This week we caught up with Allie Wroblewski, who is completing her internship at University of Southern California/Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.
GGSE: How are you doing? Are you enjoying your internship placement?
Wroblewski: I'm doing well! I love living in and exploring the world class city of Los Angeles. I am currently completing my APA-accredited internship at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) in the specialty area of pediatric psychology. Los Angeles is truly an amazing place with incredible museums, restaurants, and vibrant culture. My favorite places to go include Huntington Gardens, The Getty, and Larchmont Village where I live. One of the best aspects of my internship is that I am able to provide high quality mental health services to children and families from low-income backgrounds. In fact, 100% of the children and families that I work with at CHLA are eligible for mental health services at through MediCal.
GGSE: What does your internship position entail?
Wroblewski: My internship placement involves a mix of psychological assessment and long-term outpatient therapy. Most of the children that I work with are struggling with chronic illnesses (e.g., cancer, genetic disorders, organ transplant recipients) in addition to a mental health disorder. It's truly a privilege to work with children who are battling chronic illness and be a part of their lives. I'm often in awe of their resilience and ability to cope with numerous hospitalizations, on-going treatment regimes, and side effects from medications. I've enjoyed using my school psychology background to support kids in developing school re-entry plans and requesting accommodations or modifications at school through 504 plans/IEPs. Completing my internship in pediatric psychology has allowed me to integrate my clinical child and school psychology skills. I've also been able to apply my research background in trauma and adversity when conducting psychological assessments and providing long-term therapy. Children with complex trauma histories, including medical traumatic stress, often exhibit a range of social-emotional difficulties. Thus, having the research background in trauma screening and assessment has proved invaluable in my ability to conceptualize diagnoses and provide meaningful treatment recommendations.
GGSE: Has this experience informed your research going forward?
Wroblewski: Completing my internship at CHLA has had a significant impact on my career, including my desire to pursue a fellowship in pediatric psychology at Boston Children's Hospital. I will be joining the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program later this fall and providing neurodevelopmental assessments and short-term inpatient/outpatient therapy for children with congenital heart disease (CHD). The fellowship is primarily clinical in nature, but also allows me the opportunity to conduct research within an academic medicine setting. I'm excited to apply my research background in trauma-informed care in order to support children with CHD and their families to have the best possible outcomes.The fellowship also involves providing consultation to schools in the Boston area about the link between (CHD) and neurodevelopmental abnormalities. I'm grateful for the combined clinical and research training opportunities that were provided to me at UCSB through CCSP and look forward to the next part of my journey in psychology.