History & Setting

Cohen&Satz76Clinical neuropsychology is the oldest subspecialty within the UF Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. Established in 1964 by Paul Satz, Ph.D., it has provided didactic coursework, research and clinical training at the graduate, intern, and post-doctoral levels. While at UF, Dr. Satz developed the first neuropsychology research laboratory, the first neuropsychology clinical service at the Health Science Center, and mentored a cohort of graduate students, interns, and post-doctoral fellows who went on to figure prominently in the field themselves.

Heilman&SatzIn 1970, Kenneth Heilman, MD, was recruited from Boston to join the Neurology Department in the UF College of Medicine. A year later, he and Dr. Satz developed and co-taught the first UF graduate level course in neuropsychology, Human Higher Brain Function. This course continues to be offered in our curriculum today. Through the research and clinical collaborations of Drs. Satz and Heilman, the University of Florida began to be recognized as a site where advanced training in the human neurobehavioral sciences could be pursued. Dr. Satz was one of the early founders of the International Neuropsychology Society, serving as its President in 1974, and helped develop Division of 40 of the American Psychological Association. In the middle 1970’s, the Department of Clinical Psychology was moved from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Allied Health Professions and was formally relocated to the Health Science Center. As a result, one unique aspect of Clinical Neuropsychology education at the University of Florida is that it has always been sited in a Health Sciences Center, allowing from the outset rich opportunities for multidisciplinary research and teaching collaborations. This early established multidiscripinary collaboration continues to be present today.

UF’s Neuropsychology Timeline:

  • 1964:     Paul Satz and establishment of Neuropsychology at UF
    –     First Neuropsychology Clinical Service
    –     First Neuropsychology Research Lab
  • 1970:     Ken Heilman recruited to UF, Behavioral Neurology program begins
  • 1971:     First Formal graduate level course in Neuropsychology at UF
  • 1972:     First “stand alone” INS meeting (New Orleans)
  • 1974:     Paul Satz elected President of INS
  • 1977:     Heilman begins Post-Doctoral Trianing Program in Behavioral Neuorlogy at UF
  • 1978:     Eileen Fennell joins CHP/Neuropsychology Facuty
  • 1979:     Paul Satz leaves UF
  • 1980:     Rus Bauer joins CHP Faculty
  • 1981:     Center for Neuropsychological Studies established
  • 1982:     Heilman elected President of INS
  • 1989:     Crosson (89) and Dede (93) join CHP faculty
  • 1998:     McKnight Brain Institute opens

The First Neuropsychology Clinic.

The first Neuropsychology Clinic was situated on the fifth floor of Shands Teaching Hospital, in keeping with the model espoused by Louis Cohen, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Clinical Psychology from 19 to 19 . Dr. Cohen believed that for psychologists to be utilized by medical staff, they must be located as c ose as possible to the source of their referrals. As a result, neuropsychology consults were seen in two offices adjacent to the Neurosurgery Inpatient Unit on the fifth floor of Shands. Up to two patients a day were evaluated using a modified Halstead-Reitan/Benton approach. To help with this service, Dr. Satz hired a research assistant, a recent college graduate (Eileen Fennell). The neurologists at that time were B.J. Wilder, Melvin Greer, and Richard Schmidt (division head). When Neurology became an independent department in 1974, Melvin Greer went on to become its first chair. One of the early neurosurgeons during that time was Lamar Roberts, who had been trained at Montreal Neurologic Institute by Wilder Penfield.

UF’s first Neuropsychology Research Laboratory

The first formal neuropsychology research laboratory at UF was located on the 4th floor of the Psychology Building in the Department of Psychology. As director of this lab, Dr. Satz’ primary research interests spanned both child and adult neuropsychology and included: dyslexia, learning disability, brain laterality, and handedness.

Child Neuropsychology: In the mid-1960’s, Dr. Satz was awarded his first NIH grant to study predictors of reading disability/dyslexia in young pre-kindergarten children. Children throughout all of Alachua County were screened for this research, since early detection provided the opportunity for early intervention. These children were subsequently followed in several large scale longitudinal studies of developmental dyslexia in what came to be known as the Florida Longitudinal Project, from Kindergarten through Grade 6. This research led to the purchase of a “departmental mobile home” or testing laboratory that was used to travel around the state of Florida for collecting followup data on children enrolled in the Florida longitudinal project. Numerous dissertations emerged from this work including those of Jack Fletcher, Robin Morris, Eileen Fennell, and Charles Schauer. This research on precursors of reading disability led to intense international research collaborations with Dirk Bakker and Harry Van der Vlugt of Holland.Jeff Fitzsimmons

DawnDLAdult Neuropsychology. A second focus of Dr. Satz’ laboratory involved brain laterality, handedness, and hemispheric differences in processing verbal and nonverbal materials . These studies used “state of the art” techniques drawn from experimental cognitive psychology, such as dichotic listening, tachistiscopic visual half field presentations, and dual task paradigms. Throughout the 1970’s, Dr. Satz was successful in obtaining NIH funding to support these laterality and handedness studies. Of particular theoretic importance were his contributions to “pathological left handedness” and the brain capacity-reserve hypothesis. At all times, he was unwavering in his adherence to methodologic issues, validity and reliability of instruments in behavioral science, and commitment to graduate student training and education in neuropsychology.

