The Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program is the only federal grant source specifically funding psychology internships. The purpose of this Munroe-Meyer Institute project, Integrated Behavioral Health Internships in Primary Care: Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Vulnerable Children and Adolescents, is to expand the number of psychologists with expertise in working with children and adolescents in underserved areas, in particular to rural, frontier, inner-city and military families.
This grant is a continuation of earlier GPE – funded grant programs (2003 to present) awarded to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Specific objectives of this grant program are to:
- Attract, recruit, train, place, and retain pediatric psychologists in underserved areas;
- Provide interdisciplinary internship training experiences in integrated behavioral health provision in primary care:
- Train psychology interns in the use of telehealth to increase behavioral health access for children and families in remote areas;
- Improve access to behavioral health services for children and families of military personnel; and
- Replicate and disseminate the integrated pediatric behavioral health in primary care model to other internship programs in other states.
Interns participate in interdisciplinary training experiences which include exposure to 13 MMI health care professions as well as training in the development of competence in working with rural, minority, and disability cultures. Interns participate in integrated behavioral health service provision with primary care physicians and nurses in either rural or inner-city significantly underserved areas.
To be able to provide integrated behavioral health services to remote areas, interns are also exposed to the use of telehealth by MMI faculty. A series of video telehealth “modules” have been developed for use in training interns and related professionals.
Two integrated behavioral health in primary care clinic sites have been established in Bellevue, Neb., the site of Offutt Air Force Base. These clinical sites serve military families which comprise 35 percent of patients seen. Finally, we provide technical assistance and on-site consultation to a number of programs including the University of Michigan, Florida Institute of Technology, University of South Florida, University of Iowa and East Tennessee State University and have conducted presentations at national conferences on Integrated Pediatric Behavioral Health in Primary Care.
The MMI internship program attracts more than 100 applicants to Nebraska from universities across the country. Our GPE grant support 7.5 interns annually, which has allowed us to “leverage” additional state funding from the Nebraska legislature to expand outstate clinics in Columbus, Norfolk, Chadron, Hastings and Kearney, as well as in inner-city areas of Omaha.