Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology Partners with Bronx Psychiatric Center on Innovative Treatment Training for Mentally Ill

Dr. Lata K. McGinn, associate professor and director of the clinical psychology program at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, has received a $470,782 federal grant through the Affordable Care Act to provide training for the continuous treatment of the severely and persistently mentally ill.

Only 11 graduate schools from across the country received the grant awarded by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius through the Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training Grant program, which was authorized as a part of the Affordable Care Act. Ferkauf received the second largest grant and is the only recipient that will create an affiliated internship program.

“There are hundreds of clinical programs in the country, so the fact that Ferkauf is among the few schools to secure this grant speaks highly of the quality of training here,” said McGinn. “One of the things that make us unique is that we offer equal training in assessment, treatment and research, which leads to students being comprehensively trained.”

McGinn added that Ferkauf “exposes students to different modalities of psychotherapy which is relatively rare. As a result, our students are better positioned for diverse job opportunities because there is no gap or hole in their training.”

Ferkauf will use the grant to collaborate with the Bronx Psychiatric Center (BPC) in creating an innovative program to teach graduate students how to assess and work with patients with severe and persistent mental illness in underserved areas.

The program will teach students how to competently serve this population and will be used as the foundation to build a training curriculum that will be disseminated to other graduate clinical and internship programs. The grant will also be used to set up an affiliated internship program at BPC and will allow Ferkauf to augment its current curriculum by hiring and inviting experts who specialize in treating the severely and persistently mentally ill.

“I am pleased and proud that the clinical program has been awarded this highly competitive grant, which will be used to support three years of pre-doctoral training,” said Dr. Lawrence Siegel, dean of Ferkauf.

“Through this collaborative program we will increase the number of students interested in working with this population and will ensure that they are fully competent to provide essential services to this group,” said McGinn. “The ultimate goal, however, is to create something that we can export to other graduate programs, so they can use this training module to develop similar programs.”

McGinn is the principal investigator on this grant. Ferkauf’s assistant director, Dr. Jamie Schumpf, is the project manager, and Dr. James Beacher, is the director of internship training at BPC.

“Our student interns will function as primary therapists for patients with severe and persistent mental illness during their internship training,” explained Schumpf. “They will provide individual therapy as well as group psychotherapy on specialized units. They will conduct intakes, psychological testing as well as forensic evaluations and will have the opportunity to rotate through other select units at BPC.”