A bilingual scholarship program that will offer up to $1 million to Spanish-speaking students at accredited graduate social work programs in Texas in the next three years has been approved by the he Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
Baylor University, in announcing the statewide program, said it the first of its kind in Texas and possibly in the United States.
“This is a bold, forward-thinking program to encourage linguistic and cultural diversity in higher education and attract more interest in social work as a profession” said Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
The university said people of color are under-represented in social work and other mental health professions, resulting in less-effective mental health services that do not meet their cultural and linguistic needs.
“There simply aren’t enough bilingual social workers to serve the growing Spanish-speaking population in Texas,” said Dr. King Davis, outgoing executive director of the foundation. “These scholarships will achieve two important goals: raise public awareness of the need to build the state’s bilingual mental health workforce, and simultaneously begin to meet that need.”
In Texas. Spanish was the primary language spoken at home by 6.2 million people in 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It also reported in May that the number of Hispanics living in Texas reached 8.6 million, 36 percent of the state’s population, in 2007. Texas’ Hispanic population was the second largest in the U.S. in 2007 and grew faster than any other state from 2006 to 2007, gaining 308,000 people.
Scholarship recipients must be fluent in Spanish and English and commit to work in Texas after graduation providing mental health services for a period equal to the timeframe of the scholarship.
For the 2008-2009 school year, the foundation is offering up to $22,000 in scholarship funds at each of the 11 Texas graduate social work programs that are accredited or in candidacy for accreditation by the national Council on Social Work Education.
Eligible schools are Abilene Christian University, Baylor University, Our Lady of the Lake University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas State University, University of Houston, the University of Texas at Arlington,, UT/Austin, UT/Pan American and UT/San Antonio.
Interested applicants should contact the schools of their choice directly for information about the scholarship program.
The foundation hopes the scholarship program will be a model for other local, state and national organizations to support cultural and linguistic diversity in mental health professions.
The foundation was founded in 1940 by Miss Ima Hogg, daughter of former Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg, to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas.
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