The Iowa Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program is intended to train future psychologists in the University of Iowa (UI) Counseling Psychology (CP) program to treat the complex mental and behavioral health needs of Iowa and the nation’s rural populations. The BHWET Professional Track, Integrating Behavioral Health into Rural Medicine, will supplement and complement ongoing CP Ph.D. training efforts and provide new field experiences and practicum opportunities for CP doctoral students to provide mental and behavioral health care to underserved populations living in rural areas across eastern Iowa and western Illinois. This program will support the CP program’s recently implemented community engaged focus that seeks to specifically link science and practice to community needs and issues. This focus draws upon our existing partnerships with local community agencies to better serve local communities and emphasizes service to veterans, Hispanics/Latinos, and individuals from rural areas.

 

The UI CP program will collaborate with UI Departments of Family Medicine and Psychiatry to develop and implement a sustainable doctoral track in integrated behavioral health care in the UI CP doctoral program. New partnerships will create novel opportunities for students to work with rural and underserved populations, particularly in medically underserved areas (MUA) on critical behavior health issues across the lifespan that affects individuals and their families, including substance abuse, suicide, mental illness, PTSD, trauma, HPV vaccination, nutrition, exercise, and chronic disease management. In particular, these partnerships will catalyze the CP program to meet the “changing face of professional psychology.” This project directly addresses both the critical national need for more Ph.D. level psychologists trained to provide coordinated health care to address the behavioral health needs of rural populations, and also to train competent practitioners as health service psychologists.

The main goals of the program that are currently underway include the following:

  1. Add a minimum of 5 new practicum field placements annually that provide students opportunities to be comprehensively trained in the application of culturally competent and integrated behavioral health service provision across the lifespan
  2. Develop the infrastructure within the CP program to support a specialty track in integrated health service provision to underserved rural communities with a focus on veterans and Latinos and rural college counseling
  3. Provide 7 stipends per year to CP Ph.D. students in interdisciplinary practicum experiences in rural settings with allied professionals
  4. Provide cultural competence training to psychology graduate students and training on how to work effectively with allied health professionals through participation in professional development opportunities
  5. Create a post-doc position in rural psychology with a community-engaged focus within the UI CP program

Saba Ali (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is serving as the project Principal Investigator (PI) and current training director for the Counseling Psychology (CP) program. Ali is a professor in the CP Program at the University of Iowa (UI). Ali grew up in rural West Virginia and leads a successful career intervention program with rural youth called Project HOPE (Healthcare Occupations, Preparation, and Exploration), which includes multiple collaborations from health science colleges. Her research expertise and publications focus on career development with rural underrepresented youth, poverty, and social class. Ali has over sixteen years of supervision experience, in which she provides individual supervision to CP doctoral students completing practicum. Ali has served as PI and co-PI on numerous grants.

Charles Bermingham (Ph.D., University of Iowa) is a counseling psychologist and holds the position of clinical assistant professor in the CP Doctoral Program, housed in the UI’s College of Education. His current appointment is split between faculty duties at UI and clinical duties at Grinnell College, where he is the doctoral program director. The doctoral training program is comprised of doctoral students from the UI CP PhD Program who provide clinical and outreach services through the Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) at Grinnell College. Bermingham has experience working with underrepresented populations across the lifespan. He helped support the implementation and foundational years of the Fairweather Lodge program, a program created to serve individuals struggling with chronic mental health concerns and homelessness, particularly Veterans coming from rural locations. He worked on Project Hope providing career development interventions to rural underrepresented youth. Bermingham also worked with individuals on probation or parole as they lived in residential treatment facilities or were transitioning to life back in the community after incarceration.

Denise Martinez (MD, Tufts University School of Medicine) is serving as the project co-PI. Martinez is assistant dean for Cultural Affairs and Diversity and clinical assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics (UIHC). She is currently the faculty advisor for the Student National Medical Association and was instrumental in the establishment of the Latino Medical Student Association, and the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students at the UIHC. Martinez was selected to lead UI Healthcare with the implementation and incorporation of Culture Vision, cultural competency software to help create a more inclusive healthcare network for patients. She currently directs the Mobile Clinic, an interdisciplinary health sciences student organization founded to provide free health screening, prevention, education and basic health services to underserved populations in and around Iowa City. Martinez professional interests include cultural competence education, chronic disease management, and women’s health/obstetrics.

Meredith A. Martyr (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is the Post-doctoral Research Scholar for the grant. Martyr is the primary instructor for the HRSA related courses and is co-designing the curriculum with Dr. Ali. Martyr has family roots in rural Iowa and has been highly motivated in increasing mental health services to underserved populations throughout her career. Her research expertise and publications focus on health care access with rural Transgender & Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) populations and health care barriers for women seeking abortion procedures. She is currently collaborating across disciplines at UI and partnering with local non-profits to examine health care disparities related to rural intersectional populations (e.g. LatinX, Veteran, Women, and TGNC populations). She has clinical expertise with LGBTQIA+ populations, and is currently practicing in the LGBTQ Clinic within the Couple & Family Therapy Program (College of Education) working with rural LGBTQIA+ populations.

