Psy.D. program receives HRSA grant

Valerie Leake, Ph.D.
Valerie Leake, Ph.D.

Radford University’s renowned Counseling Psychology (Psy.D.) program received a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant totaling $940,178 to improve the health of underserved communities by strengthening the health workforce and connecting skilled professionals to those communities.

Specifically, the HRSA grant provides funding for the Rural Educational Advances: Creating Behavioral Health Integration and Interprofessional Nurturing for Graduate Students (REACHING) Project for three years.

The grant enables students in the Psy.D. program to receive specialized training and experience in prevention and treatment of Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Use Disorder, as well as training in the delivery of telehealth, creating a maximum of six positions – each with a stipend of $25,000 – for the doctoral students each year.

“We have a great program here at Radford University and this is one additional way of providing support – both financial and training support – to students,” said Valerie Leake, Ph.D., director of the Psy.D. program and REACHING project director. “I think that's the biggest, most important part of this project. It gives students in-depth and hands-on training needed to enable them to become experienced health professionals.”

A significant component of the grant is telehealth, which is a way for clients to receive care remotely. The REACHING Project will enable telehealth to be provided via video chat methods, all to be conducted in the on-campus lab in the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences.

“This is an incredibly important way to provide health services in rural areas,” Leake said. “We live in a clinically underserved area and by supporting telehealth, it allows clients to get much-needed support when traveling may be challenging or impossible, such as inclement weather, enabling people without transportation to receive services.”

In terms of placement at health facilities, Psy.D. students will serve as mental health professionals at integrated healthcare facilities, which offer a wide range of services to patients, including general medical care, women’s health services, dental care and behavioral health care. A major benefit of these facilities is that patients can be referred to specialists that are all under one roof, allowing for easier access to the variety of medical services.

At the integrated care facilities, the Psy.D. students will provide mental health counseling services at no cost to those who don’t have insurance or cannot afford a sliding scale to offer services to a wider range of people.

In addition to Leake serving as project director, Pei-Chun Tsai, Ph.D., will serve as the assessment consultant/coordinator for the grant. Other Radford University faculty associated with the grant include Nadine Hartig, Ph.D., Ruth Riding-Malon, Ph.D., and Nick Lee, Ph.D. The grant application was developed by Valerie Leake, Ph.D., and Dr. Virginia Burgraff DNS, RN, FGSA, FAAN.

The REACHING Project exemplifies Radford University’s dedication to the surrounding community through building lasting community partnerships.

Aug 27, 2019
Max Esterhuizen