Behavioral health internship at RIT seeks to increase clinicians, researchers in region

Clinical psychology program builds on RIT’s community partnerships




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Caroline Easton

Health science education continues to grow at Rochester Institute of Technology with a recently accredited clinical psychology internship for doctoral students seeking clinical training experience.

The program, offered through RIT’s College of Health Sciences and Technology, aims to increase the number of highly trained clinicians and researchers working as clinical leaders in the region.

The Priority Behavioral Health Care Psychology Internship Program is a year-long program accredited by the American Psychological Association. Doctoral interns receive training and didactics in clinical and community settings with a focus on addiction, trauma, family violence and child and adult psychiatry. Interns also learn to use technology-assisted interactive tools and tele-psychiatry for clients in rural or remote settings.

The program delivers assessment and evidenced-based interventions for clients in community mental health facilities, school-based clinics and offender populations undergoing court-directed mental health and/or substance abuse treatment. Interns also receive training in the use of digitized platforms to help augment traditional therapy.

“We’re highlighting the importance of the behavioral health care field and the need for more clinicians and scholars in this area,” said Caroline Easton, program director and professor in the College of Health Sciences and Technology. “We are hoping to train the interns to become practicing psychologists and researchers who will stay in this community and at these sites. At RIT, we’re also grooming potential junior faculty to continue their scholarship to become role models and mentors to undergrads.”

The internship is a collaborative endeavor between RIT and community partners, said Easton. The RIT-Rochester Regional Health Alliance, a partnership established in 2008, provided one pathway for the program development, she said. The program’s clinical sites provide primary supervision and training within Rochester Regional Health, Hillside Family of Agencies and Coordinated Care Services Inc. New clinical partnerships are in discussion, Easton said.

“Improving behavioral and mental health care in a community is a collective effort that goes far beyond the capacity of any one institution,” said Dr. Daniel Ornt, vice president/dean of Institute/College of Health Sciences and Technology. “RIT is fortunate to work with a growing number of community partners committed to improving the lives of people affected by addiction, substance abuse and family violence.”

The Priority Behavioral Health Care Internship Program was created as the cornerstone of a future psychology Ph.D. degree at RIT jointly proposed by the College of Health Sciences and Technology and the College of Liberal Arts for 2020.