What will happen to the ‘New York 22’?
Last year, when 22 state-paid doctoral interns in and around
New York City were threatened with pink slips, APA and
APAGS rallied psychologists and psychology students to
protest. More than 3,200 emails and letters poured in to
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office urging the state
to honor its contracts with the interns and emphasizing
the value of mental health care they provide in poor and
That advocacy was part of the reason the psychology
interns kept their jobs.
“It was humbling to know that so many people did pay
attention and that this did strike a nerve,” says APAGS
Assistant Director Eddy Ameen.
The response also humbled Silvia Fiammenghi, whose
internship at Bronx Psychiatric Center was threatened. When the
cuts were announced, her supervisors and colleagues scrambled
to find a way for her to complete her required internship. Their
efforts were backed by thousands of strangers.
“That really meant a lot,” says Fiammenghi. “There was a sense
that this wasn’t fair, but that I wasn’t going through it alone.”
But she will, perhaps, be among the last psychology interns
at Bronx Psychiatric, which cut its program because of funding
problems. Two more of the “New York 22” sites also lost funding
and are out of the 2013 match: Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in
Queens and Hudson River Regional Hospital in Rockland. The
result? Eight fewer internships in a system that’s struggling to
meet psychology graduate students’ demand.
“It’s a big loss,” says Fiammenghi, who provided inpatient care
So, while the New York 22 goes down as one of psychology’s
in a long-term unit and had two outpatient clients. “This has
been in place for many years and it’s a great program.”
Those lost positions, compounded with the handful of
other internships that disappear each year, make it harder for
psychology graduate students to get the training they need, says
APAGS Associate Executive Director Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD.
Last year, about 22 percent of students who submitted rank order
lists did not match to internships, and an additional 7 percent
withdrew before the match. Over time, the internship shortage
could reduce the quality of mental health care in the United
States and indefinitely strand hundreds of would-be psychologists
in higher education, he adds. “The loss of individual internship
sites and positions is the other intern crisis we face every year,” El-
victories, the greater fight over securing enough internships for
students continues. To help advocate for psychology and mental
health training in the United States, visit the APA Legislative
Action Center, and consider joining the APAGS Advocacy
Coordinating Team, a group of graduate students who work to
inform and mobilize other grad students.
Word on the Tweet
“Addressing #healthcare without
paying attention to #mentalhealth
= a recipe for failure”
– Ben Miller, PsyD @miller7
“Just returned from a phenomenal vacation in Big
Sky Country! Think many child psychologists are
needed in Glacier NP? Maybe? Hopefully?!”
– Laura Kauffman, PhD @ChildPsych
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