Policies and Procedures
There are no specific academic requirements for application to the AGH Psychology Internship. However, applicants from APA-approved training program are preferred. As such the applicants are expected to have completed academic training in the areas of personality theory, biological, cognitive, social, and affective aspects of behavior, theories and methods of psychological assessment diagnosis, effective psychological intervention, theories of psychopathology and behavioral dysfunction, research design and methods, and professional ethics.
There are also no minimal requirements for the amount of practicum hours general applicants must have prior to applying to the AGH Psychology Internships; however applicants are expected to have completed practicum experiences in both psychological assessment and intervention. All of these educational activities should have been completed in the context of sensitivity to cultural and individual diversity as well as current professional standards. Interns interested in child training through the CTSCA must prequalify for the rotation by having previously completed a course in developmental psychopathology, completed practicum training with child & adolescent cases, and completed the online, free TF-CBT training (www.musc.edu/tfcb) prior to beginning the CTSCA major rotation.
We rely on the letter of readiness completed and signed by the Graduate Director of Clinical Training at the applicant’s home institution which is submitted through the standard APPIC application. Applicants with didactic training and clinical practica in the training areas offered by AGH are preferred.
Intern Selection Process
Our internship program welcomes and celebrates applicants from all personal, familial and cultural backgrounds. Past internship classes have included individuals from a wide-variety of backgrounds, including rural and urban areas, individuals fluent in a number of languages, and past interns have hailed from across the globe, representing diverse religious beliefs, and have identified as LGBTQ and other gender/sexual identities. The Allegheny Health Network is fully committed to opposing discrimination in recruitment, selection, placement, transfer, promotion, reassignment, compensation, benefits, disciplinary actions, separation from employment and other terms and conditions of employment. In accordance, the AGH Psychology Internship engages in recruitment, selection, evaluation, and retention of interns without regard to race, creed, sex, or age. The AGH Psychology Internship adheres to the APPIC guidelines in the recruitment and selection of intern, including the interview and match schedule. The AGH Psychology Internship participates in the APPIC match program. Intern applicants submit the universal APPIC application form or AAPI (available on the APPIC web page-www.appic.org) as well as a transcript of graduate training, three letters of recommendation from teachers and supervisors, and a vita.
In the cover letter, applicants must indicate their two preferred major rotations and rationale for choices based on experience and career aspirations. Applications are reviewed by the Director of Training or Associate Director of Training and two faculty members in order to evaluate the degree of match between the applicant’s prior training experiences, career aspirations, and the training opportunities available through the AGH Psychology Internship. Applicants with appropriate fit are then invited to interview in-person. Phone interviews are not available. Candidates who attend the on-site interviews are involved in small group introductions to the rotations. Applicants attend a catered lunch and then participate in several individual faculty interviews during the second half of the on-site experience, concluding with a wrap up social hour with all faculty members, current interns, and post-doc fellows invited. The interviews are offered on two Fridays in December and last between 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Interview procedures, including our photography policy, are thoroughly explained to all applicants.
Faculty complete standardized rating forms for both the initial APPIC applications and the interviews. At the end of the recruitment process a faculty ranking meeting is held. Interns are invited to provide feedback before the meeting, but do not attend the full ranking meeting. At the ranking meeting, the preliminary rankings are reviewed and modified before submitting them to the match process. On the match date and following notification of the match results to the Director of Training, contact is made with each successfully matched candidate to welcome them to the internship.
Joining the Allegheny Health Network
Prior to formally beginning the internship, all new interns are required to complete background checks (Pennsylvania State Police, Childline Child Abuse, and FBI), a pre-employment physical, and all of the paperwork and online corporate compliance trainings required by the AHN Human Resources Department. Interns will be provided a comprehensive orientation with the Director and Associate Director of Training and will meet with the graduating interns to help facilitate a smooth transition between training classes. New interns will also complete training in the electronic health record (EHR) system used throughout AHN.
Intern Performance Evaluation
Intern performance relative to expected competencies is regularly evaluated by the primary supervisor for each rotation. The Director and Associate Director of Training are also responsible for providing regular feedback regarding the intern’s overall professional development and progress through the program. Timely and consistent feedback is the cornerstone of helping interns to develop their clinical and professional skills. Interns are expected to be informed of any deficiencies in their performance and corrective plans are developed in coordination with the Director of Training and, if necessary, the intern’s supervisor as soon as they are identified. Likewise, exemplary performance is recognized and reinforced. All evaluations are related to performance in professional and training tasks and are not related to variables of diversity, whether cultural, religious, sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnic identity, or age. The following are the Performance Evaluation procedures for all psychology interns:
- At the beginning of each rotation, the intern and supervisor meet to determine the intern’s specific training goals for the rotation based upon his/her previous level of training, career aspirations, and skill level at the beginning of the rotation.
