$1.83 million grant supports behavioral health profession education

Michele Talley, Ph.D., will address ways to improve mental health access and increase the behavioral health workforce in grant-funded study.
Written by Erica Techo
Media contact: Hannah Echols

Michele Talley standing in front of building at UAB. Michele Talley, Ph.D., receives funding to improve access to mental health care and provide behavioral health education and training to masters students and medical students.
(Photography: Frank Couch)
Through a four-year, $1.83 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Clinical and Community Programs Michele Talley, Ph.D., is working to improve the distribution of the behavioral health workforce through new partnerships and the expansion of existing partnerships.

Behavioral health is an integral part of community health and patient well-being. To address the needs of individuals, their families and their communities, it is important to educate and provide tools to individuals pursuing a behavioral health profession.

“This grant-funded project not only addresses HRSA’s priorities of trying to improve mental health access and care and trying to increase the behavioral health workforce, but also is improving community partnerships and working to meet the state of Alabama’s identified health needs,” Talley said. “Behavioral health problems impact one in five adults, and one in 25 adults admits severe problems. However, only 7 percent receive treatment. By training the next generation of behavioral health providers, we can improve access to care and the quality of care.”

As part of this grant-funded project, master’s and doctoral nurse practitioner students focusing on psychiatric mental health, master’s-level social work students, and psychiatric medical students  will receive training in high-need and high-demand clinical sites, including Bibb Medical CenterUAB Hospital Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Unit and the Nurse Family Partnership of Central Alabama. They will receive hands-on experience and training as part of interprofessional teams, integrated behavioral health, trauma-informed care, telehealth and resilience while they address the needs of patients across the lifespan.

The grant is funded through HRSA’s Behavioral Health Workforce Education Training program, which aims to increase the supply of behavioral health professionals while also increasing access to behavioral health services.