, but is not limited to medical and dental plans, paid time off and retirement plans.

Application materials
Please submit the following application materials to Meagan Dwyer, Ph.D., Director of Onco-Psychology:

  • Letter of interest
  • Current CV
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • All graduate level transcripts

PDFs or equivalent electronic files are preferred. Interested candidates should contact:

Meagan Dwyer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director, Onco-Psychology Program
University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
2330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 310
Westwood, KS 66205
mdwyer2@kumc.edu

Application deadline: December 20, 2021
Annual salary:
 $47,476
Start date:
 September 1, 2022

Need more information?

For additional questions or information, contact Charlotte Iannaci, training program administrator, at ciannaci@kumc.edu or 913-588-6428.

Program faculty
Meagan Dwyer, Ph.D.
Jessica Hamilton, Ph.D.
Heather Kruse, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Muenks, Ph.D.
Marcus Alt, Ph.D.
Hannah Katz, Psy.D.


Residency leadership
Edward E. Hunter, Ph.D., ABPP
Director of Training, Psychology Division

Monica Kurylo, Ph.D., ABPP
Director, Division of Psychology

Meagan Dwyer, Ph.D.
Program Director

Charlotte Iannaci
Training Program Administrator
ciannaci@kumc.edu
913-588-6428

More about the fellowship

Here are some more resources that will help you become more familiar with this fellowship program.

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

University of Kansas Medical Center
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Mailstop 4015
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-6433
Fax: 913-588-6414