- Specific training goals for each rotation are identified for the intern within a developmental framework. At the end of each rotation, the supervisor and the intern complete the Evaluation of Intern by Supervisor form to determine a final rating on all measured competencies. Ratings of Acceptable or greater are considered to be indicative of performance that has met the goals of the rotation and for the interns level of training. Therefore, ratings of acceptable and above on all measured skills at the end of the internship indicates that the intern has met beginning professional level proficiency in all measured skills and has accomplished all internship goals.
- Deficiencies in intern performance (any rating lower than Acceptable) should alert the intern and the supervisor to possible difficulties in meeting the internship goals. It is important this information be discussed with the intern and plans be made at that time to remediate any deficiencies. These plans for remediation must be completed in consultation with the Director of Training.
- Interns may appeal the results of their evaluations according to the procedures set forth in the Internship Grievance Policy as well as the Allegheny General Hospital Grievance Policy.
- Failure to remediate deficiencies, or the strong likelihood that the intern will not be able to remediate their deficient ratings in a timely manner, are taken very seriously. If an intern requires a longer period of training to meet the goals of the internship, than this may be arranged. If the deficiencies appear beyond remediation, suspension and possibly termination from the internship may result as outlined in the Psychology Intern Agreement.
- In the event an intern acts contrary to AHN policies, procedures, or standards for professional behavior, AHN’s Human Resources (HR) will notified of the Internship Training Committee’s proposed disciplinary actions and will be consulted regarding whether any additional action must be taken in accordance with HR’s regulations.
The internship policy statements include formal procedures for evaluation of the interns and evaluation of the supervisors conducted by the interns. In addition to subscribing to the regulations of APPIC, the AGH Psychology Internship is run in accordance with general policies of the Allegheny Health Network regarding equal opportunity and ethical standards of behavior.
Intern Grievance Process
It is the policy of the AGH Psychology Internship to resolve all grievances by interns to the mutual satisfaction of both parties whenever possible. No staff member shall interfere in any grievance procedure in any way. Interns shall be assured the freedom to file a grievance, and freedom from interference or coercion. Interns are made aware of the Grievance Policy at the beginning of the internship year and are provided with a copy of this document in their internship packet: All of the following procedures shall be conducted without consideration of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnic identity, religion, or other aspect of diversity.
Filing a Grievance
- It is anticipated that most grievances can be resolved through discussion of the involved parties, and interns will be encouraged to engage in an informal discussion of their grievance with the involved faculty member prior to filing a formal grievance, if appropriate. Issues concerning the individual supervision of the intern by a faculty member should be approached in this manner, unless the intern believes that this would not be in his or her best interest or could result in substantial harm. If an informal discussion is not successful in resolving the problem, the intern will have the option of filing a formal grievance.
- Issues that relate to the general policy or structure of the AGH Psychology Internship should be discussed with the Director of Training prior to the filing of a formal grievance.
- All formal grievances must be documented in writing at the earliest possible date to allow for a timely correction of the difficulty. Grievances are to be filed with the training committee for consideration. If the grievance involves one of the training committee members, this member will be asked to abstain from participation in the grievance procedure, and another faculty member will be asked to participate in the process. In the event of a grievance against the Director of Training, the intern should contact and discuss the issues with the Associate Director of Training who will confer with the training committee. The training committee and the Associate Director of Training will determine the best course of action regarding resolution of the intern’s concerns and related issues such as supervision, letters of recommendation, and ongoing oversight throughout the training year in order to minimize and potential negative impact on the intern’s training or future needs. Conversely, should the intern have a grievance against the Associate Director of Training, the intern should address the concerns with the Director of Training who will confer with the training committee. Any grieved committee member will be recused from the grievance process, which will occur outside of the regularly scheduled training committee meetings.
- Interns have the right to fair process in evaluation.
- Any deficiencies identified by the supervisor will be communicated to the intern in a timely fashion during the supervision sessions.
- The supervisor and the intern will develop and agree upon a remediation plan to address the deficiency in consultation with the Director of Training.
- If the deficiency can be resolved during the course of a normal rotation, the Training Committee will provide a suggested remediation plan to the intern in writing. Specific behaviors and goals will be presented in this written remediation plan, including criteria for successful remediation.
- The intern has the right to appeal any remediation suggestions via the internship grievance process.
- Failure to meet remediation plan criteria can result in termination from the program after due process has been followed and appeals have been completed.