Collaboration between RIT and St. Xavier’s College focuses on homelessness
RIT and St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India, are partnering to provide training and scholarship in global behavioral health. The institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2020, establishing an exchange program that focuses on treating marginalized populations at homeless shelters in Rochester and Mumbai.
The collaboration adds a global health component to the College of Health Sciences and Technology and enhances St. Xavier’s graduate training capacity in specialized areas within RIT’s Priority Behavioral Health and Clinical Psychology Internship. The clinical program, led by RIT Professor Caroline Easton, teaches an evidenced-based approach to treating people who suffer from mental health disorders, opioid use disorder and substance use disorder, intimate partner violence, and family violence. RIT’s digital therapy platforms and tele-behavioral health delivery are integrated within the training program.
Easton is leading the initiative with Rupa Kalahasthi, RIT postdoctoral fellow and research guide at St. Xavier’s College. Kalahasthi, originally from the Mumbai suburbs, completed the RIT internship program in June 2020 and returned to India last October to establish the satellite program at St. Xavier’s College and at the nearby homeless shelter SEAL Ashram (Social and Evangelical Association for Love), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless people, especially destitute and missing children. Kalahasthi is mentoring four graduate students at St. Xavier’s College. Next year, they will visit RIT and the House of Mercy shelter. Easton and two clinical interns will travel to Mumbai and the SEAL Ashram.
Support for the initiative comes from the Paul and Francena Miller Chair, managed by James Myers, associate provost for International Education and Global Programs, to advance international education in and across the colleges and RIT.