As seen in Temple Review: Michelle Rodoletz and Laura Stanton — Bridging Mind and Body
Professionally speaking, psychologists Michelle Rodoletz, CLA '89, '95, and Laura Stanton, CLA '95 are strikingly similar. Two ex‑New Yorkers who are Temple alumnae with PhDs in clinical psychology, they have worked for Friends Hospital and Fox Chase Cancer Center, both in Philadelphia. Additionally, the pair share professional vision of a connection between mind and body that led them to launch HealthForumOnline (www.healthforumonline.com) a web site that provides required continuing education courses for clinical psychologists.
Temple also helped both women to shape their career paths. "My focus at Temple was on behavioral medicine," Rodoletz explains. “It's the biological, psychological and social aspects of illness.” Now, she specializes in treating cancer patients and is an associate professor in Fox Chase Cancer Center's Department of Psychiatry.
Stanton decided to try psychology by taking a few undergraduate courses at Temple. "The professors I had for those courses were awesome," she recalls. "Every one of them invited me to do research." Today, Stanton focuses on terminal illness and eating disorders.
When they launched HealthForumOnline in 2005, it featured eight courses, By 2009, it offered more than 65 online courses approved for continuing education credits by the American Psychological Association, the National Board for Certified Counselors, the Association of Social Work Boards and other organizations. The courses can be either downloaded or completed online.
Health ForumOnline also aims to educate healthcare providers about proper psychological care for patients with terminal illnesses, and to bridge gaps in medical and emotional support for terminally ill patients.
Both Stanton and Rodoletz believe that psychological care can improve patients' outlooks about their illnesses. By assessing behavior and mediating for those who see numerous doctors and handle multiple prescriptions and their subsequent side effects, support from psychologists can improve patients' level of involvement in medical regimens. In addition, Stanton notes, it is important for psychologists to he prepared: Any patient undergoing psychological care can he diagnosed with a terminal illness at any time, which can alter the issues they address in their therapy sessions.
“We want our courses to stretch across the disease continuum, including issues related to disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, reentry, long-term care and end-of-life," Rodoletz explains, "and we want courses that are applicable across disease models as well as those that are disease-specific."
Finally, HealthForumOnline is meant to encourage the medical community to recognize a clear connection between the mind and body. Stanton believes their vision is the future of healthcare, she is confident that the relationship between the physical and psychological effects of illness will become a mainstream idea. "In 100 years," she says, “everyone’s going to think the distinction between mind and body was artificial."