providers must be involved — one to evaluate the child and the
other to evaluate the would-be donor. It’s just as important to
take care of the living kidney donor as the child, says Skillings.
“These kids are adorable; they’re sick; and people feel bad
for them,” he says. “We need two providers so that the whole
evaluation is objective.”
Unlike many psychologists in integrated settings, whose
work is fast-paced, Skillings has the luxury of spending a
longer time with patients as he assesses whether they’re
appropriate candidates for transplants. “Unless it’s a life-and-
death situation, I have plenty of time to evaluate a patient and
help him or her come to terms with the need for a transplant,”
Skillings also provides post-transplant support. “If the
transplant doesn’t go as well as expected or the patient
is struggling to adjust after surgery, I go in and provide
cognitive-behavioral therapy or other interventions,” he says.
Occasionally, a transplant patient will have concentration
or memory problems and require cognitive screening or
The medical staff has reacted positively, says Skillings.
“They’re thrilled to have us there,” he says.
That’s because patient outcomes improve. In a 2015
article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings,
Skillings and co-author Amber N. Lewandowski presented a
case study demonstrating how psychological assessment and
interdisciplinary care helped a lung transplant patient thrive.
Skillings helped the patient address the issues uncovered during
his evaluation, including anxiety, marijuana use, problems
with adhering to medical recommendations and the lack of a
plan for postsurgical care. After his 2014 transplant, the patient
was able to return to hiking and traveling, favorite activities he
hadn’t been able to enjoy for years.
As for Skillings’s dad, he has been fascinated by how
psychology has been transformed over the years, Skillings
“Back in his day 40 years ago, you either went into academia
or private practice,” says Skillings. “These integrated care
opportunities didn’t really exist.” n
Butt, Z. (2015). Solid organ transplantation [Special
issue]. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings,
22( 2-3): 111–112.
Assesses a wide range of social, emotional, behavioral, and
academic concerns and disorders in youth aged 6 to 18 years.
Updated to include
a new scoring option
for the DSM- 5
*DSM-IV-TR scoring still available for online and software options.
A multi-informant tool that assesses youth across academic, school, and social settings.
The Conners CBRS® assists in the diagnostic process, development and monitoring of
intervention plans, and the identification of students for potential eligibility in special