Supervisor Arpi Minassian, Ph.D.
Facility UC San Diego Medical Center Hillcrest- UC San Diego Regional Burn Center
Address  200 West Arbor Drive, Mailcode 8620, San Diego CA 92103-8620
Phone 619-543-3422
Placement Type Inpatient hospital and outpatient clinic
Patient Type Adults and children hospitalized with a burn injury or tissue disease
Experience Type

Experiences on the Burn Service include: (1) psychological evaluation to evaluate for psychiatric disorders and past or current substance abuse problems; (2) use of various interventions and provision of support for patients and families in coping with physical injuries and treatment (including behavioral interventions to assist patient with acute pain, emotional/cognitive/behavioral responses to traumatic experience, discussion of body image concerns, brief motivational interviewing for substance use-related injuries); and (3) providing recommendations to multidisciplinary staff to enhance outcomes of working with the patient and his/her family. As part of the Medical Center Psychiatry consultation-liaison team, the student will gain experience in rapid psychiatric and psychological evaluation and formulation of treatment recommendations for medically ill patients with psychiatric symptoms. Interactions with patients can be as brief as a one-time meeting or twice weekly follow-up with the patient and his/her family lasting up to a few months depending on the extent of the injury.  During this placement the student will learn extensively about burn care and the physical and psychological effects of burn injury. In addition, they will work closely with other medical disciplines, combine assessment and brief intervention in the span of a few sessions, and tailor recommendations to fit with the fast-paced trauma care environment.

Supervision: Some education in supervision is available, since students will be working alongside other trainees of varying levels and may have the opportunity to engage in informal tiered supervision. 

Consultation: Training in consultation is essential to the experience on this service, since the student is part of the multidisciplinary care team and interacts with other care providers to answer referral questions and provide treatment from the mental health perspective. 

If the current public health crisis continues in its present form by the start of the next training year, students will likely have the opportunity to participate in limited clinical care via video or telephone visits with patients, but this is a constantly evolving situation.

Number Of Students 1
Experience Necessary Basic knowledge of how to conduct a biopsychosocial evaluation; completed or concurrent coursework in therapeutic techniques such as CBT, MI, and/or ACT.
Time Commitment 8-10 hours/week; approximately 70% of time in face-to-face activities with patients but see comment above about accommodations during public health emergencies.
Practicum Length Full Year
Start Date 7/1/2021
Limiting Factors

Strongly preferable that student have Tuesday afternoons available to attend multidisciplinary rounds and Friday mornings 8 AM-9 AM for group supervision.  Also preferred but less critical is  Thursday afternoons to participate in outpatient Burn Clinic.  Mondays-Fridays during work hours only, no weekends or nights.

Other Issues

Although it might appear that a clinical experience on the Burn Service would result in highly specialized training, psychology trainees emerge with a breadth of experience and knowledge that they are easily able to apply to future behavioral medicine, health, and psychiatric settings.  Importantly they are exposed to and must negotiate the interface between psychology and medicine, which is a critical relationship in today’s health care environment.   Trainees obtain a broad series of experiences in behavioral medicine.  They are trained alongside a psychology intern in UC San Diego’s APA-accredited Psychology Internship Program.  This practicum experience will prepare students to be highly competitive for behavioral medicine/health psychology internship placements.

Interested students are welcome to contact Dr. Minassian at or 619-543-3422 for questions

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