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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center


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DC WRIISC Neuropsychology Fellowship


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The DC War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) is located within the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The DC WRIISC provides a second opinion for Veterans with difficult-to-diagnose war-related illnesses and injuries that are nationally referred and admitted to the Neurology Service at the Medical Center. The neuropsychology fellowship program trains neuropsychologists to develop an advanced understanding of brain-behavior relationships; to develop advanced skills in neuropsychological evaluation and consultation; to develop and implement a feasible research project within the time constraints of the fellowship; and to learn to interpret, adapt, and incorporate new clinical research findings from the literature, in order to improve assessment validity and treatment effectiveness. The fellowship also offers opportunities for training in the rehabilitation of neuropsychological concerns.

The fellow will conduct in-depth neuropsychological examinations of combat-era Veterans as part of a multidisciplinary team for patients with debilitating symptoms that remain unexplained after medical examinations by local VA medical centers. Diagnoses are made when possible, and recommendations for management of the Veteran's medical problems are given to the referring medical center. The fellow will participate in ongoing research and will be responsible for initiating his or her own research project.

Clinical Overview

Throughout the course of the two-year post-doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology, the fellow will be provided with opportunities and training to develop a strong foundation of knowledge and skills pertinent to advanced clinical practice in neuropsychology. Through a variety of training-related activities, the fellow will learn fundamentals of neuroanatomy, neuropathology, and neuropsychological assessment. The neuropsychology fellow will be integrated into the WRIISC clinical team, and will develop skills working in an interdisciplinary setting, providing consultation to providers with varied backgrounds. The WRIISC evaluation is multidisciplinary and focuses on the particular problems of each Veteran. The neuropsychological assessment is often a critical component of the evaluation, and the feedback provided by the neuropsychology fellow to the Veteran is quite valuable.

Although the fellow's clinical assignment is with WRIISC, the fellow will also see clinical patients through the general medical center neuropsychology program as well as in the Polytrauma Service. This experience will provide the fellows with a broad exposure to a diverse patient population (e.g., Veterans ages 18 to 85) with a variety of presenting concerns (e.g., traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, dementia, etc.). This exposure is essential for the fellow's general development as a clinical neuropsychologist.

Research Overview

The research component of the fellowship is designed to provide advanced training in health care research related to war-related illnesses and injuries. Fellows will have the opportunity to enhance their research skills through a variety of educational, mentoring, and training activities. Fellows will become involved in at least one project relevant to the WRIISC that may involve programmatic research, research that informs VA policy, environmental exposure research, and a variety of other post-deployment topics. In addition, fellows will be encouraged to develop a mentored research project based on their own interests.


  • Matthew J. Reinhard, PsyD
    • WRIISC Director
  • Chris Hansen, PhD
    • Neuropsychologist
    • WRIISC Fellowship Director
  • Ernest Aucone, PhD
    • Neuropsychologist, Mental Health Service
    • Clinical Faculty, Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Jennifer Strang, PhD
    • Neuropsychologist, Mental Health Service
    • Clinical Faculty, Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Kayleigh Hale, PsyD
    • Neuropsychologist, Mental Health Service
    • Clinical Faculty
  • Lauren Skalina, PhD
    • Neuropsychologist, Mental Health Service
    • Clinical Faculty
  • Michelle Costanzo, PhD
    • Neuroscientist
    • Research Director
    • Clinical Faculty
  • Antoinette M. Lomax
    • WRIISC Administrative Officer