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MSU grant increases access to behavioral health services in Mississippi

Mississippi State University is increasing access to behavioral health services in rural communities across the Magnolia State thanks to a $943,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Awarded to MSU’s Applied Behavior Analysis program in the College of Education, the two-year funding addresses the shortage of behavioral health service providers in Mississippi through stipends and support to ABA master’s students and existing providers who serve in rural areas of the state. The ABA degree is offered by the Department of Counseling, Higher Education Leadership, Educational Psychology, and Foundations.

Practitioners delivering ABA services use evidence-based practice to improve overall quality of life and independence for a variety of individuals across the lifespan but most frequently provide services to patients diagnosed with autism or an intellectual or developmental disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism nationally.

“Our state has less than one-third of the workforce needed to provide behavior-analytic services, which translates to long waitlists for families and children not getting the care they need,” said Principal Investigator and ABA Program Coordinator Hallie Smith, also an assistant professor in the department. “With this grant, we will be able to increase the number of providers and better meet the needs of children, adolescents and young adults in rural and underserved communities in Mississippi.”

Source : Djournal