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About the Minority Fellowship Program


Background

Minorities make up more than 28 percent of the U.S. population, but fewer than 20 percent of American mental health providers are ethnic minorities. The goal of the Minority Fellowship Program is to increase the pool of professionals qualified to provide leadership, consultation, training, and administration to public and private organizations that develop and implement programs for underserved ethnic minority persons with mental or substance abuse disorders. Through this program, SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services provides grants to encourage and facilitate the doctoral and postdoctoral development of minority nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists.

It was noted in Mental Health, Culture, Race, and Ethnicity—A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report to the Surgeon General: “Cultural competence underscores the recognition of patients' cultures and then develops a set of skills, knowledge, and policies to deliver effective treatment.... [S]ervices tailored to culture would be more inviting, and would encourage minorities to get treatment, and would improve their outcome once in treatment.... [However, no] empirical data are yet available... [regarding] clinical outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities....”

Purposes and Goals

The purposes of the MFP are to facilitate the entry of ethnic minority students into mental health careers and increase the number of psychologists, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, and social workers trained to teach, administer, and provide direct mental health and substance abuse services to ethnic minority groups. SAMHSA is committed to services that are professional, are competent, and effectively meet the critical mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment needs of the Nation’s diverse population.

The goals of MFP are

  • To target training support to increase the pool of doctoral-level ethnic minority behavioral health professionals who are committed to improving services for ethnic minorities with mental or substance abuse disorders.
  • To create a nucleus of ethnic minority behavioral health professionals who will provide leadership, consultation, training, and services administration expertise to State and community agencies, primary care provider organizations, and educational institutions for services delivered to ethnic minorities with mental or substance abuse disorders.
  • To collaborate with national mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment organizations to provide training support and to enhance interdisciplinary efforts to increase quality of care and access to mental health and substance abuse services for underserved ethnic minority communities.
  • To ensure that training is consistent with the latest developments in the evolving behavioral health delivery and financing mechanisms; specifically, programs should work toward training all MFP Fellows well in both mental health and substance abuse.
  • To expand evaluation of services in underserved ethnic minority persons with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Since its creation in 1973, the Minority Fellowhip Program has helped support doctoral-level training of almost a thousand ethnic minority psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers. These individuals often serve in key leadership positions in mental health and substance abuse direct services, training, administration, services supervision, and services research.

About the Coordinating Center

SAMHSA's Minority Fellowship Program Coordinating Center is managed under contract by Development Services Group, Inc. The Coordinating Center is designed to help SAMHSA and the MFP Grantees strengthen the MFP, strengthen the tracking of the MFP Fellows, assess the impacts of the MFP, and in general help the MFP solidify its gains and make further progress in reducing the disparities that currently weaken our Nation's behavioral health workforce.

DSG is active in various initiatives that address the racial and ethnic health and the behavioral health disparities that continue to plague our Nation. To learn more about these initiatives, please see the following Web site: