College of Education at N.C. A&T Awarded $1.7 Million Department of Health and Human Services Grant

Greensboro, N.C. (Oct. 10, 2017) - The College of Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has been awarded a $1.7 million grant to increase the number of professional mental health counselors who serve rural communities in North Carolina.

The award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will support the project, “Enhancing Behavioral Health and Primary Care in Rural Areas Initiative.”

“This award will provide high quality preparation, intense and deliberate professional development, and financial stipends for our counseling graduate candidates,” said Anthony Graham, dean of the College of Education. “More importantly, this initiative provides critical resources and services for our rural communities in North Carolina. Our engagement with our rural communities demonstrates the faculty’s commitment to the college’s vision of equity, access, and advocacy.”

The project is designed to accomplish several goals:

  • Increase the number of trained professional counselors with specialized knowledge of the integration of primary care and behavioral health
  • Enhance the academic learning experience of students preparing to become professional counselors by providing high quality academic training while emphasizing an integration of behavioral health and primary care
  • Enhance the skills of faculty and site supervisors who have professional counseling practices serving rural, vulnerable, and medically-underserved communities
  • Increase the number of internship placements and job opportunities that emphasize behavioral health and primary care integration and serve rural, vulnerable, and medically-underserved communities
  • Partner with agencies, organizations, and institutions of excellence that specialize in the integration of behavioral health and primary care

“We understand that in our state there are a number of underserved rural communities in need of mental health services. Faculty in the Department of Counseling are working to alleviate this disparity,” said Paige Dunlap, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Education and co-principal investigator of this initiative.

In addition to providing graduate candidates with training in professional counseling, school counseling and substance abuse, select candidates will receive $10,000 stipends while working with rural populations during their internship experiences.

Funding for the grant will be awarded over a four-year period. Joining  Dunlap as co-principal investigators are Quintin Boston, Ph.D., Angel Dowden, Ph.D.,  Natalie Spencer, Ph.D. and Alisa Taliaferro, Ph.D.