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Rural Integrated Behavioral Health Training Program

The WVU School of Social Work has been awarded a 2017 Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to implement the Rural Integrated Behavioral Health Training (RIBHT) program.  The goal of the program is to prepare MSW students for behavioral health practice, with a focus on integrated and culturally appropriate rural service delivery. 

The WVU School of Social Work has been active since 2012 in preparing MSW students for integrated behavioral health practice through the Integrated Mental and Behavioral Health Training Program (IMBTP). The IMBTP was initially developed and implemented in 2012, following an award of a Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training (MBHET) grant from HRSA. The program was later expanded with the support of a subsequent HRSA 2014 Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) grant.

The new program, called the Rural Integrated Behavioral Health Training (RIBHT) program, will provide $10,000 in stipend support for advanced field placement to 20 MSW students per year to focus their studies on integrated behavioral health practice across the lifespan. Supplemental funding awarded in 2018 will support an additional 5 students per year for two years with $10,000 stipends to focus their RIBHT training on opioid and other substance use disorder prevention and treatment.  These 5 students will complete advanced placement at a collaborating health center site with a focused experience on substance abuse prevention and treatment, and participate in specialized training workshops. The RIBHT will emphasize prevention and clinical interventions for behavioral health conditions across the lifespan with particular focus on integration with primary care, interprofessional and team-based care approaches, and family and community involvement in prevention and treatment.  Opportunities for students in the training program include specialized coursework and field placements, interprofessional training workshops targeting skill development for integrated behavioral health practice, intensive mentoring, and leadership development.  The RIBHT will support 4 cohorts of students with graduation dates of May 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.  Interested applicants apply the year prior to their advanced year in the MSW program.

Program Details

Advantages to participation in the RIBHT include the following:

  • Specialized field placements in behavioral health settings that emphasize integrated models of service delivery and foster trainee connection with leaders in the local service delivery system
  • Enrollment in specialized coursework and training workshops that focus specifically on behavioral health practice and integrated models of service delivery including:
  1. integrated behavioral health and primary care services;
  2. integrated prevention and treatment services;
  3. integrated child and family services;
  4. integrated mental health and substance abuse treatment;
  5. integrated school and community services.
  • Individualized mentorship, professional networking opportunities, leadership development, and employment placement support

Additional materials describing the RIBHT components are available upon request.

Questions? Contact Carrie Rishel at or Helen Hartnett at

Upcoming Continuing Education Events

The next RIBHT workshop will be Trauma-Informed Practice with Children and Families October 22, 2021 from 11:00am-12:30pm. Register here!