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Argosy, Tampa - Psy.D / Lawsuit

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Ikusama, May 16, 2010.

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  1. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    Hello!

    I just started the Psy.D program at Tampa, Argosy and came upon this lawsuit information about a week later. Honestly, it terrifies me. Can I get some insight and opinions on this situation and the level to which I should be presently panicking?

    http://www.magerlawyers.com/20090714172408593.pdf

    Thanks,


    J
  2. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    I dont have time to read through all that, but Argosy has a low rep nationwide and has been targeted for its "recruiting" practices, poor match rates, ridiculous cost (considering what you will most likely make when you get out), etc.

    Most here are not advocates of the professional school model really, but this doesn't mean that you cant get good training there. Many do II'm sure. There are many threads here dealing with this issue. Seek outside opps, fight tooth and nail for solid clinical placements, make connections, be a proactive student-researcher (since opps for research in your program might be somewhat limited).

    PS: I read through some of the allegations against the prac supervisor in that memo. Some are so off the wall, its difficult to believe. Don't what to make of all that. However, it is clear, that among many other dubious practices and less than stellar outcomes that i mentioned above, Argosy was obviously not very supportive of this students' concerns. Whether or not all thats true really isn't the point for me. To me, it just reinforces that Argosy has a habit of "farming out" its students as slave labor for various agencies and then claims this as solid clinical training. This is a dubious practice in and of itself.
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  3. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    Thank you for your reply. I will continue to browse the forums on this topic. As you would imagine, this information was a bit on the shocking side.

    Take care.
  4. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    They also have received complaints about their Dallas program, per the recent Frontline report about for-profit universities. Traditional universities are not immune from lawsuits, though I'd be cautious based on the most current reports.
  5. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    Looks like you have some thinking to do about that.

    Good luck!

    Mark
  6. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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  7. aagman01

    aagman01

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    Wow: Was not aware that Goldman Sachs is a co-owner of Argosy. I doubt GOldman would get involved with ownership of schools UNLESS they are a highly profitable enterprise. Wonder where the school places priorities - profit or training rigor. I would put my money on the former. Interesting.

  8. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    I should probably move my thread back to the original one, but it doesn't appear that the conversation there has been recently updated. I am probably missing something, though, since I'm new to the idea of writing in threads.

    I wasn't aware that Goldman had a stake in Argosy, either - but I'm not concerned with the idea that Argosy subscribes to capitalism and wants to make a buck. I don't think an education and profit have to be mutually exclusive. I'm more concerned with the accusations leveled against the faculty and administration at Argosy, Tampa. More specifically, I'm concerned with the accusations related to the ethics practiced at the school.

    The stigma that follows Argosy, however, is something that I'm going to have to learn to cope with. I know my capabilities as a student and I know several successful clinicians that have graduated from this program. Education, often times, is what you put into it.

    That being said, I'm still scared after reading that 92-page complaint.
  9. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    The Dallas program is a different issue. That was a complete and total disaster. They actually had the audacity to LIE to their students about attempting to obtain their APA accreditation. As the students continued to ask questions about the process during their tenure there, they were constantly shut down. As it turns out: The school NEVER attempted to obtain their accreditation and had were blatantly dishonest throughout.

    That's shady with a capital "S."
  10. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    I dont want to Argosy bash, but i do want to know what you think of your programs training models/habits. Are Argosy students really farmed out like that with absolutely no oversight or affiliation with the school? We have external pracs of course, but they are tightly controlled and monitored, and usually academically affiliated with our school or a med school (the VAs, state hospitals, university hospitals, etc).
  11. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    Unfortunately, I am not in the position yet to draw any conclusions on the program based on personal experience. I am extremely new to the program, as I just joined this summer semester. I'm at a point now where I have very minimal investment, both time and money-wise, and need to make a decision on furthering my endeavor at this school.

    I am meeting tonight with an individual who has been in the program for a year to talk to her about her experiences and to get a better feel for the learning environment. I'm trepidatious to say the least.

    I've read compelling argument from both sides of the coin about the merits of a profit-driven school, as well as Argosy, specifically. The internship placement at this school does appear promising, but after having read the lengthy legal complaint, I have an awful lot to think about. There are two sides to every argument, though.
  12. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm not sure if you are into research, but I was at a conference a couple of years ago and the presenters next to me were from Argosy-Tampa. We chatted throughout the day and they seemed pretty happy with the program (on track to apply for internship, etc). I asked about research support, and they said they were working with someone, but most of their cohort wasn't into research/presenting as much.

