In addition, since AK-PIC’s development, WICHE has
developed similar internship programs in Colorado, Hawaii,
Oregon and Nevada. The Hawaii Psychology Internship
Consortium achieved APA accreditation on contingency status
in October, after applying for accreditation during their first
training year. Colorado, Oregon and Nevada plan to submit
their self-studies in December 2015.
A unique aspect of WICHE’s work is helping psychology
internship programs identify ways to keep their funding stream
sustainable, says Catherine Grus, PhD, deputy executive director
of the APA Education Directorate.
In Alaska, for example, psychology internship funding is
now part of the base
budget for the Alaska
Department of Health
and Human Services,
Division of Behavioral
Health, thanks to
advocacy by WICHE
and others. WICHE
has also been able to
facilitate support of state
funding for psychology
internships in Hawaii,
Oregon and Nevada.
“It really makes
sense for states to
invest in psychology
internships as a workforce
says. “Funding a training
program is more cost-
effective than funding
itinerant providers, which
is a common workforce strategy in rural areas. Letting someone
grow into a role from a training program is also more likely to
lead to retention of those providers.”
Given the scarcity of funding these days, Grus says this
model is one that everyone in the field needs to think about.
“It’s just a really stellar example of creativity, and of serving
the development of training positions but also serving the
communities where those positions are located,” Grus says.
A national movement
In an effort to address the ongoing internship shortage
nationwide, last year APPIC partnered with WICHE to conduct
a survey of APPIC member programs — both accredited and
non-accredited — to identify the barriers to APA accreditation.
With that information, WICHE developed a screening tool that
APPIC may use to help determine how ready an internship
program might be for seeking APA accreditation, says Sarah
Ross, PhD, a senior program and research associate for WICHE.
Now WICHE and APPIC are working together to recruit
35 to 40 APPIC programs that are not accredited and want to
be, says Allison Ponce, PhD, chair of the APPIC Accreditation
“Our focus is … helping programs that are already
established internships move toward accreditation,” Ponce says.
WICHE is constructing virtual learning communities of
about six programs each that will meet monthly over nine
months and support one another, with WICHE’s leadership, in
preparing for submitting their self-study.
WICHE will provide each learning community with
monthly instructional webinars on all aspects of the
accreditation process, group problem-solving sessions related
to program accreditation
consultation to individual
programs, and real-time
editing and feedback on
Ross says. Each learning
community will also
be given a platform
for document sharing
and peer review, as
well as a tracker that
monitors progress toward
completion of self-study
domains and associated
Ponce says APPIC
would like to see at least
25 programs submit their
self-studies by December
In a similar vein,
DeHay hopes these efforts and new approaches to internship
development will have a positive impact on the field.
“We’ve seen how successful it can be and there is clearly such
a need for it,” she says. “I hope other organizations like ours that
have the capacity to provide this type of support will see this
model as something they can also implement.” n
Amy Novotney is a journalist in Chicago.
For more information on WICHE’s mental health program and
efforts to develop internship programs, visit www.wiche.edu.
Today, three-quarters of the
37 interns who have gone through
the program stay on and take
full-time jobs at one of the
consortium’s sites. “The program
has already had a role in noticeably
improving Alaska’s vacancy rate
Tamara DeHay, PhD
WICHE Mental Health Program