Welcome to the WVU Bariatrics Postdoctoral Fellowhship!

The Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at West Virginia University School of Medicine offers a one or two-year fellowship program in Clinical Health Psychology, with an emphasis in Bariatrics. One resident position is offered each year, with the option of a 2nd year pending agreement between the fellow and Fellowship Director, Stephanie Cox, PhD, ABPP.

The program has 2 full time Bariatric Psychologists who specialize in Bariatric Psychology (Stephanie Cox, PhD, ABPP and Laura Aylward, PhD). 

Overview of Training Program

The Clinical Health Psychology Postdoctoral Residency- Bariatrics has been designed to provide trainees with expertise and clinically relevant experience within the field of health psychology, with an emphasis on training relevant to obesity and bariatric surgery. The goal of the postdoctoral residency program is to prepare the trainee for independent practice as a psychologist working within the field of obesity medicine/bariatrics. The fellow will become familiar with treatment options for obesity including nutritional, behavioral, pharmacological, and surgical modalities. Additionally, the fellow will become knowledgeable regarding the common comorbidities of obesity.

To this end, the fellow will become involved in obesity treatment across the full continuum of weight loss support at WVU Medicine including:

-Behavioral Weight Loss: Assessment and intervention for health promotion and behavior change, in collaboration with healthy lifestyle programs such as Finding Wellness.

-Medical Weight Management Clinic: The fellow will become a part of the multidisciplinary Medical Weight Management team to provide consultation and treatment to address weight loss goals, and treatment/ recommendations to address disordered eating concerns.

-Bariatric Surgery: The core rotation of the postdoctoral residency program includes participation in WVU’s multidisciplinary Bariatric Surgery Program. The fellow receives in-depth training and supervision related to the provision of comprehensive pre-surgical psychological evaluations and treatment to patients both pre and post-surgically.

Treatment includes both individual and group-based modalities, as well as support group.

-Additional rotations/ educational experiences to complement knowledge of obesity and related comorbidities include:

  • Rotations/ educational experiences with the Medical Weight Management and Bariatric Program such as observation in medical weight management, rotation in pre/post op bariatric clinic with the surgical team, nutrition visits, observing surgical procedures, observation of nutrition courses.
  • The trainee may participate in additional experiences within the WVU Medicine system including observation with Diabetes Clinic, Pulmonology, Cardiology, etc.
  • Additional rotations within the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry may include: Pain Management (e.g., evaluations for candidacy for opioids or implantable devices, treatment within integrated pain center) and Pre-surgical Evaluation (i.e., provision of pre-surgical evaluations for medical procedures and adherence to medical treatment across the medical system).

Four days per week are spent in clinical services with ½ day allocated for education/ didactic, and ½ day for research.


The fellow will attend Psychiatry Grand Rounds and lead/co-lead Clinical Psychology Didactic with psychology interns. See Didactics for more information. Additional educational experiences may include observation in various clinics or settings within the medical center.


The fellow has the opportunity to become involved in ongoing research or generate new research projects. A research contract is developed for each project at the beginning of the training year with specific goals and timelines. At the end of the year, the fellow will present findings to the faculty and submit the work for presentation/publication. One ½ day per week is allocated for protected research time.


Fellows are encouraged to obtain a license to practice psychology in the state of West Virginia. Taking and passing the EPPP written examination is encouraged by the end of the first year. Study materials are provided and fees are paid by the department.

Salary & Benefits

The current salary is $52,940 for the first year and $55,020 for the second year. Health insurance is available for family or single at a reasonable rate. The fellow receives a minimum of $750 a year for conference expenses. Vacation, sick leave, and professional leave are standard.

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