2017-2018

Erin Cannella
CP Program Year: 4th

I grew up in a rural area and have provided clinical services to those residing in rural areas throughout much of my time in the CP program. I am interested in continuing to serve individuals from rural areas through my clinical work as I progress in my career. I am also excited to learn more about unique issues facing Latino communities in rural areas and to gather ideas regarding ways to provide better services and access to those in need.

Mandy Conrad
CP Program Year: 5th

I became interested in the HRSA program because of its dedication to helping students provide services to rural and underserved populations, and because of its emphasis on coordinated access to care through the integration of multiple disciplines (i.e., behavioral health and medicine). As a person who grew up in a rural community myself, enabling equal access to resources is a professional goal for which I continuously strive.

Isaac Hooley
CP Program Year: 4th

I come from a rural place, and continue to be drawn to the vitality and challenges of rural contexts. I look forward to seeing how my participation in the BHWET program enhances my ability to move from my training into deeper engagement with the behavioral health needs of rural people.

Christian A. Latino
CP Program Year: 5th

Through the BHWET fellowship, I hope to serve rural Spanish-speaking clients while growing in my capacity to understand cultural nuances of others and the benefits and obstacles of living in a rural area. I also hope to become more proficient in my capacities as a mental health practitioner by having the opportunity to work in unique settings with unique challenges.

Aurora Pham
CP Program Year: 5th

My goal is to pursue a career working with military veterans. This program will afford me unique clinical and didactic training opportunities, and will strengthen my abilities to work effectively with veterans in an integrated behavioral healthcare setting.

Chi W. Yeung
CP Program Year: 4th
Fellowship Cohort Year: 2017-2018

I hope to develop a greater understanding of how psychology can be integrated into a health setting and the issue of health disparities among Iowans.

Alyssa Zwicker
CP Program Year: 4th

I applied to this program after witnessing individuals from rural communities experiencing disparaging access to mental and behavioral health care. While working in pediatric healthcare, I see many children and their families that drive several hours to receive appropriate care. Within the HRSA program, I hope to become more educated and equipped to serve rural individuals and provide longstanding continuity of care.

2018-2019 Fellows

Marie Adams
CP Program Year: 3rd

My hope is that through this program I gain further experience in collaborating with other mental health and allied professionals to increase access to mental health services for underrepresented populations. Such experience will be invaluable to me in my pursuit of a career that provides comprehensive services and ensures continuity of care to clients within an integrated health system.

Mallory Bolenbaugh
CP Program Year: 3rd

Through my research and clinical work, I have seen the negative impact that the lack of healthcare and mental healthcare access can have on individuals and families. Therefore, I hope to reduce health and mental health disparities among the Latinx population as a HRSA fellow.

Yunkyoung (Yun) Loh Garrison
CP Program Year: 5th

My long-term career goal is to obtain a faculty position that allows me to combine my passion for research and desire to serve clients and communities of color in underserved areas. This career goal is professionally and personally meaningful to me as a racial minority individual who is keenly aware of the shortage of providers of color in serving minority clients in rural areas. This fellowship opportunity supports my professional identity as an engaged counseling psychologist, equipping me with meaningful field clinical experiences and knowledge about rural services issues.

J. Y. Cindy Kim
CP Program Year: 3rd Year

I hope to foster accessibility and sustainability of mental health services through both research and clinical practice. I look forward to gaining experiences in coordinated and integrated treatment. I am also excited to build and develop a better understanding of the experiences of underrepresented and underserved populations.

Ashlie Obrecht
CP Program Year: 3rd

As a military veteran I have developed an interest in serving military veterans. I am especially interested in serving military veterans in rural areas in hopes of improving access to healthcare services for veterans who are isolated. My career goal is to become a VA Psychologist.

Brianna Ward
CP Program Year: 3rd

I grew up in a rural, underserved area and saw the impact of a lack of mental and physical healthcare resources on the community. I hope to learn more about working within integrated behavioral healthcare and taking both mental and physical health factors into consideration with different individuals. I look forward to serving this population during my fellowship year and in the future.

Cara Wienkes
CP Program Year: 3rd

I applied to be a part of the HRSA BHWET program because I have had a long-time interest in working with undeserved populations, and also a career interest in focusing on the intersection between mental and physical health. I appreciate that the behavioral health perspective of this program allows for greater access of services to those who may not have access to or have knowledge about mental health treatment and I am excited to help bridge this gap.

2019-2020 Fellows

Nikki Mathur Grunewald
CP Program Year: 2nd

Through the HRSA grant, I hope to work towards finding ways to better serve children and their families in rural areas. This opportunity allows us to work together with the community and be partners in shared success.

Rayna Narvaez
CP Program Year: 2nd

I hope to learn more about the challenges that face those in rural communities and be better equipped to reach out to and advocate for these individuals as a psychologist-in-training.

Plan of Study for the Specialty Track for Ph.D. Students (Note: instructors may be subject to change.)

