CHP receives $1.2 million grant to train students to address opioid use, behavioral health needs

Gail Kemp
Dr. Gail Kemp

ATLANTA – Mercer University’s College of Health Professions has been awarded more than $1.2 million by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to train health service clinical psychologists to address opioid use and other unmet behavioral health needs across rural and urban Georgia.

HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce provided the grant, in the amount of $1,267,867, to the College’s Department of Clinical Psychology to fund nine Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) students each year from 2022-2025.

Fellows will be trained to provide interdisciplinary, integrated behavioral health for Opioid Use Disorder and pain management in community-based primary care settings and will be encouraged to pursue careers and service opportunities in rural and other underserved areas.

Dr. Craig Marker
Dr. Craig Marker

Gail Kemp, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor of clinical psychology, and Craig Marker, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Clinical Psychology, will serve as co-principal investigators for the grant. Davielle Lakind, Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical psychology, will also be involved in the fellowship training process.

“Behavioral health, specifically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for pain management, has been shown to be effective in reducing pain,” said Dr. Marker. “Our PsyD students will learn how to effectively work and lead in many underserved areas for this important behavioral health initiative.”

HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the health care workforce, building healthy communities and achieving health equity. HRSA’s programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

About the College of Health Professions

Mercer University’s College of Health Professions is composed of six disciplines: physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health, clinical psychology, athletic training, and kinesiology. The College offers a doctoral-level physical therapy program; master’s-level physician assistant program; bachelor’s-, master’s-, and doctoral-level public health programs, doctoral-level program in clinical psychology, master’s-level athletic training program, and bachelor’s-level kinesiology program. The Department of Physical Therapy also offers residencies in orthopaedic, neurologic and cardiovascular/pulmonary physical therapy; a fellowship in orthopaedic manual physical therapy; and an onsite clinic. Each program is housed in a department that provides students with comprehensive didactic courses taught by an extraordinary faculty and extensive clinical experience enhanced by outstanding service-learning opportunities. For more information, visit chp.mercer.edu.

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