Press release provided by Heidelberg University. Heidelberg University’s Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) Program has received a four-year, $1.3 million grant to train counselors to fill gaps and unmet needs in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). The grant, titled Project KITE, will target the rural counties of Erie, Huron, Seneca and Sandusky and three urban cities, Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus. Through the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant, graduate counseling students in their final internship will be eligible to receive a $10,000 scholarship during their field experience/internship. Working in interdisciplinary behavioral health care teams, the students will focus on providing trauma-informed care and substance abuse mental health services in rural and underserved areas throughout northwest Ohio. This is the second grant the graduate counseling program has received from the Health Resources & Services Administration as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last fall, the program received a $214,286 grant to assist in the training of counselors dealing with at-risk children. “What’s attractive about the grant is that it gives our students who are accepted into the scholarship program a $10,000 stipend to do their field experience as well as first-hand experience working with interdisciplinary teams in various agencies and schools,” said MAC Program Director Marjorie Shavers. The funding “opens up opportunities for our students and also speaks to the deficit we have in mental health providers” in the area. In all, 78 scholarships will be available over the four-year lifespan of the grant. Counselors trained through Heidelberg’s MAC program are being prepared to serve mental health clients with issues specifically related to the ever-growing drug epidemic, Shavers explained. Jo-Ann Lipford Sanders, dean of the School of Education and Counseling at Heidelberg, said certain geographic areas historically have had less access to behavioral health care. “There’s a real serious shortage of both medical and behavioral healthcare in these areas for myriad reasons,” Lipford Sanders said, noting that by 2025, HRSA projections indicate “an additional shortage among many healthcare providers, specifically psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors and school counselors.” “There are really strong demands for these behavioral healthcare personnel trained in comprehensive service delivery as the demand for services from models such as the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) continues to grow,” Lipford Sanders said. In addition to the student scholarships, Heidelberg will use the grant funding to recruit men and minorities into the MAC program, develop an interdisciplinary behavioral healthcare conference working with consultants from The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and Arizona State University, and ongoing education for faculty and clinical supervisors. A full-time project coordinator will be hired to administer the grant. Heidelberg’s grant partners are the Sandusky City Schools, Mercy Health, the Neighborhood Health Association of Toledo and the Erie County Health Department. ABOUT HEIDELBERG Founded in 1850, Heidelberg offers 30 majors, 30 minors and 10 pre-professional programs, awarding the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of music degrees, as well as master’s degrees in education, counseling, business administration and music. Heidelberg has been consistently ranked as one of the top colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report Magazine. For more information visit the web site at www.heidelberg.edu.