Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Research

The Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Research is offered through the Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

Our program follows the scientist-practitioner model of training, with the goal of producing graduates skilled in clinical neuropsychology, rehabilitation psychology, and clinical research. Fellows spend at least 50 percent of their time providing clinical services to neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology patients under the supervision of clinical faculty. The remaining 50 percent of the program is spent engaging in research activities and working closely with our multidisciplinary team of traumatic brain injury (TBI) researchers.

Our fellowship program meets the requirements for licensing as a psychologist in New York State as well as the eligibility requirements for board certification in clinical neuropsychology or rehabilitation psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). Our program has been a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) since 1994.

The clinical training portion of our program is designed to adhere to the Houston Conference guidelines for specialty training in clinical neuropsychology. As a fellow, you will develop a sophisticated understanding of brain-behavior relationships, enhancing your neuropsychological evaluation skills and maximizing your ability to provide rehabilitative treatments. Fellows conduct neuropsychological evaluations as well as cognitive remediation and psychotherapy in individual, family, and group formats. Neuropsychological evaluations conducted within the practice are comprehensive and hypothesis-driven. Evaluations are conducted to inform diagnosis and formulate practical recommendations for improving daily functioning and informing patients’ decision making.

Treatment provided within the practice can be either short or long-term. Cognitive remediation typically involves developing and carrying out a structured cognitive exercise program and teaching patients compensatory cognitive techniques. Psychotherapy offered within the practice reflects an integrative but predominantly cognitive-behavioral approach with the goal of educating patients about, and facilitating adjustment to, neurological disability. Fellows see adults with acquired brain injury (TBI, anoxia, stroke) but will also occasionally see individuals with other diagnoses. The practice occasionally accepts children and adolescents, and these patients are assigned to fellows based on prior experience or interest in working with pediatric patients. All fellows gain experience treating a diverse patient population.

Fellows are supervised weekly, in individual and group settings, by one or more clinical faculty members. Direct supervision is provided for intake and diagnostic interviews, neuropsychological evaluation feedback, and on an as-needed basis for patients receiving ongoing care. Fellows attend weekly seminars in neuropsychological data interpretation, biweekly seminars in clinical neuroscience and rehabilitation interventions for cognitive and emotional disorders, and monthly seminars in functional neuroanatomy. Fellows can attend weekly neuropathology conferences and brain cuttings offered by the Department of Pathology as well as grand rounds offered by the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry. Fellows can also take advantage of the translational neuroscience seminar series and programs offered through the Friedman Brain Institute and the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute. Fellows may also teach and supervise the Department’s predoctoral interns.

Fellows participate in existing research studies as well as develop and carry out their own individual research project through secondary analysis of existing data resources under the mentorship of fellowship faculty. Fellows’ research efforts are expected to culminate in at least one presentation at a national conference or completion of a peer-reviewed publication prior to the fellowship’s end. Current major studies conducted at the BIRC include clinical trials of treatments for cognitive and affective sequelae of TBI (e.g. phototherapy, emotion regulation skills training) and longitudinal studies of outcomes following moderate-severe TBI (e.g. health status in the elderly).

Our research training component is designed to help fellows further improve and develop skills essential for conducting clinical rehabilitation research. Research training activities include individual and group supervision as well as participation in weekly research meetings including all BIRC staff. Fellows also attend regular seminars in research design and statistical methods. A wide variety of didactic seminars on topics such as effective scientific writing, preparing a competitive grant application, and scientific presentation skills are offered within the larger Mount Sinai community. Fellows also have the opportunity to assist faculty in the preparation of manuscripts and center-wide grant applications. 

Benefits for fellows include paid attendance at one professional conference per year and free participation in unlimited seminars, workshops, and courses offered at the School. Fellows also receive a minimum of 10 vacation days, 12 sick days, and eight major holidays per year. Health, vision, dental, and malpractice insurances also are provided.

Affordable housing is available through the Real Estate Division. The School is easily accessible by public transportation from all surrounding boroughs. Parking at Mount Sinai is available for a reduced monthly fee and can be arranged through the Real Estate Division. Hotel, travel, and entertainment discounts are available through the Recreation Office. 

Training Faculty

  • Kristen Dams-O’Connor, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine and Neurology
  • Wayne A. Gordon, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, FACRM, Jack Nash Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Maria Kajankova, Ph.D., (Director of Training) Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Lisa Spielman, Ph.D., Statistical Consultant, Brain Injury Research Center

Adjunct Faculty

  • Dale Hesdorrfer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology,Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University
  • David Layman, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, Board Certified Clinical Neuropsychologist
  • Janine A. Tiago, Ph.D. ABPP-CN, Board Certified Clinical Neuropsychologist
  • Suzan Uysal, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology

We strongly encourage individuals with a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and experience in clinical neuropsychology or rehabilitation to apply. Candidates should have completed all doctoral degree requirements and be eligible for a limited permit to practice psychology in New York State by the time training begins. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed an American Psychological Association (APA)-approved doctoral program. Candidates from non-approved programs are welcome to apply as well. Applicants must have completed an APA- or CPA-approved clinical internship. Individuals with a doctoral degree in an allied rehabilitation discipline (e.g. disability studies, public health, sociology), and those with minority or disability backgrounds, are also encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, but others may apply if they anticipate being able to obtain the credentials needed to complete the program.

In-person interviews are preferred, but interviews via video conferencing will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Interviews with both faculty and current fellows will be scheduled for late December and early January. Considered applications must be received by January 2, 2018. Applications must include the following in order to be considered: 

  1. Cover letter
  2. Curriculum vitae that includes citizenship and languages spoken fluently
  3. Statement of clinical psychology experience that addresses:
    1. Prior clinical training and experience, including patient populations served
    2. Your preferred approach to neuropsychological evaluation and treatment (both cognitive remediation and psychotherapy)
    3. Goals for clinical training and professional development during fellowship
  4. Statement of research experience that addresses:
    1. Prior research training and experience with data management, research design, and statistics
    2. Rehabilitation research interests
    3. Goals for research training and professional development during fellowship
  5. Two to four letters of recommendation
    1. One or two letters from clinical supervisor(s)
    2. One or two letters from research supervisor(s)
  6. Official graduate school transcript
  7. One sample neuropsychological report and one treatment case summary (required for applicants with a doctoral degree in clinical psychology only)
  8. Representative copies of abstracts, publications, or research presentations

Applications should be sent via regular mail or email to:

Maria Kajankova
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1163
New York, NY 10029-6574