A Regis student treating a patientRegis College’s ongoing mission to educate the next generation of health science and nursing leaders, and care for underserved populations, was further strengthened by a recent award from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

The four-year, more than $1.8 million grant will give master’s students in three programs – occupational therapy, social work, and psychiatric nurse practitioner programs – stipends to complete clinicals in federally qualified health centers that serve the most vulnerable underserved populations. Thirty students from across the programs will receive stipends each year and do their clinical work at one of 19 possible sites.

“This grant will encourage students to bring their expertise to a community that might not normally have access to that type of care,” said Michael Roberts, the director of Regis’ occupational therapy program. “We are giving students a real opportunity where they have to identify what their role is at the site and what they can apply to improve the lives of the people they treat.”

Awarded through HRSA’s Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program, the grant’s focus is addressing the growing demand for mental health providers, as well as increased training for current providers on racism, culturally informed care, homelessness, and other social determinants of health.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a need for more psychiatric mental health providers,” said Kelly Carlson, director of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program. “Receiving these funds demonstrates the strength of the PMHNP program and our outstanding students who are choosing this challenging but rewarding career path.”

For Regis’ part, this grant will not only help increase a pipeline for students to the behavioral health workforce, but also enhance relationships with the clinical sites and provide greater opportunities for experiential learning for students and professional development for faculty and staff.

“This is a valuable interdisciplinary endeavor that embraces the mission of Regis College in educating our students to be advocates for a more just and compassionate global society as well as providing social work services to the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Donette Considine, director of the MSW program.