Featured Trainees

FEATURED TRAINEE - MELANIE STEARNS, MS

MELANIE STEARNS, MSHOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I became interested in BSM when I realized that a lot of my clients' problems were related to difficulties sleeping. I then joined the Behavioral Sleep Clinic in my department's Psychology Clinic, where I saw the life-changing difference that evidence-based sleep therapies can make in my clients' lives. From there, I transitioned my research on children and parents to include BSM.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

Michael Nadorff, Ph.D., and Allison Wilkerson, Ph.D.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS? 

Right now I am seeking a postdoc in sleep research. My ultimate goal is a position where I am able to conduct research as well as supervise and teach students in research and clinical work.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

I would like the field of BSM to include more research regarding parents and children, and for there to be more BSM clinics and research centers.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I love traveling, going to zoos, trying new food, and exploring new locations.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM? 

My clinical work treating sleep problems and conducting research on parent and child sleep has shaped my BSM training.

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING? 

The availability of my BSM mentors, as well as the flexibility of my other mentors, has helped me to advance my training. In addition, networking and going to talks during the SBSM conference has helped to expand my knowledge of BSM.

Featured Trainee - Yishan Xu

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I grew up in China and never knew that sleep disorders exist. However, I have always been curious about sleep e.g., why we dream and why does my father snore so loudly?

When I first met with Dr. Fiona Barwick several years ago, I realized there are sleep centers that provide good assessment and treatment for sleep disorders. Since then, I have become a passionate follower of BSM.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

For the big picture, I want to become a bridge between China and US in the field of psychology, introducing sleep science and cognitive behavioral sleep treatments to the Chinese community both locally and internationally. I also want to educate the general population as a preventive measure, encouraging everyone to learn how to establish and promote healthy sleep early and how to address sleep problems appropriately. I am excited to be part of this great development in the field.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

I have worked and studied with Dr. Fiona Barwick at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center over the past two years.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

I am doing my dream job now. I run my own group practice (Mind & Body Garden Psychology) in SF Bay Area, with a great team of clinicians. I continuously learn about sleep at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, especially with Dr. Barwick, and get inspired by her passion, wisdom, and openness. I run CBTi groups in both English and Mandarin to local clients (offline) and to patients who are in China (online), and I participate in related research projects in collaboration with doctors in China. I am also in the process of launching a podcast about sleep this year that I am calling “Deep into Sleep”, and I hope I can interview all of you who are in this field, to help the public know more about sleep. As my dream job continues to evolve, I hope I will always have opportunities to work in this wonderful and exciting field.

FEATURED TRAINEE - CHRISTINA PIERPAOLI PARKER, PHD STUDENT

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I’ve always had an interest in sleep, which grew substantially during my clinical experiences practicing behavioral weight loss medicine. Several well established physiological, cognitive, and behavioral mechanisms link metabolic syndrome to sleep dysregulation. I found myself regularly educating patients about these connections— referring out for sleep studies, assessing, as well as targeting patients’ sleep complaints as part of providing comprehensive behavioral weight loss treatment. When I learned that the second accredited Behavioral Sleep Medicine clinic in Alabama had opened just two floors up from the weight clinic (kismet!),

I promptly sought opportunities to grow the breadth and depth of my training there. As my training deepened, so did my appreciation for sleep medicine as a powerful, foundational behavioral treatment for many clinical problems, including weight and pain management, Alzheimer’s and diabetes prevention, ADHD symptoms, as well as for trauma, anxiety, and depression.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

Proximally, Justin Thomas, PhD, DBSM – who started the second accredited Behavioral Sleep Medicine clinic in the state of Alabama. Distally, the other “greats” including Kenny Lichstein, Wiliam Dement, Peter Hauri, Dick Bootzin, and Michael Perlis have also heavily influenced my thinking. Most recently, so has Matthew Walker.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

Always evolving, but likely involving establishing an integrated aging optimization research clinic. Beyond providing a research setting where students could train academically and clinically, I imagine it as a “one stop shop” for older adults seeking evidence-based preventative and/or early intervention behavioral treatments for sleep, weight and pain management, mood disturbance, diet, and even sexual functioning. I also anticipate that continuing to write about the science of aging and health (i.e. via blogs, columns, books) for larger lay audiences will play a significant part in however my career ends up looking.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE SBSM IN 10 YEARS? 

As a (seriously) recognized and applied behavioral intervention for preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In 2018, 

Shokri-Korjori et al. demonstrated— experimentally— that losing just one night of sleep led to an increase in beta-amyloid, a protein heavily implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. To promote the clinical power (and presence) of sleep medicine, current models of care must evolve to integrate BSM providers within and beyond traditional sleep settings, including primary care, neurology as well as general and specialty geriatrics clinics. Making BSM a mandatory part of comprehensive (gero)psychological and medical training can help to shift the clinical paradigm at the academic level.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATIOBN OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

Leaving for Cuba with my husband Jack at the end of this month! Any recommendations?

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING?

Of course, combined research and clinical BSM experiences offer the best resources. But, for reading:

• Treating Sleep Disorders –Perlis & Lichstein (a bible of sorts);
• Behavioral Treatments for Sleep Disorders: A Comprehensive Primer of Behavioral Sleep Medicine – Perlis, Aloia, & Kuhn
• No More Sleepless Nights— Hauri, Linde, & Westbrook
• Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams – Walker

For PUBMEDing:
• Shokri-Kojori et al. (2018). ß-Amyloid accumulation in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation.
• Mender, B.A., Winder, J. R., & Walker, M.P. (2017). Sleep and human aging.
• Scullin, M.K., and Bliwise, D.L. (2015). Sleep, cognition, and normal aging: Integrating a half-century of multidisciplinary research.
• Diekelmann, S. & Born, J. (2010). The memory function of sleep.
• Mazzotti, D.R. et al. (2014). Human longevity is associated with regular sleep patterns, maintenance of slow wave sleep, and favorable lipid profile.

For mastering:
• Christina McCrae’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) manual

For listening:
• Episode #47, Parts I—III of The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Matthew Walker on Sleep: https://peterattiamd.com/matthewwalker1/

These resources have helped me most, so far.

FEATURED TRAINEE - Shantha Gowda

Shantha Gowda is completing her cognitive behavioral sleep medicine fellowship at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center.

The combination of two things draws me to BSM: how fascinating and essential sleep is and how each of us can materially improve our sleep. In a world where we are focused on individuallyimproving our fitness and health, I am excited to see sleep become an increasing part of that conversation.

THE MENTORS THAT HAVE HELPED ME GET HERE

Dr. Ana Fins, Dr. William Wohglemuth, and Dr. Fiona Barwick have each influenced unique aspects of my love for sleep. Ana’s dedication to sleep and to individually fostering the growth of each of her students ignited my passion for the field. Dr. Wohglemuth’s focus on patient specific interventions taught me to put that passioninto practice. Fiona’s openness to out of the box approaches has inspired me to apply my knowledge of BSM in innovative ways. I could not have asked for a better set of mentors who continue to guide and influence me to this day.

WHERE I'D LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD GROW

As I think of my career and the future of BSM, I hope to further deepen our understanding of circadian biology. With continual advancements in identifying circadian rhythms, I hope to contribute to a field that is ready to apply that knowledge with nuanced, individualized interventions.

