Effects of Cuts in Funding for the Graduate Psychology Education Program in Urban Communities
Severe cuts in the GPE Programs will put the Adolescent Health Initiative at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at risk. Critically needed psychological services aimed at addressing the needs of inner city youth ages 14 to 24 who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, will be drastically reduced or even eliminated. Approximately 80% of the 100 youth served in this clinic are African American, and over 90% reside in low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia. For example, low-income adolescents from West Philadelphia will no longer receive counseling on how to manage the anxiety and depression associated with their disease, nor will they learn what they must do to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS to other individuals. Further, the loss of GPE funding means there will be no means to support the psychology interns whose primary role is to screen and conduct psychological assessment in order to identify youth who are suffering with mental and behavioral health problems.
A significant decrease in GPE funding will result in severe reductions in the psychological services available in four pediatric clinics that are in medically underserved areas of Wilmington DE serving primarily African American and Central American families. With no psychology residents immersed in primary-care offices, pediatric residents will not receive previously available training on how to accurately diagnose behavioral problems and offer short-term interventions. With the loss of the GPE funding, effective non-pharmacological treatments will longer be available for ADHD and other childhood behavioral disorders. Similarly, the previous coordination efforts between health, mental health and school professionals to enhance the lives of children will become unfeasible.
As a result of major cuts in GPE funding, direct service to children with significant psychological vulnerabilities and impairments, including children exposed to violence, children affected by HIV, children with developmental delays, and children with severe psychiatric disorders, will be drastically reduced in the New Haven area. The best possible training opportunities for psychologists dedicated to assisting underserved populations through multi-disciplinary collaborations will no longer exist. Similarly, new opportunities to expand clinical and didactic training that foster an integrated approach to health care through interdisciplinary collaborations and community-based linkages will be lost.
As a result of drastically reduced GPE funding, therapeutic contacts with urban African American grandmothers will be severed. Psychological services provided to these grandmothers and other kinship caregivers who are raising children in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged sections of Rochester will be eliminated. Funding cuts will also mean the elimination of weekly group psychotherapy sessions to grandmothers in urban neighborhood centers as well as mark the end of education programs which empower “senior” grandmothers to be mentors for the other caregivers who are struggling with parenting, legal, mental health or financial problems. Case managers of a major social service agency for seniors (Eldersource) will not be trained to utilize the proven techniques for assessing for suicide risk for seniors on their caseloads.
Severe cuts in GPE funding will mark the end of a proven program based out of St. Louis University which not only trains health care providers to identify and intervene with victims of domestic violence, but is a program which also assists women and children suffering from domestic violence who may not be currently identified by the health system. Services are provided at University Pediatrics, a primary clinic located in a medically underserved community that serves 6,000 patients a year. This groundbreaking program catches victims who most likely would otherwise fall through the cracks, by screening women for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as a routine part of a child’s pediatric visit. With reduced GPE funding, the Pediatric-Psychology Partnership for Abuse Prevention at Saint Louis University will no longer be able to train graduate clinical psychology students or offer services to victims of IPV.
Significant cuts to the GPE Programs will severely curtail the predoctoral internship in clinical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Psychology students will no longer participate in rotations with geriatric patients throughout their training year. Doctoral students will not receive experiences which involve evaluation, treatment planning, and intervention with geriatric patients and their families, in the context of multidisciplinary teams. Consequently, reduced funding would dissolve the bonds made between teams composed of professionals from psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, and social work. The development of a distance-learning program which involves web-based delivery of didactics, innovative demonstrations, and interactive case conferences and case consultation will no longer be possible. Without this valuable GPE program, fewer psychologists will become part of a diverse workforce trained in geropsychology to improve the care of rural and urban underserved elderly.