    I would ask the administration and faculty directly about your concerns. I'd ask specifically about practica sites and support/oversight by the program office because you want to make sure you are there to train and not slave labor. Some people may not be as forward, but you are about to commit a significant amount of time/money to them, and you don't want to leave any concerns unaddressed.
  13. hamsterpants

    hamsterpants

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    Are any of the faculty named in the lawsuit still teaching at the school? I think that would say a lot about the administration's attitude and whether anything has possibly changed for the better.
  14. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    Thank you very much for your insight and thoughtful post. I wanted to talk to the students before addressing the faculty. I have a background in academics, of which was entirely theory-based. A portion of me is happy to escape an education that is solely based in theory & research. The rest of me understands the necessity for this even within a clinical program. This is a concern of mine, as well as the issue of ethics and practices within the program. I won't participate in a "questionable" fashion to obtain a degree, or anything else for that matter.

    I want to this one-year student to get her opinion before I go any further and speak to the faculty. It's weird that this (Argosy stigma / lawsuit) is *just* now coming up due to my happy-fun-time Google(ing) last night. During our orientation, one of the professors had a few ominous statements where she clearly wanted to allude to something without actually saying it. One of her comments was to "avoid the rumor mill."
  15. progter

    progter

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    Personally, after reading most of that complaint. I'd never step foot on that campus especially if you are qualified enough to get in somewhere else.

    Why risk 100k+ of debt when you saw the writing on the wall from the beginning?

    Speaking to a student who has been there only 1 year won't do you much good. You should seek out 4th or 5th year students.
  16. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    I am probably qualified to get into other programs. I applied to 8 programs, but only this one for the summer since I live in Tampa.

    You make a good point. I will try and contact a ~4th year student.
  17. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    Bad news there: My class on Thursday is literally with someone named in the complaint. Yay!
  18. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    I do want to clarify that while the lawsuit is alarming, I don't take it as gospel. Hell, I don't even take gospel as gospel. :)
  19. progter

    progter

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    what does your gut tell you?
  20. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    It tells me that I'm in serious trouble, but to make the best of what will probably prove to be an ugly situation. If Chicago takes me, I'm there. If they do not, I may still have to take a five year / $150K gamble.

    Basically, my gut is currently telling me I'm screwed and otherwise been mislead.
  21. RileyG

    RileyG School of Hard Knocks

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    If this is true, why stay there? You don't HAVE to stay there. You aren't stuck. If you really believe you're screwed if you stay there, I'd say get out while you've only invested one semester. If you're feeling mislead before you've even completed one semester imagine how much worse it will feel once you've invested the whole 5 years and $150K. RUN!
  22. Ikusama

    Ikusama

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    I'm going to go ahead and fight through this summer semester. I applied to the summer semester in Tampa only because I live here. I applied to multiple other schools for the fall semester and will pick up and move if /when I get accepted to those schools.

    Honestly, you couldn't be more right - simply put, this isn't going to pan out well. I discussed the program with a student who had been in the program for 1-2 years and her description of the program, professors and student-professor interactions can't be summed up without extensive cursing.

    The people who were cited in the lawsuit have either left the school entirely (per example, the president) or have stepped down from their administrative positions and are now back to teaching. I'm going to heed advice and "fly under the radar" for the time being. As of now, I'm just waiting and holding my breath that another school takes me.

    You're right, I don't *have* to go here - I do have to pursue my "dream" for a lack of better words, of becoming a therapist, though.

    What a glorious disaster. One of the professors, during orientation, clearly made a few statements where she was purposely alluding to negative information relating to the program without saying what she meant. At one point the phrase, "Don't get caught up in the rumor mill," came up. That was one of several ominous, childish and unprofessional statements.

    Oh joy.
  23. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Thats a facinating way of handling students' (and other professionals) concerns of poor training and ethical misconduct-"Um...just ignore it. Dont think about it, dont have an indepedent mind, or seek other views or opinions about this program. Just trust us."

