MU Research Corporation gets grant to pilot behavioral health workforce training

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The Marshall University Research Corporation has been awarded $425,000 in grant funding to pilot the WV Behavioral Health Workforce and Health Equity Training Center.

The grant comes from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health. The department said they provided the grant in order to provide training in evidence-based practice across the state to increase excellence in the behavioral health workforce as well as to reduce behavioral health disparities related to mental health and substance misuse.

“We are pleased to award this funding to address differences in outcomes and access to services along the behavioral health continuum of care,” said Christina Mullins, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health. “Barriers to behavioral health care can include race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or geographic location. Removing these barriers means not only better access to care, but also life-changing outcomes.”

The WV DHHR said the grant will also be used to offer those in the state’s behavioral health workforce virtual evidence-based behavioral health training opportunities. MURC will also assist BBH to establish a Statewide Training Advisory Council. Officials said the council will consist of “a variety of stakeholders” to provide recommendations and guide the behavioral health workforce’s professional development.

“We are delighted for the opportunity to partner with the Bureau for Behavioral Health to improve behavioral health outcomes for West Virginians by providing trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate, evidence-based trainings to behavioral health practitioners and advocates who work with diverse populations throughout the state,” said Amy Saunders, Managing Director of the Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery. “It is our hope that these virtual trainings will reach more professionals, thus increasing the accessibility of services for many individuals and their families. Free CEUs are available for counselors, social workers, psychologists, prevention professionals, and peer support/peer recovery professionals. To be notified about training registrations, please join the list serv.” 

The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant is funding the project through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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