Grant awarded to increase the number of doctoral health service psychology students serving in Kentucky

As Kentucky faces a need for more well-trained psychologists, Spalding University has created new opportunities for students to enter the field of health service psychology with an emphasis on providing services to communities most in need. To support this work, Spalding University has been awarded a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program. Their award of nearly $1 million over three years will support the new Integrated C.A.R.E. (Community-based, Accessible, Recovery-oriented Education) Program. Funding will provide stipends for doctoral psychology students to train in integrated, interdisciplinary primary care settings (IIPC).  

The Integrated C.A.R.E. program will focus on IIPC training with a concentration on trauma-informed substance use/ opiate use disorder treatments as well as telehealth. Dr. Norah Chapman, Associate Chair of the School of Professional Psychology at Spalding University, will be the project director. Her passion for developing evidence-based practices in increasing the access to, and quality of, mental health care amongst underserved populations is reflected in this program.

Dr. Chapman states, “I am thrilled for our students to have the opportunity to support underserved populations in interdisciplinary primary care sites across the state. Their work will result in approximately 4,400 hours of additional behavioral health care support for Kentuckians each year of the three-year grant cycle. I have every confidence it will change their lives and the lives of those with whom they work.”

This grant also aligns with Spalding’s mission to create a diverse and inclusive learning environment. The program will increase the diversity of the psychology workforce by specifically recruiting students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

The focus on diversifying our workforce is crucial. Chapman explains, “The Integrated C.A.R.E. program is dedicated to using the resources provided through HRSA to especially support diversifying our workforce. For example, in Kentucky, only 4% of Psychologists are BIPOC. This is a significant underrepresentation in our community and a disservice to the Commonwealth. We will be recruiting BIPOC students especially for the program who will be able to receive financial support through the grant along with high quality training in health service psychology, to improve representation in our workforce in high need and high demand areas of Kentucky.”

Over the three-year cycle, twenty-one advanced doctoral psychology students will receive training in integrated, interdisciplinary primary care settings. Training sites are located in Medically Underserved Areas, including rural areas of Kentucky. Students will also receive specialized training in opiate use/substance use disorder (SUD/OUD) and will attend the annual Collaborative Family Healthcare Association (CFHA) conference. A final key element of the program will provide long-term sustainability by training six faculty in the School of Professional Psychology in IIPC and SUD/OUD assessment, prevention, and recovery. These faculty can train psychology students in these methods for years to come. Together, these outcomes will create transformative opportunities for our doctoral psychology students, while increasing the capacity in Louisville Metro and the Commonwealth of Kentucky to provide interdisciplinary behavioral healthcare for vulnerable and medically underserved populations. 



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The COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis of burnout and mental distress in our healthcare workers, resident physicians, and those training to be healthcare providers. This ongoing crisis has led to a need to enhance the education and training of students going into health related fields by adding instruction on well-being and resiliency. To support these efforts, Spalding University has been awarded a grant over $775,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant, awarded through the Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program, will provide funding for resiliency training for healthcare students at Spalding University and the University of Louisville’s School of Dentistry.

The Cultivating Personal Resiliency Program will use evidence-based strategies to reduce and address burnout while promoting resiliency among health care students in the fields of nursing, social work, psychology, and dentistry. Dr. Brenda Nash, Chair of the School of Professional Psychology at Spalding and Dr. Abbie Beacham, Director of Behavioral Science at UofL’s School of Dentistry will research and evaluate the program to disseminate what is learned about best practices for reducing burnout in healthcare profession trainees. Our partnership makes this program both interdisciplinary and inter-university—teaching resiliency building skills to approximately 360 future healthcare professionals over the three-year program. 

Dr. Nash states, “We are hopeful that the integration of such a focused self-care model into students’ early training will help to prevent their burnout as they begin into and progress through their careers.”

The problem healthcare professionals face is only increasing. Healthcare workers were in high demand before the pandemic, and now the need for professionals is at an all time peak. In addition, they are faced with new safety procedures, longer hours, and new methods for treatment. 

As Dr Nash explains, “Training to be a human service provider is always stressful and demanding, but this has been compounded in the COVID era…With demonstrated efficacy already established for CPRP with physicians and other health care providers, we are thrilled to have the HRSA funding to bring this intervention to our providers-in-training.”

To provide resiliency interventions for our students, Dr. Abbie Beacham will utilize an evidence-based program to train a Clinical Coordinator, advanced doctoral psychology students, and faculty from each department to deliver the resiliency program to healthcare students. Utilizing a train-the-trainer approach, we will ensure both our students and faculty are equipped to continue providing resiliency training beyond the three-year grant cycle. In total, we anticipate training one Clinical Coordinator, 24 psychology students, and 16 faculty to deliver the model. Our goal is to create and advance a sustainable model for schools of nursing, social work, psychology, and dentistry to address and reduce burnout as well as promote resiliency among their students.