Child Psychology Track

Child Psychology Track

The Duke Child & Family Study Center and the Duke Hospital Clinics arethe primary training sites for child psychology interns where they provide supervised assessment, treatment and consultation with a broad range of children, adolescents and families treated at Duke University Medical Center.

The Child Psychology track offers the following four concentration options. Interns will spend approximately 50% of their time in the area of concentration and will be matched to other clinical rotations based on their interests, training goals and rotation availability.

  1. Child Clinical-General Concentration (APPIC Program code: 141324)
  2. Child Clinical-Trauma Concentration (APPIC Program code: 141325)
  3. Child Clinical-Autism Concentration (APPIC Program code: 141327)
  4. Child Pediatric Psychology Concentration (APPIC Program code: 141320)

Description of Rotations

ADHD Program Clinic


The ADHD Program at the Duke University Medical Center is one of the nation's leading programs for research and clinical services for ADHD and related behavior problems. The program is staffed by five licensed psychologists, one board-certified child psychiatrist, and a number of study coordinators and research assistants. In the last five years, we have also provided support for 1-2 post-docs per year. 

The ADHD Program participates actively in three primary activities: 

  1. Adult and child clinical services
  2. Federally-funded (e.g., NIMH) research grants
  3. Industry-funded (e.g., pharmaceutical companies) clinical trials

Interns will be involved in evidence-based evaluation and treatment for children, adolescents and adults, primarily through our outpatient clinic.  Our assessment procedures conform to the practice parameters outlined by the American Academics of Pediatrics and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and include the use of rating scales from multiple informants, interviews, and brief cognitive testing as indicated. These assessments also include formulation of treatment plans and comprehensive written reports. Interns may also spend time conducting psycho-educational testing for learning disorders. Other clinical services in which interns participate include a parent-training group, child coping skills group, an adult ADHD cognitive-behavioral therapy group, academic support skills training for middle and high school students (group or individual treatment), and individual treatment cases (typically focused on parent training or academic support skills for children, and cognitive-behavioral therapy for adults). Though ADHD is the primary presenting concern for assessment and treatment cases, comorbidity is common and thus interns experience a diverse variety of clinical presentations. We also provide presentations to schools and the community upon request, and encourage intern participation in these activities.
There are a number of clinical research activities within the Duke ADHD Program to which interns are exposed through regular didactic presentations. These include two seminal NIH-funded, multi-site treatment outcome studies: the Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD Children (MTA) and the Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS). In addition, opportunities exist for interns to be involved in preparation of papers based upon our extensive databases and nationally recognized research activities. With regard to individual faculty projects, Dr. Scott Kollins has several grants evaluating the relationship between ADHD and smoking, Dr. John Mitchell is conducting a NIDA-sponsored study of affective regulation in adult ADHD cigarette smokers and other NIH-funded projects on mobile health. Dr. Naomi Ornstein Davis is conducting a sponsor-funded study on nonpharmacological digital therapy for children with ADHD and Dr. Jessica Lunsford-Avery is conducting an NIMH-funded project on sleep and neurocognition in adolescents with ADHD. 

Supervisors for the ADHD Clinic and Rotation: Naomi Davis, PhD; John Mitchell, PhD; Julia Schechter, PhD

Center for Child and Family Health – North Carolina (CCFH)


The Trauma Concentration Intern will be the only intern with a rotation in the CCFH and should have some background or special interest in trauma.  

The Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH) is a collaborative endeavor of Duke University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, and Child and Parent Support Services. CCFH is a community-based, multi-disciplinary setting, which specializes in the assessment and treatment of children and families who have experienced trauma.  Social services, schools, law enforcement, or the court has referred many of the families who receive services at CCFH.  Although CCFH serves an ethnically diverse clientele, the majority of the children and families served are low income or Medicaid eligible clients.  Services offered at CCFH include early intervention and prevention services, assessment of traumatic sequelae, trauma-focused treatment, forensic evaluations, and family and legal support. 

The rotation at CCFH involves working primarily with evidence-based treatments with a culturally diverse clientele of traumatized youth and their families. Interns will have an opportunity to learn several trauma informed interventions (e.g., Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)). Interns will also utilize a range of treatment modalities including: individual therapy with children and adolescents, family therapy, parent education, intensive in-home treatment, community-based interventions, as well as group interventions with children, adolescents, and parents.  The intern will serve as a liaison with multiple community agencies including schools, social services, and the court system for each assigned case.  The intern also participates in initial evaluations and limited psychological assessments.

Interns on this rotation participate in a yearlong didactic series on trauma and trauma-informed interventions and services. Live and video-based supervision is available. Supervision is generally conducted through a combination of individual and treatment specific group discussions as well as multi-disciplinary team presentations. 

