[Bkn-school-of-education-csp-mhc] Columbia and Poughkeepsie placement for practicum students

Christina Scheinberg Christina.Scheinberg at liu.edu
Wed Aug 7 13:34:35 EDT 2013

Dear Mental Health Counseling Students,

Below is a unique description of a possible practicum opportunity for students or anyone interested in a general research opportunity.  The opportunity is located at Columbia University and Poughkeepsie, NY.  Therefore, students would need to travel.

If practicum students decide to utilize this placement to fulfill their practicum requirements their direct client contact hours would largely occur via completing interviews or facilitating interventions and would be conducted in the Probation Department in Poughkeepsie.

Indirect hours would consist of some over the phone contact to schedule appointments/screen for eligibility, and research activities (lit reviews, data entry, data management and analysis) and are completed at Columbia (CUMC campus).

To run the intervention, students would need to be available Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons; the program runs from 4-6pm, but with travel, the total time is probably 1-8pm, depending on where you are traveling from.  Interview times are much more flexible, but again tend to occur in late afternoon.

The experience is very rich and rewarding for students.  The families are challenging but also have been very engaged and connected to the program once it begins.  In addition, these are families that are managing multiple stressors and involvements with several "systems" (not only probation/juvenile justice) and so students definitely get exposure to very "real world" problems as they interview and work with the families.


Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute

In the US, rates of HIV infection and STIs in youth aged 13-24 years continue to increase, highlighting adolescence as a developmental period in which HIV/STI transmission is likely to occur. In particular, youth involved in the juvenile justice system (JJS) report substantially higher rates of sexual risk and STIs compared to general population youth. However, few HIV prevention interventions have been developed for JJS youth.

The family is widely recognized as highly influential in adolescent sexual risk reduction and pregnancy prevention in adolescents. Family programs, involving the youth and at least one caregiver, that improve key family processes such as parent-child communication, quality of relationships, and parental monitoring and involvement, are successful in reducing HIV risk behavior. The involvement of family in HIV/STI interventions, however, has been largely ignored for JJS youth.

In answer to this unmet need, investigators at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute have developed Family STARS! (Safe Teens Against Risky Situations), a manualized, family-based HIV/STI prevention program for teens on probation and their families. Family STARS has been developed (and named) with families of teens who are on probation as well as probation staff. It is one of the first of its kind and we are now ready to pilot the intervention with families in the Department of Probation in Poughkeepsie, NY to see if there is evidence of efficacy and to also ensure the program is acceptable to families and feasible to deliver and implement in probation departments. We are looking for research assistants to serve as interviewers and/or facilitators to join this exciting project.


Interviewers: Participants in the project will be randomized to either the intervention or a delayed intervention control (waitlist) and participants will be assessed at baseline, 1-month and 3-months post-intervention. We are interviewing both caregivers and youth, assessing a range of domains such as youth sexual activity, youth and caregiver mental health, substance use, family functioning, communication, HIV knowledge, safer-sex self-efficacy, etc. The baseline interview is approximately 2 hours and follow-up interviews are about 1-1.5 hours each. Interviewer duties and requirements: Recruiting and interviewing youth and caregivers at the probation center; additional duties may include conducting telephone screenings, coordinating study visits at the probation centers, processing subject payments, and tracking participants. The interview positions are available immediately and will require approximately 7-10 hrs per week: at least one 6 hr block of time Monday-Friday afternoons to conduct interviews (includes travel to the Probation department), plus 1 hr of weekly supervision. Given the population, we are looking for students in Masters or Doctoral Programs of Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, Social Work or related fields; those with prior experience conducting structured, psycho-social interviews with youth and/or working with criminal or juvenile justice populations are preferred. All students will be trained. Participation in broader aspects of the project, including data 2

analysis and manuscript preparation, are possible depending on student time commitment and interest. The cost of travel to and from the probation department will be covered by the project.

Facilitators: The intervention is composed of 6 weekly sessions, with each session lasting 2 hours. During each session, youth and their caregiver first work separately for an hour, come together to have some dinner and then work the remaining time together in multiple family groups. The intervention will take place in 4pm-6pm on Thursday in Poughkeepsie (with additional groups possible in Beacon; time and day TBD). The intervention focuses on relationship building between youth and caregiver, effective communication and conflict resolution between youth and caregiver and youth and parents/peers, sexual communication between youth and parents, improving knowledge about HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancy, emotion regulation, monitoring and limit setting for parents, understanding risk in relationships, and developing healthy relationships for youth. Facilitator duties and requirements: Given the nature of the population and the family work involved in the manualized intervention, we are looking for students in Masters or Doctoral Programs of Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, Social Work or related fields and we require that facilitators have at least one year of clinical experience/training. There will be 4 facilitators in total. The total commitment will be 3 days of training and running at least 2 waves of the intervention for a total of 12 weeks (6 sessions/weeks per wave), and 1 hour a week of supervision while running the intervention (via skype/phone if easier). All training and supervision would be done by a NYS licensed clinical psychologist. The position would result in 60 clinical hours (24hrs training+ 24 hrs of intervention facilitation+ 12 hrs supervision). The number of supervised clinical hours will increase if facilitators commit to more than 2 waves. Participation in broader aspects of the project, including data analysis and manuscript preparation, is possible depending on student time commitment and interest.

Please contact Dr. Katherine Elkington at ke2143 at columbia.edu or 212-568-4208 if you are interested in learning more about serving as an interviewer and/or facilitator for Project STARS.

Best of luck to you all and hopefully this is helpful or useful in some way.  It certainly looks interesting!

Christina Scheinberg, LMHC, CASAC
CSP Field Coordinator
Christina.Scheinberg at liu.edu<mailto:Christina.Scheinberg at liu.edu>
Office Hours: M:10-4, W: 10-6, TH: 11-4

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