    Thats authoratarian enough to raise a red flag for me.
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  24. jnine

    jnine

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    "Don't caught up in the rumor mill" actually sounds like good advice. That said, lawsuits don't exactly count as the rumor mill. Nor does it make good advice if intended as a smoke screen. The suit's allegations do paint a horrible picture of Argosy. However, There are at least two sides to the story. Ikusama should run for the hills but we should probably avoid temptation to be Argosy's judge, jury, and executioner.



    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  25. Rivi

    Rivi

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    Summary:

    "Defendants engaged in wrongful, arbitrary, and capricious conduct after Ms. Hamel (an Argosy Psy. D. student with outstanding credentials) quite properly reported certain violations of federal law and blatant acts of copyright infringement occurring at University facilities (unlawful acts that were in fact being encouraged by University agents and employees) and had informed many of the named Defendants of the unsafe conditions confronting an unsupervised University student sent to the jail to perform therapeutic services on inmates."

    When Ms. Hamel reported these incidents, allegedly the administration engaged in a "massive cover-up," which included defaming her and tried to expel her based on "trumped-up, fabricated charges." The University and other defendants later admitted that they behaved unethically and fraudulently, and offered her a one credit refund. When Ms. Hamel refused the refund, they expelled her.
  26. Ollie123

    Ollie123

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    Some of the things are so outrageous its almost comical. If any of my practica supervisors ever insist I sit in my underwear in their office so they can use my clothes, there are a number of possible reactions I might have that vary in appropriateness and legality, but actually agreeing to do it would never even occur to me...

    I'm sure this is one-sided, but if even 25% of it is true it is still horrifying.
  27. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    If they admitted to even some of that.....ouch.
  28. Neuropsych2be

    Neuropsych2be

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    Where is APA in all this. Shouldn't this be something the COA should be investigating?
  29. medium rare

    medium rare Psychologist & Psych NP

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    I went to a very reputable, university-based PsyD program and received excellent training. Over the course of my tenure, we had 4 students transfer into the program from freestanding, for-profit PsyD programs - one from Forest, and 3 from various Argosy campuses. They all told eye-opening and disturbing stories about their experiences there, enough so that I would never want to be associated with any of those programs if what they said was even remotely true.

    I know folks who have gone through those programs and they seem to be competent. But, they have shared with me that they do feel they have to continuously overcome the stigma of their alma maters when people ask where they went to school. Some have even shared that they were certain they didn't get a particular job because of where they received their doctorate. As far as I can tell from musings at professional conventions/gatherings, Argosy is the bottom-of-the-barrel, reputation wise.

    So, can you get decent training at Argosy? Probably. But, do you want to put yourself among that group and deal with the potential stigma for the rest of your career? Especially when you are still early enough in your graduate education that you can transfer or re-apply elsewhere?
  30. hamsterpants

    hamsterpants

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    To me personally, that is the biggest red flag. I think the only way to deal with the situation would be to let the students know of the allegations (so they don't have to find out online) and then let them know what the university was doing to clear up the situation. Otherwise, it's kinda shady. It's bad enough that those named in the lawsuit are still teaching there, but that could be addressed if the university was open about the state of things. It seems your first year would be stressful enough without worrying about all this garbage.
  31. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    It is worth clarifying that the university faculty and officials most likely aren't allowed to comment on pending litigation. With that being said, they should at least address the issue by saying they are doing everything to ensure that the education is up to the highest standards and that the ethical codes of practice are taken seriously. I'd be concerned if they weren't up front about it, as it'd be naive to think students would not find out about it.

    *edit: I wasn't braining too good, so I fixed some grammatical issues*
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  32. phillydave

    phillydave Doctoral Student

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    Sounds a lot more like a profit-driven corporation performing a cover-up than a doctoral program...
  33. ComeTogether

    ComeTogether

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    Check out http://tampastudents.net

    Advice: stay under the radar and don't be surprised by anything. Questioning and free thinking (or any thinking for that matter) are not well received.

    Don't just look at the internship placement rates. Look at the cohort attrition rates too http://tampastudents.net/AttritionAndInternshipDataArgosy.htm. Far too many students never get to the internship despite excellent grades and reviews and field work. This is VERY important! This comes from experience as a former student in serious debt with no degree...despite excellent grades and reviews and field work.

