At a news conference at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies, Gov. Jay Nixon announced his budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 will include $20 million in grants for the state’s public colleges and universities to educate an additional 1,200 students for careers in high-demand mental health care fields.
The governor’s Caring for Missourians: Mental Health initiative would mean $4.156 million in grants — more than one-fifth of the proposal — to educate students at UMKC. The money would train 65 clinical psychologists, child psychiatrists and advanced nurse practitioners at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education.
These additional funds at UMKC also would help the school hire new faculty, expand programs and purchase equipment.
Nixon said the initiative would help to address a critical shortage of mental health professionals to provide treatment and support to Missourians with developmental disabilities, mental illness or substance abuse disorders. Currently, 104 of Missouri’s 114 counties, including Jackson County, are designated by the federal government as mental health professional shortage areas. Seventy-two Missouri counties lack a licensed psychiatrist, and 90 do not have a resident licensed analyst to treat autism spectrum disorders.
The proposal for mental health care professional education at UMKC:
- Clinical and counseling psychologists: 15 doctoral students, interns and post-doctoral fellows
- Nurses: 20 Bachelor of Science students, 24 Family/Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
- Physicians: 6 child psychiatric residents
Launched by Nixon with an announcement at UMKC in 2009, Caring for Missourians is an effort to increase the number of health care professionals being educated at Missouri’s public colleges and universities. Since then, $40 million has been invested in Missouri’s two- and four-year institutions of higher learning to help 1,500 more Missourians pursue careers as nurses, physicians, dentists and other health professionals.
The governor said UMKC’s key role in the success of Caring for Missourians to this point brought him back to the campus for the latest announcement.