Over the past two years, Access Institute’s clinical training programs have undergone a series of changes and challenges, including, the development of a new Doctoral Internship, staff and leadership changes and all the organizational obstacles related to COVID-19— treatment, didactic training and supervision all moving to remote platforms (and now back again). While stressful for staff and trainees, these and other trials have moved us to create important new organizational processes, structures and the hiring of key training staff. Change is never easy for an organization and managing change is critical to organizational resilience. Thanks to a dedicated team of staff, board, volunteer supervisors and faculty and our talented interns and fellows, Access Institute’s training programs will continue to meet the highest standards of excellence and will be ready to grow and adapt to meet the needs of a diverse community
We are excited to announce that we have hired Angie Branham, Ph.D. and Halleli Toder, Psy.D. to lead our Doctoral Internship and Postgraduate Fellowship programs. Angie Branham will become our new Director of Training and Halleli Toder, our Director of Community Programs. Both roles have been expanded to 32 hours per week and together will provide teaching, supervision, training and professional development support to our psychology interns and postgraduate fellows as our new training year begins in September 2021.
Angie Branham brings experience teaching and supervising interns and fellows in Bay Area community clinics, including West Coast Children’s Clinic, Oaks Children’s Center, Homeless Children’s Network and the Community Institute for Psychotherapy (CIP). Angie held training director positions at both Oaks and CIP. She has over 14 years of clinical experience working with children, families and adults. She is passionate about teaching psychodynamic theory and practice and understanding how mental health difficulties fit into larger psychological and cultural contexts. She also has a special interest in the study of myth, metaphor, and symbolism in popular culture (including comics and video games) and their practical application in treatment. Before becoming a psychologist, she owned and operated a comic book store in an impoverished part of Kentucky which became a de facto community center for the town.
Halleli Toder’s training and clinical work is also grounded in psychoanalytic theory and community-based clinical practice. Halleli received her doctorate from the Wright Institute and completed her psychology internship at Access Institute where she specialized in the mental health treatment of seniors and worked on-site at the Bayview Hunter’s Point Adult Day Health Center (ADHC). She completed her post-graduate training at the Ann Martin Center, where she worked at an elementary school in the East Bay. Since then, she has worked in private practice and has provided supervision to doctoral students at the Wright Institute and the California Institute of Integral Studies. She also has worked as a staff psychologist at UC Berkeley’s Employee Assistance Program. Throughout her training and professional career, she has been driven by an interest in the overlap among training, community mental health work and psychoanalytically-informed treatment.
Both Angie and Halleli will join Access Institute in August in order to prepare to take the lead when the new cohorts of interns and fellows arrive for orientation in early September. As Director of Training, Angie will be responsible for organizing and leading the overall training experience, including training curriculum, clinical supervision and the professional development of trainees. Halleli will be our liaison to our community-based programs in the San Francisco schools and at the Bayview Hunter’s Point ADHC. She will lead many of the training activities that support the work of our post-graduate fellows who work at those sites. The two of them will also partner with other key training staff, including, Molly Russo, Psy.D. who provides training and supervision in Access Institute’s Assessment Program— where our doctoral interns receive core training— and also oversees the patient intake process; Emily Aviles LCSW, our In-school Therapist working on-site at one of our partner schools and providing supervision in our training programs; and Sam Tucker, MD, our clinic psychiatrist who works directly with patients providing medication evaluation and follow-up and collaborates with our trainees on patient care and supports them in their clinical and professional development. Paulina Gavilanez, Operations Manager, and Sarah Anderson, Accounts Manager provide vital administrative and human resources support to the trainees.
Our new training program staff will need to hit the ground running in September to be ready for a major milestone for the program, the site visit in early October by staff from the American Psychological Association (APA) which will be final step in the accreditation process for our doctoral internship. The doctoral internship was designed to meet APA accreditation standards and this final step will be critical for the future success of the program and for the supporting the professional standing of it’s current and future trainees.
None of these developments would have been possible without the dedicated support of our entire staff, including key members who will be leaving the program at the end of August, including Loong Kwok, Psy.D., Interim Director of Training and Director of Child Services, Gergely Foldesi, Psy.D. Associate Director of Training, Tori Branch, Psy.D., Director of Clinical Services and Anjali George, Ph.D. Director of Elder Services. These four individuals, even as they wrap up their work, have not rested and have remained keenly focused on the needs of the current trainees and ensuring a smooth transition to new leadership. We will miss all of you dearly and we honor your contribution to Access Institute, and through that, all the ways you have made a difference for the community.