Year 1

First Semester

Coursework

Latino Immigration Trends in Iowa - 1 credit
Description: This course will focus on providing students with a breadth of knowledge about the Latino communities in the greater United States and Iowa, specifically. Information demographics, migration history, and cultural practices will be provided.
Course Instructor: Saba Rasheed Ali, Ph.D.

Traditional Health Behaviors – 1 credit
Description: This course will focus on providing students with a breadth of knowledge about the traditional cultural practices of Latinos and concepts of health, health beliefs and practices that are unique to this population. Course Instructor: Post-doc

Weekly Meetings with Project Directors: Students will meet once a week with project directors to discuss coursework, planning, concerns, and other issues related to the

specialty track.

Second Semester

Coursework

Integrated Health Service Provision – 3 credits (mandatory)
Description: This course will focus on training students to work collaboratively with health professionals to accomplish integrative service provision for the Latino and veteran populations. This will be team-taught by a professor in medicine and a professor in CP.
Course Instructors: Megan Foley Nicpon, Ph.D. and Family Medicine (Denise Martinez)

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service (CLAS) standards - 2 credits (mandatory)
Description: This course will focus on providing students with information on the National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services.
Course Instructor: William Ming Liu, Ph.D.

Veteran Trends in Iowa – 1 credit Description:
This course will focus on providing students with a breadth of knowledge about veteran communities in the greater United States and Iowa specifically. Information will be provided on demographics, history, and mental and behavioral health needs.
Course Instructor: Doris Stormoen, Ph.D.

Weekly Meetings with Project Directors: Students will meet once a week with project directors to discuss coursework, planning, concerns, and other issues related to the specialty track.

Summer Practicum Placement

Practicum

Students will be placed in a rural health care setting where they will provide services to the Latino and veteran populations (e.g. community health centers, maternal health centers, Women’s Wellness, VA hospital). They will also be providing outreach services to the Latino community via the mobile health clinic. Supervision: Students will meet once a week for an hour with the project director and/or another faculty member to receive clinical supervision.

Summer Coursework

Advanced Practicum in Counseling - 3 credits
Description: This course focuses on providing group supervision for students enrolled in practicum classes and involves case staffing and didactic instruction.
Course Instructor: Saba Rasheed Ali, Ph.D.

Year 2

Year 2 Practicum Placement

Practicum: Students will be placed in a rural health care setting where they will provide services to the veteran and/or Latino population (e.g. community health centers, maternal health centers, Women’s Wellness, VA hospital). They will provide outreach services to the Latino community via the UI Mobile Health clinic and veterans through the VA Telemental Health program.
Supervision: Students will meet once a week for an hour with the project director and/or another faculty member to receive clinical supervision.

First Semester

Coursework

Advanced Practicum in Counseling Psychology - 3 credits
Description: This course focuses on providing group supervision for students enrolled in practicum classes and involves case staffing and didactic instruction.
Course Instructor: Saba Rasheed Ali, Ph.D.

Health Psychology Seminar - 1 credit
Description: This course will focus on the mental health aspects of different health conditions. In particular, the course will focus on diverse health behaviors and practices and mental health concerns that often accompany certain health conditions.
Course Instructor: Team taught - faculty affiliate from Family Medicine and Charles Bermingham, Ph.D.

Challenges to Effective Service Provision - 1 credit
Description: This seminar will focus on helping students resolve challenges and barriers to providing effective services and will involve both didactic training as well as process of current issues facing students in their practicum settings.
Course Instructor: CP faculty

Second Semester

Coursework

Advanced Practicum in Counseling - 3 credits
Description: This course focuses on providing group supervision for students enrolled in practicum classes and involves case staffing and didactic instruction.
Course Instructor: Saba Rasheed Ali, Ph.D.

Challenges to Effective Service Provision - 1 credit
Description: This seminar will focus on helping students resolve challenges and barriers to providing effective services and will involve both didactic training as well as process of current issues facing students. 
Course Instructor: TBA

Year 3

Year 3 Practicum Placement Practicum

Students will be placed in a rural health care setting twelve hours per week for 12 months. Students will provide services to the veteran and Latino population (e.g., community health centers, maternal health centers, Women’s Wellness, and Iowa City VA). They will also be providing outreach services to the Latino community via the Mobile Health clinic and Telemental Health service at the VA. This will be supported by BHWET funds. Supervision: Students will meet once a week for an hour with the project directors and/or another faculty member to receive clinical supervision.

First and Second Semester

Course Work:

Advanced Practicum in Counseling Psychology - 3 credits
Description: This course focuses on providing group supervision for students enrolled in practicum classes and involves case staffing and didactic instruction.
Course Instructor: Saba Rasheed Ali, Ph.D.

Challenges to Effective Service Provision - 1 credit
Description: This seminar will focus on helping students resolve challenges and barriers to providing effective services and will involve both didactic training as well as process of current issues facing students.
Course Instructor: TBA

Please note that the contact information listed for project personnel or fellows is not intended to serve as an emergency connection to mental health services. Email is not be used for urgent or emergency messages. If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 now.

Other supplemental resources that may be helpful include the following:

Resources regarding rural health data, outcomes, and links to professional assistance include the following: