USD Receives $1.6 Million Grant to Provide Innovative Behavioral Health Training

SAN DIEGO, CA — The University of San Diego was recently awarded a $1.676 million grant for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education And Training (BHWET) project. The federal grant, provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will be awarded over four years and includes $1 million in direct support for students. This project has been a collaborative effort with University of California San Diego’s (UCSD) primary care providers. The goal will be to improve and expand innovative interprofessional training to meet the growing mental health needs of vulnerable, rural, and underserved children and families in Southern California. 


This grant is only awarded to programs meeting the most rigorous accreditation standards and is a reflection of demonstrated excellence and positive community impact of students and alumni. According to project lead and Assistant Professor of marital and family therapy Dr. Florencia Lebensohn-Chialvo, the purpose of the BHWET is to “promote innovations in training and supervision and provide resources to recruit and retain students who are committed to working with underserved communities.” The objective will be to produce more behavioral health providers who are expertly trained to deliver effective evidence-based, culturally sensitive services, with a specific emphasis on care provided in integrated care settings.

“We believe this grant will not only facilitate the training of more competent and diverse behavioral health providers, but strengthen and expand our partnerships across USD, UCSD, and the larger San Diego community,” said Dr. Lebensohn-Chialvo.

The success of this proposal was a collaborative effort within USD between The Department of Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy (CMFT), within the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), and the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) program, within the Hahn School of Nursing (HSON).

“The Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is thrilled to partner with our colleagues at SOLES in this novel opportunity,” said Dr. Michael Terry, Clinical Professor at HSON. “In addition to fulfilling the HSON’s mission of working with underserved populations, our partnership realizes the promise of interdisciplinary collaborative education, which leads to interdisciplinary collaborative practice after graduation. This team-based approach to behavioral health services is a key factor for success in today's complex healthcare environment. We look forward to a new era of joint ventures with SOLES and the chance to improve the range of services and quality of care our graduates provide.” 

This project also builds on years of partnership development with UCSD’s primary care providers.

“I am thrilled that this funding will help the long-time collaboration between USD and UCSD's Collaborative Care Program thrive and expand to serve even more families in need,” said partner Dr. Bill Sieber, director of UCSD’s Collaborative Care Program. “The funding will go a long way to address the needs of the underserved throughout our communities.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is the primary federal agency for improving healthcare for communities in need. HRSA provides grants to qualified healthcare organizations to expand and improve healthcare services for populations that are geographically isolated or economically or medically vulnerable. HRSA additionally provides support for training healthcare professionals and the distribution of healthcare providers into areas with the most needs. 


This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number and title for grant amount (specify grant number, title, total award amount and percentage financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.