WHEN I'M NOT SLEEPING

When I’m not sleeping or thinking about sleep, I enjoyhiking and relaxing outdoors with my dog, Theo. As a Southern girl, it doesn’t take more than sunshine and a good barbecue to keep a smile on my face.

FEATURED TRAINEE - KAYLA LAROSA, PhD

Dr LaRosa is working as a Pediatric Psychology fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where she is partaking in research related to bright light therapy to reduce fatigue and improve mood symptoms in pediatric patients with cancer. In addition, she is supporting research examining the effectiveness of treatment for narcolepsy and hypersomnia in pediatric craniopharyngioma.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My current research mentors are Valerie Crabtree, PhD, CBSM and Belinda Mandrell, PhD, RN, PNP. I have really enjoyed working with them thus far!

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I originally became interested in BSM while working with veterans and service members experiencing comorbid sleep disorders and traumatic brain injury. In addition, I found myself often addressing sleep concerns while working with young children and their families. I found this work fascinating and rewarding!

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

My career goals are to continue working with youth with chronic health conditions who are also experiencing comorbid sleep difficulties.

FEATURED TRAINEE - Rebecca Ludwig 0TR/R 

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I work as an Occupational therapist at the University of Kansas Medical Center and most of my patients complained of not sleeping in the hospital and before their hospitalization. After working with the same patient for several sessions I saw how their participation increased in therapy when they got better rest. This connection grabbed my attention and led me to start my PhD in rehabilitation science specifically to study sleep.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My research mentor is Dr. Catherine (Katie) Siengsukon, PT, PhD. She introduced me to CBT-I and non-pharmacological sleep interventions. She has guided me through my first year as a PhD student and has encouraged me to think outside the box on how to conduct research.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

To set up my own clinic for sleep rehabilitation and conduct research within the clinic.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

I would like to see sleep be one of the primary items asked about at regular medial visits. Screening and treating sleep disturbances early can make a huge impact on someone’s recovery. I would also like to expand occupational therapy’s role in sleep rehabilitation.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

When I am not studying, I enjoy doing running road races of various distances, reading for pleasure, rock climbing, and playing with Sarco my cat.

FEATURED TRAINEE - ANDREW TUBBS, MD, PHD

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

Both my interest in sleep and serious mental illness stem from my older brother, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder. For most nights in high school, I spent 2-3 AM keeping my brother company while we waited for his antipsychotic medications to kick in and for him to fall asleep. Sleep was such an important piece of keeping my brother stable, and yet despite his wildly irregular sleep patterns none of his providers ever paid much attention to this problem. Thus, when I joined the Sleep and Health Research Program under Michael Grandner I was amazed to learn about the research and clinical science surrounding CBTI and I immediately wanted to take this work to patients with serious mental illness.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My primary mentor is Michael Grandner, and I'm very lucky to be working with him. Michael combines bottomless BSM knowledge with incredible clinical acumen to produce one of the most effective clinician-scientists I've ever met. His mentorship has been an incredible boon to both my research and clinical training, and he has been essential in connecting me to the brightest minds in BSM. I'm also grateful for Michael Perlis, whose research insights and BSM expertise formed the foundation for my knowledge of CBTI, and Sairam Parthasarathy, whose research and clinical skills in sleep medicine are an essential support to my training.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

My goal is to work in academic medicine studying sleep disorders and sleep interventions in young people with serious mental illness. After I complete my dual degree, I plan to complete a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry, which will give me the clinical skills and license to work with adolescent SMI. My hope is to serve as the research director of an SMI clinic combining clinical work with translational research around sleep and mental health.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

My BSM training has benefited the most from working alongside clinical psychologists, interns, and externs in the training SMI clinic. Learning how to deliver therapy alongside trainees (where the embarrassment of making a mistake is minimized) and under the supervision of expert teachers is a huge blessing. In particular, I have to thank Dr. Patricia Harrison-Monroe, the director of the SMI clinic, for taking my BSM knowledge and showing me how to effectively deploy that knowledge in group therapy.

FEATURED TRAINEE - MATTINA DAVENPORT, MA

MATTINA DAVENPORT, MAHOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

During a summer externship experience within the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, I began treating clients with various developmental and behavioral concerns, including sleep difficulties. Through the exposure and training I received at Johns Hopkins University, I learned that I had a budding clinical passion and research interest in the field of Behavioral Sleep Medicine. I then had the wonderful opportunity to learn and implement CBT-I in the MizZzou Sleep Research Lab, and quickly witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of the treatment modality. I have an emerging interest in culturally tailored CBT-I approaches, sleep disparities, and the treatment of sleep and pain in pediatric populations of children with chronic health conditions.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My primary mentor in behavioral sleep medicine is Dr. Christina McCrae from the University Of Missouri School Of Medicine. She has been an exceptional mentor and sponsor, and has gone above and beyond in ensuring that I reach my goals of becoming a clinical researcher who is capable of working with a variety of sleep disordered child and adult populations (e.g., Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, and Autism Spectrum Disorder). I also want to recognize the mentorship of Dr. Micah Mazurek at The University of Virginia, who has co-mentored me in the intersection of ASD, Anxiety, and Sleep.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

I plan to become a board certified BSM provider and licensed child and adolescent psychologist. I would like to provide comprehensive and specialized BSM intervention and consultation services within a integrated psychology clinic and research lab. Dr. McCrae has further solidified my desire to become a clinical researcher and mentor, with a research lab focused on understanding the behavioral, social cultural, environmental, and neurobiological mechanisms underlying chronic health conditions related pain and insomnia in pediatric populations. I have a passion for improving the healthcare utilization of specialized BSM services and increasing public education/awareness!

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

I would love to see BSM services being better utilized in diverse racial/ethnic populations. In addition, I look forward to the increased availability and public visibility of BSM doctoral training programs, as the field increases exponentially in certified health providers and researchers!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITY THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I enjoy watching my younger brother play college football (both on TV and in person; Go Stanford Cardinals!), cooking/baking, hiking, attending vocal lessons, and visiting museums and art galleries across the US on road trips.

FEATURED TRAINEE - Samuel Kohlenberg, LPC

Samuel's area of specialization is 15-25-year-olds in the superior IQ range. In his spare time he is adjunct faculty in the transpersonal counseling psychology program at Naropa University, and a teaching fellow at Saybrook University. My limited work with sleep issues has utilized clinical hypnosis, psychophysiological interventions, or education about basic sleep hygiene.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I have long been interested in sleep medicine, but as my graduation from school nears I am thinking more and more about post-doc education. My education has been in counseling, clinical hypnosis and psychophysiology and at this point, BSM is what I am most interested in.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

I do not have one at this time but am very interested in finding one, hopefully in Denver, CO.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

I am interested in clinical work, research, and instruction. One of the things that I am most interested in long-term is bringing more integrative behavioral medicine to masters-level mental health curricula.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

I enjoy working as part of a multidisciplinary team. Finding a team for which I would be a good fit would be the dream job.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

Part of what I would like to see is greater importance given to sleep and sleep medicine in counseling and psychology. I would like to see the field influence general counseling and psychology even more than it does.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

Art films.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

I don’t really get to take vacations, but I’m looking forward to being in Seattle for a few extra days after an ASCH conference next year.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL HOBBIES OR TALENTS?

