Hogg Foundation Awards Grant to Establish El Paso Psychology Internship Consortium

Aug. 24, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin has selected The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to receive $550,000 over five years to create the El Paso Psychology Internship Consortium. The consortium, which will also receive over $200,000 from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, is an El Paso-based partnership with UTEP, William Beaumont Army Medical Center and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso.

The consortium internship positions will allow doctoral psychology students to perform one year of supervised training, a requirement to complete their degrees. During the five-year grant, the consortium will train at least 24 students, creating six internship positions the first year and growing to eight positions by 2017. As a condition of the grant, the consortium has agreed to seek accreditation for their internship programs from the American Psychological Association.

“The consortium will change the landscape of psychology training in El Paso by adding internship positions to help meet the demand for training. There are currently no accredited internships in El Paso,” said Dr. Michele Guzmán, assistant director of research and evaluation at the Hogg Foundation. “The foundation views this as an opportunity to not only address a mental health workforce issue, but also to demonstrate that this approach serves students, universities and the communities that host them."

The pre-doctoral interns’ salaries and the cost of their supervision and training will be paid by the grant. In return, the interns will expand the consortium’s capacity to provide mental health services in the El Paso area.

“There is a national imbalance of APA-accredited internship sites,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation. “This program will not only reverse the decline in numbers of licensed psychologists in El Paso, but also prepare psychologists with broad cultural competency and exposure to new cultural perspectives and ideas, thereby contributing to improved mental health service for U.S. minority groups.”

Paso del Norte’s goal for this partnership is to develop licensed psychologists with the cultural skills to help fill the tremendous need for well-equipped health professionals to serve the unique needs of the region and military families.

“The Paso del Norte Health Foundation is honored to play an active role in this important multi-institutional partnership,” said Myrna Deckert, president and CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “The El Paso Psychology Internship Consortium (EPPIC) will bring new opportunities for the people in the Paso del Norte region to experience improved mental and emotional well-being.”

This award is part of the Hogg Foundation’s Psychology Internship initiative that began in 2011. With the addition of the El Paso consortium, the Hogg Foundation will award nearly $2.2 million to psychology internship programs that will train 62 doctoral psychology students and create 19 new internship positions in Texas by 2017. The initiative aims to attract doctoral students in psychology to careers as mental health providers in Texas and to increase the availability of psychological services in underserved communities. The programs already receiving grant awards are Scott & White Healthcare Foundation in Temple, Travis County Juvenile Probation in Austin and the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation is one of the largest nonprofit foundations on the U.S.-Mexico border. Its mission is to promote health and prevent disease in the region through leadership in health education, research and advocacy.

The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by supporting mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

For more information, contact: Carrie Dyer.