Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Reflections of BSMP Mini-Fellow Alumni

Bieke D. Puncochar

Bieke D. Puncochar

Degree/Certifications: Ph.D. in clinical psychology
Institution/workplace: Private Practice + The Diagnostic Center at Currey Ingram Academy
Specialty: Therapy (family, child, adolescent) & Assessment
Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Interest within Sleep Medicine: I am interested in expanding my practice to incorporate and eventually specialize in treatment of sleep disorders across the lifespan. In my work as a general child/family therapist and diagnostician, I notice all too often that sleep problems contribute to, exacerbate, or even generate the patient’s presenting problems. I hope to continue building on my understanding of sleep disorders and their treatment and collaborate with providers in the community to help address sleep problems using evidence-based interventions.

Brief Testimonial of Mini-Fellowship Experience: I enrolled in the mini-fellowship having had some prior experience in treatment of sleep problems, primarily in children and adolescents. The mini-fellowship lasted three and a half days and was comprised of various topics, people, teaching styles, and experiences. The entire first day consisted of one-on-one discussion with Dr. Perlis about sleep models, sleep stages, sleep disorders, treatment options, and various other related topics. Dr. Perlis was very responsive to my (many) questions and took the time to answer them in depth.
He also made sure to spend extra time covering topics with which I was not as familiar. The second day of the mini-fellowship started off with a presentation by Dr. Findley regarding important elements to cover in a clinical sleep interview and how to educate patients about their sleep issues and treatment. Dr. Grandner then described the
history, mechanics behind, and functions of actigraphy in detail and was responsive to my request to spend extra time interpreting actigraphy data. That afternoon, Dr. Chakravorty immersed me in the biology of normal and disordered sleep, and his teaching style invited me to think critically about the material presented. He did not hesitate to spend time and effort addressing my questions in detail. The third day consisted of observing Dr. Findley use CBT-I with his patients. The applied nature of this experience was great, and Dr. Findley provided me with information about the
background and rationale of specific interventions. My last day consisted of further discussion with Dr. Chakravorty regarding brain structures involved in sleep, PSG interpretation, and in-depth discussion of clinical cases (which he specifically included upon my request). Across the board, I was very satisfied with the content (i.e., quality, detail, and variety) of the material presented and the individualized approach each teacher used. I learned a lot over the course of this mini-fellowship. The team’s kindness and respectful nature further contributed to making this mini-fellowship an all-round great experience. I look forward to continuing to be in touch with the team as I pursue further training in this field. (July 2014)


Gregory A. Henrichson

Gregory A. Henrichson

Degree/Certifications: Ph.D, psychology
Institution/workplace: Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Location: NYC

"For those with some familiarity with and experience in treating insomnia, the Mini-Fellowship is a great opportunity to enhance sleep knowledge, expand treatment skills, and build enthusiasm for CBT-I." (April 2014)


Alessandra Giordano

Alessandra Giordano

Degree/Certifications: PsyD, Ph.D
Institution/workplace: Department of Neuroscience, University of Torino
Specialty: Psychology, Psychotherapy, Neuropsychology, Sleep Medicine
Location: Torino, Italy

"If you don't know anything about cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, go to Philadelphia. If you are an expert on CBT, then go to Philadelphia, as well! It's a great experience. Genevieve welcomed me with warmth and competence. A full day one-on-one with Dr. Perlis is very a "strong" experience. He is enthusiastic, interactive, and captivating, and he really loves teaching CBT-I (or so it seems... ). Dr. Chakravorty is clear and understandable in teaching pharmacotherapy and the biology of sleep disorders. It's very interesting to understand the differences in the use of medications between Europe and USA, also due to the different health care system. Dr. Grandner illustrated the use and the function of actigraphy and the secrets of it's algorithms. With Dr. German I deepened my understanding of the role of actigraphy and the use of CBT-I for both individuals and groups. Very useful a full day with Dr. Findley and his patients- the use of CBT in "real" life. The fellowship gave me practical tools that I can now use in my clinical practice. I certainly have to buy a whiteboard and make some changes in my sleep diary .... Now I can improve my diagnostic procedure. I now understand the importance of involving the patient more during the session and I can choose the best option of treatment. The team is great. Thank you all!" (May, 2015)


H. Dixon Mitchell

H. Dixon Mitchell

Degree: Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychology
Institution/Workplace: Executive Director at the Alabama Center for Cognitive Therapy; ACT Founding Fellow and Certified Consultant and Trainer.
Location: Birmingham, AL

"After having the privilege to study under the Becks and Cory Newman for two years, I was intrigued and had high expectations related to the mini-fellowship in Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. I was more than satisfied with the mini-fellowship. It was a tour de force and represents a tremendous value- a continuing education opportunity of a lifetime. The one on one experience with Michael Perlis, PhD and the one on one opportunity with Jim Findley, PhD in the Sleep Center was invaluable for those who wish to move to the next level professionally in CBT-I. The rest of the team Michael Grandner, PhD, Babi Chakravorty, MD, and Phillip Gehrman, PhD were equally generous with their insights, expertise and time. Don’t miss this tremendous opportunity, you will be well rewarded for your time and effort." (December 2014)


Celso Teixeira

Celso Teixeira

Degree: (in progress) MA in Counseling
Institution/Workplace: Adler School of Professional Psychology
Location: Chicago, IL

"The Mini-Fellowship is an opportunity that should not be missed. The program offers a rare chance to meet and learn directly from ground breaking researchers and practitioners in behavioral sleep medicine field.

