Skip to main content
West Haven, Connecticut

VA Connecticut Healthcare System

The primary goal of this specialized, two-year Advanced Fellowship is to train future generations of VA leaders in addiction treatment and research and to prepare them to work within interprofessional health care settings.

Program Description

The VA Connecticut Healthcare System Interprofessional Fellowship program recruits one physician (MD or DO) , one psychologist (PhD or PsyD) , and one MDiv candidate for a 2-year training program. The training program emphasizes:

  • clinical knowledge and skills in addiction treatment
  • interprofessional education skills for teaching junior trainees and the broader community about addictive behaviors
  • practice or policy guideline development
  • applied research and implementation skills

Fellows participate in several training components. These include: (1) clinical rotations under the preceptorship of the faculty at training sites. Clinical opportunities include outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential treatment for addictions, outpatient detoxification, medication therapies for opioid addiction, psychosocial rehabilitation, and integrated primary care mental health services; (2) formal core curriculum that is interdisciplinary and comprehensive; and (3) individual mentorship in which each trainee has a primary mentor assigned to him/her who matches the interests of the trainee. Fellows spend 75% of their time in educational, scholarly work and/or clinical research in addiction treatment; 25% of effort is spent on clinical services.

Research and Clinical Opportunities in Addiction

This component of training is tailored to the individual fellow and includes conducting an independent research/education or quality improvement project under the mentorship of one of the affiliated faculty members. Research mentors are all faculty at Yale School of Medicine. Fellows also can collaborate with members of our extensive research teams involved in the New England Mental Illness Research and Education Coordinating Center (MIRECC) and the Pain Research, Informatics, Multimorbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center. VA Connecticut Healthcare System has several competitive small funding opportunities via MIRECC, PRIME, and the Psychology Service to supplement pilot research work being conducted by fellows. In addition, the New England VISN continues to support a 2-year Career Development Award that is available for fellows’ application to extend their research training as early career scientists.


  • VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale School of Medicine are renowned for their work in behavioral pharmacology and medications development, psychotherapy treatment development, randomized clinical trials, conditions co-occurring with addiction (chronic pain, PTSD, serious mental illness), health services and implementation science.


  • Please submit a letter of interest, CV, and three references (including one from a program director). The letter of interest should describe an applicant's interest in the program, a summary of educational, clinical, and research experience relevant to application, and a statement of career goals.
  • Please contact David Pilkey, PhD or Ellen Edens, MD for further information about positions for physicians and psychologists, respectively.

    Physician Fellows

    • Completion of an ACGME accredited residency program.
    • A full and unrestricted license to practice in the U.S. or any of its territories.
    • Be board certified or eligible
    • If a graduate of a foreign medical school, must have evidence of ECFMG certification that is valid indefinitely.

    Psychology Fellows:

    • Completion of an APA-accredited doctorate in clinical or counseling psychology (or meeting APA criteria for re-specialization training).
    • APA-accredited psychology internship
    • U.S. citizenship


    • Completion of a Master of Divinity or equivalent from an accredited theological school
    • A minimum of four units of CPE from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE)
    • U.S. Citizenship

    Meet the Team


      Ismene Petrakis, MD

      Dr. Ismene Petrakis is a Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and the Director of the Mental Health Service Line at VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS) since July 2010. Dr. Petrakis completed residency training at Yale School of Medicine and then a NIDA-funded addiction psychiatry clinical/research fellowship. She joined the faculty in 1992. Prior to July 2010, she was the Director of the Substance Abuse Treatment Program of the VACHS since 1996. Dr. Petrakis is also the Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Residency at Yale, an ACGMEaccredited program and the PI of a NIDA-funded training grant (T32). Her research interests are predominately: (1) evaluating treatment for Veterans with alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder (2) finding appropriate treatments for dually diagnosed individuals and (3) understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying alcohol dependence. She has received funding from the VA -including a recently funded cooperative study (COOP) evaluating 2 formulations of buprenorphine, the Department of Defense, NIH-NIAAA, NARSAD and the Stanley Foundation.


      Steve Martino, PhD

      Dr. Steve Martino is a Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and the Chief of Psychology at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship training at Yale School of Medicine and joined the faculty in 1991. He specializes in the treatment of addictive disorders and of patients diagnosed with co-occurring psychiatric problems, with specific interests in motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, group work, and use of brief interventions in medical settings. His current research uses hybrid effectiveness implementation designs to study pain and risky substance use interventions and strategies for implementing evidence-based treatments.



      Ellen Edens, MD

      Dr. Ellen Edens is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and Lead Consultant for Substance Use Disorders within the VA National Telemental Health Consultation Center. Dr. Edens is the Associate Director of the Yale School of Medicine’s Addiction Psychiatry (AP) program, where she oversees the coordination and development of the Yale AP and Addiction Medicine fellowships curriculum, which also includes interprofessional learners from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and chaplaincy programs. Insights gained over nearly a decade of teaching led to partnership with the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, in collaboration with the Yale SOM, Nursing, and Public Health, to develop a massive open online course entitled, Addiction Treatment: Clinical Skills for Healthcare Professionals, which launched on Coursera in December 2019. In addition to her interest in interprofessional addiction education and learning, Dr. Edens has clinical expertise in the management of chronic pain and SUDs and co-directs a weekly clinic for patients referred from primary care who have needs related to safe opioid prescribing.


      David Pilkey, PhD

      Dr. David Pilkey is a clinical psychologist and the Director of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse sections of the Psychology Service, Deputy Director of the Substance Abuse Firm, and Director of the Substance Abuse Day Program. He is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. In 2000 Dr. Pilkey earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Syracuse University. He has research and clinical interests in the field of addictive behaviors, with a particular emphasis in addictions treatment, evaluation, and training.


      James Cooke, STM, BCC

      Rev. James Cooke is the Director of  Chaplain Fellows, ACPE Certified Educator and chaplain at VA Connecticut Healthcare System.  He is a lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry.  He has been a certified educator in the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) for 15 years and a board certified chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains for 18 years and has served in those capacities in hospitals throughout Connecticut.  He earned his Master of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School.  He has conducted research in the areas of religion, spirituality, and spiritual care with a specific focus in the integration of chaplaincy in mental health care settings.


      West Haven (and the greater New Haven area) is located on the northern shore of the Long Island Sound in New Haven County and is the home to Yale University.