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Social Work Fellowship —Victims of Violence (Cambridge Health Alliance)

Brief Description of Program

The Victims of Violence program, located in the Adult Outpatient Division of the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Department of Psychiatry, offers comprehensive psychological services to adult victims of recent and/or prior crimes of physical and sexual violence. The program also extends services to survivors of war-related political trauma, family and friends of victims, and collaborates with community settings distressed by violent traumatic events. The program is staffed by a multidisciplinary team who offer clinical training and supervision to advanced students in social work, psychology, and psychiatry. Program services include crisis intervention in the aftermath of victimization by violent crime, individual psycho-social evaluation, individual and group treatment, case consultation, research, and clinically based advocacy. 

Fellowship Description

This Advanced Social Work Fellowship runs from September 2021 thru August 2022. The VOV training experience involves the opportunity to provide both clinical services and receive advanced training opportunities. This fellowship also gives trainees the opportunity to see clients in the general psychiatry outpatient department, and to be a member of a multidisciplinary, general psychiatry training team. Trainees are required to be on site for a total of 40 hours per week, including one evening. Postgraduate trainees receive a stipend (including health insurance) and four weeks of vacation.

Trainee Duties

Clinical Responsibilities: Social work trainees in the VOV program conduct individual psychosocial evaluations. They also provide individual, group, and occasionally, family psychotherapy to patients referred to the VOV program and to general psychiatry. The social work fellows will carry a caseload that will comprise about 20 hours, or fifty per cent of their 40-hour fellowship, consisting of evaluations, time limited crisis cases, ongoing psychotherapy, and group treatment.

Trainee Supervision

Each social work fellow in the VOV Program receives a minimum of two hours of individual supervision, as well as group and crisis supervision. All supervision is provided by senior staff. Additional specialized supervision is arranged as needed.

Training Opportunities with the VOV Program and General Psychiatry

  1. Orientation:  Incoming fellows will be expected to participate in hospital- wide orientation programs, as well as orientation specific to the VOV and general psychiatry, at the start of the training year in September.
  • VOV Team Meeting: This interdisciplinary weekly meeting is comprised of students and staff.  During this meeting, new evaluations of patients are assigned, completed evaluations are presented, cases are reviewed, consultations are extended to clinicians outside of the program, and basic clinical teaching is conducted. Team meeting is held Monday mornings from 9:00am to 12noon and is required of all staff and trainees.
  • General Psychiatry Team Meeting: This is a multidisciplinary training team which serves the same functions as the VOV team meeting. It is held from 9:00am to 12noon on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday morning, depending upon to which team the fellow has been assigned.
  • The Core VOV Trauma Seminar: This is the basic teaching seminar of the VOV program. Senior program staff and outside speakers review theory, research, and treatment strategies relevant to the nature, etiology, and treatment of post-traumatic stress and related disorders. The seminar meets weekly on Thursdays from 3:00-4:30pm and is required of all trainees.
  • VOV Group Therapy Observation: Meets 2 hours a week during the fall semester.
  • Crisis Intervention Seminar/Supervision: The purpose of this seminar is to learn and practice the principle of crisis theory and intervention as it relates to victims of recent violence. This meeting is required of all trainees. In addition, trainees carrying particularly difficult individual or family crisis cases will receive additional supervision as needed.
  • Individual Clinical Supervision: Clinical trainees in the VOV program and general psychiatry receive a minimum of two hours of weekly individual supervision. Supervision is required of all trainees.
  • Outpatient Psychiatry Department Seminars: A wide variety of seminars are offered and encouraged, including Grand Rounds and an OPD Case Conference.
  • Professional Development Seminar:  SW fellows from our three fellowship programs meet biweekly and have guest speakers present on multiple aspects of the social work profession.

Fellowships are available to students who have completed an MSW from an accredited institution.  Social work fellows with the VOV Program are awarded an annual stipend of approximately $42,000 for a 12-month training year, with a 4-week paid vacation.

Application Procedures

Trainees who are accepted into the VOV program are mature and experienced students with varied clinical backgrounds and strong recommendations from both academic and clinical settings.

Applicants for advanced social work training at the VOV program should submit a cover letter, C.V. and three letters of recommendation by March 22, 2021 to our program coordinator, John MacCumascaigh at [email protected]

Phillip Brown, LICSW

Director of Social Work Training

Chief of Psychiatry Social Work