Early graduate students, interns and post-docs in Neuropsychology at UF

Grad Students: Sara Sparrow, Jack Fletcher, Robin Morris, Eileen Fennell, Dawn Bowers, Charles Schauer, Jeff Fitzsimmons, Reva Tankle, Joanne Yanowitz
Interns: Larry Binder, Eileen Fennell, Linus Bilauskus, Rus Bauer (for 1 month)
Post Docs: Gerry Taylor, followed by David Hines, Ron Goebel, Fred Coolidge, Lynn Speedie, Carol Bullard Bates, Louis SutkerGerry Taylor

Most famous neuropsychology dissertation defense:

The first and perhaps most famous “neuropsychology” dissertation defense was that of Sara Sparrow, the first doctoral student of Dr. Paul Satz. At her defense, she served cavier and wine. This led to a dramatic change in policy regarding doctoral defenses in CHP. Following her successful defense, Dr. Sparrow continued on in a prestigious academic research career at Yale, where she was Chief Child Psychologist of Yale Child Study Center from 1977-2002. In 2002, she received a Career Scientist Award from the American Association of Mental Retardation for her contributions to the field, including her role as senior author of the Vineland Scales of Development. Currently, Dr. Sparrow is Professor Emeritus of Yale and Senior Research Scientist of the Child Study Center. She is the 2004-2005 President of Division 33 of the American Psychological Association.


Paul Satz, Ph.D.

Paul Satz, Ph.D. is among a small group of individuals who played an early pivotal role in developing neuropsychology as a distinct research and professional discipline. He was one of the early founders of the International Neuropsychology Society, serving as its President in 1974. He developed intense research collaborations with international colleagues and helped develop Division of 40 of the American Psychological Association. At UF, he was responsible for establishing Clinical Neuropsychology as a subspeciality within the Department of Clinical Psychology.

Dr. Satz came to UF from the University of Kentucky, where he received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the mentorship of Jesse Harris. His doctoral dissertation ( The Block Rotation Task ) won the prestigious Creative Talent Award given by the American Institutes of Research. He began as a post-doc in the Division of Behavioral Sciences, which was part of the Department of Psychiatry in the UF Medical school. A year later, in 1964, he was hired by Dr. Louis Cohen (Chair of Clinical Psychology) as a faculty member in the newly estabilished, free standing Department of Clinical Psychology.

While at UF, Dr. Satz established the first neuropsychology clinical service, the first neuropsychology research laboratory, and mentored a cadre of graduate students, interns, and post-doctoral fellows. He and colleague Ken Heilman, M.D., who joined to the UF Faculty in Neurology in 1970, developed the first graduate level course in neuropsychology at UF, Human Brain Function, and began the legacy of multidisciplinary neuropsychology research at the UF Health Sciences Center.

In 1979, Dr. Satz moved to the University of Victoria as a Visiting Professor before accepting a position as a Professor and Chief of the Neuropsychology Program at the Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital at UCLA. At UCLA, Dr. Satz was instrumental in formalizing research and clinical training in neuropsychology at the Postdoctoral Level.
Dr. Satz has been one of the most productive and influential researchers in neuropsychology. He is author or coauthor or more than 300 publications. His primary research interests involve dyslexia, learning disability, handedness, and brain laterality. In 1996, he received a prestigious APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions. Currently, he is Professor Emeritus at UCLA.

Molly Harrower, Ph.D.

Molly Harrower, Ph.D., was a professor in UF’s Department of Clinical Psychology from 1967 until 1975, when she became Professor Emeritus. Although relatively unknown in the mainstream history of neuropsychology, Dr. Harrower was one of the first psychologists to work “under the tent” of patients who underwent brain surgery by Wilder Penfield at Montreal Neurologic Institute during the 1930’s. Her initial studies of personality and emotional changes in patients following resection of the temporal lobes set the stage for more systematic neuropsychiatric research in years to come. By training, Harrower was an experimental psychologist in the Gestaltist tradition, receiving her Ph.D. under the tutelage of Kurt Koffka at Smith College in 1934 and additional training with Kurt Goldstein. Following a personal experience with a friend who developed a brain tumor and dramatic personality changes, she was awarded a Rockefeller Medical Foundation fellowship to study the psychological effects of brain injury. This was a novel, almost heretical view at that time, and Harrower was given feedback by the grant reviewers that there are no psychology effects of brain, only physical effects. As chief clinical psychologist at MNI from 1937-41, her early research pioneered the view that patients, who despite large removals of temporal cortex, displayed minimal IQ changes yet demonstrated substantial alterations in perceptual organization and personality. After leaving MNI in the 1940’s, she became a pioneer in the practice of psychology working with chronically ill patients. Harrower wore multiple hats; however, her legacy to clinical neuropsychology involved laying a groundwork for neuropsychiatric consequences of epilepsy surgery and providing an early professional presence for psychologists in medical settings. She received a Distinguished Contribution Award from the Society for Personality Assessment in September 1972.