Alliant University of Fresno to train psychologists with grant
Alliant International University announced a $578,000 grant for the PsyD program in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology in Fresno. The grant was provided by the State Health Resources and Services Administration.
The Central Valley will generate new Psychologists after receiving a grant to produce more Therapists.
Alliant International University announced a $578,000 grant for the PsyD program in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology in Fresno.
The grant was awarded by the State Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and will be used to train students and faculty to provide mental health services.
Program director Dr. Ya-Shu Liang said the grant is unique because unlike grants that go directly to federally qualified health care centers, this grant will go directly to training psychology students. Students will be specifically trained in Integrated Behavioral Health – a healthcare model involving multiple healthcare professionals to assess and treat patients.
Doctors usually do a screening and if they notice that patients are showing signs of depression or anxiety, the psychologist may be called into the room to further assess the patient.
“A lot of people wouldn’t even call a psychologist, but they would come to see a doctor and complain about different symptoms,” she said.
Psychologists would be trained in these medical settings so they can intervene where people most often report mental illness.
Liang eventually hopes to establish an Integrated Behavioral Health Project in Central California, a hub to promote the idea of Integrated Behavioral Health. A portion of the grant money will go to organizing this business.
Liang will partner with Valley Health Team, a federally licensed healthcare center, and send nine students to Valley Health Team over the next three years. The grant will allow them to give stipends to students rather than work for free.
The hope is that those students who serve rural communities will continue to serve the same populations after being trained through the internship.
“A lot of people in rural communities — sometimes they don’t have insurance, so at these federally qualified medical centers, they don’t turn anyone away. We serve a community that is normally unserved,” Liang said.
Traditionally, it has been difficult to attract psychologists to the Central Valley.
“I think sometimes people don’t know how to serve those communities and that’s why this grant is actually really important,” she said.
More than 50% of the scholarship must go directly to the students, including the reimbursement of travel expenses.
During the three-year program, Liang said another goal was for students to be educated about substance use disorders and opioids. Currently, students are not required to take courses in substance use disorders. The grant will allow teachers to prepare modules for these types of courses.
Alliant International University is accredited by the American Psychological Association and is the only accredited training program in the Central Valley between Bakersfield and Sacramento.
“We always joke around, like we’re the best kept secret,” Liang said.
“It’s very meaningful work,” she added.