Neuropsychology Track - Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
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Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

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Neuropsychology Track

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

Psychology Service (116B)

3001 Green Bay Road

North Chicago, IL 60064

(224) 610-5905

MATCH Number: 128012         

Applications Due:  November 12, 2020


Overview of neuropsychology track emphasis training

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) is excited to offer one full-time neuropsychology internship opportunity for the 2022-2023 academic year (8/15/2022-8/11/2023). Applicants will be required to satisfy the internship program requirements of our generalist program, but also further acquire competencies in the subspecialty of Neuropsychology.  The emphasis training will allow for a greater breadth and intensity of neuropsychological skill development, while also achieving the overall internship goal of becoming a competent, general clinical psychologist. This training is focused on meeting Houston Conference Guidelines and providing a foundation for board eligibility from the American Board of Professional Psychology in clinical neuropsychology (ABBP/CN). At least fifty percent of the intern’s time during internship will be spent engaging in neuropsychological assessment or related activities (e.g., psychotherapy services to cognitively impaired, attending content-specific didactics, etc.). The core domains identified by the Houston Conference are addressed through specific rotations and educational opportunities. Core domains include assessment, treatment and intervention, consultation, research, teaching, and supervision. In sum, this internship position is reserved for trainees that wish to progress to post-doctoral training and ultimately a career in clinical neuropsychology.


Rotation Training Structure

The neuropsychology track is composed of a rotational schedule that allows for a wide breadth of training experiences. The neuropsychology intern will complete three, 10-week neuropsychology-related rotations, followed by one 4-month rotation of their choice, during their year-long training. This differs slightly than the three, 4-month training rotation schedule of the generalist psychology internship program. Please see the generalist clinical psychology internship brochure for a listing of all other rotation training opportunities.

The intern selected for the neuropsychology track will complete a rotation with each of three supervising neuropsychologists, with each rotation being focused on different aspects of neuropsychological services. One rotation will entail greater focus on Active Duty Service Member assessments (medical board, fitness for duty, TBI, etc.), neuropsychological assessment of psychiatric inpatients, polytrauma-based evaluation, and other general neuropsychological consults. A second rotation will be focused on outpatient and inpatient dementia assessment and capacity evaluations, as well as short-term rehabilitation evaluations for discharge planning. A final rotation will be aimed at providing inpatient neuropsychological assessment in various general medical settings, including acute medical situations. Our service occasionally receives consults for bariatric and pre-post ECT treatment evaluations, which may be available at any time to the trainee regardless of rotation and supervisor. Additional neuropsychology-related experiences can be obtained through participation in the Geropsychology service at the Community Living Center (i.e., skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation units), which allows for further training experiences in interdisciplinary team involvement, behavior management, and psychotherapeutic intervention with frequent focus on adjustment to disability and/or end-of-life issues. Opportunities to engage in brief cognitive exams are also available through the Primary Care Mental Health Rotation, which is aimed at training in rapid rapport development, brief psychotherapeutic interventions, and providing psychoeducation specific to mental health service benefits. Neuropsychology training staff will meet with the intern at the beginning of the training year to review individual training and career goals in order to match the trainee with appropriate services/rotations available at FHCC to accommodate these interests. 

Although a minimum of fifty percent of the training experience will be focused on neuropsychological activities, some degree of diversity in rotation selection is required. When selecting rotations, our training program requires the intern to select a training plan which is varied in terms of age-ranges, settings (e.g., outpatient, inpatient, residential, long-term care, etc.), and sub-specialties (e.g., neuropsychology, geropsychology, rehabilitation psychology, health psychology, etc.).  Additionally, training staff view this year as the last year to fill in knowledge/training gaps, such that rationale is required regarding how each rotation addresses identified areas of growth based on an intern’s self-assessment.  All rotation training plans are subject to approval from and modification by the Rotation Selection Committee to ensure the intern’s training year is reflective of training principles and values.


