The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $2.6 million to Ponce Health Sciences University’s Primary Care Psychology Program to develop two proposals to train students and professionals to provide behavioral health services and problematic substance use in primary care settings.
The Primary Care Psychology Program has been providing mental health services integrated into health scenarios for 10 years.
“This program helps us meet the demand for skilled professionals, ready for teamwork and committed to their patients’ physical and mental health. It is important to equip our health professionals with tools to help them understand and manage such sensitive, complex situations as problematic substance use and trauma in our patients,” said Nydia M. Cappas, program director.
“There is much need and few professionals working with problematic substance use. It is a topic that carries many stigmas and many professionals avoid work with it. This program is a step toward creating a new generation of health professionals who feel competent working with problematic substance use and allow patients and the rest of the community to have more access to mental health services,” she said.
The HRSA grant to Cappas and her team will allow the entity to “contribute to the development of healthcare professionals that will serve Puerto Rico and Hispanic people in the U.S., as well as potential investments and job opportunities for the Ponce community,” said Kenira Thompson, president of the Ponce Research Institute.