I’m pretty proud of my grilled cheese technique.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

While my training has been very limited, the thing that has shaped it the most thus far has been seeing the difference sleep makes in my psychotherapy clients. 

My limited experience with seeing the difference that addressing sleep has made has made me very interested in the greater field of BSM.

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING?

All of the training that I have received so far has been from psychophysiology and clinical hypnosis.

 

FEATURED TRAINEE - Jeavoni Alejandre, MA

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I believe that like everyone else, my interest stems from personal experience. I experienced clonic tonic seizures as a teen as well as sleepwalking and lucid dreaming (which continue currently). I have becoming absolutely fascinated with the world of sleep and dreams.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

My dream job would be to work in or for a sleep lab as a staff psychologist. I am specifically interested in Nightmare Disorder and Night Terrors, though all sleep abnormalities can be distressing and require the assistance of a psychologist.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION?

I am hopeful that I will be able to travel to Zurich to the Jungian Institute and see the more than 12,000 dream pictures that Jung and others collected from patients!

FEATURED TRAINEE - AndEL NICASIO, PhD

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My mentors in behavior sleep medicine are Drs. Cerissa Blaney from the University of Central Florida, Diane Robinson from Orlando Heath-UF Heath Cancer Center, and Melissa Milanak and Allison Wilkerson from the Sleep and Anxiety Treatment and Research Program at the Medical School of South Carolina. I also want to recognize Dr. Jeffrey Cassisi from the University of Central Florida, who mentored me in the area of health psychology.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I like to spend time with family and friends. I enjoy traveling- near and far- and meeting new people, trying new foods, and checking out cultural events like theater and art exhibits. I also enjoy painting, yoga and meditating.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

I want to walk the Way of Saint James, which is a renowned medieval pilgrimage around the borders of France and Spain.

FEATURED TRAINEE - Andrew Guzman MS

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

During my clinical rotations in graduate school, I noticed a theme of sleep difficulties across psychiatric and medical conditions. I soon became energized at the various ways to provide BSM interventions. Ultimately, I am interested in BSM as sleep is the foundation of our physical and mental health. Also, because sleep is fascinating!

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My mentors in BSM are Drs. Fiona Barwick and Phil Gehrman. Both Drs. Barwick and Gehrman have challenged me to think critically about case conceptualization to apply BSM interventions flexibly and individually to presenting problems. Both have an enthusiasm for BSM that is contagious, and have shown how studying sleep is fun!

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

In 10 years I would like to see BSM clinicians integrated in primary care offices across the country to increase access. I envision BSM research being routinely applied in the prevention of sleep problems.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

My dream vacation would be to travel throughout Latin America with my friends!

FEATURED TRAINEE - Ana Martinez Garcia, MS

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

During my first practicum at the Guided Self Change Clinic at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), I began treating clients with various health concerns, including sleep difficulties. Through the exposure and training I received at this practicum, I discovered a passion and academic interest in the field of BSM.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My mentors in behavior sleep medicine are Dr. Ana Fins from Nova Southeastern University and Dr. William Wohlgemuth from the Miami Veterans Affair’s Hospital. I also want to recognize Dr. Linda Sobell and Dr. Mark Sobell, who mentored me in the area of health psychology.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

My short-term career goal is to finish my doctorate in clinical psychology at NSU in Fort-Lauderdale, Florida. During this journey, I hope to emerge myself as much as possible in learning more about sleep psychology and health psychology. My long-term goals are to work in a multi-disciplinary center or hospital compromised of physicians and psychologists that specialize in sleep treatment.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

My dream job is working in an integrative environment that offers holistic care to their patients who suffer from various sleep disorders.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

In 10 years, I see the field of BSM being more recognized not only by the health providers, but also by the general public. I also believe that the field would be offering more preventive care alternatives for individuals at all ages experiencing many of the sleep disorder that exist today and might exists in the future.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I enjoy spending times with my friends and family, going to the beach, going on walks and playing with my dogs. I also enjoy part-taking in social and community outreach activities within the Ethnic Minority Association of Graduate Students at Nova Southeastern University.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

My dream vacation destination is Australia; nevertheless, my best vacations are visiting my family and friends in Puerto Rico.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

Working in the Guided Self Change Clinic at NSU helped shaped my training in BSM. During this practicum year, l learned to interview and  diagnose clients with sleep disorder; as well as provide individual, evidence–based, cognitive behavioral therapy for clients diagnosed with insomnia (CBT-I), in both English and Spanish. During my second year practicum, I will be working with a multi-disciplinary team in the Behavior Medicine Sleep Clinic at the Miami Veteran’s Affair Hospital. Here, I will have the opportunity to become familiarized with interviewing and diagnosing patients with sleep disorders, understanding the results of overnight PSG,and learning about appropriate treatment for a wide range of sleep disorders. I will also be conducting applied behavior therapy for sleep disorders, such as CBT-I and brief motivational enhancement therapy for veterans struggling with adherence for prescribed treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). I will also be leading weekly group sessions discussing risks for, etiology of and treatment for OSA among newly diagnosed veterans.

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING?

I believe that the Society of Behavior Sleep Medicine is a great resource that will greatly enhance my training in BSM. Other resources that have been instrumental in enhancing my training in BSM are my clinical supervisors and mentors.

FEATURED TRAINEE - ALEXANDRIA MUENCH, MS

Alexandria is currently a pre-doctoral psychology intern on the Adult Psychology/Behavioral Medicine Rotation at Geisinger Medical Center   

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

My interest in BSM began during my third year while doing a practicum rotation in primary care at the VA. I had the opportunity to learn CBT-I and quickly recognized the pervasiveness of insomnia and the need for non-pharmacological treatment options. I also have an interest in psycho-oncology and saw an urgent need for the treatment of sleep and fatigue in cancer populations in addition to general non-cancer populations.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My primary BSM mentor is Dr. Michael Perlis. He is the director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been an exceptional mentor and educator and has gone above and beyond to ensure that I am reaching my goals. 

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

I would ultimately like to be able to provide behavioral sleep medicine interventions (e.g., CBT-I) within an integrated sleep medicine clinic with an emphasis on treating sleep and fatigue issues in cancer. My career goals also include conducting research, with an emphasis on understanding the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms underlying cancer-related fatigue and insomnia in cancer. 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

My dream job is to continue to be able to conduct research while also working on a sleep/psycho-oncology based hospital consult service. The consult service would prioritize teamwork, collaboration and education for both medical providers and patients. The behavioral sleep medicine team would collaboratively workingalongside medical providers to assess and treat sleep disorders.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

The field of BSM is already growing so rapidly, however in light of the pervasiveness of sleep disorders there is a need for an increase in training for Behavioral Sleep Medicine providers. It would be amazing to see both Sleep Medicine and Behavioral Sleep Medicine in the curriculums of Clinical Psychology doctoral programs and Medical Schools. It would be phenomenal if in 10 years sleep was prioritized in medical appointments the way pain is now. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I enjoy spending time with my cat (Oatmeal) and my dog (kava) and spending as much time as I can on the water.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

My dream vacation destination is Bora Bora!

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL HOBBIES OR TALENTS?

When I was younger I thought I might be want to be on broadway. I can sing pretty well!