Training Settings

Community Living Center

The Community Living Center is a 140-bed skilled nursing facility that offers acute rehabilitation for Active Duty members and long-term care to aging Veterans in both traditional residential households and Green House Model homes. In this setting, the neuropsychology intern will obtain clinical experiences that include psychological and neuropsychological assessment, capacity evaluations, behavior analysis, development and implementation of behavioral modification treatment plans, short- and long-term individual psychotherapy services, discharge planning, annual dementia and mental health screenings, suicide risk screenings, crisis intervention, and palliative/hospice care. The intern will also be an active member of an interdisciplinary team (composed of pharmacy, psychiatry, general medicine, nursing, nutrition, kinesiotherapy, speech pathology, recreation therapy, and psychology services) developed to provide a collaborative approach to patient-centered treatment and care planning. When applicable, the delivery of empirically-based treatment approaches may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Solution-Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness. This setting also allows the intern various teaching opportunities, as our psychology service is very involved in providing education (i.e., managing difficult behaviors, dementia basics, cognitive wellness, etc.) to direct care staff. The goal of education is to aid in the improvement in our Veteran’s quality of life and overall patient-centered care.

Neuropsychology Clinic

The Neuropsychology Clinic offers outpatient and inpatient cognitive and psychological assessment services to both Active Duty and Veteran populations. This service receives consults from various clinical services across the facility. Referral questions are often focused on clarifying an individual’s cognitive profile so that future care planning and recommendations are patient centered. Interns will be exposed to patients with a wide variety of neurological disorders including various neurodegenerative processes, traumatic brain injury and polytrauma cases, substance-induced cognitive disorders, metabolic encephalopathy, seizure disorders, and severe psychopathology. Supervisors will work with the intern to further refine skills in chart review, data collection from collateral sources, clinical interviewing, battery selection, data interpretation, report writing, and providing feedback to the patient and family.

Outpatient Mental Health Clinic

As required of all interns in the generalist program, the neuropsychology intern will also be providing ongoing psychotherapy services to Active Duty and/or Veteran populations throughout the year. The intern may request to receive specific experience providing interventions with individuals with cognitive compromise, but a breadth of exposure to all psychiatric conditions is the primary focus of this experience. This experience will aid in refining clinical interviewing skills, psychodiagnostic assessment, evidence-based treatment interventions, and overall patient-centered treatment plan development. Evidenced-Based treatment exposure may include, but are not limited to, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I),  Cognitive Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Prolonged Exposure (PE), Solution-Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness intervention. Therapeutic opportunities to engage in cognitive rehabilitation or compensatory strategy education may be incorporated in other clinic settings throughout the year.


Neuropsychology Training Objectives

The goal of the neuropsychology internship training is to develop the following additional competencies beyond those required of the generalist clinical psychology intern.  By the end of each rotation, interns will need a rating of 4 or higher on each of these competencies, as well as the general competencies listed in the main brochure:

  1. Refine existing skills in conducting comprehensive chart review, collecting collateral information, and clinical interviewing to address the referral question and clarify the presenting problem.
  2. Demonstrate entry-level skills in choosing a battery of tests and combining neuropsychological instruments to address specific neuropsychological referral question/hypotheses.
  3. Demonstrate entry-level skills in test interpretation and case conceptualization of neuropsychological cases.
  4. Demonstrate an appreciation for various approaches to neuropsychological assessment (i.e., how to modify battery type or length dependent on patient presentation, inpatient versus outpatient battery choice, reduced effort and battery modification).
  5. Development of ethical awareness: Demonstrate an understanding of ethical issues on a case-by-case basis.  The intern will observe VA policies and procedures, laws of professional behavior, and the APA code of ethics.
  6. Expand the intern’s knowledge in neuropsychology through didactic opportunities, as well as improve appreciation of other disciplines’ contribution to patient-centered care through attendance at grand rounds.
  7. Expand the intern’s understanding of differential diagnosis of commonly seen conditions.
  8. Multicultural understanding: Develop understanding of the issues related to test use and application of norms to various cultural groups, as well as appreciation for effects of language/bilingualism on test performances.
  9. Increase knowledge of functional neuroanatomy and resulting changes from impairment to specific brain areas.
  10. Increase understanding of related medical conditions and medications that compromise cognitive functioning.
  11. Gain experience in communicating test results, recommendations, and compensatory strategies to patients and families.
  12. Improve proficiency in personality test interpretation and how this information influences plan of care (i.e., psychotherapy goals, behavior management, cognitive profile and test taking approaches).
  13. Develop interdisciplinary relationships in various settings and function as a consultant to referral sources with a focus on providing patient-centered care.
  14. Become more familiar with compensatory strategies and community resources that may aid in the rehabilitation/management of neurological and psychiatric symptoms and the improvement of our Veteran’s quality of life.

