The Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program is the country’s only federal program dedicated solely to the education and training of psychologists. Established in 2002 and supported through the Department of Health and Human Services, GPE provides grants to accredited psychology doctoral, internship, and postdoctoral training programs. These programs train graduate students and early career psychologists to provide mental and behavioral health services to underserved populations including older adults, children, the chronically ill, victims of abuse and trauma, veterans, and underserved rural and urban communities.
Right now, the Senate has approved $3 million in appropriations for GPE while the House is planning to approve $7 million. We need you to contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support the House level $7 million funding when this goes into conference committee.
With $7 million, GPE will expand to provide additional services to three specific underserved populations – veterans (and their families), the unemployed, and older adults. Each of these populations is struggling with PTSD, depression, and an alarming epidemic of suicidality. These mental illnesses are serious, but treatable. Psychologists can make a difference here. We are the only health-care professionals uniquely trained to assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent mental illness. Supporting GPE will not only save lives, but it will save money. For a modest amount of funding, Congress will support the education of psychologists and will provide healthcare services for those who have nowhere else to go.
Psychologists want to serve. Unfortunately, there just are not enough jobs for early career psychologists, especially jobs that allow us to work with underserved populations. We know that those who are training through the GPE program continue to work in underserved settings for the rest of their careers. By supporting GPE, Congress will be creating new jobs and will train a workforce that is ready to meet the needs of veterans, the unemployed, and the elderly.
How can I help?
First, find out who your elected representatives are. Then, call or email and ask them to support the House level $7 million appropriations for Graduate Psychology Education. You can use the following template as a guide:
Dear [SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE NAME]:
I am writing as a constituent to urge you to support the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program.
GPE is a highly successful program that trains psychologists to work with other health professionals in the provision of mental and behavioral health services to underserved populations (e.g., older adults, children, chronically ill persons, and victims of abuse and trauma, including veterans and their families and unemployed persons), especially in rural and urban areas. Moreover, the GPE program is an exemplary “two-for-one” grant. It not only supports the interdisciplinary training of the next generation of psychologists, but at the same time enables supervised graduate psychology interns to provide direct services to those most in need. Equally important, a significant number of psychologists trained through the GPE program are remaining in underserved areas to work.
I am urging support of the House-level $7 million in the FY 2011 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill. I realize this request for a funding increase comes at a difficult time, but it is the right time to invest in this small but effective program that will provide critical health care services to those with great need in our community and state.
Thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to consider this important issue. Please protect and advance the GPE program by supporting $7 million for FY 2011 for the Graduate Psychology Education Program. Please express support to the Labor-Health & Human Services-Education Subcommittee Chair or Ranking Member.
Thank you for supporting GPE! For more information, please contact the American Psychological Association Education Government Relations Office.