For more information about CCFH, visit the CCFH website

Supervisor(s) for the CCFH Clinic and Rotation: George (Tripp) Ake, PhD; Ernestine Briggs-King, PhD; Karen Carmody, PhD

Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development


The Autism Concentration Intern will be the only intern with a rotation in the Center for Autism and Brain Development and should have some background or special interest in autism.  

The Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development provides a wide range of clinical services for children, adolescents, and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  Our multidisciplinary team is comprised of licensed psychologists, board-certified child psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers, behavior analysts, and a pediatrician.  We strive to provide patient-center, coordinated team-based care and collaborate closely with experts from a wide range of medical subspecialties, including pediatric neurologists, pediatric primary care physicians, speech-language pathologists, medical geneticists, gastroenterologists, and developmental pediatricians. These interdisciplinary collaborations foster a comprehensive model of care that is designed to address the complex medical and behavioral health needs of individuals and families who seek services through the Center.

The rotation offers numerous clinical experiences, including evidence-based evaluation and treatment of ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. In the evaluation component of the rotation, interns gain first-hand experiences administering, scoring, and interpreting diagnostic and assessment tools, preparation of psychological reports, and collaboration with the clinical team. In the intervention component, interns may be involved in the provision of individual, family, and group therapy services.  Opportunities to participate in infant-toddler diagnostic evaluations are available. In addition, interns are introduced to early behavioral intervention, based on Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). The ESDM is a comprehensive behavioral early intervention approach for children with autism aged 12 to 48 months that has been validated in a randomized clinical trial. Finally, interns participate in case consultations and are encouraged to pursue opportunities to take part in school-based consultations, community presentations, and other training experiences. Supervision is provided in individual and group formats. Interns also gain supervisory experience by providing peer supervision to graduate student trainees.

In addition to the clinical training experiences, the rotation involves active participation in a weekly didactic seminar. The didactic series provides exposure to ongoing clinical research that is focused on innovative evaluation and treatment approaches.

Supervisors for the Center for Autism and Brain Development: Geraldine Dawson, PhD; Nicole Heilbron, PhD; Jill Lorenzi Howard, PhD

Psychosocial Treatment Clinic (PTC)


The Psychosocial Treatment Clinic at the Duke Child and Family Study Center serves children, adolescents, and families utilizing evidence-based practice.  This rotation includes training in empirically supported treatments for children and adolescents primarily with anxiety and mood disorders, yet many patients have significant comorbidity.  The rotation includes a weekly didactic seminar or case conference and all participants will receive live supervision and participate in the observation of their peers.  Example didactics include CBT Case Formulation, Contextual Functional Analysis, CBT for childhood anxiety, CBT E/RP for OCD, CBT for Adolescent Depression, and Assessment and Treatment of School Refusal.  

Psychology interns work closely with child psychiatry fellows on this rotation. Seminars, case conferences and multidisciplinary treatment teams consist of psychology interns, clinical and school psychology practicum students, and child psychiatry fellows.  Individual supervision is provided for all psychology interns and case conferences are utilized to provide maximize exposure to a diversity of ages, presenting problems, and treatment approaches. 

Supervisor(s) for the PTC Clinic and Rotation: Nicole Heilbron, PhD; David Goldston, PhD; Kyla Machell Blalock, PhD; Adrienne Inscoe, PhD; Christian Mauro, PhD; Angela Tunno, PhD 

Family Studies Program & Clinic  


The Family Studies Program and Clinic is composed of a multi-disciplinary faculty of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Social Workers who have expertise in family therapy, as well as a multi-disciplinary trainee group (Psychology Interns, Psychiatry Residents).  The program provides interns with supervised training in family assessment and family therapy, parenting therapy, and couples therapy using a live, behind-the-one-way-mirror supervision model.  Supervisors and other team members observe all therapy sessions, and supervisors provide immediate bug in the eye feedback using linked computer monitors between the observation room and the therapy room. 

In addition to live and observed couples therapy, parenting therapy and general family therapy, interns also attend a weekly didactic seminar in general and specialty topics in the fields of family functioning and family and couples intervention. Patients for the Families Studies Program and Clinic are referred from the adult and child psychiatry programs and from specialty services within the Medical Center. 

Supervisor(s) for the Family Studies Program and Clinic: Miriam Ehrensaft, PhD; Susan Hazlett, PhD; Christian Mauro, PhD

Pediatric Psychology 


The Pediatric Psychology Intern will spend the majority of time on this rotation and should have some background or special interest in pediatric psychology. The Child General Intern will also spend time on this rotation and should have an interest in gaining neuropsychological assessment experience.

