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Spotlight on a Great Trainee Orientation Technique

Our MHTP training sites offer a vast array of rich training experiences for trainees each year. However, sometimes trainees experience something so helpful during the training year that they want to share it with the entire training community. This was the case this year for Santa Rosa Doctoral Intern, Emily Flato.

Emily and her fellow trainees in Santa Rosa began their 2023/2024 training experience with an orientation to the local community via a presentation by training staff called “Portrait of Sonoma County”. These Santa Rosa trainees reported that learning about the community they would be serving was an excellent start to the training year and they urge other Training Directors and Clinical Supervisors to consider providing this sort of orientation to their own trainees. In her article, Doctoral Intern, Emily Flato, describes the “Portrait of Sonoma County” presentation and introduces us to the training staff who developed it.

The Portrait of Sonoma County is a training presented by Richard Von Feldt, PsyD, and Lauren Meyers, AMFT to this year’s doctoral psychology trainees at Kaiser, Santa Rosa. The training was designed to help new hires and trainees of the mental health department gain a better understanding of the patient population with which they will be working. This presentation recognized that not everyone who works at Santa Rosa is familiar with Sonoma County and aimed to provide information that gives accurate historical, social justice-oriented, anti-racist, and patient-centered to incoming clinicians about the populations they will be serving. The presentation also touched upon historical, cultural factors, and shared trauma that still very much impacts the residents of Sonoma County, such as the Tubbs Fire which destroyed over 2,800 homes in 2017. Through metrics such as the American Human Development Index, Dr. Richard Von Feldt and Lauren Meyers were able to paint a comprehensive picture of the type of challenges patients from different areas of Sonoma County face and the services they seek.

Richard VonFeldtDr. Richard Von Feldt is a licensed psychologist specializing in addiction. He had successful past careers in the international auction business, branding, and marketing. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Dr. Von Feldt was inspired to pursue a career in psychology and dedicated his life to helping others. His contributions to this field and to training the next generations of psychologists include serving as a regional leader in Kaiser’s Performance Excellence Group as well as Clinical Training Director for both predoctoral and postdoctoral residents. He is a founding member of Panaptic, an organization dedicated to protecting young people from the long-term damage of early cannabis use through its preventive education solutions.  Dr. Von Feldt continues to provide valuable training to early-career psychologists and trainees at Kaiser, Santa Rosa with an emphasis on career development.

Lauren MeyersLauren Meyers began her career at Kaiser, Santa Rosa, as a Post Masters Fellow in 2021 and has been a Sonoma County local for more than 30 years. Given her familiarity with the local communities, Lauren was invited to collaborate on The Portrait of Sonoma County presentation and subsequent training. Lauren is passionate about supporting new clinicians and helping with training the next generation of mental health professionals. She enjoys creating presentations and content for colleagues and patients. Aside from The Portrait of Sonoma County presentation, Lauren has assisted in the creation of a social media literacy training and a class for caregivers of gender-expansive teenagers. Lauren’s creativity extends outside of her professional development, she enjoys being creative in cooking, candle making, and crafting in her free time.

Contributed by Emily Flato, Doctoral Intern, Santa Rosa, Trainee JEDI Liaison

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