Five outstanding Texas graduate students of social work have been awarded the prestigious Ima Hogg Scholarship for Mental Health for the 2011-2012 academic year, at a time when Texas is facing critical shortages in the state's mental health workforce.
Texas ranks far below the national average in the number of mental health professionals per 100,000 residents. In 2009, 173 counties in Texas were designated as mental health profession shortage areas, and 40 Texas counties did not have a single social worker.
"These scholarships enable the recipients to finish their advanced studies and begin practicing their profession at a time when these skills and knowledge are sorely needed," said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health awards up to five $5,000 scholarships annually to students who plan to provide mental health services after graduation. Applicants must attend an accredited graduate social work program in Texas and be nominated by the head of their program. The scholarship program was created in 1956 by Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg to attract students to mental health careers.
The 2011 recipients are:
- Ana Luisa Laws, University of Houston
- Caroline Muster, Texas State University
- Jaime H. Rosas Jr., University of Texas at Pan American
- Eric Smith, University of Texas at San Antonio
- Steven C. Smith, The University of Texas at Austin
The Hogg Foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg, and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education.