This intern spends the majority their time engaged in Pediatric Psychology clinical work through three mechanisms: Outpatient Neuropsychology Clinic, Consultation-Liaison Service, and the Pediatric Chronic Pain & Somatic Symptoms Program.

Outpatient Neuropsychology Clinic

The role of the intern is to assess neuropsychological and psychosocial changes secondary to disease processes and/or treatment regimen.  The clinic is located at the Duke Child and Family Study Center. The foci for the Pediatric Psychology Intern may include evaluation of patients from the following clinics: 

  • Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • Pediatric Neuro-Oncology
  • Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery (Epilepsy Monitoring Unit; Autoimmune Brain Disease clinic)
  • Pediatric Genetics
  • Undiagnosed Disease Network Program
Consultation-Liaison Service

The Pediatric Psychology intern also works as part of the Child Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison (CL) service at Duke Children’s Hospital. The CL service is a multidisciplinary team that includes psychologists, child psychiatrists, social work case manager, residents, fellows and medical students. The CL team serves patients throughout the Children’s Hospital with a broad range of conditions.

Consultations are initiated by members of a child’s medical or surgical team. Common reasons that consultation may be requested from psychology include:

  • Adjustment to illness
  • Coping with acute or chronic pain
  • Assessment of emotional or behavioral concerns
  • Family coping and support
  • Treatment adherence

The intern may participate in initial consults or follow-up care for patients being followed on the service. All of the patients seen by a member of the CL team have been admitted as inpatients to the Children's Hospital. If continuing mental health services would be helpful after a patient is discharged from a medical floor, they may be referred within Duke or provided with referrals for providers closer to home. Interns may have the option to provide outpatient therapy should the patient’s care remain within the Duke Health system.

Pediatric Chronic Pain and Somatic Symptoms Program

The Pediatric Psychology intern may have the opportunity to work in this multidisciplinary program serving youth with a variety of chronic pain conditions. The treatment team is composed of psychologists, physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, physical therapists and occupational therapists. As part of this rotation, the intern provides initial evaluations as well as weekly CBT for chronic pain, participates in weekly case conferences and serves as a consultant to other members of the treatment team as well as to patients’ schools. This outpatient clinic takes place at the Duke Child and Family Study Center. 

Program Staff

Pediatric Psychology is composed of medical psychology faculty, post-doctoral fellows, interns, clinical psychology graduate students, psychodiagnostic technicians, and support staff who work in a hierarchical supervision model.


Interns are required to attend Pediatric Grand Rounds on a monthly basis.  Depending on specific interests, interns can also attend other didactics including crossover rounds, epilepsy conference, palliative care, transplant academia, etc. 

Current research by pediatric psychology faculty focuses on coping with chronic childhood illness and on the cognitive and behavioral changes associated with disease processes and treatment.  Interns have the opportunity to participate in these projects. 

Supervisors for Pediatric Psychology: Melanie J. Bonner, PhD; Erin Denio, PhD; Katherine Donlon, PhD; Kyla Machell Blalock, PhD; Sarah O’Rourke, PhD

COVID Response Team 

The COVID-19 pandemic led to many rapid changes to our health system and as a result, our interns played a vital role in providing support and services to Duke employees, trainees and students during this challenging time. The following programs were developed in March 2020 and have continued and will continue as needed during this time.

Proactive 1:1 Outreach for Graduate Medical Education Residency Programs

Interns offer individualized support and provide a safe space to talk and an opportunity to connect via phone, text or videoconferencing

Peer Coaching

Interns are paired with neurosurgery residents to provide support, consultation, to develop individualized pathways to address their goals

Peer Support Groups
  • Peer support groups for Student Affairs employees co-led by faculty and interns
  • Support related to COVID-19 pandemic, racism, and related concerns and stressors
  • Peer Support Groups for GME Trainees conducted using a virtual platform co-led by two doctoral psychology interns
Emotional Support Phone Line and Triage Team
  • This service offers confidential support and resources, including linkage to other clinical services, referral to Duke Personal Assistance Services (PAS) and/or appointments with a team of psychologists, psychiatrists and/or social workers who are available for at Duke or in the community.  
  • Individuals may call and talk with a fellow healthcare professional who has experience as a supportive and compassionate listener. Practical resources to support you and your family are also available.

Supervisors for the COVID Response Team: Ernestine Briggs-King, PhD; Susan Hazlett, PhD; Christian Mauro, PhD; McLean Pollock, PhD; Laura Weisberg, PhD; Annise Weaver, MS, CRC