    Good luck and tread carefully.
  34. Argosy Parent

    Argosy Parent

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    To whom it may concern:

    IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL

    CASE NO.: 09 11228
    DIVISION K

    CASEY HAMEL,
    Plaintiff,

    v.

    EDUCATION MANAGEMENT, LLC a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDUCATION MANAGEMENT HOLDINGS, LLC,
    which is wholly-owned by EDUCATION MANAGEMENT CORPORATION; ARGOSY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INC.; ARGOSY EDUCATION GROUP, INC.;

    MELANIE STORMS, Psy.D; JAMES HARLOW, Psy.D; JEANNE PETERSON, Psy.D; KATHIE BATES, Ph.D;
    KATHERINE McKay, Ph.D; KRISTEN HUDACEK, Psy.D; CRAIG SWENSON, Ph.D; and MICHAEL FALOTICO, Psy.D.
    Defendants.

    From: The Hamel Family
    Although we remain convinced that our daughter was not treated fairly by Argosy University Tampa, after considerable time, expense, and effort, we have been unable to document or uncover any pattern of abuse of students or other wrongful conduct on the part of the Tampa campus or the University as a whole. Although our daughter's experience was not a positive one, it appears that her experience was not typical, and we apologize if we dissuaded any potential students from considering Argosy based on our postings to this site.
  35. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    sounds like you were ordered to apologize. while there may or may not be sytematic abuses, these programs deserve higher scrutiny (along with other loan driven businesses). No apology needed.
  36. Student4Life0

    Student4Life0

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    agreed. i think this is quite a sad occurance, and forgive me for the following strong statement (which is only one woman's opinion), but i still am convinced that argosy is a joke.
  37. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    It's not a joke, it's theft.
  38. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

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    It doesn't matter if this was systematic abuse or not. The fact that they did this to one person is enough for me.
  39. Student4Life0

    Student4Life0

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    yup. it is down right disgusting is what it is.
  40. PositivpsychSue

    PositivpsychSue

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    Every institution, academic or otherwise, will get sued at some point. However, in this case, I can't say that the Hamel suit is unjustified. How does any university, for profit or non-profit, get away with treating educated, intelligent, and experienced adults in this manner? First, financial investment. Most people move for graduate school, pay for applications, pay to take the GRE's, etc. By the time a student starts a program they are already financially invested. Also dropping out, even in the first semester, means reapplying to other programs and adding another year to the process (not to mention wasted tuition). Second, the abuse by faculty doesn't happen on day one...it's a gradual process. Third, the grievance process is for show; students have no real power to make changes or address concerns. Students who make efforts to be assertive or stand up for their rights are made examples of. Fourth, students are AFRAID. Fear is the most powerful tool in oppressive systems. Most students are aware that expressing concerns or complaints will be turned around to reflect poorly upon them (not unlike victims being made to feel ashamed and responsible for the abuse they are subjected to). Also, students are afraid that by seeking support from outsiders, the quality of their degree and training will be called into question or worse, they will be punished and will not graduate despite all of their hardwork and invested time and money. I don't think Argosy Tampa has training issues or low standards-in my opinion their expectations are often unreasonable and the standards require superhuman abilities (which is not a good thing). Over-all, they produce competent, caring, and ethical clinicians because there are competent, caring, and ethical people going into the program. However, the way in which students are treated is deplorable and the faculty should be held accountable for their actions. Hopefully this lawsuit will engender policy changes and a balance of power at this insititution. As a profession, we need to support our junior colleagues...problems of abuse in graduate programs are not limited to Argosy, Tampa or to for-profit schools. We teach empowerment and yet many students all over the country are still afraid to report harrassment, abuse, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  41. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Cryptic post, Sue. But beware the jaded first-time poser, right?
    1) I have no doubt Argosy is probably not nearly as intimate and supportive as a traditional program where the student body is smaller and the mentor model prevails, but your dark comparison to abuse victims comes off as very melodramatic.

