Stephan Weinland, PhD

Clinical Health Psychologist
Graduated From: 
BS - Virginia Tech, MS and PhD - Illinois Institute of Technology, Post-doctoral Fellowship - National Health Service, England
Current Position: 
February 2017 through December 2017 - US Army Reserve - Behavioral Health Officer - 420th Theater Engineer Brigade - Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan Returning to - Clinical Health Psychologist and Postdoctoral Clinical Health Psychology Training Director in the VCU Health System Department of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry
Current Projects: 
The use of an internet connected pill container in increasing adherence and medication compliance in patients receiving solid organ transplant. Social media modeling in organ transplantation - who tweets #ineedakidney? Ecological Momentary Assessment in measurement of health psychology topics and transplant related psychosocial variables. Struggling with how to manage substance use and misuse in a solid organ transplant population.
What made you decide to work in transplantation?: 
Health psychology and behavioral medicine have always been my focus from graduate school forward.  I am fascinated by the intersection between medicine and psychology, and I'm interested in helping people make and maintain behavior changes that can have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.  I've been heavily influenced by the biopsychosocial model of illness and I endeavor to bring collaborative efforts, involving health psychology, to patient care wherever I can.  In the past I worked extensively in the area of functional GI disorders and enjoyed showing individuals how understanding the body's learned responses to illness and events can have lasting effects.  In transplant, I enjoy the task of helping people change how they view their current situations and learning skills that can help them manage more effectively with setting up new, healthier routines. 
What do you find to be the most valuable aspect of your work?: 
The most valuable aspect of the work I do comes through teaching and showing the relationships between the biopsychosocial model and how to apply it to transplant patient clinical care.  I have come to recognize that from my perspective, there is no such thing as a difficult patient, only patients with difficult problems.  This view is sometimes panned as being naïve, but seeing patient concerns from this perspective helps the focus of my interactions remain on the actual problem that needs to be resolved, rather than the more superficial components of patient presentations.  Bring awareness to, and resolve the underlying problem, and frequently a 'difficult patient' will wind up being anything but.  This approach helps me improve my day to day resilience and helps me feel energized about working in the fields of health psychology and organ transplant.
Fun Facts: 

I am an officer in the US Army Reserves and have spent most of the last year deployed with the Army to Kuwait, Iraq, and a number of other countries in the Middle East.  My role here has been keeping soldiers safe and able to do their jobs.  Even here though I have had the chance to use my knowledge of organ transplantation and health psychology to assist soldiers with family members who are pursing transplantation or having other health concerns.  My deployment to the Middle East is coming to an end now, and I look forward to rejoining my colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System again in the coming weeks.  They've been phenomenally supportive in my absence and I consider myself lucky to be working with such amazing transplant professionals.  I'm looking forward to being with my family and colleagues again before the end of this year.