University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Fondacaro Elected President-elect of the Association of Psychology Training Clinics

APTC: A Diverse, International and Enduring Voice for Clinical Psychology

Karen Fondacaro, President-elect of APTC (Photo: Sally McCay)

In 2006, when Clinical Professor Karen Fondacaro accepted the position of Director of the Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center (BTPC), the UVM clinical psychology-training clinic, she simultaneously joined the Association of Psychology Training Clinics (APTC). APTC is the national organization for over 180 directors of leading training clinics in psychology. Its members are directors of clinics associated with pre-doctoral graduate training programs in professional psychology – clinical, community, and counseling at nationally-accredited universities. Fondacaro’s extensive involvement in the BTPC clinic, her role as APTC program co-chair, along with her strategic vision for the future development of APTC, prepared her for a viable candidacy for President of the organization. She was recently nominated and elected President-elect of APTC in 2014.

According to department chair Professor William Falls, “Karen has been very involved in this organization and this honor recognizes her creativity and hard work in shepherding our training clinic.  Karen has brought new programs to the clinic, including a program that helps refugees who resettle in Vermont address the trauma associated with their experiences of war in their homelands.  Karen has added an SPA-accredited internship that brings promising young clinical scholars to UVM to complete their doctoral training and, last but not least, Karen has succeeded in running the clinic with the only financial model of its kind in the country; one largely run without substantive University support.”

Fondacaro’s experience in the BTPC at UVM spans 30 years in which she’s been a supervising psychologist, clinic director, global mental health specialist, and co-director of the newly established APA-accredited Clinical Psychology Internship Program (CPIP), co-founded with Dr. James Hudjiak of the Psychiatry Dept. at UVM. As director of the BTPC and co-director of CPIP, she managed their current (501c3) non-profit clinic, maintaining the annual training of over 25 pre-doctoral clinicians, two interns, and two post docs. They have created a unique training model, primarily self-sufficient, with state and federal grants, along with insurance reimbursement for their clinicians. The development and recent accreditation of their internship is a testament to family-based services, and diversity training through the Connecting Cultures program that Fondacaro established in 2007, which serves the mental health needs of refugees from over 25 countries of origin. The Connecting Cultures program currently provides clinical science/evidence-based training with specialty services in 1) refugee mental health; 2) ADHD; 3) Tourette and Tic Disorder; and 4) Clinical Evaluation/ Assessment.

As the APTC Program committee co-chair, Fondacaro was intimately engaged in designing and coordinating the annual meetings, providing innovative strategies to impact the organization through program enhancement and a formal review process of oral and poster presentations. These annual meetings were productive, well organized and attended, and Fondacaro continued to build a strong connection to the members of APTC and the mission of the organization.

Fondacaro's primary goals as President of the organization are consistent with APTC’s mission and include promoting high standards of professional psychology training, facilitating the exchange of information among psychology training clinics both nationally and internationally. Additionally, a future emphasis will be to encourage APTC to be part of the solution regarding the current psychology doctoral internship crisis, to increase diversity, and enhance national and international recognition of the organization.