Clinical Pain Psychology Fellowship

Program Overview

Although psychologists play a critical role in the evaluation and management of many pain conditions, there are few formal programs in the country dedicated to training psychology graduates to become specialists in this field. The Stanford Division of Pain Medicine created a pain psychology postdoctoral fellowship program in 2011 to help address this need and has one to three openings, 100% clinical or a combined clinical/research track for 2020-2021 training year.

Clinical Track

For the 100% clinical track, we offer the fellow training in a major tertiary pain center in Norther California that has twice been the recipient of a Clinical Center of Excellence Award. We employ a coordinated, comprehensive biopsychosocial approach to evaluating and treating complex acute, chronic, and cancer pain conditions. While the fellow will focus on the psychological assessment of the person in pain, they will also learn how to collaborate with and lead an interdisciplinary team. We us a comprehensive set of treatments including:

  1. pharmacologic (opioid and non-opioid, continuous infusions)
  2. psychological/behavioral
  3. interventional (ranging from injections to implantable therapies)
  4. rehabilitation and reconditioning
  5. complementary medicine (acupuncture, meditation and nutrition supplements)
  6. self-management programs
  7. novel therapies (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation; brief, validated psychobehavioral classes; combined psychology/rehabilitative classes)
  8. free patient support groups
  9. a novel inpatient chronic pain program. Almost daily, multidisciplinary team conferences synthesize team members’ expertise

Our clinical team is comprised of specialists from psychology, multiple physician specialties, acupuncture, physical therapy, complex care managers and nursing. Primary responsibilities will include performing new patient evaluations, administering, scoring, and interpreting psychological assessments, pre-surgical screenings for implantable therapies, and delivering outpatient treatment services (cognitive behavior, acceptance, mindfulness, and biofeedback based therapies used in both individual and group based settings) to patients diagnosed with various chronic and cancer pain conditions. Fellows will participate in didactic sessions throughout the year covering all facets of pain management.

Combined Clinical and Research Track

For those interested in the combined clinical/research track, there are several options. One is through an NIH funded T32 training program that provides an 80%/20% (research/clinical) experience. We also have other funded opportunities with variable split of clinical and research time.

The research training program incorporates required and elective coursework, mentored research experiences, an individual integrated research project, seminars, and exposure to professional development skills, including grant proposal and manuscript writing.  The aim of this program is to develop the next generation of academic leaders in pain to ultimately better characterize these important conditions and translate discoveries into safe and effective treatments.  The program provides, where appropriate, tuition for specific courses in support of our training program.  Our program has successfully trained and helped transition multiple postdoctoral fellows into independent research careers. The postdoctoral fellow may work with a mentoring team of 17 faculty spanning 7 departments – Anesthesiology, Neurobiology, Medicine, Psychiatry, Biology, Radiology, and Psychology.

Clinical Experience & Curriculum

In addition to clinical responsibilities, fellows are expected to attend weekly didactic lectures, teaching rounds, monthly journal club meetings, grand rounds, and mortality and morbidity conferences. We also encourage our fellows to register and attend relevant conferences/seminars.

Stipend & Benefits

Stanford University offers fellows exceptional salary and benefits, as outlined below.

  • Competitive stipend, please inquire for details
  • Medical, dental, vision, disability, life and accident benefits provided
  • Partial coverage offered for spouses/registered domestic partners and/or children

Paid leave includes the following:

  • 15 days vacation/personal time off
  • 12 days sick leave
  • 5 days conference attendance
  • 6 weeks pregnancy leave
  • 1 week paternity leave
  • University holidays

Current & Past Fellows

2011-12 Jeremy Bartz, PhD Brigham Young University VA Caribbean Health Care System
2012-13 Sue Gritzner, PsyD Pacific University Wayne State University
2013-14 Kristen Richards, PsyD Loma Linda University Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
2013-14 J. Drew Sturgeon, PhD Arizona State University Ann Arbor VA Health Care System
2014-15 Uta Maeda, PhD University of Southern California Portland VA Medical Center
2015-16 Valerie Wai-Yee Jackson, PhD California School of Professional Psychology Napa State Hospital
2016-17 Abir Aldhalimi, PhD University of Detroit Mercy Yale University School of Medicine
2016-17 Maisa Ziadni, PhD Wayne State University Rush University Medical Center
2017-18 Desiree Azizoddin, PsyD Loma Linda University Jesse Brown VA, Chicago, IL
2017-18 Dokyoung Sophia You, PhD Texas A&M University Wright State University, Dayton, OH

Life After Fellowship

Our program focuses on training future leaders in the field of pain medicine, whether they pursue academic or community practices. Thus far, our program graduates have been able to successfully complete state licensure requirements and secured private practice and academic medical center positions.

Application Information

All applicants must have completed

1) APA-or CPA-accredited graduate programs in clinical or counseling psychology;
2) APA-or CPA-accredited internship; and
3) all requirements for their PhD or PsyD prior to the beginning of their appointment.

Application Information

Application Deadline

All application information should be submitted using the online system by January 5, 2022 (Please note this date may be extended pending information from APPIC on the UND).

Fellowship Start Date

The postdoctoral fellowship year is anticipated to be 9/6/22-8/31/23 (exact dates TBD)