Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship

Program Overview

The University of Southern California University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC UCEDD), at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles offers an advanced postdoctoral training program in Clinical Child Psychology. The program, which has been training psychology fellows since 1990, provides unique training experiences in clearly defined emphasis areas. Individuals are recruited specifically for each emphasis area and are offered training opportunities in a variety of departments and clinical services. The emphasis practice areas include:

  • Child and Family Psychology
  • Pediatric Psychology
  • Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Trauma Psychology
  • Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
  • A combined Early Childhood and Pediatric Psychology track

The postdoctoral training program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is based on an integrated community mental health and health psychology model. It is designed to train psychologists to assume leadership roles as experts in clinical psychology in pediatric community and medical settings. Depending on the emphasis area, fellows may gain professional experiences in outpatient mental health clinics, community clinics, field-based services, schools, primary care clinics or pediatric hospital units. Through intensive supervision, didactic lectures and seminars, research and program development activities, and direct patient contact and consultation, fellows develop advanced clinical skills in their emphasis area. 

The fellowship is administratively situated in the University of Southern California (USC) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), which has its academic home in the Department of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the USC Keck School of Medicine. Established in 1966, the USC UCEDD is one of 67 UCEDDs throughout the nation authorized under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and administered by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities to support systemic change in states related to the independence, productivity, safety, and full participation in community life of individuals with or at risk for developmental disabilities. 

The USC UCEDD postdoctoral training program joined the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) in 2004 and received APA accreditation in 2007.  The program’s last accreditation site-visit took place in in 2020 and the program is in the pool for decisions for the October 2020 meeting of the Commission on Accreditation.


Fellows in each emphasis area are expected to meet the competencies established for the first year of training before they advance to the second year of training. To complete the fellowship, fellows are expected to meet second year competencies by the end of their fellowship. In addition, fellows in all the emphasis areas are expected to meet the following training aims by the end of their second year of training:

Aim 1: Fellows will acquire advanced clinical skills in their emphasis area. These include assessment and intervention skills.
Aim 2: Fellows will routinely use evidence-based best practices and integrate research activities and research findings in their clinical work.
Aim 3: Fellows will be able to gather, contribute to, and enhance interdisciplinary treatment teams in their practice area. Fellows will acquire advanced knowledge and skills in consultation.
Aim 4: Fellows will obtain knowledge and skills related to cultural competency and fighting racism in the practice of psychology and will develop competency in advocating for racial and social justice in the context of the psychology profession.
Aim 5: Fellows will develop supervisory skills and practice clinical supervision (second year).
Aim 6: Fellows will develop personal and professional qualities necessary to function as an advanced level independent psychologist.
Aim 7: Fellows will adhere to all the ethical and legal practice guidelines.
Aim 8: Fellows will develop and demonstrate leadership skills.

Fellows are also expected to:

  • Obtain licensure in Psychology at the State of California.
  • Complete the long-term certification program of the California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (CA-LEND) interdisciplinary training program or in the Leadership and Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) interdisciplinary training program.
  • Complete a mentored scholarly project resulting in submission of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal.

Program Supervisors

Over 30 licensed psychologists that are formally designated as postdoctoral training supervisors, and a team of staff and faculty representing all the disciplines involved with CHLA and the USC/UCEDD, serve as supervisors and/or potential team members in all the emphasis areas described below. 


While the psychology supervisors are employees of CHLA or USC Keck School of Medicine, most of the direct costs of the postdoctoral fellowship program are supported by revenues from clinical programs served by the staff and trainees. The community Mental Health Service is one of the clinical programs that generate revenues sufficient to cover the majority of the fellowship costs.  Additional clinical and research grants awarded to specific emphasis areas cover a small portion of the fellowship costs. 

Stipend, Benefits and Facilities

Annual Stipend



A benefit package including health and dental insurance is also provided to fellows and their dependents/significant others.   

