UTEP-TTUHSC El Paso Internship program receives accreditation from APA

September 9, 2015

2013-14 graduates from left to right: Richardo Torres, Darisabel Roman, Stacy Tylor, Danielle Ciccone, Cassandra Jennings, Edward Pacheco. Ms. Jennings and Ms. Roman have returned to practice in the Paso del Norte region.

2014-15 graduates from left to right: Jennifer Ambriz, David Jones, Christine Sainvil, Sean Woodland. Mr. Jones has returned to practice in the Paso del Norte region.

The El Paso Psychology Internship Consortium (EPPIC), a partnership between The University of Texas at El Paso University Counseling Center (UCC) and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Department of Psychiatry, has received accreditation by the American Psychological Association.

John Wiebe, UTEP associate provost, said, “I’m deeply grateful to our partners for all the hard work and resources they have contributed to this effort. This program is a great example of likeminded institutions and people pulling together to address a major challenge in El Paso and the surrounding area. This collaborative effort will draw and retain highly skilled professionals in our region and can serve as a model for innovative workforce development strategies.”

“We are very excited to have received accreditation by the American Psychological Association,” said Brian Sneed, Ph.D., director of training at the UTEP University Counseling Center. “We now have a comprehensive doctoral level training program designed to provide interns with a training experience that will prepare them to be competent psychologists and effective multicultural therapists.”

Created in August 2012, EPPIC is a one-year, full-time training program providing doctoral student interns the opportunity to accrue 2000 hours of practical experience. UTEP’s University Counseling Center offers three internship positions while TTUHSC El Paso’s Department of Psychiatry offers one.

Supporting partners of EPPIC include the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, both of which contributed funding.

“This milestone that EPPIC has achieved couldn’t come at a better time for mental health in Texas, as there continues to be a persistent workforce shortage of psychologists and other mental health professionals. We’re thrilled with how far the Consortium has come in such a short time,” said Lynda Frost, Ph.D., director of planning and programs at the Hogg Foundation.

“EPPIC is already opening doors for people in the region to experience improved mental and emotional well-being, said Myrna Deckert, CEO, Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “The prestigious APA accreditation will contribute to EPPIC’s strength and ability to grow alliances for lasting positive impacts on our behavioral health system. The Foundation is honored to play an active role alongside the Hogg Foundation, TTUHSC El Paso and UTEP in this important multi-institutional collaboration.”

The most recent class of students to receive its certification from EPPIC in July 2015 was the first to graduate with APA accreditation. The internship now has even greater potential to attract hundreds of applicants from around the country and to bring home El Pasoans who have departed to do doctoral work elsewhere.

“Receiving accreditation by the APA is a great accomplishment for us at EPPIC as it is a very thorough and extensive process. We are now the only APA-accredited psychology internship program in the Paso Del Norte Region, which places us in a unique position to offer quality training to doctoral psychology interns interested in receiving their training in a border community,” said Rebecca M. Pasillas, Ph.D., site training director at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

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