Capella University Faculty Member Initiates Innovative Rural Psychology Program

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Nearly $300,000 awarded to fund unique program in west central Minnesota.

Capella University core faculty member and licensed psychologist Jeff Leichter, PhD, has initiated an innovative program designed to increase the number of psychologists serving rural populations. Dr. Leichter is a core faculty member in the Harold Abel School of Psychology at Capella, which is an accredited online university that combines distance learning with face-to-face instruction.

Along with several colleagues, Dr. Leichter began developing the concept for a rural psychology training program in 2002 in response to how underserved rural Minnesota is in regards to mental health services, and how difficult it is to recruit and retain psychologists in rural areas of the state. Having recently received grants and gifts totaling nearly $300,000, the Minnesota Consortium for Advanced Rural Psychology Training (MCARPT) program is expected to launch in July of 2006.

“There is nothing like this that we are aware of in the United States,” Dr. Leichter said. “There is this sort of revolving door where psychologists would come to this area, stay a couple years, and then they would leave. We decided one of the ways we could stop this revolving door process would be to develop a training program where people would be specifically trained in how to function in rural communities as psychologists.”

The funds raised for the program will be used to hire recent graduates of doctoral psychology programs who will work for two years at a variety of agencies providing mental health services to residents of west central Minnesota. A total of 11 agencies are part of the consortium, and the trainees will spend time working at each one in an effort to master core competencies necessary to function effectively in rural practice. Once a trainee has completed the program, he or she will be encouraged to accept a full-time position with one of the consortium agencies. Recent or soon-to-be graduated students of doctoral psychology programs are currently being interviewed to participate in the program.

About Capella University

Founded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited* online university that offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services and psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Science online degree program with 11 specializations in business and information technology. The online university currently serves more than 14,500 enrolled learners from all 50 states and 63 countries. Capella is a national leader in online education, committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, please visit http://www.capella.edu or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, (312) 263-0456, http://www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org.

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