Over 15 Years of Success and Wins for the Education Advocacy Trust
Health Care Reform Bills - Both the Senate and House health care reform bills have psychology workforce provisions due to successful advocacy efforts.
Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program Authorizing Bills - For the first time ever bills were introduced in the Senate by Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and in the House by Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Tim Murphy (R-PA), which would provide for an explicit authority to facilitate GPE funding.
Primary Care Association Initiative – In 2008 the Education Government Relations Office (GRO) successfully launched an initiative with the California Psychological Association to collaborate with the California Primary Care Association to hire psychologists and utilize psychology trainees in their community health centers. The Education GRO has targeted the federally supported Primary Care Associations because they represent the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in each state. The FQHC $2.2 billion program, with approximately 7,000 sites nation wide, provides health care to our nation’s uninsured and underinsured persons.
Higher Education Action Reauthorization – The bill reauthorizing the Higher Education Act was signed into law on August 14, 2008 and contains many provisions of interest to members of APA. This includes language that maintains the integrity and independence of the accreditation process and APA's definition for "teaching skills" with minor modifications. HEA also now includes a new discretionary loan forgiveness program: the Loan Forgiveness for Service in Areas of National Need. Psychologists and other mental health professionals are eligible to participate in this program. A recipient could receive $2,000 of an outstanding loan forgiven for each year employed in a specified field, with a maximum amount forgiven of $10,000.
Department of Defense Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) – The Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) was incorporated into the newly established Department of Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury – the military arm for training health professionals for meeting the mental health needs of returning military personnel and their families. As an established permanent program, the CDP is expected to receive continued annual funding as part of the DCoE.
SAMHSA Workforce Initiative – Education Government Relations Office (GRO) has been instrumental in bringing the issue of workforce development to the forefront of Congressional efforts to reauthorize the Substance Abuse/Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Currently there are no legislative provisions on workforce development except for data collection and analysis. Education GRO took the lead and became a negotiating player in the debate. If successful, it will be a tremendous victory for APA.
Defense Graduate Psychology Education (D-GPE) Program Appropriations – The D-GPE Program, renamed the Center for Deployment Psychology, was launched with an FY 2007 appropriation of $2.9 million by Congressman Bill Young (R-FL), Chair, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. The training will be administered through the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences with ten satellite training centers nationwide. Military psychology students as well as licensed military and civilian psychologists are being trained to treat return¬ing military personnel suffering from post traumatic stress disor¬der and other severe medical injuries.
Federal Community Health Centers Program - There was significant progress in our efforts to promote the inclusion of psychologists and psychology interns in the provision of integrated health care services through the Federal Qualified Health Center Program. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) agreed to work with APA to promote the hiring of psychologists and psychology interns. NACHC invited APA to present at their annual conference and to write an article in their newsletter.
Youth Suicide Prevention Act Signed Into Law; Includes Campus Mental Health Provisions - The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which contains provisions from the APA developed Campus Care and Counseling Act that were introduced and passed in both chambers with bipartisan support, was signed into law on October 21st. The legislation represents an impor¬tant first step in establishing critical and needed support for mental and behavioral health services to students on college campuses.
Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program Established – The GPE Program was established within the Bureau of Health Professions with a $2 million appropriation, resulting in 18 awards nationwide. This was the first federal program solely dedicated to the support of psychology education and training.
Federal Education Advocacy Coordinators (FEDAC) Network Established – Efforts to establish FEDAC began with the appointment of 14 volunteers in ten regions. The first gathering of FEDAC Regional Coordinators for advocacy training and hill visits took place in Washington, D.C. in the spring.
Older Americans Act Includes Mental Health Training – The Older Americans Act was signed into law with a new provision to fund graduate programs in psychology, as well as establish multidisciplinary centers of gerontology with a special emphasis on mental health services.
National Health Service Corps Mental Health Summits – One million dollars was appropriated to expand the NSHC Grant Incentive Program on Mental Health. This program supported three summits that were designed to assist 26 states in developing plans to increase mental and behav¬ioral health services to underserved communities.
Gained Protections for Psychologists on Campuses in the Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking – In order to protect client-counselor confidentiality, Edu¬cation advocacy staff was involved in the negotiated rulemaking, successfully advocating for the exemption of psychologists from reporting about their counseling sessions for a report on campus crimes.
Psychology Gains Role in Health Professions Education Act – A separate authority for funding of graduate programs in mental health (i.e., psychology) as well as expanded eligibility in the Minority & Disadvantaged Programs and the Interdisciplinary Community-based Linkages Programs were gained.
Increased Access for Psychology Graduate Students in the Higher Education Act – Gained access for psychology graduate students to the Federal Work Study Program and the Graduate Assis-tance in Areas of National Need, as well as expanded the Minority Science Improvement Program for minority students to the graduate level.
Protection for the VHA Psychology Internship Program – Report Language was secured in both the 1997 House and Senate Appropriations bills; Education Advocacy also attempted to get Report Language in the 1998 Appropriations bills that stated it is the “intent of Congress” to have the VHA continue the Psychology Internship Program. The Report Language also included a statement by the Congress to recognize the importance of psychologists in the provision of primary care to veterans.
National Health Service Corps Includes First Psychologists – After two years and the placement of twelve psychologists, Dr. Don Weaver, Director of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), announced a special initiative targeting mental health providers in underserved areas. APA provided information for a brochure on psychologists to be distributed by the NHSC to their regional offices and community health centers.
Indians Into Psychology (INPSYCH) Funding – For the first time, advocacy efforts were successful in gaining funding for the INPSYCH program which provided grants for training Native American psychologists.
SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program Funding – Efforts to prevent the elimination of The Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) in the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration was successful. APA has an MFP grant to fund training of ethnic and racial minorities in psychology.