Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Reflections of BSMP Mini-Fellow Alumni

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 PMF is a great opportunity to enhance sleep knowledge, expand treatment skills, and build enthusiasm for CBT-I (April 2014).


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)


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: MA, Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Institution/Workplace: The University of Illinois at Chicago
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).


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).


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
Specialty: Clinical psychology, behavioural sleep treatment with individuals and groups; sleep and circadian research (especially maternal and infant) 
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Opportunities to train in behavioural sleep medicine, including CBT-I, 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).

 


Martin S. Kounitz

Martin S. Kounitz

Degree/Certifications: LCSW
Institution/workplace: Private Practice
Location: New York, New York

Attending the 2018 Penn Mini-Fellowship program was for me a very useful experience.  With three days of presentations from leading researchers and clinicians in behavioral sleep medicine, I greatly deepened my knowledge of theory and technique to treat these disorders.  As well, I strongly benefitted from the other participants’ questions, case presentations and comments.  I’m much more confident and motivated from this experience, and I’m sure that I’ll be a more effective clinician because of it (February, 2018).


Geoff Brearley

Geoff Brearley

Degree/Certifications: Postgraduate Diploma of Professional Psychology (PgDipProfPsych)
Institution/workplace: Private Practice
Location: Brisbane, Australia

After attending the Principles and Practice and Advanced CBT-I training programs in Philadelphia since 2015, I successfully incorporated CBT-I into my general psychology work with clients. Attending the 3-day mini-fellowship was the next step to gain further detailed knowledge about insomnia and behavioral sleep medicine in general from leading UPenn researchers, each with their own research topics of interest. Drs. Michael Perlis, Jackie Kloss, Babi Chakravorty, Phil Gehrman, and Jim Findley all shared their specialist knowledge, and readily answered all our questions. The new, small-group format of the mini-fellowship also provided the opportunity to meet four other dedicated attendees to exchange ideas regarding client cases, practical CBT-I treatment suggestions, and to develop new professional friendships. My expectations of the mini-fellowship were well and truly exceeded, and I will continue seek more behavioral sleep medicine training in the US. I can highly recommend making the journey to Philadelphia to learn from the best researchers in the world. The experience is invaluable. (February 2018).


Amanda Swain

Amanda Swain

Degree/Certifications: MD
Institution/workplace: University of Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The mini-fellowship was a great experience. Not only did I get the chance to talk to great minds in the field of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, I got to ask them as many questions as I wanted! The ability to have one-on-one discussions was invaluable. All the providers were doing fascinating work and it was truly a pleasure to be a part of their world for those three days. I also appreciated their sincere interest in what I am interested in doing with CBT-I in a student health setting. They each took the time to ask questions and expressed an interest in helping me with my own practice (February 2018).


Julie Kolzet

Julie Kolzet

Degree/Certifications: Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist
Institution/workplace: Independent private practice
Location: New York, New York

The Mini-Fellowship at Penn was excellent. I walked away feeling confident, armed with valuable information to help my patients. I look forward to continued study (February 2018).

 

 


Carla York

Carla York

Degree/Certifications: Clinical Health Psychologist
Institution/workplace: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Specialty: Clinical faculty, sleep medicine fellowship, Sleep Disorders Center 
Location: Bethesda, MD

The BSM mini-fellowship is a one- of-a kind opportunity that combines didactic- style trainings, discussion of challenging cases, and direct observation of the delivery of BSM services at the UPenn Sleep Disorders Center. For me, the most valuable component was the opportunity to ask many questions, and to share clinical experiences with leaders in the field of sleep medicine. Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to take a step back from my “day to day” practice, engage with World-class sleep medicine specialists, and return to my own clinical practice and teaching with new information, helpful clinical tools, and a renewed enthusiasm. I highly recommend the BSM mini- fellowship at UPENN for professionals interested in specializing in behavioral sleep medicine (February 2018).


Motty Varghese

Motty Varghese

Degree/Certifications: Sleep Technologist, RPSGT
Institution/workplace: Sleep Therapy Clinic
Location: Dublin, Ireland

The mini fellowship was  a very valuable experience and the expertise of the faculty members made it  an excellent learning opportunity. The time with Dr Kloss and Dr Chakravorty was extremely useful and so was with Dr Gehrman. The day I spent with Dr Findley in the clinic was invaluable to actually see CBT-I being delivered professionally. Dr Perlis was extremely kind to accommodate my specific needs and is an excellent teacher who is very dedicated to shaping professionally competent CBT-I therapists who could go out and help people with insomnia. No doubt I picked up a few "Perlisms". Above all, to me Dr Perlis and his team in Penn sleep is a source of information, inspiration and help when I need it and thanks for the same.


Seung Soo Kim

Seung Soo Kim

Degree/Certifications: Sleep Technologist, RPSGT
Institution/workplace: Sleep Therapy Clinic
Location: Dublin, Ireland

It's a great opportunity for me to improve both knowledge and understanding about CBT-I. I also reached a level of consilience between my clinical experience as a pediatric neurologist and behavioral sleep medicine. The discussion with Masters and colleagues along the course was fantastic!


Prama Chakravarti

Prama Chakravarti

Degree/Certifications: PhD, Clinical Psychology
Institution/workplace: Behavioral Health Faculty, Kadlec Family Medicine Residency, UW School of Medicine
Location: Richland, WA

American College of Physicians’ 2016 guidelines for treatment of insomnia recommends CBT-I as first line treatment. Practicing and teaching in a primary care setting triggered my interest in getting trained in CBT-I. The Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania had comprehensive training guidelines for practicing as a CBT-I specialist. The 3 day mini-fellowship was the culmination of that experience. The panel of teaching faculty in this fellowship includes experts from multiple sub specialties (Pediatric and adult clinical psychology, women’s health and psychiatry). The resources provided are excellent. There were ample opportunities to clarify theoretical as well as clinical questions in a small group setting from experts.  Overall, it was a comprehensive experience preparing clinicians well for incorporating CBT-I in their own practice as well as for teaching evidence based assessments and treatment protocols to physicians or mental health care professionals.



Back to Top