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

I have had the benefit of having phenomenal mentors who have pushed me to seek out new opportunities and have been there by my side every step of the way. I would say that, more than anything else, my mentors have done the most to shape my BSM training experiences. Thank you Dr. Perlis, Dr. Vargas and Dr. Shook!

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING?

The resources that have helped me to advance my training are the clinical opportunities afforded by my practicums, the yearly SLEEP conference and the wonderfultalks and conferences that are offered by the BSM and CSCN programs at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

FEATURED TRAINEE - Sukhpreet Tamana PhD

Sukhpreet Tamana is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada. Her current role as a postdoctoral Sukhpreet Tamana is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada. Her current role as a postdoctoral fellow involves developing a pilot behavioral sleep medicine clinical service at the Stollery Children’s Hospital Edmonton. She also conducts research using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort study. As sleep problems affect between 25-50% of all children, her interests have been in determining whether sleep problems in childhood has adverse consequences for neurodevelopment.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

As postdoctoral fellow, I undertook a fellowship in clinical epidemiology under Dr. Piush Mandhane MD., PhD. (Pediatric Respirologist). Through my work on the CHILD Edmonton site, which involves an add-on study - the Sleep, Learning, hEalth, and Environment Project-Edmonton (SLEEP-E), we started to show that pre-school sleep disordered breathing symptoms and chronic short sleep had a greater impact on pre-school mental health than other important related factors such as parental depression, parenting stress. We recognized that many Canadian children were being underserved for their sleep problems. This peaked my interest in becoming a BSM specialist.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

Dr. Sarah Morsbach Honaker PhD (Indiana University School of Medicine); Dr. Bruce Dick PhD R.Psych (Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Alberta); Dr. Piush Mandhane MD PhD (Pediatric Respirology, Pulmonary & Asthma, University of Alberta); as well as additional colleagues and collaborators.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAKE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

The best advice I ever received from my mentors was to find someone highly qualified in the BSM field and complete an observership with them. I was fortunate enough to connect with Dr. Sarah Morsbach Honaker and colleague Dr. Kate Lyn Walsh at Behavioral Sleep Medicine service at Riley Children’s Hospital. I also received funding from the Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network (CSCN) to pursue a mini clinical-research fellowship. Being a SBSM member has also provided opportunities to be exposed to a broader network of colleagues and clinical resources.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

My dream job would be to lead an independent program of research in pediatric sleep combined with clinical work. I’m particularly interested in treating sleep complaints in children with complex medical conditions, and this is a direction that I hope to pursue in the near future.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

Living in Canada, I always dream about spending my vacations in warmer climates! I do love travelling and my next destinations will be Mexico, New Zealand, and Greece.

 

FEATURED TRAINEE - ALICIA ROTH, PHD

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

Alicia RothAfter I finished my master’s degree at Wake Forest in Experimental Psychology, I was hired to be a clinical study coordinator for a study investigating the effects of trazodone on people with insomnia with Vaughn McCall. He was my introduction into the world of sleep. I went to  my first Sleep Conference in 2009 and saw Michael Perlis passionately speak about the need for an “army of sleep psychologists.” And I knew then, I wanted to be part of the BSM army!

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

Dr. McCall and Dr. Anthony Liguori were my original mentors as a research assistant at Wake Forest University. As a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Florida, my mentor was Dr. Christina McCrae, CBSM.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS? WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

I am very passionate about the dissemination of science as a whole – but particularly the way BSM research and best clinical practices are shared with clinicians and the public. I hope to be in a position one day to to be an ambassador for the BSM community and facilitate those conversations.  A dream job would entail working with professional athletes on their sleep habits to facilitate optimal performance in their sport.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

From a clinical perspective, I would hope that physicians and the public are better informed about the most effective treatments for sleep disorders; and that BSM providers can be front-line treatment rather than hard-to-find specialists.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I wanted to train for a triathlon when in graduate school, but never had the time or energy to do it; but I’m finally part of a triathlon training team and am swimming, biking, or running most days of the week. I also have a new best friend, my  maltipoo Banana, and we go on lots of adventures.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

My best friend is getting married in Poland so I will be traveling to Warsaw & Kraków in August this year.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL HOBBIES OR TALENTS?

My physiological psychology professor in undergrad made us learn how to juggle as part of the final exam (he studied how juggling affects cognition). So I can still juggle! It’s my fall back career if BSM falls through.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

Sitting in a small, cold basement lab with Dr. McCall while he taught me how to score PSGs, where we also had free-wheeling discussions about sleep really sparked my interest in BSM. But Dr. McCrae really gave me a complete, multifaceted BSM experience in doctoral training – she had me set up PSGs, interpret actigraphy data, write manuscripts, review for peer-reviewed journals, learn and implement CBTI, and provide peer supervision for other trainees in BSM.

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING?

Attending the annual Sleep conference always broadens my perspective on areas of sleep research and practice that I don’t regularly engage in. It has also been a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow trainees through the Society of Sleep Research trainee meetings and BSM professionals at the SBSM receptions. I also attended the Penn Advanced CBTI training course with Drs. Michael Perlis, Donn Posner, and Jason Ellis, which was a wonderful way to delve into more advanced topics in CBTI delivery and meet fellow BSM providers.

FEATURED TRAINEE - BRIAN CURTIS, MS

Brian CurtisBrian Curtis is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Health and Behavioral Medicine specialty track within the University of Utah’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program. His dissertation research draws on interdisciplinary collaboration between neuroradiology, neurology, health psychology, and neuropsychology to explore the neurobiological and behavioral effects of chronic short sleep duration in so-called “habitual short sleepers”. As habitual short sleepers appear to represent 30% of working U.S. adults, Brian is particularly interested in exploring the implications of discrepancies between short sleepers’ subjective sense of their daytime functioning and more objective measures of functioning at multiple levels of analysis – from brain to behavior.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

As a post-baccalaureate student from 2007 to 2012, I worked with Christopher R. Jones, M.D., Ph.D. and collaborators Louis J. Ptacek, M.D., and Ying-Hui Fu, Ph.D. to explore the genetic mechanisms and behavioral phenotypes of individuals with familial circadian rhythm sleep disorders. This introduced me to Laura A. Czajkowski, Ph.D., CBSM, and the field of behavioral sleep medicine. The power of combining psychology, neurology, and genetics led me to pursue graduate training in neuroscience and genetics from 2012-2015 in the laboratory of Mario R. Capecchi, Ph.D., developing genetic tools to model human neuropsychiatric disorders in mice. Realizing my preference to devote the remainder of my training and career to clinical work with humans vs. basic bench science with mice, I have been working with my current mentor, Paula G. Williams, Ph.D., to explore the consequences of chronic short sleep duration. Truly coming full circle, I am about to complete a year long clinical clerkship in BSM with Laura A. Czajkowski, Ph.D., CBSM at the same sleep center where I was first introduced to the field of BSM 11 years ago!

