Megan Meade-Higgins, PsyS, LMSW, MSW, a fourth year doctoral student at MSP, was recently selected to complete a two year post-doc fellowship through the Consortium for Advanced Psychology Training. Megan currently works as a practicing psychotherapist at Eastwood Clinics in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, serving a diverse population with a variety of mental health issues. Megan has experience in sex addiction therapy, and specializes in grief and loss work, having served many years as a therapist with St. John hospice.
Describe what inspired you to apply for this particular post-doc.
I am very interested in Health Psychology and developing integrated health care plans for clients that address their mental health issues along with their physical issues in a holistic, biopsychosocial manner. Integrated Primary Care (IPC) regards clients’ mental health as valuable and relevant as their physical health, and works to combine the two for the most efficient and effective care possible, almost as a “one-stop shopping” plan of care.
I was inspired to apply for the Flint post-doc program, the Consortium for Advanced Psychology Training (CAPT) by Drs. Carol Stratman (3rd year supervisor) and Callan (health psychologist and professor of relevant classes at MSP). CAPT is a nationally-renowned program that continues post-doctoral fellows’ education and training in health psychology and prepares them for careers in the field. In this 2-year fellowship position, I will be training and teaching medical residents the IPC holistic plan of care, providing inpatient and outpatient education and therapy for clients, and receiving my own continuing education training as well.
How do you hope this experience will assist you in your career in clinical psychology?
I know the experience at CAPT will provide me a solid foundation in health psychology and enable me to apply for a number of different jobs in the health care field with confidence. At this time in my career, I am thinking that I would like to do a number of different things such as teach and work in a practice, but health psychology will always be at the forefront. I am dedicated to and passionate about this cause. I firmly believe that mental health professionals are critically needed in the medical field as clients work toward their optimal holistic health.
How has your experience at MSP prepared you to be successful in this post-doc?
I believe all of the classes that Dr. Callan taught related to health psychology assisted me in understanding the field and honing my interest in it. All of the classes where I had to present cases helped as well, along with the testing classes where I learned how to effectively evaluate clients and write their reports.
As part of the 12-hour interview the day I went to Flint (7a-5p!), I had to present a health care case and explain all about the client, my diagnosis and the treatment plan. Although the other candidates in my interview group were very nervous about this piece of the day’s agenda, I felt completely prepared to present, and felt I fielded all of the audience’s questions intelligently and effectively. I feel this speaks very well for the education I received at MSP, as well as the CCE process, which enabled me to “know my stuff” and feel confident in front of a large group of experienced psychologists.
I was absolutely thrilled to be chosen for this post doc opportunity. Hundreds of people apply across the United States, only a few are chosen to be interviewed (30ish), and only two people were taken in the Genesys health system post-doc program this year, myself and another woman.
What advice do you have for other MSP students who are thinking of applying for similar post-doc positions?
Take any and every class that has to do with health psychology. Read journal articles and book chapters online to stay current with both psychology and medicine. Talk to the people who already do it, like Dr. Callan, who can give you a good feel for what the job really entails and if you are a good fit for it. Do some self-searching: is health psychology a passion of yours? Is it where you want to spend your time and energy?
Also, another great piece of advice was given to me by Dr. Stratman. I was somewhat intimidated by the fact that so many people apply for this post-doc, and have so much experience and knowledge. And, let’s face it, the odds of getting one of the few positions are extremely low. However, any time I thought about talking myself out of it, she would tell me that I was intelligent and capable and to try for anything I wanted. It had worked out for her in her life, and it might just work out for me. And it did! So, thank you Dr. Stratman, for supporting my decision to take the chance that turned into what is now an amazing opportunity and undoubtedly life-changing event.