Adult Health Concentration

The Adult Health concentration involves didactic training, patient care and research experiences. Interns are exposed to empirical and theoretical perspectives from a number of disciplines and are expected to use that information while working in both inpatient and outpatient settings. 

In the Adult Health concentration, all three interns will spend 40% or two full days working in the Cancer Behavioral Management and Support Clinic. 

After matching to Duke, interns will rank their preferences for two or three other elective rotations to diversify their clinical experiences based on their interests.

The rotation in the Cancer Behavioral Symptom Management and Support Clinic is based on a scientist-practitioner model of training and is comprised of clinical and research activities that address the psychological, social, behavioral and symptom management needs of cancer patients. 

This rotation’s clinical activities are conducted as part of the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program and the Duke Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.

The Duke Cancer Patient Support Program provides psychological services to cancer patients and their families in the outpatient and inpatient clinics of the Duke Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.

The Duke Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, which is closely associated with the Duke Cancer Institute, is internationally recognized for its novel approaches to treating leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma through bone marrow and stem cell transplantation. The Duke Cancer Institute and the Duke Blood and Marrow Transplant Program treat patients from a range of ages, ethnic and racial backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses, and from rural and urban settings in North Carolina and the larger region.

Experiences on this rotation aim to increase interns’ knowledge and skills for treating psychological, social, behavioral and symptom management issues that occur during the cancer experience. Interns in this rotation work closely with the multidisciplinary Cancer Patient Support and Bone Marrow Transplant teams, including:

  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Social workers
  • Physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Pharmacists
  • Nutritionists
  • Physical therapists
  • Patient financial advisors

Interns gain experience in the role of a psychologist on a medical team and learn how to collaborate within and contribute to a multidisciplinary team.


Interns are trained to conduct and interpret psychological assessments and health behavior evaluations for patients, their families and caregivers. Assessment techniques include behavioral observation, standardized psychological measures, semi-structured interviews and diagnostic interviews. Interns also perform regular follow-up assessments of post-treatment quality of life for patients undergoing bone marrow transplant.
Through training and clinical experiences, interns become skilled at assessing the psychological, relationship and behavioral health issues that impact individuals and families affected by cancer.

Psychological Services

Interns provide psychological services for patients, their families and caregivers. Clinical experiences include inpatient and outpatient CBT-based psychotherapy, manualized behavioral interventions for symptom management and health behavior interventions. Psychological services are provided in individual, couples and group settings through face-to-face meetings, phone and web-based technologies.
Interns gain competence in developing treatment plans and choosing appropriate, evidence-based interventions for the range of issues and problems that arise for patients and their families when faced with a serious, life-threatening illness.


Interns participate in weekly individual supervision sessions for psychological assessment and psychotherapy cases. Interns also participate in weekly multidisciplinary team meetings that include all members of the Cancer Patient Support Team. Through this weekly multidisciplinary meeting, interns gain a sophisticated conceptualization of patients.  

Educational Seminars & Research

During the rotation, interns attend educational seminars on psychopharmacology and psycho-oncology. A developmental approach is used. Initially interns are given educational materials about cancer and the bone marrow transplant process, and they work closely with a psychologist or other team member to develop and understanding of the treatment process and the clinic environment. Later, the intern is assigned their own patients and groups.
Finally, interns have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research activities. Interns are exposed to issues of research design, quality control and data analysis inherent in the testing of standardized treatment protocols and program evaluation.

Supervisors for Cancer Behavioral Symptom Management and Support Clinic:

After matching to Duke, interns will rank their preferences for two or three other elective rotations. 

See Elective Rotations