GPE Grantees attend 2008 Bureau of Health Professions Conference in Washington, DC

On February 25-28, recent grantees of the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program descended on Washington, DC for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)'s Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) 2008 All Programs Conference. The conference was focused on "Envisioning the Future of Health Professions." Many national health care leaders spoke on a variety of topics related to the health professions workforce.

Speakers at the conference included Elizabeth M. Duke, HRSA Administrator, Marcia K. Brand, Ph.D., Associate Administrator for Health Professions, and other administration leaders and health professionals. In accordance with the theme, the conference hoped to provide attendees with the opportunity to explore new ideas for their grant programs and ways to better integrate a range of health care services to underserved communities. The conference also highlighted the health care needs that exist across the country in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), training a new generation of health professionals, strategies for developing the workforce pipeline, and meeting the needs of all underserved Americans.

In attendance at the conference were twelve GPE grantees, representing ten of the eighteen FY 2007 GPE grant programs. Throughout the conference, GPE grantees had a chance to meet their fellow grantees, many of whom are new to GPE grant funding and learn about their specific programs. On Tuesday afternoon, the GPE grantees had the opportunity to meet with Jerilyn Glass, M.D., PhD., Medical Officer in the Division of Medicine and Dentistry at BHPr and Project Officer for the GPE Program. The grantees discussed with Dr. Glass the important work of their programs, outcome measures relating to their grants and ways to increase the visibility of the small GPE Program within HRSA. Following this meeting, the GPE grantees left for Capitol Hill to meet with the staff of their Members of Congress to advocate for increased FY 2009 funding in the amount of $7 million for the GPE Program. Established six years ago, GPE provides grants to accredited psychology doctoral, internship and postdoctoral training programs. An exemplary "two-for-one" federal program, GPE supports the interdisciplinary training of psychology graduate students while they provide supervised mental and behavioral health services to underserved populations, such as older adults, children, the chronically ill, and victims of abuse and trauma, including returning military personnel and their families, especially in rural and urban communities. The GPE Program has been funded for the last three years at $1.8 million, a level at which puts the program in jeopardy of elimination. Many grantees had the opportunity to speak with the staff of Members of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, whose support is most crucial to the continuation of the GPE Program, and request increased funding to save the GPE Program. These advocacy efforts of the GPE grantees and others who have helped in this cause are invaluable to APA's efforts to gain increased funding for the GPE Program.