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

My goal is to become certified in BSM and provide the highest quality, evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and their families. To accomplish this goal, I will be applying to clinical internship sites with a strong BSM emphasis in the fall of 2019. Given the transdiagnostic nature of sleep disruption across the majority – if not all – physical and mental health disorders, I have a strong future interest in increasing public awareness and education about the science of healthy sleep and the practice of behavioral sleep medicine.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

I would like to see the field and its practices become a more common standard of care across medical and psychological treatment settings given the immense comorbidity of sleep disruption in human health and disease. Towards accomplishing this goal, I have a particular interest in using freely available and globally accessible means (e.g., podcasts, YouTube videos) to increase awareness of sleep medicine in general, and the field of BSM in particular, to other scientists, clinicians, and the general public. As proof of principle, it’s quite encouraging that Matthew Walker, Ph.D.’s recent conversation on Joe Rogan’s podcast currently has 615,503 views after only 48 hours of being online (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwaWilO_Pig&t=908s). The public is hungry for this information. It’s up to us to provide it.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

In addition to the role of interdisciplinary collaboration, mentioned earlier, I’ve been surprised by how much my personal experiences have shaped my BSM training. Despite a decade of pestering with well-intentioned guilt trips by my mother and pleads wrapped in scientific evidence by myself, it eventually took a stroke to the brainstem for my father to finally treat his chronic obstructive sleep apnea. (Despite needing a feeding tube, he’s fine). After one week of CPAP use, he told me, “Brian, I forgot what it felt like to actually be awake” and has been CPAP compliant these past 6.5 years. Bringing in tools like Motivational Interviewing and being aware of the counterproductive “Backfire Effect” of pummeling patients with facts has helped shape my clinical approach for patients with OSA. It’s also been useful to practice what I preach, as my mother, myself, and my three older brothers were all gifted with generalized anxiety and sleep onset insomnia. It’s been useful to relate from personal experience to patients who are understandably skeptical about sleep restriction, stress reduction, or stimulus control that these strategies, although challenging, actually work.

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING?

The Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine website has been my go-to resource to navigate ongoing efforts towards BSM certification and to keep up to date with progress in our field (e.g., the SBSM Newsletter). I need to mention that Kathryn Hansen has been an incredible resource for me behind the scenes over the years. She helped resolve a logistical issue accessing the Behavioral Sleep Medicine journal through the Taylor and Francis website, consistently and promptly replies to questions, and most recently provided a draft compilation of clinical training sites that have a strong BSM emphasis that will be extremely helpful for my internship applications in 2019. This is a resource that will be indispensible for current and future BSM-interested trainees. Kathryn is amazing and an incredible asset to the SBSM. (I’m not just saying that as she gave me this opportunity to be profiled for the SBSM newsletter…). I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share my background with our Society members and to be a part of this scientific and clinical community. Thank you so much. 

FEATURED TRAINEE - SARAH EMERT, MA

Sarah Emert MASarah is a doctoral candidate in the clinical health concentration at the University of Alabama. She is currently working on her dissertation, as a doctoral candidate, aiming to identify characteristics related to the severity of insomnia identity and to differences between two treatment seeking groups (i.e., complaining good sleepers and complaining poor sleepers) on aspects related to their insomnia complaint.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

During my undergraduate at The University of Arizona I began working in a research lab under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Haynes. I began helping with data entry on two projects at the Southern Arizona VA. Participants included Veterans with PTSD, depression, and sleep problems. I was fascinated by the seemingly infinite relationships between sleep, psychology, and physiology.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

Patricia Haynes, PhD (undergraduate); Kenneth Lichstein, PhD (graduate); James Geyer, MD (graduate); As well as additional colleagues and collaborators.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

I would love to become a practitioner, using BSM as part of my therapy "tool box". Additionally, I want to continue researching the concept of insomnia identity, and ways in which we can modify and possibly enhance BSM and CBT-i for our clients.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD OF BSM IN 10 YEARS?

I would love to see BSM and its therapeutic components becoming more common place within the community and better utilized as a first line technique, especially for individuals with insomnia.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I love to cook. I also like to rock climb, attend concerts, read non-fiction novels, and let's not forget watching TV.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

I enjoy traveling and better understanding cultures of the world, so anywhere I have yet to visit (hopefully with amazing food) is definitely on the list of my dream destinations.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL HOBBIES OR TALENTS?

Before graduate school I spent a lot of my free time as a musician. I was most recently in a Brazilian percussion ensemble and played Steel Drums in high school.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

Although many things have shaped my training, working with Drs. Lichstein and Geyer at the sleep medicine center in Tuscaloosa is among my top BSM learning experiences. I worked there as a student psychologist primarily conducting CBT-i with individuals with insomnia during my clinical placement last year.

WHAT RESOURCES HAVE HELPED TO ADVANCE YOUR TRAINING?

The aforementioned clinical placement, being able to attend national conferences, and learning and collaborating with other researchers are among many on this list. However, having a fantastic mentor who has helped inspire me and achieve my goals has definitely been my most valued resource.

FEATURED TRAINEE - SUSANNE ZAN BARRY, PHD

Dr. Barry is a 3rd year doctoral trainee in clinical psychology at William James College in Newton, MA. She also has 15 years of Susanna (Zan) Barry is a 3rd year doctoral trainee in clinical psychology at William James College in Newton, MA. She also has 15 years of experience working with undergraduate and graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA as part of MIT Medical, where her community health programs include stress management, mindfulness, and sleep health initiatives.

I became obsessed with behavioral sleep medicine for young adults through my work at MIT. As many know, college campuses offer opportunities to work with many aspects of behavioral sleep health. This is such a promising time for the field.  Increasingly, the patient-centered medical care model is integrating all kinds of behavioral health supports into primary care, including behavioral sleep medicine.

In my experience, sleep literacy on campuses is higher now than it was even a few years ago. Students are more savvy than ever about the importance of sleep, and are faced more than ever with challenges to getting high-quality sleep. It’s a very rewarding area in which to apply behavioral sleep medicine. Over the next two years, I will be completing an APA internship in college mental health and will be working hard to adapt behavioral sleep medicine interventions to the realities of college life.

Although I am not a researcher, I appreciate the foundational research upon which campus sleep health programs are built, including from Dr. Rachel Manber and others at Stanford. I admire the work of Dr. Allison Harvey, University of California, Berkeley, who directs the Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic. Her contributions on the transdiagnostic mental health implications of sleep problems and her attention to young adults are invaluable to mental health providers. Dr. Colin Espie at the University of Oxford is also a wonderful advocate for the field.

My hope for the future of the field is first to reduce the devaluing of sleep. I think this needle has moved quite a bit in recent years, with the help of some high-profile advocates in the media who are raising public awareness and literacy about sleep health. Public health messages about sleep often emphasize benefits for productivity, cognitive capacity, and disease prevention. These are important motivators.

To me, the valuing of sleep is also interconnected with values that are less talked about but are deeply meaningful, such as receptivity and flexibility; dreaming and the unconscious; and the ability to balance modern demands with ancient, organismic needs.

I’d like to see further intersections between research in behavioral sleep medicine and the various forms of restorative yoga and meditation that can address hyperarousal. As a long-time mindfulness and yoga practitioner and teacher, I appreciate the inroads that Dr. Jason Ong is making with mindfulness for insomnia.

On a personal note, even with my crazy schedule, I rarely skimp on sleep – not because I know how good it is for me, but because I love it so, so much. I’m sure my clinical interest stems from my lifelong love affair with sleeping. I also love to walk everywhere whenever humanly possible. I grew up in New York City and now live in Boston, which are both great walking cities. If I can map a destination on Google, I will try to find a way to walk there. I have less time for walking now that I am balancing work at MIT, school at William James, and practice hours toward my Psy.D. Fortunately, it is all a labor of love. Love and sleep.