*Please review the evaluation form included as Appendix A to clarify how each of these competencies are specifically evaluated.


Neuropsychology Content-Specific Education

In addition to attending the mental health didactics provided to all interns on Friday mornings, the intern selected for the neuropsychology track position will also attend neuropsychology-specific didactics weekly on Wednesday afternoons. These didactics will also be available for all other trainees interested in attending, but will be mandatory for any intern currently participating in a neuropsychology rotation. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Clinical interviewing
  • Mental status evaluation
  • Neuroanatomy overview
  • Cranial nerve review
  • Cognitive domains review
  • Overview of cortical dementias
  • Overview of subcortical dementias
  • Frontotemporal dementia and prion disease
  • Motor disorders
  • Case conceptualizations/fact-finding examples
  • Symptom and performance validity
  • Aphasia review
  • Vascular review
  • Neuroimaging
  • Disconnection syndromes
  • Visual system
  • Genetic disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Autoimmune disorders/infectious disease
  • Toxin exposure
  • Cognitive effects of substance abuse
  • Traumatic Brain Injury and concussion
  • Normative data considerations
  • Tips on providing feedback
  • Prepping for the next step (ABCN prep, post-doc application, licensing prep, etc.)
  • Challenges with working with other disciplines/interdisciplinary team involvement
  • Behavior management of dementia and cognitively impaired individuals
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation and compensatory strategy trainings                             
  • End of life issues
  • Assessment of capacity and complex decision making
  • Psychiatric Influences on cognitive test performances
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Cognitive Effects of Electrical Injury

Additional didactic opportunities include monthly brown bag article/literature review, Neurology and Medical Grand Rounds, monthly continuing education presentations by visiting speaker and FHCC psychology staff, Know Neuropsychology Virtual Lecture series, and other various didactics offered at FHCC and local universities throughout the year.


Overview of Supervisory Staff and Structured Supervision Times

Supervisory staff for the neuropsychology intern includes a clinical neuropsychologist and two board certified rehabilitation psychologists. Supervisors will be on-site to provide direct supervision. In accordance with APA training requirements, the intern will receive two hours of direct supervision from the rotation-specific supervisor, one hour from the Director of Psychology Training or the Assistant Director (supervising the outpatient mental health clinic), and one hour of group supervision. Additional supervision is always available as needed.


Supervising Staff Serving as Role Models

All psychologists involved in the Psychology Training Program at Lovell FHCC will seek to support and aid the development of the intern’s clinical expertise in assessment and intervention as a clinical psychologist. Supervising psychologists serve as a role model by demonstrating excellence in their clinical work, ethical professional behavior, appreciation for multi-cultural factors, and providing compassionate, patient-centered care to Active Duty Service Members, our Veterans, and their families.  Supervisors do not only support achievement of clinical competencies, but also the intern’s professional development. Opportunities to supervise other students, teach continuing education seminars, and engage in various administrative tasks are encouraged by all of our supervising staff. Staff attempts to model the importance of these activities by being actively involved in teaching didactics, demonstrating facility committee involvement, supervising students, and taking on roles in the community.

In addition to the above, supervisors model the importance of obtaining specialty board certification.  Our training program and staff will demonstrate full support to our intern in their pursuit of board certification both during and beyond their internship year.


