RIT Receives $1.5 Million to Grow Its Priority Behavioral Health and Clinical Psychology Internship Program

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Dr. Cassandra BerbaryDr. Cassandra BerbaryRochester Institute of Technology has received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand RIT’s Priority Behavioral Health and Clinical Psychology Internship program.

The funding will increase the accredited program’s focus on delivering mental healthcare for young clients struggling with substance abuse, mental health issues, and trauma due to violence in the community.

Dr. Cassandra Berbary, an assistant professor in RIT’s biomedical sciences department, is lead psychologist on the grant. “There is a shortage of mental health professionals in Monroe County, and there’s a huge need for services,” she said.

The new funding will create six new internship roles at the Priority Behavioral Health and Clinical Psychology Internship, creating its largest cohort to date of 18. They will join a team of medical professionals, psychologists, social workers, chemical dependency, and addiction specialists at RIT and at the Rochester Regional Health. This allows for the integral of physical health with a patient’s mental health concerns.

“Many of our youth with substance use issues also have comorbid mental health issues,” said Berbary. “And that’s where this grant can really help address those co-occurring problems.”