The goal is to provide more practitioners for rural communities

Appalachian State University has received approval from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to establish a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program, with a primary goal of training students in clinical psychology to serve rural populations. Appalachian plans to begin admitting students in fall 2019.

The program will help address the shortage of providers in North Carolina, where about one-quarter of the state’s 100 counties have no practicing psychologist, according to a 2016 report by the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC Chapel Hill.

“The foresight of the board of governors in sanctioning this doctoral program at Appalachian helps us address the ever-increasing demand for psychologists in North Carolina, especially in underserved, rural areas,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “This program also expands our capacity for outreach, research and collaboration with communities. In addition to the health and wellness benefits, the program will strengthen communities through the additional professional workforce.”

The Psy.D. program will be housed in Appalachian’s Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Its curriculum will be designed to meet requirements for American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation. The program’s goal is to develop psychologists who are well-rounded practitioners trained in and committed to evidence-based professional practice. The program has already been approved by the university’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

This will be Appalachian’s second doctoral-level degree. The Doctor of Education program has been offered through Appalachian’s Reich College of Education since 1992.

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Originally published March 30, 2018. Written by Linda Coutant.