Time off

Every training year, fellows receive nine days of paid vacation, two paid personal days, seven paid CHLA holidays (New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day), up to five paid professional days, and five days of paid sick leave. Fellows in good standing receive funding for registration and travel to attend professional conferences to which their presentations have been accepted.

Environment of care

The Community Mental Health offices are designed to accommodate both clinical service and interdisciplinary training. Clinical offices are available for client care, some equipped with one-way mirrors and/or cameras. Recent funding supported the creation of a “virtual campus” between the training offices and the Division of Adolescent Medicine and the CHLA main campus. The video-conferencing facility is integrated into some clinic spaces, and several rooms are equipped with audio/visual observation equipment. Assessment and observation rooms are available for individual and group clinics. The Community Mental Health Center provides all assessment materials and equipment, including audiovisual equipment and computer-scoring materials. Fellows are provided with dedicated office and training spaces.  These are state-of-the-art clinical and training spaces that afford each fellow his or her own computer, phone and workspace. 

Library Services

All fellows receive access to the University of Southern California Health Science electronic resources and computing facilities.


Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

(T) 202-336-5979 (F) 202-336-5978


Admissions, Support, Initial Placement Data

How to Apply

Requirements for Admission

  • Prior to the beginning of the fellowship, all applicants are expected to have completed an APA accredited doctoral program and an APA accredited internship.
  • Due to HRSA restrictions related to the program's GPE funding, the program can only consider applicants who are citizens of the United States, non-citizen nationals of the United States, or foreign nationals who possesses a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible participants.

Application Procedure and Selection Processes

The program is using the APPA CAS (APPIC Psychology Postdoctoral Application) online system to receive applications and adheres to the Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines. For more information about the application process, please visit

If applicants experience difficulties, please e-mail the Training Director, Sara Sherer, PhD, with questions. The program will start reviewing applications as they are received, and start  inviting applicants for interviews beginning December 15, 2020. Prospective candidates will be notified by via e-mail, whether or not they were granted an interview. Interviews will be offered only to applicants who have submitted a complete application and only after applications have been screened by the faculty. All interviews for the 2022 class will be conducted virtually. Information about the number and length of interviews will be provided with the invitations. The program will continue to accept applications and conduct interviews as long as there are openings.

Although each emphasis area interviews and selects the candidates who are most qualified for the training experience offered, all candidates are expected to submit the following:

  1. A letter of interest. Please submit a separate letter of interest for each postdoctoral emphasis area of interest. Please rank your choices in the order that you would like them to be considered. Your first choice program will receive the application, and determine whether or not to proceed. If not, your application will be submitted to your second choice.
  2. A statement about your long-term career goals and how this fellowship will help you achieve them. The statement can be included in your letter of interest.
  3. A curriculum vita
  4. A de-identified sample child/adolescent psychological assessment report
  5. Three letters of recommendation, one from a clinical supervisor at predoctoral internship.
  6. Official transcripts of graduate studies reflecting attendance at an APA accredited graduate program
  7. Proof of completion of APA accredited internship by August 2021. If the internship has not been completed, please submit a letter from the internship training director stating expected completion date prior to August 31, 2021.
  8. Proof of completion of dissertation by August 2021. If the dissertation has not been completed at the time of application, submit a letter from the dissertation committee chair indicating the expected completion of the oral defense prior to August 31, 2021.

The emphasis area coordinator and the Psychology Training Director select the most qualified candidates for each emphasis area using the following criteria:

  • Relevance of previous training experiences
  • Scope and quality of training experiences in the emphasis area
  • Common clinical, research and program development interests the applicants share with that core to the emphasis area
  • Evidence of personal maturity
  • Openness and thoughtfulness during the interview process
  • Strength of fit between the applicant’s professional goals and the program philosophy, routine practices and resources
  • Availability of strong references from professionals who know the applicant well

For inquiries please e-mail Dr. Sherer at  

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
USC/UCEDD Mental Health Program, MS #115
4650 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer. Applications from bilingual Spanish candidates and members of underrepresented groups are specifically encouraged.