News Articles

News Articles

APPIC Postdoctoral Committee – Statement on COVID-19

Published on Tuesday, April 7, 2020


APPIC Postdoctoral Committee – Statement on COVID-19

The following joint message from the APPIC Postdoctoral Committee and the APPIC Board of Directors is intended for all members of the Postdoctoral Training Community, including postdoctoral program directors, postdoctoral residents, and those who have secured a postdoctoral resident position scheduled to begin this summer or fall.

There are countless personal and professional uncertainties as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Postdoctoral training is only one of many.

We would first like to draw your attention to a recent Statement on Education and Training Considerations during COVID-19 Pandemic recently released by  CCTC (Council of Chairs of Training Councils), a recent statement and recommendations from the APPIC Board of Directors, and the APA Commission on Accreditation COVID-19: Updates and Information. Many current COVID-19 issues related to postdoctoral training are addressed or partially addressed in those documents.

Although each program’s and applicant’s situation will be unique, it may be useful to think about issues or obstacles that could arise and how you would manage them. Planning and good communication between programs and applicants can help to manage current worries and stress and lead to workable solutions.

Since this situation is new to all of us, consultation is extremely important. Information on contacting the APPIC Postdoctoral Workgroup, APPIC Informal Problem Consultation, and the APA Commission on Accreditation can be found at the end of this email.

  1. Postdoctoral programs should plan for how they can best support their program’s goals and competencies, despite interruptions caused by COVID-19.  Please reference suggestions from the APPIC Board of Directors about maintaining program integrity while also supporting postdoctoral resident, patient, and training staff safety.


  1. Current postdoctoral residents are typically involved in the job searches this time of year. Training directors and supervisors are encouraged to maintain regular communication with residents regarding impacts to the job search process brought on by the pandemic. Relatedly, we are aware of delays taking the EPPP, due to the closure of testing centers, which could impact jobs that require licensure to start.
  2. Postdoctoral residents could be delayed completing their current program due to illness or other program interruptions. Postdoctoral programs should plan for how they would handle significant interruption in training with their current residents and what can be done to maximize the likelihood of program completion and accrual of hours needed for licensure. Some programs may need to consult with their funding source on how this could be managed. We also encourage consultation with your Human Resources staff to support maintenance of trainee stidpends, benefits, and applicable leave.
  3. We strongly encourage postdoctoral programs to check-in with their incoming postdoctoral residents. Programs should let them know they remain committed to working with them and any changes that might be anticipated in the timing or structure of the training program.  Examples might include but are not limited to potential delays in start dates, availability of specific supervisors or clinical experiences, changes in resources, or other facility-based changes. Repeated communication may be required as things evolve. To this end, programs should closely monitor their institutional policies and resources related to COVID-19 that may affect the training opportunities the program is able to offer.
  4. We want to remind programs and incoming postdoctoral residents that the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines emphasize that position agreements between incoming postdoctoral residents and programs are considered binding to the extent that it is a professional commitment , barring extreme and rare circumstances. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is foreseeable that some “extreme” situations may arise. Applicants and programs need to openly communicate about these “circumstances” and endeavor to work towards a mutual resolution. Consultation is available through the APPIC Postdoctoral Committee and the APPIC Informal Problem Consultation process (see below).  
  5. Incoming postdoctoral residents could be delayed in starting their postdoctoral programs due to significant internship completion or dissertation defense delays related to illness, data collection delays, or other program interruptions. For most postdoctoral programs, the internship and doctoral degree need to be completed prior to beginning the postdoctoral program. Program start delays could also be caused by personal factors including problems moving, finding a place to live, insurance coverage, or caring for ill family members.  Incoming residents should stay in touch with programs and be transparent about their current situation and potential difficulty beginning by the program’s intended start date.
  6. Postdoctoral programs should plan for how they would manage delays and overlap in postdoctoral cohorts (and possibly intern cohorts if applicable) given the above potential scenarios (i.e., space, supervisory resources, issues with their funding source, onboarding, and orientation).


Click on the following link to seek consultation with the APPIC Postdoctoral Committee, Chair Wayne Siegel, Ph.D., ABPP, or other members.

Click on the following link to seek Consultation from the APPIC Board of Directors.

Click on the following link to seek consultation with the APA Commission on Accreditation