The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) is working to address a state and national shortage of medical professionals with a new financial assistance initiative. The Statewide Therapist Loan Repayment Project is aimed at increasing the number of therapists and counselors within West Virginia’s behavioral health workforce.
“DHHR has identified a significant and immediate need to increase the capacity of West Virginia’s behavioral health workforce,” said Christina Mullins, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health. “It is our hope that the Statewide Therapist Loan Repayment Project will grow West Virginia’s behavioral health workforce to ensure that individuals diagnosed with a substance use disorder can more easily access quality, evidence-based care from skilled providers.”
The new project allows recent master’s level graduates and students in their final year of a master’s level therapist program to apply for up to $20,000 in loan repayment for their educational expenses in exchange for a two-year commitment at an eligible workplace within West Virginia. Candidates must qualify to practice in the state and agree to the terms and conditions of the STLR Project guidelines.
“This project is one of the first steps to address the workforce shortage of many medical professionals in our state such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and registered nurses,” added Bill J. Crouch, Cabinet Secretary for DHHR. “The United States is projected to experience a shortage of health care workers as the workforce ages and the need for positions in health care grows.” Crouch indicated DHHR hopes to partner with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the state’s medical schools over the next several months to address these shortages in West Virginia.
To learn more about eligibility guidelines for the Statewide Therapist Loan Repayment Project and how to apply, visit dhhr.wv.gov/bhhf (Workforce tab). Applications must be received by November 4, 2019.