UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

October 18, 2012
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director of External Affairs | 218 726-8996 |
Bruce Munson | Interim Dean, College of Education and Human Service Professions | 218 726-6537 |
Melanie Shepard | Professor, Department of Social Work | 218 726-8859 |

UMD Social Work Receives Grant to Support Mental Health Services

The Department of the Social Work at the University of Minnesota Duluth is one of approximately 20 programs nationally to be awarded a Mental and Behavioral Health Education Training Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

These federal grants support programs in recruiting graduate students and providing education and clinical experiences to address the mental and behavioral health needs of rural, vulnerable, and/or under-served populations or veterans, and their families. The UMD MSW program has received $440,000 over a three-year period, mostly for student stipends, targeting mental health services to rural, American Indian, and mental health care professional shortage areas.

The program will seek to expand the number of clinical MSW field placements, provide student stipend support and provide interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students and practitioners. According to Dr. Melanie Shepard, the project director, "The grant addresses a critical need for more highly qualified clinical social workers to address the mental health care shortage in northern Minnesota, particularly in rural communities. We are pleased that several mental health agencies in the region, including tribal agencies, have agreed to partner with us to expand clinical internship opportunities for MSW students".

Kathy Heltzer, UMD field director, will be working with regional community agencies to expand clinical field placement opportunities for graduate social work students. A new UMD faculty member, Dr. Lake Dziengel, will focus on developing the clinical curriculum with an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Arrowhead region is designated as a mental health professional shortage area and has well-documented health and mental health challenges that impact veterans and American Indian populations in particular. The following agencies have indicated their willingness to collaborate with the UMD MSW program to address these needs: Fond du Lac Human Services Division, Leech Lake Band-Human Services, Essentia Health Duluth-Behavioral Health, Duluth Vet Center, Human Development Center, Accend Services, Duluth Institute, St. Louis County - Adult Mental Health and Woodland Hills.

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