In addition to the NBCC Foundation supporting 90 graduate-level counseling students each year through the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP), the NBCC Foundation has recently been selected as a part of the newly formed Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship Program (IMFP), a new initiative under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
IMFP is a collaborative effort through the American Psychological Association (APA), the NBCC Foundation, and three other behavioral health organizations. The principle aim of the program is directly related to efforts to reduce health disparities among racial/ethnic persons of color in the U.S. by filling a crucial need for behavioral health professionals in psychology, nursing, social work, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and substance use and addictions counseling.
NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs team has worked with a coalition of behavioral health organizations over the last several years to advocate for increased funding for the MFP in order to support the continued and expanded development of behavioral health practitioners. In January 2020, the team saw a $1 million increase in funding for SAMHSA’s MFP. With an expansion of the MFP and the addition of programs like IMFP, more behavioral health practitioners can work to bridge the gap in workforce shortages and overall behavioral health outcomes for marginalized populations. These programs also provide access to professional development trainings, workforce development, and mentorship.
SAMHSA’s new IMFP supports 55 additional doctoral and master’s-level fellows each year and requires the expertise and support of leaders in each represented discipline. This expertise is provided by mentors—professionals who are well recognized in the field of behavioral health. IMFP is currently seeking volunteer mentors from the mental health counseling community who will serve for at least one year and who have held their degrees for at least 5 years. IMFP mentors are ethnically/racially and gender diverse individuals who possess knowledge and expertise of other diverse populations (e.g., disability, early career, national origin, sexual orientation).
The call for IMFP mentor nominations is open through Nov. 30, 2020, to those with 10 or more years of experience in the following fields: mental health counseling, psychology, social work, nursing, marriage and family therapy, and addiction counseling. Mentors will commit to a phone call with their fellow mentee once a month for an hour and will assist the fellow in goal setting and developing and implementing a career development plan. For a full list of mentor duties and to submit a nomination, please visit the IMFP Mentor Nomination form.
Each IMFP Fellow will be assigned a mentor who will provide regular guidance during the course of the fellow’s appointment by IMFP. Mentors will provide academic, professional, and career development guidance. Duties of the mentors include:
Schedule monthly time to meet virtually with fellow for at least one hour
Set goals and expectations for mentoring experience
Develop and implement a career development plan (also known as an individual development plan) focused on building the strengths of the fellows
Participate in interdisciplinary web-based seminars
Submit quarterly progress reports in collaboration with fellows; the quarterly reports will help monitor mentor–fellow morale and their progress made in the program
Represent one of IMFP’s disciplines
Assist the fellow for at least one year (if the fellow is eligible for two years, then the mentor may be asked to assist for an additional year)
Approved nominees will be listed as part of a pool of mentors from which fellows can select. Fellows will be encouraged to select a mentor who has many (if not all) of the following characteristics:
Expertise that will benefit clinical/scholarship/community project and professional development
Work published/presented in respected journals, books, and meetings
Fellows will be provided the following information about their potential mentor: first name, last name, race/ethnicity, gender, position, location, interest area(s), and credential(s). After reviewing the information about IMFP mentors, the fellows will provide their top three preferences and any additional information that would be pertinent for the staff to know for mentor assignments.IMFP will try to match fellows according to preference; however, it is not guaranteed.
Mentors will be matched with a maximum of two fellows. It is possible that a mentor in the pool will not be matched with any fellows for any given cycle.
Fellows will be encouraged to reach out to their assigned mentors at any time for questions, concerns, or advice regarding IMFP, academics, career trajectory, networking, professional development, their university program, etc.