New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $4 million pledge to increase mental healthcare workforce diversity.
$2 million of the fund will each be distributed to both SUNY and CUNY schools supporting tuition assistance, paid internships and direct stipends specifically for minority and multilingual students pursuing mental health degrees.
“As we continue to strengthen our health care system in New York, we must ensure that we build a diverse and inclusive workforce,” Governor Hochul said in her announcement on Aug. 25. “This partnership will provide incentives for underrepresented students to enroll or remain in mental health programs – helping diversify our future workforce and ensure that all communities are well-served by our public health care system.”
The fund and partnership aim to incentivize minority and multilingual students enrolled at any of the CUNY or SUNY campuses to enter in or continue studies relating to careers in mental health.
“The funding announced today by Governor Hochul to expand the pipeline for underrepresented students to begin careers in mental health will increase opportunity and reduce health disparities for the communities that CUNY serves,” CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said. “CUNY is among the most diverse universities in the country. We welcome the financial support that will help more of our students join a field that is in great need of diversity and improve the quality and delivery of mental health services for people in the communities that are the most traditionally underserved.”
Students who are eligible for these opportunities are those who are multilingual enrolled in a language-specific degree program; or are of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Latinx, Spanish origin, or are Native American, Alaska Native, Black, African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
Minority mental healthcare providers are more likely to meet the needs of historically under-served communities, as well as making mental healthcare services more accessible to vulnerable populations.
“Oftentimes, a barrier to care for our students and others seeking mental health care is not having access to a practitioner that can relate to or intimately understand their struggles,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. “In New York, we know that our unique backgrounds, cultures, and languages only make our workforce stronger, which is why we thank Governor Hochul for her continued investment in providing more opportunities for underrepresented minorities and making education more accessible for all.”