FEATURED TRAINEE - SITA N. SAWYER PHD

Sita N. Sawyer, PhD,Sita N. Sawyer, PhD, is completing a one-year clinical postdoctoral fellowship in Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

I have always been a health psychologist at heart, studying with Dr. David Sbarra in the Lab of Social Connectedness and Health at the University of Arizona (UA). With Dr. Richard Bootzin’s pervasive influence throughout the psychology department, I was inevitably bit by the BSM bug first by way of our laboratory’s collaboration with the Sleep Research Laboratory, and eventually being a teaching assistant for the undergraduate sleep and sleep disorders class. The bidirectional influences between sleep health and physical/emotional health proved to be an area of health psychology in which I wanted to continue growing.

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

I was fortunate to receive mentorship from the late Dr. Richard Bootzin at the University of Arizona, who served on my comprehensive exam committee and was co-primary investigator on a collaborative research study that spanned three UA laboratories. On internship at the American Lake VA, Dr. Joshua Breitstein served as my primary supervisor on the primary care-mental health rotation, who trained under Dr. Marquisha Lee at the Madigan Army Medical Center Pulmonary and Sleep Clinic. While training under Dr. Fiona Barwick at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, I’ve seen an only expanding need for BSM education and practice, and hope to see BSM expertise continue to play a growing role in all my professional endeavors.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

I’ve been inspired by Dr. Barwick to utilize my comprehensive and specialized BSM training to increase education around and access to BSM services across specific health populations. My professional goal would be to better serve the sleep health needs of patients with comorbid cancer or chronic pain, or those in settings with a broader reach to those potentially in need of BSM such as primary care clinics or college campuses.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I enjoy watching college and professional football (both TV and in person), grabbing coffee or exploring new foods with my husband and friends, and sleeping soundly in our amazing king-size bed (along with our cat – when will I take my own clinical advice…)!

Featured Trainee - Samina Ahmed PsyD

Samina Ahmed, PsyD, am currently completing my post-doctoral training in Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. I completed my graduate training at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL and my internship training at the Miami VA Hospital in Miami, FL. My clinical interests include sleep medicine, pain management, and chronic illness management.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN BSM?

My first exposure to sleep disturbances was during my advanced practicum in my third year of graduate training. I was working on a transplant unit and would frequently be consulted to see patients on medical units that endorsed difficulties with sleep during their hospitalization. I recognized very quickly the vitality of sleep in the healing and recovery process whether that be pre-transplant as patients work to improve their candidacy or post-transplant as patients fought to take advantage of this new organ and regain their premorbid lifestyle. Graduate training was also a nice reminder of the impact minimal sleep can have on day-to-day functions and one’s mental health. As I continued in my clinical training I actively sought opportunities to work with patients experiencing sleep difficulties including PTSD related nightmares in veterans, CPAP adherence in patients with OSA, and of course insomnia. 

WHO ARE YOUR BSM MENTORS?

My BSM mentors are split between my clinical and research duties. I had a brief opportunity to work on CPAP adherence research with Dr. William Wohlgemuth during my internship at the Miami VA. He provided me with a crash course on the field of sleep medicine and the demand for BSM providers. This led me to my current clinical mentor, Dr. Michelle Drerup, Director of BSM at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Drerup has played a significant role in teaching me how to identify and properly diagnose various sleep disorders, as well as, how to treat the disorder with the current behavioral treatments (e.g., CBT-I). 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

My dream job would be to serve as a Health Psychologist within a medical subspecialty (e.g., cancer, transplant, PM&R) with a specialization in BSM. I would like to take my training back to where it started, so to speak and be able to adapt my specialized skillset in BSM to serve the medical population in order to assist in their recovery. Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?I would like to see the field of BSM be widely disseminated to underserved and marginalized populations, perhaps transcribed to virtual treatment for greater accessibility. I would also like to see the treatments adapted for medically compromised patients (e.g., patients with MS). Ideally if we can have 100% compliance to CPAP treatment, that would be great too!

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOUR TRAINING IN BSM?

I would say it is a culmination of all of my graduate training that has helped shape my training in BSM. My academic training with an emphasis on the scholar-practitioner model allowed me to succeed within the field of BSM. My clinical experiences (practicum to fellowship) and opportunities to both collaborate and develop my own research projects allowed me to fine tune my skills within the field and feel like a contributing member. Finally, exposure to other BSM providers through my trainings, at national conferences, and through the SBSM has allowed me to feel well-supported and invested to continue training in BSM. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I love to travel with my husband, visit national parks, hike, ride my bike, try new restaurants, and spend time with my family and friends.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION DESTINATION?

My next vacation will be a trip back to Miami to watch my oldest childhood friend get married. My husband also recently disclosed that he has never been to LA so we will be making that trip in the near future. My dream vacation destination is the Maldives but it might be a few years before I can make that trip into reality.

Spencer DawsonFeatured Trainee - Spencer Dawson MA

Spencer Dawson is currently a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Arizona and will be starting a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University with SBSM president Dr. Jason Ong this coming January.

How did you get interested in BSM?

I entered the world of behavioral sleep medicine and sleep research in 2006 when I took a research position at the University of Michigan Depression Center Sleep and Chronophysiology Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Roseanne Armitage. I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. As soon as I saw my first sleep study, I couldn’t turn away from the computer screen with its ever-advancing lines of EEG. I had no idea what any of it meant, of course, but in that moment I was transfixed. I quickly learned to stage score polysomnography, which, combined with our standard post-sleep questionnaire, led to the question that became the basis for my dissertation: why do people with insomnia overestimate their sleep onset latency and underestimate their total sleep time? 

Who are your BSM mentors?

Chronologically, and focused specifically on those who do BSM, my mentors have been Drs. Todd Arnedt, Deirdre Conroy, Leslie Swanson, Dick Bootzin, Tricia Haynes, Barry Krakow, and Mindy Sexton.

What are your career goals?

Contributing to the field of behavioral sleep medicine in a way that impacts the lives of all people who have difficulties with their sleep, whether intrinsic sleep disorder or externally imposed limitation or disruption of sleep.

What is your dream job?

A faculty position where I can conduct research, mentor students, and treat patients.

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

BSM, like behavioral interventions more broadly, offers something that many patients prefer, but only if they’ve heard of it. I would like to see BSM earn greater public visibility and to be part of every interdisciplinary sleep medicine team.

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

Running, hiking, adult kickball, and motorcycles (I rode from Tucson to Minneapolis for APSS in 2011).

What is your next vacation or dream vacation destination?

At the top of my list now are Ireland, Great Britain, and northern Europe.

Do you have any special hobbies or talents?

I love cooking and both brewing and drinking coffee.

What experiences have helped shape your training in BSM?

With his relaxed and low-pressure approach, Dick Bootzin was a model of reassuring presence for his patients.

What resources have helped to advance your training?

Networking and personal connections have been indispensable.

FEATURED TRAINEE - JESSEE DIETCH, MS 

How did you get interested in BSM?

