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Montana VA Health Care System

 

VA Psychology Internship program receives first accreditation

May 15, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Media contact(s): Mike Garcia, Public Affairs Officer, mike.garcia@va.gov, 406-447-7303


Fort Harrison, Mont. – The initial accreditation of the Montana VA Psychology Internship Training program has been awarded by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Commission on Accreditation (CoA). This is VA’s first psychology internship program accredited in Montana.

The program was surveyed in Dec. 2016 and APA’s CoA reviewed and approved its findings in early April. Local staff was notified of the accreditation decision on May 2.

The Montana VA program received the highest possible accreditation of 7 years. The decision is based on CoA’s professional judgment of compliance or substantial compliance with all domains of the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation (G&P).

"Montana is critically underserved in regards to mental health services," said Dr. Joanna McCormick, Training Director for the internship program at Montana VA. "Montana’s rurality, geography, and lack of a medical school have been significant barriers for Montana to develop its own ‘home-grown’ psychologists."

The program can offer psychology graduate students from the University of Montana system an option to pursue their doctorate degree in state and receive their PhD or PsyD, McCormick said.

"I am very proud of our staff’s hard work in making this program a reality," said Dr. William Campbell, Interim Chief of Staff for the Montana VA Health Care System. "In 2013, a small, dedicated group of our psychologists decided to create this program. They found the funding, developed the curriculum, and recruited the interns that would ultimately make this accreditation a reality." Montana’s VA psychology internship program was awarded funding through VA’s competitive Mental Health Education Expansion Initiative, which is now in its sixth phase.

The first cohort of three interns began in July 2014 and completed the program in July 2015. Since then, three interns a year have completed the program. The 2017-2018 cohort will arrive in July 2017.

The deadline for applications for the 2018-2019 cohort is in December 2017.

All nine of the program’s past and current interns have been accepted to coveted postdoctoral residency programs or full-employment in highly competitive neuropsychology, geropsychology, and PTSD treatment programs, McCormick said.

"We started this program with the goal of being the number one rural psychology training site in the Rockies," McCormick said. "With this accreditation, we’ve taken a huge step towards achieving that goal."

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