Applied research externship placements with Astor Services for Children & Families are open, for both the 2014 Spring Semester and the 2014 summer break, to matriculated undergraduate Psychology majors and those pursuing majors related to Psychology. Placements are “for credit” or volunteer placements only. Credit hours may vary according to need, but students are encouraged to commit to the entire Spring 2014 semester or either 4 to 5 days a week during the summer break for a comprehensive learning experience.
The practicum’s emphasis is on the conduct of real-world, public sector research in a multi-service, multi-site child and adolescent behavioral health agency. Students are given the opportunity to work on bridging the “research to practice gap” while conducting psychological and program evaluation research within the limits of the public sector. Dr. Button, a licensed clinical psychologist, is responsible for the conduct of research and program evaluation and for the implementation of evidence based practice across the agency, and students support and participate in these initiatives under Dr. Button’s supervision.
Over the course of the practicum (which began in 1998), students have participated in and/or conducted diverse applied research projects, including the following studies:
the impact of residential care on adaptive behavior skills,
family involvement and its impact on child relational skills,
the relation between trauma history and capacity to benefit from treatment,
implementation of outcomes measurement with the Child-Adolescent Needs & Strengths-Mental Health version (Lyons, 2003),
analysis and interpretation of consumer satisfaction interviews,
long term changes in academic achievement relative to IQ following inpatient care,
relation of staffing variables to the use of therapeutic holds in residential care,
the impact of residential treatment on high risk behaviors and more restrictive psychiatric placement,
the impact of strengths-based assessment on family treatment compliance,
the relation between the prescription of pediatric psychotropic medication and outcomes in children and youth.
Students participate in regularly scheduled research team meetings, where they present applied treatment literature reviews, formulate and seek critical feedback on research design and on work in progress, receive and provide statistical consultation, and prepare papers and presentations.
The placement has, historically, been seen as a strong learning experience by students and perceived as an important placement in the eyes of future employers and graduate programs. Students have gone on to gain admission to graduate programs in clinical psychology (including Case Western Reserve University, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), social work (including Fordham University and SUNY Albany), and art therapy (including Lesley University). Two students have gone on to full-time employment as Quality Improvement Coordinators in a behavioral health agency, and one to a full-time statistical consultant’s position in a major pharmaceutical company. Practicum students have presented their work at the Eastern Psychological Association’s national meeting, the annual CANS Conference at Northwestern University, the American Psychological Association’s national conference, and the National Conference in Pediatric Psychology.
Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to:
Research Coordinator, Quality & Clinical Outcomes
Astor Services for Children & Families
6339 Mill Street
Rhinebeck, New York 12572