A clinical neuropsychology experience is available to students in the Psy.D. program at Florida Tech that provides an opportunity to develop skills in clinical assessment of higher cortical function and dysfunction and neurobehavioral research. Clinical neuropsychology is an applied specialty within professional clinical psychology dedicated to understanding the relationships between the brain and behavior, particularly as these relationships can be applied to the diagnosis of brain disorders, assessment of cognitive and behavioral functioning, and the design of effective interventions for certain neurological and psychiatric conditions.
Graduate training in neuropsychology is accomplished via a combination of coursework, practicum experiences, and empirical research opportunities. Students initially learn the anatomic, functional, and cognitive substrates associated with human behavior and neurobehavioral disorders. Through coursework in Fundamentals of Clinical Neuropsychology, students will be introduced to the guiding principles of brain-behavior relationships, integrating elements of psychology and neurobiology, including functional neuroanatomy and neuropathology. The Neuropsychological Assessment course sequence provides students with training in the administration, scoring, and interpretation of several common neuropsychological tests with persons who have known or suspected neurological dysfunction due to illness, disease, or acquired injury. A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment typically utilizes a standardized test battery evaluating multiple cognitive domains, including learning and memory, attention and processing speed, executive functioning, language, visual-spatial skills, and psychomotor skills. Additional tests of intellectual functioning, academic achievement, performance validity, mood, and personality may also be included depending on the purpose of the evaluation. Advanced or specialized coursework is also occasionally available in areas such as Neuropsychological Assessment and Neurodegenerative Diseases.
Through clinical practica, students will expand and refine their neuropsychological test administration and interpretation skills in various medical and neurological patient populations, and be given additional opportunities to develop skills in consulting with family members and other healthcare providers and develop/implement appropriate interventions for patients. Interested students are also invited to attend and participate in the Neuropsychology Research Team, which provides opportunities to conceptualize and design research methods and engage in applied neurobehavioral research with patient populations. As an additional educational opportunity, Florida Tech has an active chapter of The Association of Neuropsychology Students and Trainees (ANST) through the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (SCN) of the American Psychological Association (APA, Division 40), which hosts a didactic series with presentations by neuropsychologists, neurologists, and other professionals in related fields.
Upon graduation, students concentrating in neuropsychology are expected to be skilled in the clinical assessment and treatment of neurobehavioral disorders, and to be capable of asking empirically testable research questions of relevance to brain function and dysfunction. Training prepares students for competitive internships and fellowships in clinical neuropsychology with the ultimate goal of pursuing board certification in clinical neuropsychology.
Florida Tech's experience in Clinical Neuropsychology offers extensive opportunities for training in geriatric neuropsychology with the Health First Memory Disorder Clinic and in sports neuropsychology through the Florida Tech Sports Concussion Management Program. Students will learn to administer, score, and interpret a variety of neuropsychological tests in these capacities, and will also obtain experience with clinical report writing and making tailored recommendations. In addition to receiving direct clinical supervision by Anthony LoGalbo, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, who is a core clinical faculty member and a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, these experiences also allow students unique opportunities to receive exposure to and education from a variety of other medical professionals, including neurology, geriatrics, psychiatry, and sports medicine.
Advanced neuropsychology practica are available at a variety of external placements ranging from smaller private practices to larger medical centers and healthcare settings throughout Central Florida that offer opportunities for involvement with both adults and children, as well as in-patients and out-patients, and neurorehabilitation settings. These experiences allow for exposure and training with an even broader patient population including complex neurological conditions, such as traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular disorders, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and brain tumors. Through these external placements, students may have opportunities to observe specialty procedures such as WADA testing, and attend other interdisciplinary conferences such as brain tumor boards.
Meanwhile, neuropsychology research opportunities at Florida Tech cover applied neuropsychological research primarily in sports concussion diagnosis and management and neuropsychological assessment in geriatric populations including Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia at the Health First Memory Disorder Clinic. Specifically, recent and ongoing research projects have aimed to refine neurocognitive assessments for sports concussion diagnosis and management, determine methods of facilitating concussion recovery, assess variables which may predict progression of MCI to dementia, and explore optimal neuropsychological assessment techniques to improve diagnostic accuracy in geriatric populations. Neuropsychology Research Team meetings are held at least once per month. There are ample opportunities to pursue research endeavors specifically for purposes of fulfilling the Psy.D. requirement of a Doctoral Research Project. Additionally, students routinely present their research as posters at national conferences for professional organizations such as the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN), International Neuropsychology Society (INS), American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN), and Sports Neuropsychology Society (SNS). Students are strongly encouraged to prepare and submit manuscripts to peer-reviewed scientific journals based on these research findings as well. Faculty support, guidance, and feedback is provided to assist with these activities.
In addition to the general requirements of the Psy.D. program in clinical psychology at the Florida Tech, interested students may also complete a series of specialized coursework, clinical practicum, and applied empirical research projects in clinical neuropsychology. As such, this training can be quite rigorous and require additional time and effort to successfully complete. Training in Clinical Neuropsychology at Florida Tech strives to comply with the spirit and intent of the NAN Houston Conference, while preparing students with the foundational knowledge to be competitive applicants for internships and post-doctoral fellowships with a neuropsychology focus. While generalized clinical psychology training in graduate school is a necessity step toward becoming a competent neuropsychologist, there will also be an emphasis on setting the foundational groundwork for graduate students to be well-equipped to pursue board certification in clinical neuropsychology.
Students interested in neuropsychological training opportunities are encouraged to contact Dr. LoGalbo directly.