Faculty Spotlight: Brad MacNeil
Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences
- AZ - Glendale
One of my main goals and the goal of most university professors is to teach students how to think, how to question, and how to evaluate professional treatments and assessments in different ways. That’s how they advance in various treatments and assessment
Years at Midwestern University:
Three years in August.
What are your research interests?
- The interaction between mental health concerns and physical health concerns.
- Eating disorders, body image, and the interaction between eating disorders and medical disorders, and how that informs newer novel treatments for adults who are struggling with eating disorders.
What is the most rewarding part of being a member of the Midwestern University faculty?
The opportunity to interact with the students. I really enjoy working with students who have chosen to be in the healthcare field. I have been a psychologist for over 15 years in clinical hospitals and university settings. It is nice to take this experience and share it with students in the classroom. Midwestern University students are interested and really committed to health sciences and patient care, as it is a health sciences university.
How do you engage students in the learning process?
For today’s students, you’ve got to be on your toes. I use adult learning principles and novel ways of engaging students in the class. The students participate in role-playing practice and mock skills demonstrations in our program. They have an opportunity to practice skills in class and record them, and they are given constructive feedback and mentorship on how to improve clinical learning and practice. The scenarios are ones they will face as healthcare professionals, such as evidence-based treatment for a mock patient struggling with depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A lot of students give me positive feedback from the classroom scenarios, as they use it in the Midwestern University Therapy Institute during their meetings with real clients. They also watch videos of assessments and therapy.
Why should students enroll at Midwestern University?
Midwestern University offers a couple of things that are different from other training programs in the health sciences. Students interact with other students in multiple disciplines, and they are more prepared for roles on interdisciplinary teams. That’s a real strength. The University is student-centered, and the faculty hours, coursework, and teaching are all directed to and for the students. The student-driven learning makes Midwestern University a unique and fun place to work with the next generation of healthcare professionals. Students have the opportunity to test their ideas, theories, and hypotheses, while focusing on learning and development.
In the clinical psychology program, the students themselves generate an original dissertation idea for their project. The faculty assist with the student-centered idea and provide mentorship and instruction to help the students to make their novel ideas come to life. A lot of students work with other disciplines and test ideas in those domains too. Additionally, I have a lot of students that reach out to me from different healthcare programs and receive some coaching and mentorship from me.
What do you hope students learn from your classes?
One of my main goals, and the goal of most university professors, is to teach students how to think, how to question, and how to evaluate professional treatments and assessments in different ways. That’s how they advance in various treatments and assessments through the competency of being able to think for themselves.
What lessons would you like students to take with them in their professional careers?
Students should leave with the lesson that you want to treat the person first and the illness second. It is important to be patient-centered, have proper communication skills, and build relationships with patients to help them in the most evidence-based way. Be humble in what you know and what you don’t know, and always have a voracious appetite for learning and development as an ongoing process in your own career to better care for patients.
What about your profession should people know more about?
Clinical Psychology is a profession where a lot of us work in private practice settings, as well as collaboratively and in interdisciplinary and hospital-based settings to address health-related issues in addition to mental health settings, assessment, policy, advocacy, and treatments. Psychology is a diversified field. There’s a lot you can do. You can conduct assessments and provide treatment, and work in hospitals, private practice, training, or as a consultant. You could also work in the private industry, as user experience researchers, in behavioral sciences, in the government such as FBI or veteran affairs, or in academic settings teaching and training.
I think it’s a wonderful career. I love being a psychologist. I can’t imagine being anything else. I encourage anyone to pursue the field. It’s a diversified field, and you can change focus over time. You get to meet and know a lot of wonderful people, and you have a window into their life and care.