Highlights From APA's FY 2015 GPE Congressional Hill Visit Campaign
Advocates urge congressional appropriators to provide $6.9 million for the graduate psychology education program amidst tight budget year
In April, APA's Education Government Relations Office wrapped up its annual Congressional Hill Visit campaign to build bipartisan support for the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program.
Each year, a delegation of psychologists and psychology faculty come to Capitol Hill to help educate key members of the House and Senate appropriations committees and their staff about the unmet mental and behavioral needs in their home states and districts, and the role of psychologists in improving health outcomes for underserved populations. In more than 60 meetings, our 22 advocates requested congressional support for $6.9 million for GPE in Fiscal Year 2015, which is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration. Established in 2002, the GPE program continues to serve as a critical mechanism ensuring the interprofessional training of doctoral psychology students, interns and trainees who specialize in providing mental and behavioral health services to vulnerable and underserved populations. More robust support for GPE in FY2014 has provided funds for more than 35 grants that support doctoral psychology programs and internships. These programs provide innovative, interprofessional education and training opportunities — as well as supervised mental and behavioral health services — to rural and urban underserved populations, including children, older adults, LGBT populations, veterans and their families.
After Congress allocated a significant increase for GPE in FY2014 and the president included a request for $6.9 million for GPE in his FY2015 budget proposal, our advocates were delighted to receive bipartisan support for their request for level funding for GPE and for the overall goals of program. However, given the current budget climate, even level funding may be a challenge as the allocation for the Labor, HHS, Education appropriations bill is about $1 billion, or 0.7 percent, below the FY 2014 allocation, leaving many discretionary programs vulnerable to budget cuts again this year.
APA's ED GRO staff would like to thank everyone who participated in these important meetings, and will continue to provide updates as the FY2015 appropriations process moves forward.