The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin has selected three sites and one consortium to receive grants totaling $770,765 to support internship programs in obtaining American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation.
The initiative aims to advance the mental health workforce in Texas by attracting well-qualified psychologists in training to the state and improving the psychological services being delivered to the people of Texas.
All four grantees currently have psychology internship programs that are members of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the Texas Child Study Center, and the Lone Star Psychology Residency Consortium which consists of Big Spring State Hospital, UT Health Northeast and Valley Psychological Services/Pinkerman and Gonzalez Psychological Associates in Edinburg will use the grant to become APA-accredited. If successful, by 2016, the initiative will support the accreditation of four internship programs with 16 internship positions.
Each of these programs brings unique strengths to psychology training in Texas. Harris County Juvenile Probation Department and Texas Juvenile Justice Department offer training opportunities for psychologists in juvenile justice that are otherwise difficult to find, the Texas Child Study Center provides innovative learning experiences in pediatric psychology, and the Lone Star consortium attracts interns to underserved, rural areas in the state.
"These grants come at a critical time for mental health in Texas, when there continues to be a persistent workforce shortage, especially in underserved areas, for psychologists and other mental health professionals," said Michele Guzmán, Ph.D., assistant director of research and evaluation at the Hogg Foundation. "It is our belief that these grants will foster new opportunities for clinical, counseling and school psychology students and attract well-prepared future psychologists to careers in Texas."
Having a number of APA-accredited internships in Texas is essential for the education and retention of psychologists in the state. Texas has only a little more than 5 percent of the 461 APA-accredited psychology internships in the U.S. and is among the states with the largest number of unaccredited APPIC-member programs. The APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) has affirmed that health service psychologists clinical, counseling or school psychologists who provide behavioral health and mental health services should be trained in APA-accredited doctoral and internship programs. BEA has recommended that unaccredited internship programs become accredited by 2019 (Statement on Accreditation, November 2011).
These grants build upon the Texas Psychology Internships Initiative that was launched in 2011. With the addition of these awards, the foundation has committed almost $3 million to strengthening psychology internships in Texas.
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 Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.