UofM, UTHSC Awarded $1 Million Collaborative Grant to Improve Behavioral Health Care for Youth in Memphis and Mid-South

 November 3, 2023 – A collaborative program between the University of Memphis (UofM) and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center  (UTHSC), funded by a two-year $1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), aims to increase the behavioral health workforce in Memphis and the Mid-South.

 The program, Recruiting Interprofessional Scholars for Excellence in Childhood, Adolescence & Young Adulthood (RISE-CAY), will train 17 graduate students and residents per year from the disciplines of social work, psychiatry, occupational therapy, counseling and counseling psychology to work with at-risk youth in the community. UTHSC and UofM faculty across those disciplines will prepare trainees to work in interdisciplinary teams to treat youth affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The trainees will also learn best practices in telehealth, cultural competency and humility and integrated behavioral health. Instructional emphasis will focus on the social determinants of health and practicing with rural and underserved populations.

 “Our goal in this collaboration is not only to provide support and training, but to encourage the work in child mental health in underserved areas such as Memphis,” said Alicia Barnes, DO, associate director of the Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being and an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UTHSC. “Bringing students and residents from different disciplines together to address youth mental health will strengthen the delivery of care, support school systems and parents, and be a step toward alleviating the shortage of behavioral health professionals in Memphis and the Mid-South.” 

 Susan Neely-Barnes, PhD, professor and director/chair of the School of Social Work at the UofM, is the principal investigator on the grant. The University of Memphis has received HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce, Education, and Training grants for nine years. 

 “We are thrilled to expand our funded training to a collaboration with Psychiatry and Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center,” said Dr. Neely-Barnes. “This interdisciplinary collaboration across our two institutions will prepare students for practice in an increasingly complex environment.”

 The HRSA funding, divided equally between the two institutions over two years, covers funding for the training and stipends for the trainees.

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