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James MacDonald

James MacDonald

Intern

Responsibilities

As a pre-doctoral psychology intern, I provide psychosocial support for patients and families affected by cancer. This includes patient and caregiver experiences across the cancer trajectory, from diagnosis to treatment and through survivorship. My role involves providing individual and group psychotherapy and support as well as consultation as part of the UCLA medical team. Through my role as a student intern, I have the opportunity to learn from supervisors, colleagues, and patients alike as I pursue a career in psychosocial oncology.

Training and Professional Work

After receiving a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University in 2009, I began working as a clinical research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. While at MGH, I worked collaboratively with an interdisciplinary research team of oncologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, and nurses. I coordinated various studies related to patient experiences and outcomes, primarily with advanced cancer. I assisted with design, recruitment, and conduct of two large randomized controlled trials (RCTs), one an iPad-adapted cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety for patients with advanced cancer and the second a RCT testing a smartphone mobile app to improve adherence to oral chemotherapy. I also assisted coordinating a number of other studies related to palliative care and patient health behaviors. I gained extensive experience working directly with patients struggling with both physical and mental health concerns related to cancer.

In 2016, I was admitted to the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at University of California, Los Angeles under the mentorship of Dr. Annette Stanton. In Dr. Stanton’s Stress and Coping Lab, I study cognitive-behavioral processes related to cancer, including how coping and illness perceptions influence psychological outcomes like anxiety and depression, as well as treatment-related decision making in the context of modern treatments like immunotherapy. Clinically, I have worked at the UCLA Psychology Clinic, receiving training in psychotherapy and neuropsychological assessment. I have also completed an externship at the West Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs, working with older adults with chronic health conditions as well as Veterans with trauma.

Personal Interests and Perspectives

I was born and raised outside of Boston, and with that comes the privilege of supporting New England sports teams across the board. I enjoy watching all sports, and play soccer, golf, and volleyball regularly. There are not many better things about LA than heading down to the beach on a Saturday morning with friends for some beach volleyball. I also enjoy listening to new music and attending concerts of old favorites, particularly at the Hollywood Bowl, another LA gem.

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