September 06, 2023

$500,000 in Scholarships Diversify Counseling in Oregon, Advance Culturally Specific and Responsive Mental Health Care

Seventeen graduate students received awards in Fall 2023, most of which cover their outstanding tuition in full for the 2023-24 academic year.

Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling has received a transformative grant in the amount of $500,000 from the Oregon Health Authority that aims to diversify the behavioral health workforce, particularly in regard to those who serve communities that have experienced inequities in access.

The graduate school will use these funds to provide substantial scholarships to graduate students who, as practitioners, will increase access to culturally specific and culturally responsive services for people of color, tribal communities, and individuals who have experienced barriers accessing mental health services.

Created as part of OHA’s Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative (BHWi), the $500,000 grant will be distributed over the course of two years, with the first $250,000 awarded in Fall 2023 and the second in Fall 2024. In Fall 2023, 17 graduate students across the Professional Mental Health Counseling (PMHC), Professional Mental Health Counseling—Specialization in Addictions (PMHC-A); and Marriage, Couple and Family Therapy (MCFT) programs will receive an award.

Nearly all of the scholarships cover the recipient’s outstanding tuition in full for the coming academic year.

Professor Cort Dorn-Medeiros, Counseling, Therapy, and School Psychology department chair, and Professor Alexia de León, PMHC-A program co-director, were instrumental in securing this funding.

We are deeply appreciative of the Oregon Health Authority for this opportunity to provide significant financial support for our students. As a department, we are committed to increasing scholarship opportunities, particularly when it comes to diversifying the behavioral health field here in the state of Oregon.

Professor Cort Dorn-Medeiros

Professor Cort Dorn-Medeiros, Counseling, Therapy, and School psychology Department Chair Professor Cort Dorn-Medeiros, Counseling, Therapy, and School psychology Department Chair Dorn-Medeiros explains that there is a significant behavioral health workforce shortage in the state of Oregon, and that one of the reasons for this shortage is the resources necessary for pursuing a graduate degree. These scholarships offer substantial financial relief as a meaningful way to directly address such workforce issues.

Recipients of the SHOI-like scholarship are dedicated to working with members of historically underserved communities, and this work begins during their practicum at the Graduate School’s Community Counseling Center. Located in the Portland community on Barbur Boulevard, the Community Counseling Center provides accessible mental health services, both online and in-person, to clients Professor Alexia de León, PMHC-A Program Co-Director Professor Alexia de León, PMHC-A Program Co-Director throughout Oregon. A recent expansion of the Counseling Center means they soon will begin offering art therapy services for the first time, and a partnership with TransActive Gender Project has enabled them to begin offering trans-competent care to trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming youth and young adults as well.

More information about graduate programs in counseling and therapy is available at the links below.

Applications open for Fall 2024 for all programs on October 1, 2023.

Contact Graduate Admissions