Phillips Graduate University Administers 2017-2018 Department of Mental Health Public Mental Health Service Awards for Recent MFT Graduates

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Phillips Graduate University has recently administered the 2017-2018 DMH service awards for recent MFT graduates, providing them with cash stipends for working in mental health clinics and settings throughout underserved areas of Los Angeles County. With multi-lingual therapists experienced in multicultural issues and stressors, these therapists are enthusiastically making a difference helping individuals who otherwise might not be able to access high quality mental health services.

"It is so gratifying to know that these awardees learn how rewarding it is to serve the mental health needs of their communities.”

Educational stipends designed to increase public mental health workforce to provide mental health services in high priority, underserved areas.

Working on behalf of the Greater Los Angeles Consortium of Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) Educators, Phillips Graduate University staff have recently announced they recently partnered with the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health to provide 70 recent MFT graduates with educational stipends of $18,500 each. These designated recipients have agreed to serve as clinicians within agencies affiliated with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH).

Their applications were selected among hundreds received, with each candidate vetted by former stipend recipients and relevant DMH staff. The selected MFT therapists will work for at least 12 months as part of a small mental health workforce that local leaders describe as desperately needed. Trained in multicultural issues and methodologies, these clinicians provide services in languages including Spanish, Armenian, Tagalog, Farsi and multiple Chinese dialects.

Many familiar with the program say that these graduates bring significant experience, and enthusiasm to their new roles, committed to both public mental health and the diverse communities in which they serve. Indeed, according to a 2008 report, “the partnership [between the MFT Consortium and Los Angeles County] has made considerable strides in addressing the need for diversity in mental health workforce as outlined in the LAC DMH Internal Inventory.”

Funded by California’s Mental Health Services Act, award recipients have worked in agencies throughout LA County since the spring of 2005 when the workforce effort was initiated. According to a survey within the first five years of the program, 91 percent of the public mental health award recipients reported that “the stipend program encouraged them to consider post-degree employment in public mental health.” Local mental health advocates say that the success of the program can be largely attributed to the MFT school administrators of the Consortium, and their unwavering commitment to the value and importance of Department of Mental Health employment.

Founded by former president of Phillips Graduate University, Dr. Ed Cox, PhD the Greater Los Angeles MFT Consortium seeks to unite regional academic communities across the county to enhance the quality clinical training for local marriage and family therapy students. Over time and with the growing popularity of the Public Mental Health Award stipend program, the Consortium has seen their membership more than double, with new participation from marriage and family therapy academic programs across the Southland.

“It has been privilege to contribute to the growth of the Consortium over the past decade,” says Phillips Graduate University associate professor and marriage and family therapist José Luis Flores, who currently serves as the administrator of the Phillips Graduate University contract with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health in partnership with the MFT Consortium of California, as well as the Director of Phillips’ MFT Stipend Program. “The Public Mental Health Award has been successful in recruiting qualified students and it is gratifying to know that these awardees learn how rewarding it is to serve the mental health needs of their communities.”

Most stipend award recipients will begin their service commitment in the summer of 2018 at mental health clinics throughout Los Angeles County. Phillips Graduate University continues to host the Consortium and has announced their next meeting will be on June 2, 2018.

José Luis Flores, M.A.
Phillips Graduate University
19900 Plummer St.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818)386-5600
jlflores(at)pgu.edu.

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