The Jessie Ball duPont Fund awards $95,000 to Radford University’s Doctor of Psychology program

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is awarding the Radford University Doctor of Psychology program $95,000 over two years to provide behavioral health therapy to patients in need at the Community Health Center of the New River Valley (CHCNRV).

The CHCNRV, with offices in Christiansburg (Montgomery County) and Pearisburg (Giles County), serves the New River Valley by providing affordable and high quality medical, dental, behavioral and preventative health care services to people of all ages, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status.

"Radford University is very thankful to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund for funding the opportunity for our doctoral students to receive hands-on experience while providing much needed services to patients in our region," said Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle. "Through the generosity of the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, the University will have a greater ability to serve the NRV in a critically needed capacity and make a difference in our communities."

Beginning in the fall of 2015, five Radford University doctoral students will provide patients traditional therapy sessions that are focused on problems such as depression, anxiety, conflict in relationships, recovery from trauma or abuse, or management of symptoms related to serious and persistent mental illness. Behavioral health therapy can also include weight management, smoking cessation, medication compliance and disease management.

"Overwhelmingly, the science points to therapy as an important part of managing mental health concerns. In the United States, we tend to use a more medication-driven approach to treating mental health concerns. This program proposes a different approach, suggesting that many people do best when psychotherapy is a part of the mix, not just medications," said Radford University psychology professor Tracy Cohn.

The CHCNRV has launched a program that integrates the delivery of primary care and mental health services to its low-income uninsured patients. Radford University doctoral students and psychology faculty will participate in this program as members of the healthcare team. This new model of care will help identify behavioral health disorders that need to be addressed by the collaborative health care team, will use an integrative care manager to coordinate primary care and behavioral care treatment, and will create a common medical record that includes an integrated treatment plan used by all practitioners treating the patient.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rated Montgomery County and Giles County medically underserved. According to CHCNRV, close to 80 percent of its clients do not have health insurance. "These are individuals who are working very, very hard in full time or part-time positions, but still fall below the poverty line. Thanks to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Radford University students will be able to provide individuals with the therapy they need," said Cohn.

Jul 1, 2015