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The internship program features a variety of didactic seminars and conferences on development, psychopathology, clinical techniques, medical conditions, healthcare delivery systems, health equity, diversity and research. Didactics include the Intern Seminar Series, Diversity Seminar Series and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds. Interns have the opportunity to develop professional skills by giving a Behavioral Health Grand Rounds presentation at the end of the training year on a topic of their interest or expertise. Interns spend approximately 10% of their time in didactic seminars.

Spanish Training Emphasis Program (STEP)

The Spanish Training Emphasis Program’s mission is to address mental health disparities for Latinx children, adolescents, young adults and their families by increasing the availability of bilingual psychologists who are trained in the provision of bilingual, culturally competent therapy and assessment services. Through formalized training activities, this program is designed to be inclusive for all psychology interns who wish to increase their confidence, competence and comfort in serving Spanish-speaking families who receive care at Children’s National Hospital. All interns will receive didactic training in multicultural competency, with special consideration of common challenges for Latinx families, such as varying levels of acculturation, issues related to immigration status, barriers to care, and stress related to intersecting minoritized identities. Interns are also invited to join the optional monthly STEP meetings, which include more didactic content (relevant to all trainees) as well as process groups.

Bilingual trainees are encouraged to participate in process groups held in Spanish to increase their clinical vocabulary, allow for space to consult on culturally sensitive case conceptualizations and promote self-reflection regarding bilingual and multicultural care. Additionally, there may be coordinated opportunities for direct service provision (therapy, consultation, assessment) to Spanish-preferring families through multiple clinics, including Integrated Primary Care, Child Development Clinic, Outpatient Psychology, Neuropsychology and the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Bilingual trainees will have the opportunity to receive supervision in Spanish with a licensed bilingual psychologist. Further, STEP aims to improve overall care for the Latinx community by increasing the availability of training materials, resources, manuals on therapy modalities and treatment worksheets in the Spanish language. For those interested, the DMV region allows for trainees to pursue advocacy and program development opportunities with the help of our STEP team.

Research and Advocacy

Interns who have completed their dissertation research are able to become involved in research programs or advocacy efforts if they desire. Research opportunities are available with many faculty members, depending on an intern’s special interests. Many of the psychology faculty are affiliated with the Children’s Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Hospital and interns could be involved in projects such as the Community Health Improvement Week, training in advocacy on the federal level or Advocacy Day at the Capital Area Food Bank.

Supervision and Mentor Program

Interns receive four to five hours of supervision per week, with one supervisor assigned for each rotation. The program strives to provide interns with a variety of supervisors in order to take advantage of the many roles, talents and theoretical viewpoints of the faculty. Supervision is interdisciplinary, with psychology interns being supervised by psychiatrists on the Inpatient units and the Pediatric Consultation service. Supervision is primarily case discussion. However, some clinics offer live supervision and role-modeling by supervisors within multidisciplinary or vertical teams. Facilities include one-way mirrors and videotaping capability, depending on the location.

At the start of the training year, each intern is assigned a faculty mentor, who does not serve as a supervisor, who is able to focus on the intern’s professional development (e.g., assist with time management issues, the development of self-confidence, etc.). Along with the training director, mentors play a special role in helping interns with future career plans.


Interns are evaluated formally by their supervisors at the end of each rotation or semi-annually on twelve-month rotations. Supervisors rate interns on a set of scales designed to evaluate their performance on the nine profession-wide competencies and discuss feedback with the interns. These evaluations are primarily designed to ensure that the interns are making optimal use of their training year. Letters are sent to the director of each intern's doctoral training program at the completion of the internship.

The internship is conceptualized as an evolving training program with continuous self-review and quality enhancement. Interns and staff engage in periodic evaluation of the program's goals and its method of implementing these goals. Interns complete annual evaluations on seminars, supervisors and rotations. The training director has regular meetings with both the training staff and the interns to discuss and evaluate the program.

Training and COVID-19

Our training program is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our interns while ensuring continuing our high-level training and breadth of training opportunities. We have been able to successfully pivot between fully in-person, fully virtual and hybrid models of training since the beginning of the pandemic. Our fully virtual model allowed for a transition to telehealth and virtual supervision for all rotations, including inpatient care. Hybrid training consists of in-person clinical care for some services and virtual clinical care for others. Interns are encouraged to communicate any extenuating circumstances that may alter their ability to provide in-person services.

The Infection Control Department at Children’s National provides training for incoming interns on safety in the workplace with regard to COVID-19. Interns at Children’s National fall under the purview of the Psychology and Behavioral Health Division and rules and guidelines are therefore established specifically for them by the training directors and division to ensure their safety. As we were able to do successfully this past year, we are confident in our ability to continue training in all rotations under any conditions should the pandemic worsen or improve.