The Children’s Mercy Training Program follows a "Scientist Practitioner" training model. In accordance with the Scientist Practitioner model, our program strives to integrate science and practice so that activities and advances in one domain inform the other. Trainees are to learn about practice and research, and carry both out under the supervision of faculty with expertise in these areas. While the primary focus of our program remains training in clinical practice, the addition of a significant number of faculty who conduct rigorous research has allowed us to expand our research mission and to involve interns in that research in meaningful ways. Consistent with this model, our goal is to produce psychologists who use scientific methodology in their practice-decisions to work with clients using scientifically valid methods, tools, and techniques; to inform their clients of scientifically-based findings and approaches to their presenting problems; and to conduct practice-based research.
To further help delineate our training model and practice, our program closely mirrors the model set out by Roberts, et al. in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1998 entitled "A Model for Training Psychologists to Provide Services for Children and Adolescents."
We believe that while this model seems to have at its basis that of scientist-practitioner, it adds some specificity that further informs the training of those intending to focus their professional work in the care of children and their families. This model posits a clear set of tasks and learning experiences that are essential to the development of the aspiring pediatric psychologist.
Training components comprising the model include the following: developmental psychology; developmental psychopathology; child, adolescent and family assessment methods; intervention strategies; research methods and systems evaluation; professional, ethical and legal issues pertaining to children, adolescents and families; issues of diversity; the role of multiple disciplines and service delivery systems; prevention, family support and health promotion; and social issues affecting children, adolescents and families.
While the model suggests that a significant proportion of the didactic exposure in these areas will occur during the graduate coursework, it also assumes that the intensive clinical experiences provided during internship are essential to the mastery of these areas.