After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Temple University, Nicholas Hope began studying for his Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). His long-standing love of research pushed him to pursue opportunities to conduct research relating to his chosen career path.
Recently, I worked on a project with Michelle Lent, PhD, associate professor, clinical psychology, wherein we studied bariatric surgery patients who died postoperatively as a result of accidental overdose or intentional self-harm. We were looking for patterns of characteristics among these patients to provide insight into who may be at risk for overdose or self-harm after bariatric surgery for healthcare providers working with these patients.
Although I am primarily focused on practicing psychology, research has been a very important part of my professional training. Since completing my master’s degree, I have wanted to have as many opportunities to be involved in research as I could. When I met with Dr. Lent, I found her work to be extremely interesting and I was excited to be a part of her team conducting research.
While in undergrad I was a research assistant with the Strengthening Families Program at Penn State. While completing my master’s degree, I served as a research assistant in oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. From there, I briefly served as a research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Center.
During my time at PCOM, I have worked with Dr. Lent as well as Brad Rosenfield, PsyD, practicum coordinator, clinical psychology, Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, chair, clinical psychology PsyD program, and Donald Masey, PsyD, clinical associate professor, clinical psychology, on various projects within the realm of health psychology and neuropsychology. My current dissertation is focusing on developing a brief cognitive-behavioral intervention aimed at addressing modifiable risk factors to Alzheimer’s disease.
Essentially, I was responsible for reviewing patient data and records to collect information on the characteristics that we were examining. These characteristics included age, sex, time to surgery, weight loss expectations, postoperative weight loss, medication, diagnoses, psychiatric histories (diagnoses, self-harm, suicidal ideation and behaviors, medications, substance use, preoperative Beck Depression Inventory-II scores), pain, social support, and reported life stressors. After this data was collected and recorded, I worked with the team to write and edit the manuscript.
This research was focused on gaining a better understanding of any underlying risk factors or patterns associated with self-harm and overdose so people with these risk factors could be better monitored by their healthcare provider(s). Additionally, this information would aid in the recruitment and evaluation of certain bariatric surgery patients.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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