Forging the Future of Neuropsychology

By Aileen Peters December 09, 2016

Sagar Lad landed at William James three years ago, after spending several years in med school followed by a Master’s in Psychology from Rutgers University. Sagar’s mentor insisted on William James, telling Sagar, “Massachusetts is the hub of Neuropsychology and William James is the future of Neuropsychology in Massachusetts.”

According to Sagar, there’s more to being a neuropsychologist than cognitive testing. There’s a lot of psychology and therapy involved. “Patients can flare at any moment, and when that happens, the psychologist has to move beyond understanding the patient’s cognition. We have to understand their emotions and their vulnerabilities, how they approach tasks, and their coping strategies. You understand them as a whole person. That’s therapy in itself.”

Sagar compares being on a Neuropsych team to being a doctor on the TV series House. The Neuropsych team is often the last one called in when the medical team cannot solve the patient’s presenting problems. “Our patients are with us 24/7. We don’t have the option to close the folder and call it a day. We go from interview, to writing up the intake, to testing, scoring, tables, and report writing. You want to make it as integrative as possible. Our reports are not just numbers. In a sense, they’re a living image, a living memoir of our patients. The feedback we share can change their lives.”

Dr. Jason Osher heads the Neuropsychology concentration at WJC. Sagar sees Dr. Osher’s technological and evolutionary approach shaping the curriculum in ways that are ‘pushing the bubble’. “We are learning a diversified, modern-day approach to Edith Kaplan’s Process Method. I think we are training great students here.” The Massachusetts Neuropsychology Society agrees.

The Society told Sagar that it chose William James as its new home because “William James is the future of Neuropsychology in Boston.” MNS meets at William James the first Tuesday of every month. Sagar is one of two student members on the board. At every meeting, Sagar hears praise for the work William James students are getting from field site supervisors and fellow Neuropsychologists. “We are getting better training at William James than most schools in our area. The big name hospitals are starting to notice WJC, and see our students as integral to advancing Neuropsychology in Boston and beyond.” With dozens of field sites, state-of-the-art training, and world-class teachers, Dr. Osher, Sagar, and William James College are blazing the trail for Neuropsychology in Massachusetts.

Sagar’s passionate dedication to Neuropsychology and William James College can be seen in his commitment as a member of the MNS board, co-chair of the WJC Student Council, and involvement in numerous boards and committees throughout Massachusetts. At his current site at Boston Medical Center, Sagar continues to multi task, doing integrative assessments, researching the effects of toxins on returning veterans, and teaching a course at a local graduate school.