The Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services (MIDAS) project is an ongoing study of diagnosis, assessment, and outcome in routine clinical practice. Post-doctoral fellows are brought in as diagnostic interviewers in this project. That is, they are thoroughly trained in the semi-structured assessment interview and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria and they conduct the evaluations. It has been our experience during the past several years that the level of diagnostic precision required in the MIDAS project is beyond that normally taught in clinical psychology PhD programs; consequently, the first three months of the fellowship are devoted to training in our protocols.
After training at least half of the fellows' time is protected for purely research/academic/clinical pursuits. Fellows do not spend more than 25 hours in interviewing and report writing.
Participation in the MIDAS project exposes the fellow to a unique clinical environment, one in which research has been incorporated into routine clinical practice. Project participation also exposes the fellow to an empirical approach to clinical practice.
Fellows are exposed to grant and manuscript writing. Fellows are strongly encouraged to publish, though it is not required. The MIDAS project's database of more than 2,000 patients is perhaps the largest in the world. The database is very broad and can accommodate most fellows' academic interests. The fellow will become familiar with this database, and will have it at their disposal to write papers. Fellows will be first authors on papers that they write.
In addition, fellows have the opportunity to develop their own projects that can be piggybacked onto the core assessment infrastructure of the MIDAS project.
There are three required meetings as part of the fellowship. There is a weekly diagnostic case conference, weekly journal club, and weekly administrative meeting. There is also a core didactic series including a grant writing seminar as part of the Brown fellowship program.
The fellowship is a two-year commitment. We invest about 3 months of time training interviewers, and expect individuals to be here for two years. Because of the wide variety of opportunities, there is flexibility to tailor the fellowship to meet individual interests and goals. Most fellows stick with the research. However, some fellows are interested in clinical practice, and phase out from the diagnostic interviews and take on patients. Some fellows get involved in pharmaceutical funded treatment trials.
Depending upon one's interest there are also opportunities to treat patients under the supervision of clinical psychologists who are part of our practice.
In conclusion, fellows are brought in with the expectation of increasing their knowledge about diagnostic and assessment research, are exposed to the realities of real world clinical practice, and have the opportunity to build a CV from the data base that has accumulated.
Interested applicants should email Mark Zimmerman (Mzimmerman@Lifespan.org). Application information and materials are available on the Brown University department of psychiatry and human behavior site at http://bms.brown.edu/DPHB.