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HCAI Awards $17.3 Million to Increase Access to Mental Health Professionals in California

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) awarded $17.3 million in grants to seven programs to help further build the pipeline of public mental health professionals in California.

These grants are being funded through the Workforce Education and Training program as part of the Mental Health Services Act, which is intended to address the shortage of mental health practitioners in the public mental health system. Collectively the grantees will add 36 Psychiatry Residency slots and fund 336 Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner slots. The funding will also help launch a new Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship program.

As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, the uncertainty and fear related to the pandemic has brought about uneasy feelings that can further exacerbate mental health issues while creating additional barriers in accessing supports and services,” said Acting HCAI Director Marko Mijic. “We must double down on our efforts to build our public mental health system in order to expand access to quality services to all Californians.”

In addition to an overall shortage, the public mental health system lacks a workforce that reflects the State’s cultural and linguistic diversity. This includes individuals with lived experience to provide consumer- and family-driven services that promote wellness, recovery, and resilience. Today’s announcement is intended to help build new and existing training programs in order to help not only mitigate the shortage of providers but ensure that the providers reflect the communities they serve.

“This grant will help us continue to recruit and train Public Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, most of who we draw from communities of color and who are also underrepresented in the health professions,” said Diane Breckenridge, PhD, MSN, RN, ANEF, Dean of the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. “This will also help us create the diverse health workforce our population needs to address a critical shortage of mental health practitioners in under-resourced communities. Thank you to HCAI for supporting our mission.” 

“Butte County Behavioral Health (BCBH), in collaboration with Butte Glenn Medical Society (BGMS), is extremely pleased to announce the award of $1.8 million from HCAI towards a brand new Psychiatric Residency program,” said Scott Kennelly, L.C.S.W, Director of Butte County Behavioral Health. “Butte County is already recognized as a designated health shortage area and is looking forward to establishing its first ever Rural Psychiatric Residency Program. The Superior Region of California has been coping with multiple disasters over the past few years that have significantly impacted service and network capacity and the ability to provide critical psychiatric services to those residents in need. Our hope is to attract, train, and retain quality psychiatric residents who will choose to put down roots and to serve the communities that they live in. None of this would be possible without HCAI’s grant opportunity and the established partnerships between BCBH and its community partners to make this residency plan come to fruition in the near future.”

Below is the list of awardees:

Program NameGrant Amount
United Advocates for Children and Families Psychiatry: Real Life$4,395,102
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Psychiatry Residency Program$5,491,295
Butte County Psychiatric Residency Program$1,800,000
CSU San Marcos School of Nursing PMHNP$1,329,298
Western University of Health Sciences PMHNP$   955,466
University of San Diego PMHNP Program$1,660,454
Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science PMHNP$1,690,500
  TOTAL $17,322,115

HCAI is the leader in collecting data and disseminating information about California’s healthcare infrastructure. HCAI promotes an equitably distributed healthcare workforce and monitors the construction, renovation and seismic safety of hospitals and skilled nursing facilities and provides loan insurance to assist the capital needs of California’s nonprofit healthcare facilities. Learn more about HCAI at, or follow us on social media at Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.