Kent State University College of Nursing Awarded $1.1 Million for Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program Grant

Kent State nursing researchers awarded grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

For the first time, Kent State University College of Nursing has been awarded the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program grant. The grant will fund an estimated $1.1 million over four years as faculty work to expand the behavioral health workforce in rural and underserved areas and develop the workforce with team-based integrated care competencies. Project key personnel include Wendy Umberger, Ph.D., RN, PMHCNS-BC, associate dean for graduate studies, Andrea Warner Stidham, Ph.D., MSN, RN, assistant professor, Kimberly Williams, DSN, RN, associate professor and psychiatric nurse practitioner, and Mark Arredondo, M.D., Medical Director of the Portage County Health District, professor at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), and practicing physician at Summa Health System.

“Many times, patients who seek treatment in primary care settings have underlying symptoms related to mental health or psychiatric illnesses. Primary care doctors and primary care nurse practitioners may lack the expertise, knowledge, and experience to treat those patients effectively,” said Umberger. “This grant is part of a country-wide movement to integrate behavioral health assessment and treatment into primary care settings.”  

The grant will fund BHWET stipends for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) students enrolled in Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs at Kent State. Ten $10,000 stipends will be given to master students this year, twelve will be awarded the second year, fourteen during the third year, and sixteen during the final year. One $28,000 DNP stipend will be given to a student next year and two stipends will be given out during the third and fourth years. 

DNP Stipend for Psychiatric Mental Health NPs

Are you a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who is interested in earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice?

Contact Dr. Wendy Umberger at or 330-672-8813 for more information about this stipend.

Students will be placed in integrated care settings during the last six months of their educational programs, and commit to working in rural, vulnerable, or underserved areas after graduation.  Project personnel will educate and train students, along with the interprofessional team members at the practicum sites, to use team-based, integrated care competencies. Regular site visits will allow project personnel to ensure students and site staff have positive experiences. Challenges and issues that may arise will be addressed through problem-solving and teambuilding exercises.   

Project personnel will also develop a low-cost, high impact intervention to link interprofessional specialist teams with multiple primary care clinicians through teleECHO™ clinics. The online trainings will be listed as a Project ECHO® Hub, an initiative that began at the University of New Mexico. Currently there are four locations in Ohio that house Project ECHO® Hubs, but this will be the first housed in an Ohio college of nursing. Warner and Arredondo will take the lead in designing trainings focused on Team Building for Successful Integrated Care.

“The completed Project ECHO® Hub will provide free training, knowledge, and skills to all primary care settings in the United States,” said Umberger. “This resource will be especially useful for staff in rural primary care offices that may not have connections to state-of-the-art information.”

Throughout the course of the four years, the team’s objectives will revolve around providing integrated training to students and clinical site staff in order to grow the workforce of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in northeast Ohio who have had experience and exposure to integrated care. Additionally, the team would like to expand their pool of integrated care locations by adding three new sites each year that will collaborate with project personnel.

About Kent State University’s College of Nursing

In existence for 50 years, the College of Nursing at Kent State University is one of the largest and most comprehensive nursing programs in the nation with more than 12,000 alumni worldwide. As part of Kent State’s eight-campus system, the college provides more than 2,000 nursing students courses of study at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. To learn more about nursing programs at Kent State, please visit

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number M01HP31306 and Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for $1,077,310.00 and 0% financed with nongovernmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

POSTED: Monday, September 25, 2017 - 12:16pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 2:07pm
Mariah Gibbons