Jessee became interested in sleep when working on her BFA in film production. She noticed the prevalence of insufficient sleep (though she didn’t have the words for it at the time) and how sleep was the first sacrifice made when busy filmmakers were pressed for time. Jessee also learned how to nap in strange places (e.g., the roof of a grip truck) during this time. After completing a major in psychology and started working on her honors thesis, her interest in sleep became academic and then began focusing on BSM, and insomnia, in particular.

Who are your BSM mentors?

My primary mentor in BSM has been Dr. Daniel Taylor, my graduate mentor. I’ve also gotten great mentorship along the way from many people in the BSM community. In fact, one of the reasons I love this field has been the constant support and welcome from more advanced folks. 

What is your dream job?

Ideally, I’ll be conducting BSM research, doing some statistics consulting, seeing BSM patients, and running an SBSM-accredited BSM training program. 

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

I would love to see our field moving past the barriers to BSM dissemination and refining our precision/personalized medicine. In particular, I would like to see the field of BSM continue to develop and tailor interventions for underserved and marginalized populations. 

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

I love to travel, garden, knit, bake bread, hike, ride my bike, and play flat track roller derby. 

What is your next vacation or dream vacation destination?

I guess you could call my upcoming clinical internship interviews “vacations.,..” Other than that, as a dissertation defense gift to myself, I’m heading to Norway to see the northern lights with my best friend in March.

What resources have helped to advance your training?

The SBSM has been an amazing resource! Because the society is small and connected, I’ve had many opportunities to meet and serve on committees with some of my sleep heroes. Of course, the BSM listserv, SLEEP meeting, and the many books and training manuals published by our members have also been invaluable. I’ll also take this opportunity to plug the Sleep special interest group of the Society of Behavioral Medicine that I helped organize!

Featured Trainee - Jade Francetich M.S.

Jade is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Health Psychology program at the University of North Texas. She is currently applying for a clinical psychology predoctoral internship position, with intent to advance her behavioral sleep medicine training. 

Who are your BSM mentors?

I have been very fortunate to work with multiple excellent mentors within the sleep field. In 2008, I was a Dement Fellow under the guidance of Dr. Mary Carskadon at Brown University. I then pursued postbaccalaureate clinical experience with Dr. Paul Teman at the University of Utah Sleep Wake Center. Since 2011, Dr. Daniel Taylor has served as my graduate advisor, mentoring me in sleep research and behavioral sleep medicine. Dr. Brandy Roane introduced me to pediatric BSM at the UNTHSC Center for Sleep Medicine and Dr. Gregory Carter supported my adult BSM training at the UTSW Sleep and Breathing Disorders Center. Each mentor has profoundly contributed to my BSM training, and I am looking forward to adding more mentors to this list over the next several years!

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to serve patients as a health psychologist and certified BSM provider. I would love to help medical inpatients sleep better during their hospital stay and follow up on an outpatient basis as they adjust to their medical condition. Ideally, I would also remain involved in research, studying the pervasive role of sleep in health promotion.

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

I enjoy cooking meals, hiking in the mountains, practicing yoga, playing board games, and of course, sleeping!

Featured Trainee:   Melissa Munoz, MA

Melissa is currently completing my doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. I am also a graduate research assistant with the MizZzou Sleep Lab with Dr. Christina McCrae implementing a CBT-I family-based intervention to children with Autism, and is implementing a CBT-I intervention for individuals with chronic widespread pain.

How did you get interested in BSM?

My introduction to BSM is very happenstance. About a year ago, I was doing clinical work with children, adolescents, and their families and was approached with the opportunity to work with Dr. Christina McCrae to become a CBT-I sleep interventionist for project RECHArge (Better Rest for Children with Autism). At the time, I knew that sleep came as a secondary mental health concern in therapy, however, I had no idea there were sleep treatments dedicated to insomnia. It was interesting interacting with families who would make the 2-hour drive from their homes each week to help their child sleep better. After implementing some basic behavioral sleep principles, such as resetting their “brain clock,” I saw defiant behaviors of some children suddenly become well-behaved. It was wonderful to see how this intervention had a positive impact on the entire family’s well-being. The dedication of the parents combined with the power of CBT-I propelled me to help others achieve better sleep.

What experiences have helped shape your training in BSM?

Dr. McCrae has been a wonderful mentor in introducing me to the world of BSM. She has helped me understand the basics of CBT-I in different populations. In addition to RECHArge, she has also expanded my knowledge of CBT-I to individuals with chronic widespread pain and insomnia. Working with an adult population has given me a different perspective on how sleep changes one’s physiology throughout their lifespan. As a part of the study, we are collecting neuroimaging data to determine how it affects brain activity; this in turn has given me more insight to the impact of integrative care.

What is your dream job?

After graduation, it is my goal to become a bilingual licensed psychologist. I want to work with children, adolescents, and families from multicultural backgrounds to provide evidenced-based and culturally sensitive therapy and assessments. I would love to implement CBT-I interventions in Spanish for Latino families.

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

Missouri has brought out the athletic side of me! There are tons of trails to run on and I have recently become more involved in finding the beauty of strength while doing Crossfit and hot yoga.

Featured Trainee - Katrina Speed, MS

Katrina Speed

Ms Speed has a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Psychology and am currently serving as a Graduate Clinician and Assistant with the Mississippi State University Student Counseling Services. 

How did you get interested in BSM?

As a graduate student, I honestly struggled to maintain a lifestyle of meeting all of my academic and home life demands without losing copious amounts of sleep. One of my mentors was doing sleep research and therapy and invited me to learn more about it, and it seemed like a good idea as I might pick up a couple tips for myself!

Who are your BSM mentors?

Dr. Michael Nadorff has been my mentor for approximately four years now and has mentored me in both clinical and research work that I conduct.

What are your career goals?

My career goals are to work with military service members (active duty or Veteran) with a specialized focus in sleep, trauma, and suicide interventions. I hope to be able to conduct an internship and future job with the Veterans Administration to serve this population who has such high need. I am also currently involved in research regarding sleep interventions that I would like to work to develop into a military-specific model that could be used in theatre (i.e, deployment combat zones) and during the transitional periods coming back home or reintegrating into civilian life.

What is your dream job?

Running a private or group practice on a ranch conducting individual and group-level therapeutic interventions for service members, with special emphasis in sleep, trauma, and suicide.

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

I have been actively providing sleep therapeutic interventions for a little over a year now, and am always surprised by the number of professionals that have never heard of BSM. I would love for this field to branch out and place an emphasis on training more interdisciplinary professional and/or connecting various professionals so that appropriate referrals are made and clients/patients have increased awareness of treatment options.

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

I love to read non-academic books, spend time with my children and partner, look at pictures of dogs online, and plan parties for people. I also enjoy engaging in various volunteering efforts as able.

What is your next vacation or dream vacation destination?

I love anywhere that has a beautiful, quiet beach. I would love to visit Bali or St. Lucia for a week or two!

Do you have any special hobbies or talents?

 I am fairly good at portrait photography and at planning/coordinating any type of event. I am also a decent omelet cook.

What experiences have helped shape your training in BSM?

I have been able to provide in-services or presentations at multiple settings, including inpatient and outpatient units, academic classes, conferences, and counseling centers. Teaching others allows me to learn the material better and explore other possible ways of conceptualizing BSM cases. I also have been blessed to be able to implement assessment and therapy interventions in various outpatient settings that have allowed me many opportunities to practice as I seek supervision and consultation, and have allowed me to grow in my case conceptualization.