Neuropsychology Department Staff

Kelly Hoffmann, Psy.D., ABPP/RP

Phone: (224) 610 – 5792, Email:

Area of specialization: Rehabilitation psychology, clinical neuropsychology, sleep disorders and treatment

Graduate School: Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Health Psychology Track

Clinical Internship: Oak Forest Hospital of Cook County

Postdoctoral Training: University of Missouri-Columbia – Clinical Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology

Clinical and Research Interests: Traumatic brain injury in active duty and veteran populations, dementia evaluations, rehabilitation of neuropsychological disorders, CBT-I treatment for insomnia, personality assessment, adjustment to disability, and chronic disease states and factors associated with adherence to medical regimen.


Amy Zalke, Ph.D., ABPP/CN

Phone: (224) 610-5786, Email:

Area of Specialization: Clinical neuropsychology, geropsychology, rehabilitation psychology

Graduate School: Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Neuropsychology Track

Clinical Internship: Northern California VA Health Care System/U.C. Davis, Neuropsychology Track

Postdoctoral Training: Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology residency

Clinical and Research Interests: Performance and symptom validity in neurologically-compromised populations, capacity examinations, behavioral disturbances secondary to neurodegenerative disorders, cognitive sequelae of electrical injury, and traumatic brain injury.


Additional Supervising Psychology Staff

Suchi Daga, Ph.D. (Primary Contact for Psychology Training Program)

Director of Psychology Training

Phone: (224) 610-5796, Email:

Area of specialization: Clinical Psychology

Internship: Milwaukee VA

Post-doctoral Training: Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (Trauma Program)


Ashley Simendinger, Psy.D.

Phone: (224) 610 – 5317, Email:

Area of specialization: Geropsychology, health psychology, palliative/hospice care

Graduate School: Loma Linda University, Health Psychology focus

Internship: Loma Linda VA

Post-doctoral Training: Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (Geropsychology)

Please see the generalist clinical psychology internship brochure for a listing of all other training staff affliated with our program.


Accreditation Status

The doctoral internship at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (Lovell FHCC; formerly the North Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical Center) is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (the next site visit will be during the academic year 2022 or 2023). Questions regarding the accreditation process and status may be addressed to: APA, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, (202) 336-5979.


Psychology Internship Eligibility

The Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center’s Mental Health Directorate and Geriatric Extended Care Services abides by the Department of Veterans Affairs commitment to ensuring equal opportunity (EEO), and promoting diversity and inclusion, all applicable Federal EEO laws, regulations, Executive Orders, and Management Directives. 

Intern candidates must be United States citizens who are currently enrolled as advanced doctoral students in a Clinical or Counseling Psychology program.  Only students in programs accredited by the American Psychological Association or Canadian Psychological Association are eligible.  Intern positions are full-time only. No slots are pre-allocated to any graduate program and multiple candidates can be accepted from any one graduate program.   


Specific criterion for basic eligibility for the psychology internship include the following:

  • Be a US Citizen between the ages of 18 and 62 in good physical and mental health
  • Be free of pending legal action or convictions for criminal infractions
  • Have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Be enrolled in a doctoral degree program in professional (i.e., clinical, counseling or combined professional/scientific) psychology in an APA or CPA accredited doctoral program
  • Have satisfactorily completed at least three years of graduate course work
  • Have successfully completed most academic requirements for the doctoral degree, including passing the preliminary, comprehensive, candidacy or qualifying (as applicable at your program) examination.
  • Have formal approval from her/his academic program to go on internship and certification of readiness for the internship experience.
  • Have at least 1000 hours of supervised practicum (See APPIC definition) training, at least 600 of which should be clinical hours and 100 of which should be assessment hours.
  • Be expected to complete the doctoral degree within one year after the internship.
  • Possess the interpersonal skills, emotional maturity, stability and temperamental characteristics required for satisfactory work with medical and psychiatric patients.
  • Be able to work cooperatively with other health care workers and professionals.
  • Actively and maturely accept supervision and responsibility for decisions and actions and adhere to standards of professional conduct and ethics.Have basic skills in establishing rapport with patients suffering from a variety of physical and/or emotional disorders, conducting intake and diagnostic interviews, formulating provisional DSM-V diagnoses, administering and interpreting a basic battery of ability, personality and psychodiagnostic tests, and writing psychological progress notes and reports.
  • Have basic competence in counseling or psychotherapy with selected patients under close supervision, as appropriate to the area of emphasis in professional psychology for which the intern is being trained (i.e. counseling, clinical or combined professional-scientific).
  • Have participated in some form of scholarly activity: e.g. pilot studies, dissertation research, or assisting in a research project.

