Clinical Mental Health Counseling Professors Win Major Grant

October 27, 2014

Faculty members in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, part of the College of Education’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling, have been awarded nearly $1 million as part of a grant to expand the substance abuse and mental health workforce for children, adolescents and transitional-age youth (ages 16-25) who are at-risk for developing behavioral health disorders.

Principal Investigator Dr. Amanda Evans will work with co-PIs Dr. Jamie Carney and Dr. Melanie Iarussi on the grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) entitled “Building Rural Alliances through Collaboration and Education (BRACE): Providing Behavioral Health Services to Rural, At-Risk Children, Adolescents and Transitional Age Youth.”

“This grant will allow us to partner with rural, high-need communities in Alabama to develop and maintain collaborations with primary care facilities to provide behavioral health services for at-risk youth,” Evans said. “We will use the funding to train and supervise 75 graduate-level professional counselors, over the course of three years.”

Evans said the grant will allow these much-needed counseling students to do several things:

  • Earn a master’s degree from a CACREP-accredited clinical mental health counseling program;
  • Qualify for a substance abuse certification;
  • Participate in a specialized training program that emphasizes primary care collaboration in working with children and adolescents, with an emphasis on multicultural counseling, substance abuse, and transition;
  • Partner with primary care facilities to receive additional training and consultation opportunities;
  • Participate in pre-degree clinical internship; and
  • Engage in prevention-based educational training opportunities to improve the quality of services and related training to primary care facilities in rural and high-need communities.

“These program objectives will be evaluated using a mixed-methods longitudinal design to examine the progress of counselors through their graduate program and post-degree employment,” Evans said.

The full amount of the three-year grant is $985,721.

“We are very proud of these faculty members for their hard work in winning this important grant,” said Dr. E. Davis Martin, Head of the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling. “Dr. Evans, the Principal Investigator for the grant, is a real fireball and an excellent faculty member. I appreciate her hard work, and the hard work of her faculty colleagues, in winning this award and the important work it will allow us to do in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.”