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Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Professionals


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Notice of Funding Opportunity (


Application Deadline: Jan 21, 2021


Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW)


Awards funding to institutions and programs to develop and expand experiential training opportunities, such as field placements and internships, for individuals training in behavioral health disciplines. Aims to increase the number of behavioral health professionals serving in high need, high demand areas, with special focus on gaining knowledge and understanding of the behavioral health needs of at-risk children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth.

Program goals and objectives include:

  • Collaborate with community-based organizations, such as hospitals, crisis centers, health departments, and others to increase access to behavioral health services for populations across the lifespan
  • Utilize team-based models of care in integrated, interdisciplinary behavioral and primary care settings
  • Recruit diverse workforce representative of different genders, sexual orientations, and different racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic, and class backgrounds interested in serving high need and high demand areas
  • Expand the number of interdisciplinary, experiential training sites using team-based approaches that serve to integrate behavioral health into primary care settings
  • Improve didactic and experiential training activities by developing competencies in primary and behavioral integrated, interprofessional team-based, trauma-informed care for trainees, faculty, and staff
  • Utilize community partnerships to ensure opportunities for field placements, community education, career development, and job placement for trainees of different genders, sexual orientations, and diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic, and class backgrounds
  • Promote the use of technology in the provision of services and training programs, including utilizing telehealth services, implementing strategies to increase digital health literacy, and offering options for distance learning
  • Reduce financial barriers by providing financial support to trainees in the form of stipends and other participant support costs

Required program activities include:

  • Providing stipend support for 6 to 12 months to students in their final experiential training before graduation
  • Establishing or expanding the number of partnerships with experiential training sites that recruit and place trainees in high need, high demand areas in order to recruit and place trainees in these areas
  • Integrating behavioral health training into primary care settings to improve access
  • Recruiting workforce from different racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic, and class backgrounds, and different genders and sexual orientations interested in serving high need and high demand areas
  • Enhancing didactic and interdisciplinary, experiential training activities with trainee competencies in behavioral health and integrated primary care
  • Creating new or strengthening existing, evidence-based, interprofessional training programs for faculty and field site supervisors
  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the populations served, especially those with mental disorder symptoms or diagnoses, and with particular focus on children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth
  • Integrating technology through the use of distance learning and training to strengthen telehealth service delivery and digital literacy
  • Developing relationships with community-based partners to provide experiential training, career development, and job training services that help students obtain employment upon graduation
  • Prioritizing cultural and linguistic competency in all grant-supported internships and field placements
  • Evaluating programs through a continuous, evidence-based monitoring tool and revising objectives to improve outcomes when necessary
  • Collecting program and performance data and participating in program evaluations
  • Collaborating regularly with other grantees to leverage resources and enhance training across regions

For this opportunity, high need and high demand areas are identified as sites located within a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) and/or a Facility Mental HPSA with a score of 16 or above, or within a geographical area considered rural as defined by the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). Applicants can use the HPSA Find Tool to determine an area's eligibility.

Trainees may receive no more than 12 consecutive months of stipend support through this program. Part-time trainees are allowed to receive a stipend prorated at one-half of the fixed amount for no more than 24 consecutive months. Required minimum stipend amounts for full-time trainees are as follows:

  • $10,000 for master's students, including students with advanced standing
  • $25,000 for doctoral students in a psychology or school psychology practicum for 10 or more hours per week per academic semester over a 2-semester period
  • $25,000 for doctoral students in social work
  • $28,352 for doctoral-level psychology interns or psychiatric nursing interns
  • $47,844 for post-doctoral psychology fellows, psychiatry residents, and behavioral pediatric residents

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $480,000 per year
Project period: 4 years
Estimated number of awards: 92
Estimated total program funding: $44,200,000

Cost sharing is required for doctoral-level psychiatry, psychology, school psychology, psychiatric nursing, or behavioral pediatrics internships. Grantees must use non-federal funds to cover any stipend amounts set by regional associations that exceed the maximum $28,352 stipend amount for this opportunity.

At least 4 grants will be awarded to accredited doctoral, internship, and post-doctoral residency programs of health service psychology from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or other minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include:

  • Accredited institutions of higher education or training programs establishing or expanding experiential training in 1 of the following disciplines:
    • Mental health in psychiatry
    • Psychology
    • School psychology
    • Behavioral pediatrics
    • Psychiatric nursing
    • Social work
    • School social work
    • Substance Use Disorder (SUD) prevention and treatment
    • Marriage and family therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • School counseling
    • Professional counseling, including programs with a focus on child and adolescent mental health, trauma, and transitional-age youth
  • Accredited doctoral, internship, and post-doctoral residency programs of health service psychology, including clinical psychology, counseling, and school psychology
  • Accredited master's and doctoral degree programs of social work for developing or implementing interdisciplinary training for the provision of behavioral health services, including trauma-informed care and SUD prevention and treatment services
  • Domestic faith-based and community-based organizations, tribes, and tribal organizations, if otherwise eligible

Applicants can request a funding preference under a qualification for placing program trainees and graduates in medically underserved communities (MUCs):

  1. Qualification 1 - High Rate: Must demonstrate that at least 50% of program graduates in practice settings serving MUCs in academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.
  2. Qualification 2 - Significant Increase: Must demonstrate a 25% increase placing program graduates in MUCs from academic year 2018-2019 to academic year 2019-2020.
  3. Qualification 3 - New Program: Must meet at least 4 of the criteria related to MUCs specified in Part V of the program guidance. New programs are defined as any program that has graduated/completed less than 3 classes.

Medically underserved communities are defined as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs), Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs), or a Governor Certified Shortage Areas for Rural Health Clinic (RHC) purposes HPSA. Applicants can document these designations using the HRSA Shortage Area Dashboard.

Current BHWET award recipients whose grants are scheduled to end on August 31, 2021 are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity and should apply as "Competing Continuations."

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing • Training Providers

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information can be found in the funding announcement.

Applicant frequently asked questions


For programmatic or technical questions:
Isabel Nieto

For grants management or budget questions:
Nandini Assar, Ph.D.

Topics This Program Addresses

Healthcare Workforce • Mental Health • Substance Use Disorder • Youth