When UT student Erin Swedish met Dr. Lynn Bufka from the American Psychological Association (APA) at a conference in November, she had no idea she later would be interviewed by her for an internship with the organization.Swedish, a Denver native and third-year graduate student in psychology at the University, landed the internship in January and will travel to Washington, D.C., this summer to complete it.
At the APA headquarters, she will work closely with lawyers, psychologists and panels to help develop practice guidelines for depression, obesity and post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of her work will focus on the promotion of the practice of psychology and the availability and accessibility of psychological services in various settings.
“I’m most excited about seeing a different view of my field and what goes on in more of the administrative, advocacy and policy aspects,” Swedish said.
At UT, her work focuses on advocating for patients, specifically children, to get the evidenced-based treatments they need. In her research, she specializes in anxiety disorders in children and the factors that preclude young patients from receiving needed treatment.
Swedish said anxiety disorders are the most common psychopathology among children. Before coming to graduate school, she worked in Utah for two summers looking at trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in children, with the help of a grant from the National Science Foundation.
“It’s important to identify and refer children for treatments at a young age so that it doesn’t persist into adulthood,” Swedish said. “The longer the duration of a psychological illness, the more severe it can get.”