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Behavioral Health Workforce Development

Project BE-AHEAD

This grant, which covers doctoral programs in counseling psychology and school counseling, as well as master’s programs for mental health counseling and school counseling, will pay a stipend to qualified students working through this portion of their training.

  • Sponsor
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • Principal investigator
    Bernadette Davantes Heckman
    Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Counseling and Human Development Services

  • Co-principal investigators
    Jolie Daigle
    Department of Counseling and Human Development Services

    Georgia Calhoun
    Department of Counseling and Human Development Services

  • Active since
    November 2017

Visit the Project Website


This HRSA proposal will expand our college’s integrated behavioral health/primary care outreach to at-risk children and youth in underserved K-12 schools as well as youth and adults in mental health and primary care settings. Trainees will work (i) in medically underserved rural areas designated as professional shortage areas, (ii) with racially- linguistically- and economically diverse communities, and (iii) in sites emphasizing interdisciplinary training necessary for effective integrated care. Project objectives are to:

  1. Expand the impact and sustainability of our ongoing behavioral health-primary care training infrastructure in our school counseling program established 3 years ago through HRSA FOA 14-077. We seek to grow our school-primary care partnerships to improve care coordination; expand field placements to non-traditional schools for youth and adults with mental health disorders; and digitalize our behavioral health manual into an online resource for greater access;
  2. Extend our successful School Counseling M.Ed. Program’s integrated care training model into the Mental Health Counseling M.Ed. Program. The training of mental health counseling students will capitalize on existing evidence-based behavioral health training and incorporate integrated approaches to care that will expand the UGA-trained workforce beyond Georgia’s K-12 schools into underserved community mental health & primary care settings;
  3. Meet an important HRSA funding priority by strengthening our Ph.D. program in Counseling “Health” Psychology to enable our students to master and implement evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions in established primary care and mental health practicum sites that emphasize interdisciplinary, team-based, patient-centered approaches to healthcare delivery, and
  4. Partner with external institutions to establish new and innovative training sites (e.g. Georgia Department of Public Health’s Telemedicine Program) while strengthening existing placements/practicums through interdisciplinary training of students, supervisors, and staff.
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