TEMPLE, Texas Scott & White Healthcare in Temple is one of three sites chosen for a $1.6 million initiative to create internships for doctoral psychology students that will help alleviate mental health workforce shortages in Texas.
Scott & White Healthcare Foundation received a five-year $638,853 grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin. The grant will fund a new internship program that will enable students to get a year of supervised training and experience required for a doctoral degree in psychology.
Thirteen interns will be trained by the program during the five-year grant. Their salaries and the cost of their supervision and training will be paid by the grant. In return, the interns will expand Scott & White's capacity to provide mental health services to thousands of adults, children, youth and families in a mostly rural 29,000-square-mile service area in Central Texas.
Scott & White also will use grant funds to hire its first certified peer specialist, who will work with the interns, other mental health providers and people receiving mental health services. Peer specialists have personal experience with mental illness and are trained to support others who are working to achieve recovery and wellness.
"This innovative approach will provide a tremendous opportunity for interns to work side-by-side with people who have lived experience with mental illness," said Dr. Michele Guzmn, assistant director of research and evaluation at the Hogg Foundation and a clinical associate professor in counseling psychology.
Scott & White is a partner with Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Temple and has medical facilities throughout Central Texas. This will enable the interns to practice in a variety of settings serving people of all ages from different cultures, income levels and communities.
"We are excited about this opportunity to provide quality training to future psychologists while expanding our mental health services to reach more people in distant rural communities," said Michael Carey, M.D., senior staff psychologist and director of internship training at Scott & White in Temple.
In accepting the grant, Scott & White has agreed to seek national accreditation for the internship program from the American Psychological Association (APA), which means the program must meet national standards for quality of training. Only 23 sites are accredited in Texas, including three in Central Texas Austin, San Marcos and Temple. Central Texas Veterans Health Care System currently is the only accredited site in Temple.
"The Temple area currently has only one APA-accredited internship site," Guzmn said. "Creating an internship program at Scott & White will allow psychology doctoral students to serve an extensive rural population through a hospital system with a wide array of mental health services and a new children's hospital, which is very exciting."
Guzmn said that psychology workforce trends in Texas are troubling. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of practicing psychologists in 77 counties decreased, and 102 counties had no practicing psychologists in 2009. The shortages have been most severe in rural areas, especially in South Texas, West Texas and the Panhandle.
Two other sites participating in the initiative are Travis County Juvenile Probation Department and the University of HoustonClear Lake Office of Counseling Services. The three programs combined will train an estimated 38 interns during the next five years.
|Contact: Katherine Voss|
Scott & White Healthcare