Fielding Graduate University News

Samuel T. Gontkovsky, PsyD, named Director of Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Certificate Program at Fielding Graduate University

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Fri, Mar 15, 2013

Samuel T. Gontkovsky, PsyD, joins Fielding Graduate University as the new director of the Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Certificate Program

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Gontkovsky brings more than 15 years of professional experience in clinical practice, research, teaching, and administration to his new position at Fielding. He has published more than 75 professional articles, books, book chapters, and book reviews and has given more than 125 presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences.

Gontkovsky serves as a reviewer for numerous journals and professional organizations in the areas of psychology, neuropsychology, medicine, health, and rehabilitation. He is the former president of the Mississippi Psychological Association and former chair of the Education and Training Committee of Division 12 of the American Psychological Association. Gontkovsky presently serves on the Continuing Education Committee of Division 22 of the American Psychological Association and the Ethics Committee of the Nebraska Psychological Association.

Q & A:

-What are your main responsibilities in this position as director of the Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Program here at Fielding (for those that are not familiar with this program/position)?

As listed in my formal job description, principle responsibilities include recruitment, orientation of new students, budget management, program advising, and program oversight.

-What is it about Fielding that interested you the most to apply for this position?

I have had very favorable experiences in the past with individuals affiliated with the Fielding Neuropsychology Program. One of my first supervisors in neuropsychology was also a Fielding faculty member at the time. I have a colleague/friend who completed the Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Certificate at Fielding and spoke very highly of the program. I also hired a Fielding Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Certificate graduate in my prior position as head of the Department of Psychology at The Nebraska Medical Center, and I was very pleased with his work.

-What brought you to the Palo Alto/SF area from –(where were you before?)

I had been in Omaha, Nebraska for about 3½ years prior to coming to California and was the head of the Department of Psychology as well as the Pain Management Program at The Nebraska Medical Center. For several years, I have been looking to move to California. When I was offered the opportunity by Home Care Assistance, a private company based in Palo Alto, to develop a new non-pharmacological intervention program for individuals with cognitive impairment, I jumped at the chance. The approach, known as the Dementia Therapeutics Method, is based on the scientific literature and utilizes cognitive training/rehabilitation, sensory stimulation, social stimulation, dietary changes, physical exercise, stress management strategies, and recreational activities in an effort to slow the decline of progressive brain diseases/disorders and delay onset of new symptoms in areas of the brain which have not yet been affected.

- You are quite a prolific writer and presenter (numerous journals and professional organizations in the areas of psychology, neuropsychology, medicine, health, and rehabilitation), what are some of your most recent publications and presentations? What are you currently working on?

Below are my five most recent publications, two presently in press.

Killebrew, A. E., Smith, M. L., Nevels, R. M., Weiss, N. H., & Gontkovsky, S. T. (in press). Pregnancy among African American adolescent females in the southeastern United States: A review of the literature and an examination of the associations between peer substance use before sex, peer number of children, and parental influence and substance use before sex and history of pregnancy. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Nevels, R. M., Williams, B. E., & Gontkovsky, S. T. (in press). Paroxetine—the antidepressant from hell? Probably not, but caution required. Psychopharmacology Bulletin.

Gontkovsky, S. T. (2012). Auditory/verbal learning and memory deficits among individuals with traumatic spinal cord injuries may be attributable to undocumented traumatic brain injuries. Functional Neurology, Rehabilitation, and Ergonomics, 2(1), 9-16.

Ryan, J. J., Gontkovsky, S. T., Kreiner, D. S., & Tree, H. A. (2012). Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition performance in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 34(6), 571-579.

Umfleet, L. G., Ryan, J. J., Gontkovsky, S. T., & Morris, J. (2012). Estimating WAIS-IV indexes: Proration versus linear scaling in a clinical sample. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68(4), 390-396.

My current ongoing research projects are looking at accurate identification of the neuropsychological deficits associated with multiple sclerosis, the influence of cognition on the ability of individuals with multiple sclerosis to maintain employment, the differential sensitivity of neurocognitive screening instruments in assessing individuals undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, and the under-recognized drug interactions that may occur with methylphenidate.

-What are you looking forward to now that you are at Fielding? What are you looking forward to contributing to the students and the program in general?

I am working diligently at marketing right now and hoping to increase enrollment in the Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Certificate Program. As I said, I have had great experiences with individuals who have completed the program, and I think many more people could benefit from the training if they only knew about it.

School of Psychology acting dean, Kristine Jacquin, PhD, commented, "The School of Psychology is pleased to have Dr. Gontkovsky join our esteemed faculty as director of the neuropsychology postdoctoral program. Gontkovsky brings valuable experience and training to this position and I am confident he will enhance this already stellar program."

Click here to view: Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Certificate Program Brochure

Tags: psychology, higher education, fielding graduate university