Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Psychology Doctoral Internship - The Training Setting
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The Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System (MVAHCS) is an affiliated teaching facility located in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. As a "flagship" medical center within the VA Health Care system, the Minneapolis VAHCS provides a full range of patient care services with state-of-the-art technology, as well as education and research.
Comprehensive health care is provided through primary care, tertiary care and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, geriatrics and extended care. The Minneapolis VAHCS serves as one of four officially designated Polytrauma VA Medical Centers receiving and treating active-duty service members and Veterans with multiple traumatic injuries such as traumatic brain injury, blindness, and amputation sustained in the course of the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2009, a $20 million Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder (SCI/D) Center was opened. The 65,000-square-foot center provides acute rehabilitation, primary care and sustaining care for Veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders. Additionally, this medical center is one of eight in the VA system that houses a Women Veterans Comprehensive Health Center and the first VA to provide mammography for female veterans. Over 3,000 women are seen in this medical center annually. The Minneapolis VA Medical Center has a current inpatient capacity of 279 acute care and 104 extended care beds.
The Minneapolis VA Health Care System provides health care to veterans residing in our primary service area, which includes Western Wisconsin and Minnesota. It also serves as a tertiary referral center for the upper VA Midwest Healthcare Network which spans a much greater geographical area and includes some two million veterans. Last fiscal year, there were more than 600,000 outpatient visits, 8,200 inpatient stays, and nearly 1,000 extended care stays at this facility. Each of the outpatient visits may represent multiple encounters with multiple departments on the same day; hence, there are more than a million patient encounters yearly.
In addition to the Psychology Training Programs, the Minneapolis VAHCS has one of the largest education and training programs in the VA system, providing training to more than 1,500 residents, interns, and students annually. It has active affiliations with over 50 colleges, universities, and vocational schools in allied health professions, such as medicine, psychiatry, health care administration, audiology, speech pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, psychology, laboratory and dental technology, physician assistants, nursing, and pharmacy. The Minneapolis VAHCS has particularly strong partnerships with the University of Minnesota in providing clinical services, training, and research across a variety of disciplines.
The Research Service located in the medical center is one of the largest and most active research programs in the VA system. Currently, there are 179 scientists and investigators conducting research projects with over $30 million in research funding. These researchers publish hundreds of papers, abstracts and book chapters on the most cutting-edge research projects. In addition, the MVAHCS houses several research centers of excellence bringing together multidisciplinary teams of investigators. The Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, a VA Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Center of Excellence, focuses on conducting health services research intended to improve the health care of Veterans with an emphasis on post-deployment health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), polytrauma and blast-related injuries, and substance use disorders. The Minneapolis Geriatric Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) focuses on studying the aging brain with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s Disease, conducting studies from basic science (molecular and cellular biology and brain functions) to clinical and health services (caregiving and the Alzheimer’s patient). In collaboration with the University of Minnesota, the Brain Sciences Center focuses on using magnetoencephalography to study mechanisms underlying the brain activity across a range of areas including cognitive function, memory and learning, PTSD, alcoholism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer ’s disease.
The Presence of Psychology
The MVAHCS Psychology staff currently consists of 80 doctoral psychologists, many whom hold academic appointments at the University of Minnesota and are involved in training. Each psychologist works in one or more of the specialized treatment units and acts as a member of a multidisciplinary treatment team and/or as a consultant to programs within that setting. The Psychology staff offers a diversity of interests, theories, and techniques in psychology and work in widely-varied programs with different kinds of patients. In addition, the Psychology staff embraces the scientist-practitioner model with many psychologists involved in scholarly activity and conducting cutting edge funded research as clinician investigators. We train eight interns yearly – six are in our general psychology track and two in the Neuropsychology track. There are also six postdoctoral residents, four in clinical psychology with emphases in Serious Mental Illness, Rehabilitation, and Mental Health/Primary Care and two in Clinical Neuropsychology. Four psychology technicians and three clerical positions complete the staffing.