A group of doctoral students and faculty from the Spalding University School of Professional Psychology spent last weekend learning and helping at the same time.

Ten students from Spalding’s Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program (PsyD), along with faculty members Drs. Norah Chapman and Amy Young, volunteered to provide information and mental health services while also conducting research at the Remote Area Medical free clinic in Hazard, Ky.

The RAM mobile clinics provide free medical, dental and vision care to underserved or uninsured individuals. The Spalding PsyD volunteers helped add mental health services to the fold in Hazard.

Chapman said the PsyD volunteers worked in three roles at the RAM clinic: staffing an informational table to explain about good mental health practices, performing direct interventions and brief counseling with clients, and providing integrated care with the dentists. They  helped calm patients – including many who’d not seen a dentist in years or ever – as they received extractions, fillings and other procedures.

The Spalding volunteers interacted with more 200 clients and patients over the weekend, Chapman said, and for some of the newer PsyD students, it was their first experience working directly with clients.

“This is really the pinnacle of our training programs – research intervention, integrated health care and serving underserved populations,” Chapman said. “It was an incredible experience.”

Chapman said the Spalding volunteers tried to explain to clients and patients the importance of mental health services and to put them at ease about talking to a professional about their concerns and needs. She said some had faced physical trauma; felt anxiety or stress over family or financial issues; or were battling addiction.

Chapman said some of the visitors thanked Spalding’s volunteers for being there and told them they wouldn’t otherwise have had access to mental health services where they live. Chapman said several of visitors there had never previously talked to a mental health professional.

Spalding PsyD student Autumn Truss said it was “truly inspiring” to see the range of health providers from the across the country come together at the RAM clinic to serve the “resilient population of Eastern Kentucky.”

“Partnering with RAM to provide free mental health services was the perfect opportunity to help this underserved population and carry out Spalding’s mission as a compassionate university,” Truss said.

Group of 11 people, wearing matching blue T-shirts that say "Spalding University Volunteers" at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Hazard, Ky.
Spalding clinical psychology student and faculty volunteers at the Remote Area Medical clinic in Hazard, Ky., June 23-24, 2018.
Three female Spalding students wearing blue shirts, sit on gym floor reading to a young boy as a man holding a smaller boy looks on
Photo from RAM Facebook page

Ida Dickie, a forensic psychologist and faculty member in Spalding University’s School of Professional Psychology, was honored last month as the winner of the Jack Runyon Community Service Award by the Kentucky Psychological Association.

Dickie, who received the award at the KPA convention in Lexington, is the director of the forensic emphasis area at Spalding while being a public servant in the justice system.

Among her many service projects, Dickie developed and manages the “Healthy Lifestyles” program at Dismas Charities for men who have been in the Kentucky correctional system. On a pro bono basis, she has supervised graduate student therapists in the program as well as offered psychological services herself.

Dickie is also on the board and provides pro bono services for the nonprofit New Legacy Center, which is another residential program that assists men returning to the community from prison.

Dickie also works pro bono with the Muhammad Ali Center, helping implement talking circles about community violence. She has worked with other community organizations to offer restorative talking circles with black men returning to the community from incarceration to provide them with a pro-social support network.

She performs pro bono psychological services and supervises graduate student therapists at the Survivors of Torture Recovery Center, which offers services to refugees and immigrants who have experienced torture in their home countries.

Dickie also trains Louisville Metro Police Department officers and recruits in restorative communication and oversees courses for Spalding students seeking a minor in restorative justice.

For more information on the Spalding School of Professional Psychology and the doctoral program in clinical pyschology (PsyD), go to Spalding.edu/psychology.

Related link: Kentucky Psychological Association’s Facebook page

Spalding University has received a federal grant of nearly $1.15 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support advanced-level psychology and social work students who perform behavioral health work in primary care settings in medically underserved areas of Louisville.

The grant, which comes via the federal Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program (BHWET), will provide stipends to doctoral candidates in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) and students pursuing a master’s degree in social work (MSW) who are part of Spalding’s Interdisciplinary Behavioral Health Scholars Program (IBHSP). The stipends will assist in recruitment and retention of future behavioral health professionals who do their training work in vulnerable and medically underserved areas.

Spalding, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville were the only institutions in Kentucky to receive BHWET grants.

Spalding’s psychology and social work scholars are partnering with three Louisville health and wellness organizations to provide services. They are the Family Community Clinic, which provides medical assistance to individuals without health insurance, including many who don’t speak English, at its facility in the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Butchertown; Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center, which provides affordable primary health and dental care to patients in West Louisville; and Smoketown Family Wellness Center, which offers wellness programs in a neighborhood in which residents’ average life expectancy is 10 years below other Louisville areas, according to the center’s website.

“I am very familiar with the health care academic programs at Spalding University and find it very rewarding to know that individuals who rely on health care services will receive the quality care and attention that a partnership with Spalding will bring,” said George Fischer, founder of the Family Community Clinic. “I’m grateful to Spalding and its faculty and students for providing help to members of our community who need it.”

The grant money for Spalding students will be dispersed over four years with the funding increasing after the first year. There will be six student recipients in the first year and 10 in Years 2-4.  The psychology students will receive $28,352 each, and the social work students will receive $10,000.

“We are thrilled to have received this federal grant,” said Dr. Steve Katsikas, faculty chair of Spalding’s School of Professional Psychology and the IBHSP program director.  “Between 60 and 70 percent of all health-related problems have a behavioral component, such as smoking, living a sedentary lifestyle or eating an imbalanced diet.  The grant will allow us to partner with primary care sites in underserved parts of Louisville to provide integrated behavioral health services. Individuals who see a health care provider and need a referral will be able to immediately see a behavioral health specialist. Spalding’s schools of social work and psychology are excited about this program because it allows us to train the next generation of psychologists and social workers to make a lasting health impact in our community.”

The grant will also be used to hire a clinical coordinator and fund seminars.