The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin has selected three grant sites for a $1.6 million initiative to create internships for doctoral psychology students that will help alleviate mental health workforce shortages in Texas.
The grant sites are Scott and White Healthcare System in Temple, Travis County Juvenile Probation Department in Austin, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake Office of Counseling Services. During a five-year period, grant funding will total $638,853 to Scott and White, $464,733 to Travis County and $509,082 to UH-Clear Lake.
Each site will develop a new internship program that enables doctoral psychology students to get the year of supervised training and experience required for their degrees. The three programs combined will train an estimated 38 interns during the next five years.
As a condition of the grant, the sites have agreed to seek national accreditation for their internship programs from the American Psychological Association. This will ensure the programs meet national standards for quality of training. Only 23 sites are accredited in Texas.
"These grants will change the landscape of psychology training in Texas by adding many internship positions to help meet the demand for training," said Dr. Michele Guzmán, assistant director of research and evaluation at the Hogg Foundation and a clinical associate professor in counseling psychology. "It's a win-win opportunity to relieve a pipeline issue in the training of psychologists while addressing a mental health workforce shortage in our state."
Guzmán 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.
The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.