Widener University and Aids Care Group to Receive $283,520 Grant to Promote Interdisciplinary Training

The Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University was awarded a grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to begin a training program for clinical psychology interns to work with underserved individuals with HIV/AIDS.

The HRSA internship training grant for $283,520 was given to Widener along with the Aids Care Group, a non-profit organization that provides medical care, dental care, and social services to uninsured and underinsured minority residents of Chester. The AIDS Care Group is an internship site Widener offers to clinical psychology doctoral students focusing on health psychology and who are interested in both primary care and integrated medicine as well as working with the underserved.

The grant-funded training will be offered within the setting of a community-based medical provider agency and is designed to encourage accessibility and retention in care for patients and retention and professional commitment to underserved populations among the graduate students. Five interns will receive internship stipends for each of the three years, in addition to funding to support faculty and supervision related to the project.

According to Dr. Sanjay Nath, associate dean and director of the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology, “one especially significant goal of the grant is to help students gain experience in working with the underserved and to consider such a psychology career in medically resource-poor communities.”

The grant will help promote interdisciplinary, primary care-based training for the underserved, namely individuals with HIV/AIDS. Such individuals often suffer from psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, and face complex social problems (housing insufficiency, unemployment, etc.). A comprehensive primary care treatment approach that integrates care of the physical self and addresses mental health needs is essential to successful outcomes.

“HIV, mental illness, and addiction are chronic diseases and contributing factors to poor health indicators in Chester where Widener University and AIDS Care group are located,” Dr. Kevin Moore, director of Integrative Medicine at AIDS Care Group, said. “This collaborative approach to care will train students to have the unique clinical skills needed to assist the targeted population, while also supporting a great need in this community.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the health care workforce, building healthy communities and achieving health equity.  HRSA’s programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del. are proud to be a tobacco-free. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu

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