In sum, candidates should have completed all course work and major requirements of their graduate school program, including qualifying examinations, upon initiating internship.  Applicants requesting to be considered for the neuropsychology track position must also have prior, subspecialty clinical training and coursework in neuropsychology. Finally, all applicants are expected to have demonstrated progress toward completion of a dissertation prior to initiating internship.

All applicants should review the generalist psychology internship brochure in entirety to gain understanding of the location, site, role and responsibilities of the intern, supervising faculty, and other relevant details to the incoming intern’s experience at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. The training brochure can be located for review on our Psychology Training website at:


Application Procedures

This program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and it participates in the Matching Program.  All applicants must register for the Match in order to be eligible for consideration for internship training.  The electronic application service, AAPI Online, must be used by applicants to prepare and submit applications to the program. AAPI Online is a separate and distinct service from the Match, and applicants must register to use AAPI Online separately from registering for the Match. AAPI Online is used by applicants to apply to programs, while the Match determines the final placement of applicants into programs. Applicants pursuing specialty training in neuropsychology are to utilize match number 128012 and not the generalist program match number. Neuropsychology applicants are required to provide a letter from a neuropsychology training supervisor.

The application deadline is November 12, 2021. Initial applicant screening occurs during the months of November through mid-December. All applications are reviewed by members of the Psychology Training Committee.  Applications for the neuropsychology track will be reviewed by the supervisors in this area as well as by the training director. 


Candidate Interviews

The application deadline is November 12, 2021. Initial applicant screening occurs during the months of November through mid-December. Invitations to interview are extended to selected applicants who will be contacted to schedule mutually convenient dates and times. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we will remain flexible with our interview options, possibly conducting fully virtual interviews or offereing a hybrid of both in-person and virtual interviews, with both being equally acceptable and carrying equal weight. The doctoral psychology internship program at the FHCC is an APPIC member program and participates in the annual national computerized intern matching process. Our NMS Program Code Number is 128011 (general track) and 128012 (neuropsychology track).  Our Site Number is 1280.

If you are among the applicants who meet our requirements to be interviewed, we will contact you to schedule an on-site interview at a mutually convenient time.  Contacts for scheduling and interviews will be between December 1st and January 31st.


Intern Selection and Match Process

Following interviews, the Training Committee will meet and evaluate all finalists.  The Committee will vote on each finalist and the resulting rankings will be used to formulate rank order lists.  Interns are matched with the program according to the procedures set forth by APPIC and The Match service. Information pertaining to APPIC and the online AAPI can be accessed at

The Captain James A. Lovell FHCC Psychology Internship program abides by APPIC and APA guidelines on recruitment and selection of interns and by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant. The Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation of the American Psychological Association can be reached at (202) 336-5979. APA’s URL is

The Department of Veterans Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Selection of employees, interns and other trainees is made without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, politics, marital status, physical handicap or age.


Evaluation of Training Outcomes, Processes, and Resources

At the midpoint and end of each rotation, the intern receives an evaluation in combined checklist/narrative form from his/her supervisor, addressing the intern's performance in relation to the program's training objectives. Evaluations are forwarded by the interns to their academic program to provide feedback on the interns' progress and filed with the intern's records for future reference. The intern must receive a score of 4 or higher by the end of each rotation in order to pass internship.  The intern similarly completes an evaluation of the supervision received at the end of each rotation. Supervisor and intern are expected to exchange their evaluations of one another, to discuss and sign them, and to forward them to the Director of Training for review and concurrence.

Concluding Remarks

For any further information regarding the neuropsychology training opportunities offered at Captain A. James Lovell Federal Health Care Center, please feel free to contact supervising faculty or the clinical training director as listed above.