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Fellowship in Somatization, Mental Health and Concurrent Disorders - BC Children's Hospital & UBC

Fellowship in SOMATIZATION

BC Children’s Hospital

Full Time Fellowship (1 year) – Start Date between July-October 2023

Mental Health and Concurrent Disorders


The UBC Department of Psychiatry is inviting eligible candidates to apply for a full-time Fellowship in Somatization.



Who the Fellow will work with and what will be the core of their work:

The fellow will work closely with their primary supervisor and interdisciplinary team members including child and adolescent psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, a nurse-clinician, and pediatricians, as well as other clinical and research trainees in psychiatry and psychology. He/she will participate in weekly research and clinic meetings and will have opportunities for involvement in direct clinical care with children and families, dissemination of peer-reviewed research, and knowledge translation for community clinicians and the public.


Details of the clinical/research training experience:

Fellowship Types Available in Program:

þ Combined Clinical and Research/Academic Project Focus

þ Primary Research Focus



Fellowship Training Experiences within Program


Area of Focus: Our program addresses somatization in children and youth (e.g., DSM5 Somatic Symptom Disorder and Conversion Disorder).


Clinical Opportunities:

Clinical training experiences include consultation-liaison, initial diagnostic assessments with children and families, group therapy, and family therapy. Our program is integrating research into clinical activities provided.


Research/Academic Project Opportunities:

The following studies are currently underway. None require full-time research dedication for involvement.

1)    Describe pediatric somatization

-        Observe/conduct diagnostic interviews for new program assessments

-        Determine long-term prognosis of those identified with somatization at BCCH

-        Psychometrically evaluate a new questionnaire to assess somatization

-        Develop a novel research question to be tested using previously collected data on ~200 somatizing youth (13-18 years old) and their parents on variables such as: somatic symptoms, functional disability, healthcare utilization, perceptions of medical events, readiness for change, perceptions of and responses to stress, emotion regulation, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and parent and peer relationships, attachment

2)    Evaluate group therapy for somatization

-        Observe/facilitate the 6 week <<Mind and Body Together>> group, offered 4 times per year to adolescents and parents

-        Evaluate intervention-related changes using multiple waves of quantitative and qualitative data collected (baseline, during, post-intervention, 6-month follow-up) on ~40 families

-        Compare efficacy of virtual to in-person group

-        Develop and evaluate a novel controlled outcome study comparing group to alternative treatment

3)    Evaluate family-based treatments for somatization

-        Observe/conduct attachment-based family therapies (emotionally focused family therapy, dynamic relational therapy) for somatization

-        Evaluate the feasibility of these therapies using quantitative/qualitative two waves of data collected on ~25 families.

-        Contributing to grant writing, developing novel research questions, and selecting measurement tools to support program evaluation

4)    Create animation video for knowledge translation

-        Contributing to the development and wide dissemination of a set of animation videos that will explain pediatric somatization to the general public

-        Developing strategies for evaluating uptake and impact of the video


Other Potential Opportunities:

1)    Threat-related attention bias study (involving neurocognitive assessment)

2)    Systematic literature reviews and opinion pieces for publication

3)    Development and evaluation of knowledge translation activities (e.g., educational modules, national practice standards, treatment guidelines, and handbooks for community physicians, mental health clinicians, and school professionals)

4)    Supervision and teaching of junior research assistants and clinical trainees


Please direct any inquiries about the clinic or fellowship training opportunity to:

Amrit Dhariwal, PhD, RPsych

  • Titles: Clinical Assistant Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Subspecialty

Program, UBC Medicine

Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Staff Psychologist, Teaching & Consultation Clinic, BCCH

  • Email:
  • Areas of Interest: Dr. Dhariwal is a clinician-researcher at BC Children’s Hospital where she focuses her time on developing, providing, and evaluating psychological treatments. Her current interests address alleviating somatization in children and teens. Her expertise extends to attachment-based treatments spanning the period between infancy and adulthood. She holds an appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia where she teaches about psychotherapy for pediatric populations. She regularly provides teaching, clinical supervision, and mentorship to psychiatry residents and fellows, predoctoral clinical psychology students, and post-doctoral psychology fellows.


Teaching Faculty and Interdisciplinary Team Members:


Andrea Chapman, MD, FRCPC

  • Medical Director, Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Clinic, BCCH
  • Clinical Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Program, UBC Medicine
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Consultation Liaison Service, BCCH


Joanna McKay, RN, BPN

  • Nurse Clinician, Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service, BCCH


Ashley Miller, MD, FRCPC

  • Senior Medical Director of Academics, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Subspecialty Program, UBC Medicine
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Teaching & Consultation Clinic, BCCH


Kelly Saran, BSc, BEd, MD, FRCPC

  • Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Teaching & Consultation Clinic, BCCH
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Program, UBC Medicine


Tim Oberlander, MD, FRCPC

  • Developmental Pediatrician & Attending Physician, Complex Pain Service, BCCH
  • R. Howard Webster Professor in Brain Imaging and Early Child Development, Division of Developmental Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, UBC Medicine
  • Investigator, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute


Dzung Vo, MD, FAAP

  • Medical Director, Adolescent Medicine Subspecialty Residency (Fellowship) Program, BCCH
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, UBC Medicine