Dr. Perlis is a truly gifted educator whose enthusiasm for behavioral sleep medicine is irresistible. He gladly responded to my numerous questions, provided a wealth of knowledge on the subject of diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, took the time to explore and discuss research possibilities with me, and helped me establish connections that led directly to a career position in the field.

Gaining an understanding of the neuroscience behind sleep and insomnia and the associated pharmacological treatments is an essential component of the CBT-I learning experience. It can also be a challenging one. Dr. Chakravorty excelled in providing this knowledge. His willingness to work at my pace, as well as his patience in going over the questions I had, made the learning experience with him a real pleasure.

During my time with Dr. Grandner, he managed to compress a masters’ class on the use of actigraphy into an easy-to-understand presentation. He was also open to sharing information about his cutting-edge work in electronic record keeping and participant screening with me. 

No learning experience would be complete without providing insights into a field’s new directions. Dr. Gehrman’s work on telehealth is developing new avenues to the future of how CBT-I will be provided. Having a chance to learn directly from him was an exceptional experience that will guide my thinking and practice for years to come.

By the beginning of day three I was wondering how I would put everything I had learned into practice. My time with Dr. Findley provided me with an example of how an experienced CBT-I practitioner does exactly that. Watching him work refined my concepts and ideas from a general approach to an individualized client-tailorable experience.

I left program feeling smarter and more confident with my knowledge, training and connections, and cannot speak highly enough about how much I enjoyed the experience." (April 2015)


Lisa Page

Lisa Page

Degree/Certifications: MA, LCPC, PsyD, CEAP
Institution/workplace: Barnes and Klatt
Location: Arlington Heights, IL(Chicago area)

"The Mini-Fellowship experience in Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Insomnia is an exceptional learning opportunity. The one-on-one time for conversation and observation is nothing I have seen offered anywhere else. I would highly recommend this mini-fellowship to anyone interested in specializing in Behavioral Sleep Medicine." (June 2015)


Jenny Lundgren

Jenny Lundgren

Degree/Certifications: Ph.D
Institution/workplace: University of Missouri, Kansas City
Specialty: Clinical Psychology, obesity, eating disorders
Interest within Sleep Medicine: night eating, sleep and obesity
Location: Kansas City, MO

"The fellowship was outstanding! It allowed me to expand my research in ways that I hadn't anticipated prior to participation. I should have completed the fellowship years ago! As a teacher and mentor, it was also provided me with a wealth of knowledge to share with my trainees as they develop their clinical skills." (July 2015)


Sung Piu Wan

Sung Piu Wan

Degree/Certifications: RN
Institution/workplace: Psychiatric Nurse Clinic (insomnia)
Specialty: Assessment and non-pharmacological intervention for insomnia  Location: Hong Kong

“I was impressed and had high expectations related to the mini-fellowship in Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. I was more than satisfied with the mini-fellowship. It was a valuable continuing education opportunity of a lifetime. The one on wonderful experience with Michael Perlis, PhD and the one-on-one opportunity with Jim Findley, PhD, in the Sleep Center was invaluable for those who wish to move to the next level professionally in CBT-I. The rest of the team (Michael Grandner, PhD, Babi Chakravorty, MD, and Phillip Gehrman, PhD) were equally generous and enthusiastic with their insights, expertise, and time." (November, 2015)


Bronwyn Sweeney

Bronwyn Sweeney

Degree/Certifications: PhD (Public Health), MClinPsych
Institution/workplace: Sleep/Wake Research Centre, Massey University
Location: Wellington, New Zealand 

Speciality: Clinical psychology, behavioural sleep treatment with individuals and groups; sleep and circadian research (especially maternal and infant) 

Interest within sleep medicine: Our Centre is committed to raising the profile of behavioural sleep treatment options in New Zealand, as well as growing a skilled workforce to do so.

Opportunities to train in behavioural sleep medicine, including CBTi, are sparse in New Zealand. Attending the mini-fellowship proved to be a unique and invaluable experience and I was so glad I was able to make it happen. From the outset, Dr Perlis was super encouraging in helping with the timing of my visit. Each presenter was flexible and generous in how we used the time together and I felt comfortable to ask questions about big ideas and concepts right down to tiny details in some instances. The experience provides a solid introduction for anyone new to the field, and a great consolidation and expansion of ideas for anyone with a bit of prior history! I especially appreciated the mix of theory and practice-specific learning. The chance to sit in with an experienced practitioner for a day of clinic is a rare one. I am delighted to have learned plenty, consolidated plenty and made some valued connections with others working in the field. Highly recommended!


Mohammed M. Alshehri

Mohammed M. Alshehri

Degree/Certifications: PT. M.S in Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Science

Institution/workplace: University of Kansas Medical Center + Jazan University

Specialty: Diabetes Rehabilitation

Location: Kansas City, Kansas

It was a great experience for me to meet different sleep experts at the Penn and VA. The mini-fellowship in Behavioral Sleep Medicine at University of Pennsylvania strengthens my experience in sleep for different populations. As a researcher, I had a lot of questions to make my research project significant and innovative. During the mini-fellowship, Dr. Perlis, Dr. Findely and Dr. Gehrman answered all of my questions and made a lot of inputs to improve my research project. In addition, Dr. Kloss and Dr. Chakravorty provided several important information about Health related to sleep and general clinical sleep medicine. After the mini-fellowship, I felt confident to start my research project and talk about sleep front of scientific researchers. Definitely, by this great opportunity, I would be able to complete several aspects in my project. I recommend anybody have an interest regrading sleep for research based or clinical based to attend this meeting. (November 2017)

 



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