Texas Child Study Center Receives Funding for Psychology Internships Accreditation Initiative May 1, 2013
The College of Education’s Texas Child Study Center is one of three sites chosen by The University of Texas at Austin’s Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to receive a portion of grants totaling $770,765.
The grants will support internship programs that are working to obtain American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation. The initiative aims to advance the mental health workforce in Texas by attracting well-qualified psychologists in training to the state and improving the psychological services being delivered to the people of Texas.
The Texas Child Study Center was created in response to a need for pediatric mental health services in Central Texas and is a collaborative effort between Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and the College of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology.
“In addition to training, our mission here at the center includes clinical service and research,” said Kevin Stark, director of the center and a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. “The doctoral internship program is one of our main training programs and has been in existence since 2009. If it’s accredited, we’ll have the first accredited internship program in pediatric psychology in the Austin area.”
All supervising psychologists at the center have appointments through the Department of Educational Psychology and are clinical assistant professors. The doctoral interns also have appointments through the department and work closely with school psychology and counseling psychology students, as well as with postdoctoral fellows, who have appointments through the department.
The Hogg Foundation grant will provide support for accreditation activities and will be used to grow the internship program, increasing the number of interns from two to three this July and then from three to four next July. The grant also will fund important training for the current interns and training faculty, particularly in the area of how best to provide culturally competent services.
“We are very excited about this support from the Hogg Foundation to assist us in our efforts to become an APA-accredited internship program,” said Jane Gray, Ph.D., director of the center’s psychology training program. “Our program has evolved quite a bit over the past three and a half years and the timing is perfect for us to seek accreditation. This support will help us with our self-study process and help us further evolve by increasing the number of interns and providing educational and consultative opportunities for the center’s supervisors and interns.”
In addition to the three sites – Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, the Texas Child Study Center and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department – the Lone Star Psychology Residency Consortium also is being funded. All four grantees have psychology internship programs that are members of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers and all will use the grant funds to become APA-accredited.
“These grants come at a critical time for mental health in Texas, when there continues to be a persistent workforce shortage, especially in underserved areas, for psychologists and other mental health professionals,” said Michele Guzmán, Ph.D., assistant director of research and evaluation at the Hogg Foundation. “It is our belief that these grants will foster new opportunities for clinical, counseling and school psychology students and attract well-prepared future psychologists to careers in Texas.”
Having a number of APA-accredited internships in Texas is essential for the education and retention of psychologists in the state. With the addition of the recent awards, the Hogg Foundation has committed almost $3 million to strengthening psychology internships in Texas.