    2. Please trust me. Argosy standards are not "superhuman".... I think most med school students and resident physicians would laugh in your face at this comment.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  42. KayJay85

    KayJay85

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    Huh? With all due respect, PositivePsychSue doesn't seem to be the jaded one. I think she (assuming) made some great points about students rallying against this type of abuse, regardless of the particular program. I'm at a clinical phd program--not super fancy but well respected--and have heard of a few cases of students feeling intimidated by supervisors. I can only imagine it is even worse at larger programs with less individual support and it maybe does take superhuman effort to succeed in such an environment.
  43. Student4Life0

    Student4Life0

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    With Argosy's ridiculously high acceptance rates, I highly doubt that there's anything superhuman about the majority of it's students.
  44. KayJay85

    KayJay85

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    Touche. However, in the larger context of the comment I thought she was saying that it takes superhuman ability to thrive in that environment. I can only say that is difficult for people in my program to stand up for themselves (at least in the very few instances I've had firsthand knowledge of) even though we have fair and invested mentors and administrative leadership in place. So I can only imagine it is far worse at a mega program like Argosy. But hey, nitpicking semantics is not my forte. I actual find it to be an infuriating personality trait that does nothing to promote meaningful dialogue. I will leave it at that.
  45. PositivpsychSue

    PositivpsychSue

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    I'm remiss that the points taken from my post are so far off from the message I was trying to convey. My post was in response to the Hamel case and the allegation of abuse (yes, she is alleging harassment and abuse of power so I think the word "abuse" is appropriate). It's unfortunate that an argument of the quality of students at Argosy Tampa has again been brought into the forefront...regardless of your personal views on this particular institution; I don't believe that ANY students should be treated in the manner outlined in the lawsuit. By superhuman, I indeed meant to endure the challenges of graduate school on top of gross mistreatment. I'm not clear on what "beware the jaded first time poser" comment is suggesting, but it certainly does not come across as welcoming or respectful. Is the purpose of this site to communicate with colleagues or to find ways to attack posts from others? I've attended three graduate programs throughout my career, all of which are in NY (which does not have an Argosy campus in case you are inferring I am a graduate of that school). I supervise pre-doc interns from all over the country and base my perspectives on grad schools from my and their experiences. I'm interested in supporting all of our junior colleagues, regardless of their place of study. Attacking students and specific institutions is not going to engender change. We need to come together as colleagues and support each other in addressing concerns and problems head on. Perhaps Ms. Hamel's case is an example of how support and encouragement from multiple sources (both internal and external) may have prevented her situation from escalating into a lawsuit and the destruction of a young professional's career. These situations are not isolated to this campus and I feel we have a professional responsibility to let students know that they are supported when they are mistreated, discriminated against, etc. Going to grad school should be challenging and difficult, but harassment and abuse should not be part of that challenge.
  46. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Agree. Given that, what program attributes are most likely to foster harassment and abuse?
  47. O Gurl

    O Gurl

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    Kudos to PositivpsychSue.

    In response to the above question by Jon Snow, I can see two sides to that question. One is regarding programmatic attributes, in which case larger programs with less hands on oversight of practicum activities would appear to pose the greater risk. The other is the general nature of the psychology training model, in which case threat could extend to ANY graduate program or training site where power differentials exist. So even at a smaller program, internship sites, and even post-doctoral sites, the trainee's future is largely in the hands of the person with the power to recommend them, provide connections for them, pass/fail their thesis/dissertation, or evaluate them. Therefore the threat of harassment or abuse is ever present. So I have to concur that the discussion should be more about the issues and less about the program. :luck:
  48. edieb

    edieb Senior Member

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    Man, this thread isanother example of psychology circling its wagons and shooting inward.

    I post a thread on an advocacy issue that, if addressed, would significantly benefit psychology and our careers, and it is almost ignored. However, if someobody posts something about a professional school, then everybody piles on...

    I don't see psychiatry talking about all the Caribbean medical schools and their very low standards for admission. We need to work together to better the profession. Could our infighting and lack of advocacy be why we are paid so little?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  49. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Your advocacy post was a good one. I'm always happy to see those.


    Does psychiatry garner over half of their new practitioners from Caribbean medical schools?
  50. DrGero

    DrGero

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    I don't know if it's "over half," but it looks like IMG (international medical graduate) participation is rapidly growing in the field of psychiatry:

    http://ap.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/27/4/269#F1

    http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/156/3/445

    Looks to me like around 30-40 % of psychiatrists in the US come from international medical programs at this point (whether Caribbean or not, I DK). However, I'm not sure, I just glanced at these articles.

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