Program Overview

The postdoctoral fellowship training program in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Iowa is administered through the Department of Neurology, in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Benton Neuropsychology Clinic is the principal training site, and the program has a Major Area of Study in Clinical Neuropsychology.  The Program is directed by Daniel Tranel, PhD. The Program has close ties to the University of Iowa Neuroscience PhD Program, the Department of Neurosurgery, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and the Iowa Neuroscience Institute.  The training program normally accepts one fellow each year, and emphasis is placed on individual instruction by maintaining a low fellow-to-faculty ratio.  Our training model stems from the scientist-practitioner tradition, and conforms to the guidelines provided by the Houston Conference.  The program is a charter member of the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN), and participates in the match program administered through APPCN.  Most fellows graduating from the program have pursued careers in hospital-based practice, and many have maintained a balance between clinical practice, research, and teaching.  The background of past fellows has been primarily in clinical psychology and counseling psychology.      

The Program is housed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), which is one of the largest university-owned teaching hospitals in the United States.  The Benton Neuropsychology Clinic serves approximately 2000 patients per year with specialized diagnostic and rehabilitation services.  Referral sources are located throughout the UIHC, including the departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Psychiatry, and Family Practice.  The Program has special strengths in assessment of neuropsychological syndromes associated with stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions, traumatic brain injury, CNS tumors, epilepsy, metabolic/medical conditions, and forensic evaluations.  Given the setting in a tertiary medical center and the large catchment area of UIHC, fellows can expect to be involved in the care of patients with rare neuropsychological syndromes such as prosopagnosia, pure alexia, and Balint’s syndrome, as well as traditional syndromes of aphasia, amnesia, agnosia, executive dysfunction, and personality disturbance following brain damage.  Fellows also participate in Wada evaluations for patients being considered for epilepsy surgery.

Instruction in neuropsychological assessment is the core of the fellowship.  The training model emphasizes developing the skills necessary to effectively work with psychometricians in conducting high quality neuropsychological evaluation. Fellows normally participate in the evaluation of one to two patients per day (typically one if the fellow is doing their own testing; typically two if the fellow is working with a technician).  The Benton Neuropsychology Clinic uses a core battery that is two to four hours in length, with additional assessment instruments guided by the referral question, the condition of the patient, findings from the core battery, and other factors (see Benton, 1994; Lezak et al., 2012; Tranel, 2009).  Reports vary in length depending upon the referral question and patient issues, and typically are two or fewer pages. 

The program follows NIH guidelines for salary of postdoctoral fellows.  There are full health insurance benefits, and interested candidates are encouraged to inquire about the specifics of such benefits.  The community of Iowa City has a population of approximately 75,000.  Iowa City has a small college town atmosphere, but with diverse entertainment and recreational activities associated with the University of Iowa including numerous concerts, literary events (including those through the Writer’s Workshop), theatre, and sporting events.  Downtown Iowa City is a ten-minute walk from UIHC, or a five-minute bus ride via the free University shuttle. Many of our past fellows have lived within walking distance of the hospital.