HRSA grant funds TAMU iTRUST
A project is launching at Texas A&M University for interdisciplinary training to equip future psychologists in telehealth and interdisciplinary care. It is being funded by a $1.3 million, three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The project, titled “Texas A&M University Integration of Telehealth in Regions Underserved for Student Training,” or TAMU iTRUST, will add four new telebehavioral health access points: one at Texas A&M Family Care clinic in Bryan, one at the Texas A&M Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic in Bryan, and two sites in Falls County, in Central Texas, partnering with Falls Community Hospital.
The interdisciplinary team members hail from various colleges across campus.
- Project Director Carly McCord, a licensed psychologist and director of clinical services for the Telebehavioral Care Program and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine;
- Co-principal Investigators Meredith Williamson, College of Medicine, and Cindy Westin, College of Nursing;
- Co-Investigator Brandon Williamson, College of Medicine, tasked with leading the medication-assisted treatment efforts;
- Co-Investigator Joy Alonzo, College of Pharmacy, tasked with leading opioid-specific training; and
- Whitney Garney, Department of Health and Kinesiology at the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), the lead for evaluation.
HRSA funded the first pilot of telehealth counseling in the Brazos Valley about a decade ago.
“This grant builds on the telehealth model we have created throughout the Brazos Valley in the last decade and takes the training of our future health service psychologists to the next level by creating interdisciplinary practice and training opportunities in partnership with Texas A&M Primary Care, psychiatry, pharmacy and nursing,” McCord said.
Previous funding opportunities have focused on rural areas, which has left Telebehavioral Health with limited opportunities to serve in Brazos County—where the need is substantial, given the larger population. “With this grant we will be able to bring back free services to Brazos County residents,” McCord said.
In telehealth counseling, enrolled individuals are provided evidence-based mental health services via videoconference. The mental health services are housed within the health resource centers and delivered through secure connections. When individuals are unable to go to the nearest access point, the Mend telehealth platform make services accessible from clients’ mobile devices.
“This project will provide a valuable training opportunity for our counseling psychology students to get experience in delivering mental health services via telehealth,” Garney said. “Texas A&M is a leader in telehealth-based mental health service training and is setting precedent for other universities across the country in these type of training programs.”