UCLA Steve Tisch – Clinical Sports Neuropsychology Fellowship
Clinical Neuropsychology of Brain Injury and Sports Concussions Track
This fellowship track is one of several available through the UCLA Semel Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, and is part of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, a multidisciplinary and comprehensive center for concussion management. This partnership allows fellows in this track to take on leadership roles in providing clinical care, research opportunities (laboratory and clinical), community outreach, and education. Graduates of this track will be prepared to meet the pressing need for timely, evidence-informed, comprehensive assessment and treatment of this growing population.
- The program has a primary clinical emphasis designed to prepare its graduates for the independent clinical practice of neuropsychology as a specialty, with additional clinical and research expertise working with sports related concussions as well as more severe head injuries.
- The track also meets the guidelines for APA’s Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40), preparing fellows for a path towards Board Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology.
- This fellowship provides exposure to a multidisciplinary team (including neurology, occupational therapy, sports medicine, and clinical dietician), and provides trainees a significant amount of protected time (~30%) to participate in clinical research in concussion/head injury.
Current research projects include:
- A brief remote cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention with biofeedback for individuals with persistent post-concussion symptoms.
- Several multi-site clinical research programs found on our website.
- Basic science research programs in coordination with the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center.
- Approximately 50% of the fellow’s time will be spent providing direct clinical services.
- ~30% of clinical hours will be spent working in a multidisciplinary team, providing brief neuropsychological screens in concussion clinic as well as psychotherapy and multidisciplinary intervention for patients with a history of concussion.
- The remainder of the clinical hours (~20%) will include taking a general neuropsychology clinical case (roughly 1 complex/pediatric or 2 brief evaluations a month) through UCLA Semel Institute’s Medical Psychology Assessment Center (MPAC), providing the fellow exposure to greater clinical breadth and a more well-rounded training.
- Fellowship training also involves a rich, weekly didactic curriculum (~20%) including lectures on Functional Neuroanatomy, Neuropsychology Syndromes, and Professional Development. Fellows have the opportunity to take part in Wada procedures, observing brain-cutting didactics, cortical grid-mapping, and language mapping.
For information about the application process, salary, benefits, and the UCLA Semel Institute’s fellowship program as a whole, visit the Medical Psychology Assessment Center webpage.
Past Tisch BrainSPORT Fellows
Jesse Fisher, PhD
UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Fellow ‘21
Dr. Fischer is a Los Angeles native who earned his B.A. in Psychology and minored in Kinesiology at Occidental College. As a collegiate football player, Dr. Fischer's passion in sports concussion and traumatic brain injury grew out of a desire to help athletes return to competition and continue to reach their goals in and out of sports. Following these interests, he trained at the UCLA BrainSPORT Program before completing his doctoral degree in the neuropsychology track of the clinical psychology program at University of Houston. While at UH, Dr. Fischer investigated sleep, depression, anxiety, and self-regulation difficulties following pediatric traumatic brain injury, as well as related changes in white matter circuitry. Clinical settings at UH included inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, as well as general and integrated outpatient placements. He completed his predoctoral internship in pediatric neuropsychology at the UCLA Semel Institute, and is thrilled to have re-joined the BrainSPORT program as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Fischer's research interests focus on neural correlates of neuropsychological sequelae following TBI, as well as interventions to enhance recovery from sports concussion and more severe TBI.
Doug Polster, PhD
Clinical Instructor, UCLA Department of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Neuropsychology Div.
UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Fellow ‘17
Doug Polster is sports neuropsychologist and Clinical Instructor in the Division of Neuropsychology within the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology, with an emphasis in sports and health psychology, from Nova Southeastern University in 2015. He completed his predoctoral internship at Broward Health Medical Center and went on to pursue a specialization in sports neuropsychology on his postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program. While on fellowship, Dr. Polster created and implemented a novel treatment program designed at assisting athletes with prolonged post-concussion symptoms with successful return to their sport. His approach combines traditional sports psychological treatment with exercise therapy in order to help his patients regain control over their recovery. He has also been active in the development of a research protocol designed to provide home-based treatment for individuals with prolonged post-concussion symptoms. Dr. Polster has been an athlete for his entire life and brings his passion for sports into every clinical visit. As a former basketball player at Johns Hopkins University, he understands the competitive nature of sports as well as the desire to return to play after injury. He remains active within the athletic community and serves as the director of a local fitness club whose mission is to inspire health and happiness through collective fitness.
Aliyah Snyder, PhD
UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Fellow ‘19
Dr. Aliyah Snyder is the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellow. She specializes in brain injury and sports concussion at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Snyder received her doctoral degree in the neuropsychology track of the clinical and health psychology program at the University of Florida. While at UF, she completed a predoctoral training fellowship in clinical and translational science (CTSI TL1) and founded Athlete Brain, a student-run organization dedicated to promoting concussion safety and awareness in the community. She completed her predoctoral internship at the Emory University School of Medicine in the adult and pediatric neuropsychology track. Dr. Snyder competed as a varsity coxswain on the men’s rowing team as an undergraduate at Florida Institute of Technology and then went on to coach rowing at the high-school and collegiate levels before competing internationally as a skeleton athlete. Dr. Snyder’s research interests and experience include translational models of post-injury neuroplasticity, biobehavioral interventions to enhance recovery from concussion, and prevention of persistent post-concussion syndrome.