Federal Grant Opens Nation's First LGBT-Focused Clinical Psychology Track

The program, the first of its kind, was launched after a $556,000 grant from the federal government.

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Brandon Sides, left, laughs as he gets Jamie Hawley to sing in his place during a service at the Center on Halsted in Chicago, May 18, 2008. The center is partnering with Northwestern University's medical school on a new clinical psychology track program.
Brandon Sides, left, laughs as he gets Jamie Hawley to sing in his place during a service at the Center on Halsted in Chicago, May 18, 2008. The center is partnering with Northwestern University's medical school on a new clinical psychology track program.

Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine proudly announced a new clinical psychology track Thursday in which three students will spend a year specializing in gay-related mental health issues.

The school secured a $556,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration for the program, which will be stretched over three years.

"This is one of the first, if not the first, federally-funded training grants on LGBT health," said Brian Mustanski, an associate professor at the medical school and the researcher who helped secure the grant.

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HRSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency solicited grant proposals for training programs focusing on under-served communities, Mustanski told U.S. News.

"In our proposal we really highlighted LGBT individuals," he said, "and packaged that [group] as an under-served population."

The medical school will partner with the Center on Halsted, a Chicago gay community center, for research and treatment efforts.

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A press release issued by the university says "[s]tudies have shown that as a group, LGBT adults experience more mood and anxiety disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and substance use compared to heterosexual adults."

Students selected for the track will be in their final year of graduate school and will focus on a variety of patients, including people living with HIV/AIDS and patients dealing with major mental illnesses.

"This is an exceptional new opportunity as interns will get the benefit of working with some of the leading LGBT scholars and top clinicians in the country," said Mark Reinecke, chief of psychology at Feinberg School of Medicine, in a released statement.

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