Eighteen psychology programs nationwide have landed education and training grants as part of the new Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program.
The federal Bureau of Health Professions launched the program last year after Congress approved it through Title VII of the Public Health Service Act. APA, its Members and its backers in Congress had spent several years pushing for the program, which supports training health-service psychologists to work with underserved populations. These populations include children, the elderly, victims of abuse, the chronically ill and people with disabilities.
To qualify for GPE grants, psychology programs must demonstrate attention to such underserved groups and offer interdisciplinary training. Grant administrators selected the current winners from 63 applicants, favoring those that place the most graduates in medically underserved communities.
Grant winners will each receive $90,000 to $130,000 of the more than $2 million that GPE offers for trainee stipends, faculty and curriculum development, demonstration programs, and technical assistance. Moreover, through the work of APA's Education Advocacy staff and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Reps. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), Congress has allotted another $2 million to continue GPE and another $3 million for geropsychology training.
The awards are particularly historic, say APA's education officials, because GPE is the first federal funding program devoted entirely to psychology. And the program's interdisciplinary focus reflects psychology's long history of training to work with other disciplines, says Cynthia Belar, PhD, APA's executive director for education. "Psychology has long promulgated this model for training of its health-service providers," she says. "In addition, the knowledge in our discipline has much to contribute to interdisciplinary training itself."