Faculty from the University of Iowa College of Education School Counseling and School Psychology programs were awarded a $5.388 million grant to address shortages in the number of school-based mental health services professionals (MHSPs) available in high-need schools.
The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education as part of the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Programs.
Faculty from the UI College of Public Health and School of Social Work in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will also collaborate on the grant.
The project, Multidisciplinary Pathways to Recruit, Train, and Retain School Mental Health Providers in Iowa (MPath), focuses on developing a multidisciplinary training model to increase the number of highly qualified school based MHSPs serving high need areas of Iowa. Special emphasis will be to increase the number of MHSPs from underrepresented, nontraditional, and minoritized backgrounds.
Ann Santos, clinical associate professor in School Psychology, will serve as the project director. Co-project directors from the College of Education include Enedina García Vázquez, distinguished visiting professor in school psychology, and Gerta Bardhoshi, associate professor in school counseling and Scanlan Center for School Mental Health director of research and training.
Additionally, Sarah Witry, clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work, and Ebonee Johnson, assistant professor in the College of Public Health will also serve as co-directors. Partner Area Education Agencies include Keystone (AEA1) and Mississippi Bend AEA (AEA9).
“We are so honored to have been awarded this grant to address the shortages of mental health practitioners in schools. The partnerships we have assembled will help deliver much-needed mental health services to underserved communities in our state and beyond,” says Santos.
The grant will fund 72 graduate students over the course of five years. This project will result in the enhancement of innovative practical learning experiences and more accessible pathways to prepare school-based MHSPs to serve in high-need schools located in Keystone and Mississippi Bend AEA.
Applications for graduate students will begin immediately and the first cohort will begin in the fall of 2023. For more information about applying, visit the MPath website.