USM Summer

Health Psychology Institute


Program Details:

June 18 - 20, 2014 - Live 3-day Institute - PSY 390 (60993)

June 18 - July 15, 2014 - Online Version*- PSY 390 (61658)

*Live lectures will be captured and made available for distance students to view for a 3-week period. The academic requirements are the same as for the Live Institute. Also available for non-credit/CEUs.

The Health Psychology Institute will be held at the Joel and Linda Abromson Community Education Center on USM's Portland Campus. Presentations take place in the 500 seat, climate-controlled Hannaford Lecture Hall. The institutes are led by USM Psychology Professor William Gayton, Ph.D. who, over the past 25+ years, has been instrumental in the creation, promotion, and execution of these intense and fascinating educational programs.

The Institutes consist of three-day intensive classes (Wednesday-Friday) for college students seeking academic credit or for community professionals seeking certification and professional development opportunities. The Institutes offer CEU's for teachers requiring recertification, as well as for participants seeking Board of Psychology or Social Work CEU's.

The educational focus of these unique programs is to bring together a tremendous team of academic experts to facilitate a discussion of theory and practice. The Institutes are intended to appeal to students across all disciplines as well as mental health practitioners, health care professionals, physicians, physical therapists, nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, human service workers, coaches, athletic directors, and athletes.

Open to all majors, no prerequisites.

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Wednesday, June 18

  • Registration and Check-in: 8:30-9:00am
  • Introduction and Welcome: 9:15-9:30am
    William Gayton, Ph.D., University of Southern Maine
    Karin Pires, USM Summer
  • Morning Session: 9:30am-12:00pm
    • Stress & Health: Psychological and Biological Processes
      Bruce Compas, Ph.D.
      Vanderbilt University
  • Lunch, Woodbury Campus Center:12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Afternoon Sessions: 1:00pm-3:30pm  
    • Feeling Their Pain - A Health Psychology Approach to Understanding Chronic Pain
      Deborah Taylor, Ph.D.
      Central Maine Medical Center

Thursday, June 19

  • Morning Session- 9:30am-12:00pm
  • Lunch, Woodbury Campus Center: 12:00pm-1:00pm  
  • Afternoon Session: 1:00pm-3:30pm
    • From Animals to Humans to Treatment: How a Transactional Perspective
      Enhances Nicotine Research & Cessation

      Cynthia Conklin, Ph.D.
      University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Friday, June 20

  • Morning Session: 9:30am-12:00pm
    • Psychologists in Healthcare: The Examples of Integrated Primary Care and Physician Communication Coaching
      Susan McDaniel, Ph.D.
      University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Lunch, Woodbury Campus Center: 12:00pm-1:00pm  
  • Afternoon Session: 1:00pm-3:30pm
    • Hostility and Stress: Implications for Cardiovascular Health
      Elizabeth Vella, Ph.D.
      University of Southern Maine

  • Closing Comments: 3:30pm-4:00pm
    William F. Gayton, Ph.D., University of Southern Maine  

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Faculty Bios:

Bruce Compas, Ph.D.,is the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Psychology and Human Development, co-director of clinical psychology training, and director of psycho-Oncology at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. His research is focused on processes of coping and self-regulation in response to stress and adversity in children, adolescents, and adults. He is specifically interested in the relationships of stress, coping, and self-regulation with both physical health/illness and psychopathology, and the development of interventions to enhance the ways that individuals and families cope with stress. His research involves both laboratory methods to study basic behavioral and biological processes, and field research to understand self-regulation and coping in the context of psychopathology and physical illness. Current studies include (a) testing a family cognitive-behavioral preventive intervention for children and adolescents coping with the effects of parental depression; (b) communication, coping, and adjustment in pediatric cancer patients and their parents; (c) neuropsychological effects of chemotherapy in pediatric cancer patients; (d) psychological and biological responses to stress among mothers and daughters coping with risk for breast cancer; (e) psychological, social, and biological processes in the course of recurrent pain in children and adolescents, and (f) stress and episodes of pain in children with sickle cell disease.

Cynthia A. Conklin, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her research focuses on applying a translational perspective to the investigation of subjective, physiological, and behavioral reactivity to drug-related cues in adult smokers, and on identifying the types of cues and other environmental contexts that have the greatest impact on smoking maintenance and cessation.  Her current NIH-funded projects include examining the roles of personalized smoking cues on smoking behavior and relapse, and determining if the value of exercise to reduce key symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and help smokers stay quit.  The long term goal of this research is not only to understand underlying mechanisms of drug dependence, but to develop novel behavioral techniques to enhance the efficacy of addiction treatment.  Dr. Conklin has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on drug dependence, and is the co-author of a book about cognitive behavior therapy for smoking cessation.

Susan H. McDaniel, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Director of institute for the Family in the Department of Psychiatry, and Associate Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Her special areas of interest are behavioral health in primary care, and family dynamics and genetic conditions. She is a frequent speaker at meetings of both health and mental health professionals.

Dr. McDaniel has received many awards, most recently the Award for Distinguished Contribution to Education from the Association of Medical School Psychologists in 2004, and the American Psychological Foundation/Cumming PSYCHE Prize in 2007. Dr. McDaniel was the first psychologist to complete the Bureau of Health Professions Primary Care Policy Fellowship in 1998. She is currently on the Board of the American Family Therapy Academy and a member of the American Psychological Association Council and the Committee for the Advancement of Psychological Practice.

Dr. McDaniel co-authored or co-edited the following books: Systems Consultation (1986), Family-Oriented Primary Care (1990 and 2005), Medical Family Therapy (1992), Integrating Family Therapy (1995), Counseling Families with Chronic Illness (1995), The Shared Experience of Illness (1997), the Casebook for Integrating Family Therapy (2001), Primary Care Psychology (2004), The Biopsychosocial Approach: Past, Present, and Future (2004), and Individuals, Families, and the New Era of Genetics (2007). She is currently working on a 2nd edition of Medical Family Therapy. Her books have been translated into German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Turkish. She was co-editor of the journal Families, Systems & Health and is currently an Associate Editor of the American Psychologist.

Deborah Taylor, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a subspecialty in health psychology from the University of Kansas in 1985, and subsequently completed a postdoctoral internship at Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in chronic and cancer pain, she returned to Ohio State University Hospital to direct a psychology consultation service for hospitalized medical patients. A native Mainer and a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Taylor was very pleased to return to her home state in 1992 to join the faculty of the Central Maine Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program where she serves as the director of Behavioral medicine to primary care physician trainees, and continues to pursue her special interest in providing clinical care to patients with medical illness and/or chronic pain conditions. Taylor’s research interests focus on the psychological impact of illness, pain, and disability on the patient and their family/support system.

Elizabeth Vella, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern Maine, where she teaches undergraduate courses in experimental methodology, introductory psychology, health psychology, a freshman seminar on the nature-nurture debate, and an honors seminar on an interdisciplinary inquiry into the sciences of the human body.  Dr. Vella received her Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences from Virginia Tech in 2005, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007.  Dr. Vella's research focuses on the link between stress and health.  Her research interests include the link between psychosocial factors and cardiovascular risk, and the physiological mechanisms that may explain these associations, as well as the implications for stress management interventions in improving quality of life and reducing physiological responses to stressors among at risk populations.

Dr. Vella manages a laboratory dedicated to studying psychosocial predictors of cardiovascular responses to stress, and has recently served as primary investigator on two separate program evaluations aimed at improving quality of life and reducing the psychological and physiological concomitants of stress among clinical populations, one focusing on a retreat center intervention for breast cancer patients and another focusing on outdoor recreation therapy among combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD.  She has authored or co-authored numerous articles published in peer reviewed scientific journals and presented her research at a variety of conferences.


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  • For Academic Credit- Students may register via MaineStreet or by calling (207) 780-5900. Visit Summer Registration Information for further details on specific dates. Students taking summer courses for credit are subject to the standard University of Southern Maine tuition and fees.

  • For Non-credit/Continuing Education Units - Please call us at (207) 780-5900.

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Tuition & Fees:

Prices include basic registration, some course materials, continental breakfasts, beverage breaks and lunch Wednesday through Friday. Catered lunches will be served from Noon - 1:00 p.m. in the Woodbury Campus Center. Vegetarian lunch options will be readily available at all times. If you have special dietary needs, please inform us in advance and accommodations can be made for your particular needs.

Academic Credit 3 undergraduate credits

  • In-state: $759*
  • Out-of-state: $1,995*

*Plus mandatory university fees

Please note: A special course fee for the Institute will also be assessed.  The fee differs for the on-campus and online versions.  This fee helps offset the costs of food, materials, course capture/web hosting, and those associated with the multiple guest presenters.

Noncredit/Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Participants may register for the full institute or one day sessions.

  • Full Live Institute: $475
  • Individual day: $175
  • Full Online Institute: $395

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Academic Credit:

Students seeking three (3) undergraduate academic credits will be expected to:

  • Attend all sessions of the three-day institute (attendance is taken by staff each "live" day for on-campus participants; streamed presentation viewing is monitored for online participants)
  • Acquire and read the assigned textbook of the particular institute
  • Write a reaction paper to both the required textbook and all institute speakers
  • Complete a take-home essay exam, which will be given out the last day of the institute

The textbook will be available at the USM bookstore located on the Portland campus two weeks prior to the start of the institute. The textbook does not need to be purchased prior to the institute.

Institutes can be repeated for credit each year, as the content varies each summer they are offered. Students may also take more than one Institute per summer.

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Continuing Education Units:

Continuing Education Units for the Psychology Institutes are available for a wide range of professionals. If you are interested in CEUs, you must register as a noncredit participant and follow the guidelines below.

  • Psychologists:  Approved for category 1 CEUs. For a full institute, you will be awarded 15 contact hours.  For verification purposes, attendance is taken daily at the institute.

  • Teachers: Approved by the Maine Department of Education/Professional Development Center.  For a full institute, you will be awarded 15 contact hours.  You must attend all sessions of the institute and fill out the CEU form you receive on the first day.  Develop a 1-2 page reaction paper (professional growth statement) detailing how the information gained is pertinent to your career and return it with the CEU form to the Summer Session Office for processing.

  • Social Workers, Counselors, Nurses, etc.:  CEUs do not require pre-approval, but you must determine that the material covered is relevant to your work in order for the CEUs to be accepted for your relicensure. For a full institute, you will be awarded 15 contact hours.  For verification purposes, attendance is taken daily at the institute.

Learn more about registration for Non-credit/Continuing Education Units.

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