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Department of Veterans Affairs Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Health Research and Treatment

VISN 4 MIRECC >> Education Home >> Research Fellowship

VISN 4 Site Directors
Philadelphia VA Medical Center VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Henry Kranzler, MD
(Physician Fellows)
Robert A. Sweet, MD
(Physician Fellows)
Steven L. Sayers, PhD
(Psychology Fellows)
Gretchen Haas, PhD
(Psychology and Associated Health Fellows)

Overall Goals of the Advanced Fellowships

The Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Health Research and Treatment is a component of a national Fellowship facilitated by a hub site at VA Palo Alto Health Care System, with primary leadership provided by Directors at the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh sites in VISN 4. The primary goal of the Fellowship is to develop outstanding academic and/or healthcare system leaders who will lead mental health research relevant to military veterans and effectively translate their research findings into clinical practice. This goal will be achieved by providing Fellows with training in mental health research and advanced clinical training.

Over the two years of the program, research and educational activities comprise 75% of the Fellowship training, whereas advanced clinical training comprises 25% of the Fellowship. The primary goal is prepare Fellows to pursue careers focused predominantly upon academic research and education in mental health, but successful graduates of the program also will include those who pursue leadership careers that also include education and clinical contributions in the field of mental health. An additional goal of the Fellowship program is to train Fellows for academic careers in mental health within the VA system.

Fellowship Products and Expected Learning Experiences

Fellows are expected to develop individual goals and timelines in collaboration with their mentors at the beginning of the Fellowship program. This will include developing a set of realistic VA-based research projects in concert with their mentor and mentorship committee. Possible projects may utilize data analysis of existing data as well as an independent study using guidance of his or her mentors. Fellow will also work with mentors to define a core set of education, and clinical goals that should be achieved within the timeframe of the Fellowship Program. Expected products of the Fellow’s research, educational, and clinical experiences include the following:

  • 1-2 first-author manuscripts submitted for publication per year of training
  • Additional publications submitted as co-author
  • A pilot grant application submitted during year 01 to provide support for his or her projects
  • Presentation of research ideas to colleagues within the VISN 4 MIRECC
  • Presentation of research findings to MIRECC colleagues
  • Presentation of research findings to professional conferences sponsored by VA and other professional organizations
  • For Psychologists, accruing sufficient supervised clinical hours for application for licensure by the end of the second year of training
  • Submission of a career development award (CDA or K) by end of year 01

The Fellowship Program contains a didactic component which provides key core content on the three main components of the Fellowship program. Fellows are linked to other sites by means of a monthly Video Teleconference (V-Tel) seminar hosted by the Hub Site over the 10 months of the academic year. This seminar provides an in-depth overview of key topics in mental health research and clinical practice by experts in the field.

Additional seminars and access to resources of local academic partners (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh), are arranged at each site on an individual basis. Financial support is provided for travel to 2 professional conferences each year. One conference is typically the VA National Mental Health Care Conference, which is preceded by a mini-conference which provides additional research mentoring to Fellows from all sites of the national Fellowship program.

Expected Long-term Outcomes

Nearing the end of year 1 of the Fellowship Program, Fellows pursuing academic research careers should be ready to submit applications for career development awards, including VA career development award and/or a NIH K-Award. Additionally, Fellows ought to be ready to pursue entry-level leadership roles which integrate research, education, and clinical approaches to mental health in the VA healthcare system and other academic institutions.

Mentors

Each site has a range of primary mentors who will play the most direct role in providing guidance during the Fellowship, as well as co-mentors who will provide expertise and additional mentorship as part of each Fellow’s mentorship committee. The match of the potential Fellow and Mentor(s) regarding interests and expertise is highly important. The match of applicants and mentors is evaluated as part of the application and interview process.

At the Philadelphia site, the program seeks applicants whose interests and previous training experiences are suited to research in the following specialty areas: late-life mental health, integrated behavioral health/primary care, genetics/pharmacology, substance abuse, marital and family factors in psychiatric and medical illness, and general psychosocial factors in chronic illness.

The Pittsburgh site seeks applicants interested in the following areas: schizophrenia, PTSD/TBI, late-life mental health, integrated behavioral health/primary care, suicide prevention, substance abuse, and neuroimaging/neurobehavioral studies.

A complete list of potential mentors can be found on the pages among the MIRECC Faculty (Philadelphia mentors or Pittsburgh mentors).

Application Process

Physician applicants must have completed ACGME-accredited residency training, be board eligible or board certified, and have an active, unrestricted U.S. license to practice. International medical graduates must also have a current visa and an ECFMG certificate that is valid indefinitely. Applicants on a J-1 visa must have current ECFMG sponsorship as well. Psychology applicants must have obtained a doctorate from an APA-accredited program in clinical or counseling psychology and have completed an APA-accredited internship in clinical or counseling psychology. Psychology applicants to the fellowship must be U.S. citizens.

If interested, send a letter detailing your research interests and career goals, your CV, three letters of recommendation, graduate or medical school transcripts, and any representative reprints, manuscripts, or grant applications by email or US mail to the appropriate contact for each site. You may apply to both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh sites if you deem there is a potential Fellow-Mentor match at each site. The deadline for application at both sites is January 1 of each year.

Philadelphia VA Medical Center VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Physician Fellow Applicants:
Henry Kranzler, MD
MIRECC/116
Philadelphia VA Medical Center
3900 Woodland Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19104

Kranzler_h@mail.trc.upenn.edu

Physician Fellow Applicants:
Sara Chapman, MS, OTR/L
MIRECC, 151R-H
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
7180 Highland Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
sara.chapman@va.gov
Psychology Fellow Applicants:
Steven L. Sayers, Ph.D.
MIRECC/116
Philadelphia VA Medical Center
3900 Woodland Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
steven.sayers@va.gov
Psychology Fellow Applicants:
Sara Chapman, MS, OTR/L
MIRECC, 151R-H
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
7180 Highland Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
sara.chapman@va.gov

National MIRECC | VISN 4 | Philadelphia VAMC | VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System