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Research

In keeping with the scientist-practitioner training model, interns participate actively in research projects during the course of their year. The goal of the research component of the internship is to develop the intern’s capacity to interpret, critique, and conduct research. Interns become active participants in existing research groups or projects, with a time commitment of approximately one half day per week. Protected time is allotted for interns to complete a research project.

The intern’s project will be conducted under the guidance of one of the internship supervisors, most likely a supervisor in the intern’s major track. Supervisors integrate interns into research meetings early in the internship and present ongoing projects as well as new ideas. Interns may elect to participate in a research project outside their major rotation if agreed upon by the intern and a supervisor. Alternatively, interns may generate their own project idea along with a supervisor.

Interns have access to clinical data through the electronic medical record system for clinical and translational research. Interns also can utilize biostatistics services for support with data management and analysis.

Requirements for Internship:

Satisfactory completion of the research project requirement will be demonstrated by the end of the training year by:

  • Presentation by the intern of the research project/ results in case conference, Grand Rounds, Internship Training Committee meeting, or other meeting
  • A written product (e.g., conference submission, manuscript submission, summary of project)
  • Documentation by the research supervisor that the research plan was satisfactorily fulfilled.

Additional Scholarship/Research Experiences:

Other research activities incorporated within the internship include the Outcomes Research seminar and the many track-specific case conferences that integrate clinical research with practice (See Didactics). Interns are also encouraged to attend the Department’s Scholarship Retreat, held off-site for a weekend every Fall.

Adult/ Behavioral Medicine Intern Research Projects:

Research projects for Adult/ Behavioral Medicine interns typically focus on topics related to clinical health psychology (i.e., health promotion, the effect of psychological, social, and cultural factors on disease processes, adherence to treatments, etc.). Research studies involving program evaluation/ quality improvement are also valued. Examples of more recent intern projects are listed below:

  • Eating Behaviors and Mental Health among Rural Sexual Minority Bariatric Patients: A Pilot Study
  • Relationships between Weight Bias Internalization and Eating Behaviors, Mental Health, and Positive Body Image among Bariatric Patients
  • Psychometric Validation of the Body Appreciation Scale-2 and Relationships with Eating Behaviors and Mental Health among Bariatric Patients
  • The relationship between clearance status of the pre-surgical psychological evaluation and weight loss outcomes among bariatric surgery candidates
  • Evaluation of the feasibility of electronic data capture of patient-report questionnaires in routine bariatric surgery patient management
  • Outcomes and individual difference variables related to outcomes at psychological re-evaluation for “low risk” long-term opioid patients.
  • The Influence of a Rural Environment on Patient Access and Outcomes for Bariatric Surgery
  • Predictors of Binge Eating in a Bariatric Sample: Disinhibition as a Mediator of the Relationship between Depression and Binge Eating.
  • A Comparison of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Chronic Pain in Primary Care Versus Tertiary Care Centers

Neuropsychology Intern Research Projects:

Research projects for Neuropsychology interns include a range of topics related to various neuropsychological conditions. Recent projects are listed below:

  • Interactive Contributions of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and Depression to Cognitive Changes in Parkinson’s Disease
  • Longitudinal Latent Growth Trajectories of Cognitive Skills in Newly Diagnosed, Drug-Naïve Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease
  • Mental Health Providers’ Immediate Response to COVID-19: A Survey Study
  • Cardiac Variables Associated with Chronic Methamphetamine Use
  • The Impact of Behavioral and Emotional Functioning on Cognitive Functioning in Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder

Differentiating Implicit and Explicit Memory Systems in Alzheimer ’s Disease

  • Use of the Neurobehavioral Exam to Differentiate Dementia from Normal Ageing
  • The Nature of Perseverative Errors on the Auditory Consonant Trigram Test: Relationship to Other Measures of Frontal Lobe Dysfunction

Research at Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute

The Institute spearheads efforts to develop innovative solutions for West Virginians and those across the world with neurological and psychiatric conditions ranging from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's; autism to stroke; and paralysis to chronic pain, addiction, and traumatic brain injury. The RNI leads a number of innovative clinical trials, including the use of Deep Brain Stimulation to treat Opioid Use Disorder and use of Ultrasound in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. The RNI is also the first neuroscience institute in the world to support U.S Military High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) Program.  Learn more here.

Applied research themes include:

  • Human performance research
  • Neuromodulation
  • Virtual Reality
  • Circadian Rhythm and Sleep
  • Analytics
  • Brain-Computer Interface and Neurophysiology