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Psychology student Raisa Garcia selected for prestigious training program after only her first year at Alliant

Clinical Psychology PhD student at Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) in San Francisco, Raisa Garcia, is working this summer as a trainee at the Office of Strategic Priorities within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in Rockville, MD. She was selected through the Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS) program.

HSHPS offers a very limited number of paid training programs across the United States and Latin America in government agencies and academic institutions. Programs are geared towards graduate students who would like to gain health and policy experience and who are committed to improving the health of Hispanics. The goals of the training program are to increase the overall knowledge of public health, provide the necessary clinical and research skills needed to enhance trainees’ careers in the health field and increase the overall understanding of Hispanic health issues.

The HSHPS program matches trainees, based on their area of interest and experience, with a mentor who is a skilled professional. Trainees assist their mentor with various aspects of a policy or research project, and also have opportunities to attend seminars and networking events.

The Office of Strategic Priorities (OSP), where Garcia is training, specifically does analysis of health systems and financial issues related to the primary care/behavioral health interface. The Office provides technical expertise on financial issues (including Medicaid and Medicare) and quality of care issues concerning primary care providers and behavioral health. Garcia is currently working on several policy projects showcasing the link between behavioral and oral health with primary care. Issues touched on include diabetes and oral health, smokeless tobacco intervention, tele-behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment information sharing.

This kind of training experience connects nicely with the educational objectives of CSPP and Alliant. The program allows her to interact with both students and professionals from a range of disciplines. In fact, she was the only psychology student selected this year. Importantly, the work being done at OSP strives to apply knowledge and research in health care to real-world problems in today’s healthcare system, particularly where minority communities are involved. This type of practical experience, combined with the quality clinical training provided in her doctoral program at CSPP will position her well to make a significant difference in the health care system when she finishes her degree and continues on to practice as a psychologist. Many HSHPS alumni, after graduate school, continue on to jobs in government agencies, academic institutions and non-profit organizations, or continue on to pursue additional training in public health.

Visit professional training for information on CSPP’s professional training in clinical psychology.