What resources have helped to advance your training?

My mentor has been able to provide me with many written and web-based assessment and intervention materials that have allowed me to increase knowledge. Also, my thesis and dissertation work has granted me time and increased knowledge as I searched through BSM-focused literature. 

Featured Trainee - Christopher Drapeau  MS

I am postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Mississippi State University (MSU) and will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Valparaiso University beginning in August 2017.  As a postdoctoral fellow, I have been active in Dr. Michael Nadorff’s Sleep, Suicide, and Aging Lab, and have been teaching courses in biological psychology and suicidology at MSU and seeing sleep clients in the MSU Sleep Specialty Clinic (which is directed by Dr. Nadorff).   

How did you get interested in BSM?

I became interested in behavioral sleep medicine as an undergraduate student at Indiana University South Bend.  As I was working on my honors thesis, focused on the commonalities of creativity and suicide in college students, I came across research suggesting a strong association between certain sleep disorders and suicide risk.  Reading this research piqued my interest and I began looking into graduate programs that emphasized sleep research.  I reached out to, and met with, Dr. Jessica Payne at the University of Notre Dame and she discussed her research and teaching interests in sleep medicine with me and from her I learned about the book, The Promise of Sleep by Dr. William Dement.  After reading this book, I was hooked and added becoming certified in behavioral sleep medicine as one of my career goals. 

Who are your BSM mentors?

My main mentor in behavioral sleep medicine is Dr. Michael Nadorff.  

What are your career goals?

I have a number of goals that I would like to achieve by the end of my life.  One of which, as I noted earlier, is to become certified in behavioral sleep medicine and open a sleep practice either locally or on the campus of Valparaiso University   

What is your dream job?

I’m actually not sure at the moment if one job would constitute my dream job given that this “dream” changes as I learn more about the opportunities available to early career psychologists.  However, I typically enjoy jobs/tasks that entail lofty goals and potential returns on improving outcomes for others, most notably reducing feelings of distress and isolation.  I see behavioral sleep medicine as one of several dream jobs that I would like to pursue that will allow me to give back to the community.  

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

In 10 years, I would like to see a larger community of practitioners certified in behavioral sleep medicine and a greater public awareness about behavioral sleep interventions. 

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

Reading nonfiction books, short-distance running, and spending time with my family.

What experiences have helped shape your training in BSM?

Being able to see sleep clients at the MSU Student Counseling Services and at the MSU Sleep Specialty Clinic have been invaluable.  This was the first time that I have been able to focus entirely on sleep cases and it has reinforced my interest in practicing in behavioral sleep medicine once I am licensed.

What resources have helped to advance your training?

Besides reading research articles and textbooks related to behavioral sleep medicine, I’d have to say that having a mentor and supervisor who is competent in providing evidence-based sleep interventions has been the best resource to advance my training.  In addition, the relationships formed with the campus and local communities have also been a valuable resource, as this has helped us develop referral sources and consistent opportunities to see sleep clients.

FEATURED TRAINEE - SHEA GOLDING MS

Shea Golding is set to graduate with her clinical psychology PhD from Mississippi State University (MSU; hail state!) in August 2017. 

She is currently finishing her predoctoral internship at Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She plans to focus primarily on clinical endeavors and to work toward board certification in behavioral sleep medicine in the coming years.

How did you get interested in BSM?

I initially returned to MSU for doctoral work with a research focus on suicide.  My adviser (Dr. Michael R. Nadorff) does work in sleep, suicide, and aging, so sleep quickly became a secondary research interest of mine.  Having worked only minimally with sleep in a clinical setting, I applied for several internship programs including opportunity for BSM work.  My work within the Sleep Disorders Clinic on internship (supervisor:  Dr. Leisha Cuddihy) cemented my career goal to work toward BSM as my specialty.

Who are your BSM mentors?

Dr. Michael R. Nadorff, director of clinical training at MSU, first piqued my interest in sleep research, though I admit I was initially begrudging of adding a new literature to my repertoire.  Under his clinical supervision, I was able to work briefly with a client with insomnia which led me to learn about cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.  Thus, I was thrilled to match for internship here at Spectrum Health so that I could work under the supervision of Dr. Leisha Cuddihy, CBSM, and learn more about CBT-I and working in a sleep center.  As a board certified BSM provider, she has helped to provide me the resources, patient opportunity, and supervision necessary to confirm my passion for sleep medicine.  We have worked together to ensure a patient population including those with insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, and CPAP nonadherence.

Both Michael and Leisha have encouraged and supported me as I work toward a BSM fellowship.

What are your career goals? 

For the short-term, my focus is furthering my knowledge in providing quality BSM care, working with a multidisciplinary treatment team, and preparing for board certification.  Longer term, I would love to have the opportunity to teach again at some point and perhaps add in some administrative work focused on process improvement and/or healthcare reach.

What is your dream job?

Ideally, I would love to carve out a position that is mostly clinical in focus (BSM, that is) but includes the opportunity to teach and mentor once my skills are more developed.  Administrative opportunity to develop plans to spread the reach of service provision to lesser served populations would be a cherry on top!

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

I think I would be remiss if I did not say that my vision for the field includes a greater integration between sleep physicians and behavioral health providers.  I am fortunate to work in a collaborative clinic with providers who value sleep psychology, but I know that is not the case everywhere. 

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

I enjoy music in most all forms – musicals, concerts, singing in the car and shower, and occasionally pretending I can play the piano better than I actually can.  Otherwise, I enjoy traveling with good friends, and I’ve begun rekindling my love of reading (currently reading Stephen King’s It in preparation for the upcoming cinematic remake).

What is your next vacation or dream vacation destination?

Aside from my first trip to Boston for the SLEEP conference, I plan to visit the west coast and friends in Seattle, WA, and San Luis Obispo, CA, this summer.  My dream vacation would be to visit Athens, Greece.

Do you have any special hobbies or talents?

I’m not winning any Grammy’s, but I’ve had years of vocal lessons and partially paid for my undergraduate tuition with a choral scholarship.  My friends are all very impressed – and, more truthfully, probably irritated by my exhaustive attempt to provide a constant soundtrack for all of our lives.

What experiences have helped shape your training in BSM?

I’ll do a blanket statement referring back to the work I’ve done with Drs. Nadorff and Cuddihy, as I would not have gotten my foot in the door without Dr. Nadorff or furthered my enthusiasm for BSM without Dr. Cuddihy. Additionally, going through the process of submitting and publishing an article in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine provided me a window into the knowledgeable and critical thinkers in sleep research, pushing me to dig deeper in my conceptualization of our findings. Being welcomed wholeheartedly by the sleep clinic here certainly didn’t hurt; I’m very grateful to be working with these providers.

What resources have helped to advance your training?

I’ve had great reading recommendations and look forward to my first SLEEP conference, but for me it all comes down to good mentorship.  As a trainee, I think we sometimes take for granted how helpful it is to have easily accessible supervision and consultation.  Although the idea of being independent is exciting, it is also a bit scary.  I know that my fear is ameliorated by knowing I have great mentors with whom I plan to consult throughout my career (head’s up, Michael and Leisha).