Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training-Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults (BHWET-CAY) Program for Professionals

Sponsor/Type: HRSA
Project Period: 09/30/2023 - 09/29/2025


This application requests funds to support an innovative interdisciplinary academic-practice partnership for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Nursing (CON). With children's behavioral health being declared a national crisis, the purpose of this project is to expand behavioral health services in rural and underserved communities to specifically address the behavioral health needs of children, adolescents, and young adults. Our intention is to educate and train the next generation of behavioral health nurse practitioner providers with a specialized focus on expanding child psychotherapy and psychopharmacology knowledge and cultivating an appreciation of diverse cultural and linguistic populations. Since our program inception we have experienced an acute shortage of clinical preceptors who treat CAY, limiting PMHNP students' ability to develop expertise with this population.

Through strategic partnerships and preceptor stipends, clinical experiences will be added to expand care for CAY in rural counties experiencing profound health disparities. The PMHNP track has graduated 88 students serving rural areas across the United States since 2016. Of our 22 graduates from academic years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, 17 (77%) are currently employed in a Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA), and 20 (90%) are currently employed in a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P). This demonstrates our historical support of advancing behavioral health care in rural and underserved communities. The CON works as an integrated practice model providing behavioral health services in primary care areas working with many multidisciplinary team members. We are requesting special funding consideration based upon the CON’s emphasis on interdisciplinary training of students and significant contribution to meeting the needs of the rural and underserved populations across the United States.

The Goals/Objectives for this BHWET-CAY grant include:

  1. Didactic and experiential training using the Interprofessional Core Competencies including rural and underserved CAY needs will be offered to all PMHNP students.
  2. Annually,11 full-time and 4 part-time PMHNP students will be eligible to apply for stipend support in the final year of full-time or final two years for part-time study.
  3. Innovative community partnerships will be expanded, enhancing student training placements and preceptor opportunities focused on the behavioral health needs of CAY in rural and underserved areas with specific attention to cultural and linguistic diversity. Fifteen new precepted clinical placements with CAY populations have been identified and secured.
  4. Innovative community partnerships with South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) and the MUSC Regional Health Network will be expanded to provide by 2025 increased employment opportunities for 30 new PMHNP graduates in rural and underserved areas working with CAY populations.
  5. As part of ongoing project quality improvement, we commit to participating in email, blog and/or HRSA interactive phone conferences to ensure program success by communicating with other BHWET-CAY Program grant recipients.

For more information contact
Joy A. Lauerer