The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a three-year, $480,000 grant to the University of Houston (UH) Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) to place approximately 20 bilingual graduate students in internships with Harris County agencies.
“UH GCSW is only one of 20 graduate Social Work and Psychology programs in the nation awarded this competitive grant,” said Ira Colby, dean of the UH GCSW. “The grant will attract high-quality students, provide support for clinical training in mental and behavioral health, and much-needed services where there are critical shortages for bilingual social workers.”
The grant covers student stipends and training for new bilingual students entering the UH GCSW program. Recipients must be fluent in English and a second language. In return, students agree to work with underserved, vulnerable populations for a minimum of two years in Harris County after graduating with their master’s degree in social work.
“Sixty percent of the mental health services in Texas are provided by social workers, but we have a declining number of social workers per resident. It’s critical that we produce more graduates who are committed to specializing in culturally competent mental and behavior health,” said McClain Sampson, assistant professor at the UH GCSW and principal investigator for the grant. “This grant addresses a critical need for more mental and behavioral health providers, especially those trained in trauma and abuse, combat-related stress, substance abuse, and the needs of chronically ill people and their families. Linguistically and culturally competent service delivery will be a great asset in Houston and surrounding areas.”
The students will work in seven agencies in Harris County: The Council on Alcohol and Drugs, Healthcare for the Homeless, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, Houston Area Community Services, Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority, and Baylor College of Medicine psychiatry clinics.
“Mental health services are critical for those dealing with post-traumatic stress and other severe problems, “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Increasing the number and quality of providers to care for these individuals is a major step forward in addressing these challenges.”
The Affordable Care Act through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) makes funding for this grant possible. HRSA is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the primary federal agency for improving health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. For more information on HRSA’s health profession programs, visit www.hrsa.gov
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About the UH Graduate College of Social Work
The UH Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) is a nationally recognized program, ranked 37 by U.S. News & World Report, educating professionals for social work practice, research and leadership. Offering MSW and PhD degrees, the GCSW is the only social work program in the world to have a Nobel laureate on its faculty. The GCSW advocates for innovative, collaborative, inclusive and humane policies and solutions that promote social, economic and political justice. A commitment to critical thinking that links rigorous scientific inquiry, ethical social work practice and community engagement generates new knowledge to the field of social work and many other disciplines.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.