African & Caribbean Mental Health (ACMH) Concentration

As the United States becomes more multiracial, multiethnic and multilingual, and the world increasingly globalized, there is a growing need for mental health providers to be skilled in the assessment of culturally diverse clients and the delivery of culturally competent clinical services. The primary goal of the African & Caribbean Mental Health (ACMH) concentration is to train graduate psychology students, and equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide culturally-sensitive and evidence-based mental health services to individuals, families, and groups of Black/African/African-American and Caribbean ancestry.

Program Overview

The ACMH concentration is designed to enhance students’ awareness and knowledge of the roles of class, ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, ability and disability, language, and minority and immigrant status in the mental health of historically marginalized individuals and communities. The concentration aims to recruit, mentor and educate mental health providers to address disparities and inequalities in mental health policies, research and clinical practices; and actively engage them in advocacy efforts to improve the health and well-being of Black communities locally and across the globe.

Concentration courses will expose students to a variety of theories and clinical practices that are intended to promote cultural competence. Through didactic and experiential activities, students will be introduced to culturally-responsive assessment methods, diagnostic evaluation tools, and psychological interventions with a focus on the interconnected behavioral, social, emotional and spiritual needs of culturally and linguistically diverse clients. Concentration students will appreciate how culture shapes and influences behaviors in cross-cultural and multicultural contexts; critically examine issues of diversity and cross-cultural considerations in diagnosing, counseling, and treating individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds; and explore mental health and illness through a broadened social justice and multicultural lens. Students will also expand their knowledge of psychosocial factors that are germane to providing culturally-sensitive psychotherapeutic services to Black/African/African-American/Caribbean individuals, families, and communities.

Additionally, service learning programs and cultural immersion experiences in international settings such as Guyana, Haiti and Kenya will enhance students’ sensitivity to diversity and difference, promote learning and sharing of cross-cultural experiences, enhance students’ competence in building therapeutic relationships with diverse populations, increase students’ awareness of ethics and standards appropriate to professional practice with culturally diverse populations, and expand students’ global perspectives of psychological theories and their application to culturally diverse groups. Opportunities for local immersion experiences that do not require students to travel internationally are also available and will fulfill the concentration requirements.

Enrollment Process

The ACMH concentration is open to all William James College students who have a strong interest in providing culturally-sensitive mental health services to Black individuals, families, and communities. All William James College departments offer the concentration as a Major Area of Study and an Area of Emphasis. To enroll, students should download and complete the Concentration Application Form from the Registrar’s Office webpage before the deadline (usually November 1st, though the date is subject to change). The Concentration Declaration Form must first be reviewed by the student’s advisor before e-mailing it to the concentration Director, Dr. Gemima St. Louis (gemima_stlouis@williamjames.edu). Students typically apply in the fall semester of their first year and begin courses during the second semester of their first year.

Masters level students in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and School Psychology MA/ CAGS who are enrolled in ACMH, will graduate with extra credits.

Curriculum Map

Coursework

Enrolled as Major Area of Study (9 Credits)
SCH AC600 - Mental Health Disparities: Multicultural & Global Perspectives (credits: 2) 
SCH AC620 - Introduction to African & Caribbean Mental Health (credits: 2) 
SCH AC700 - Cultural Foundations: The Experiences of African and Caribbean Groups in the U.S. (credits: 2) 
SCH AC810 - Assessment & Treatment of Individuals of African and Caribbean Heritage (credits: 2) 
One of the following courses: Enrolled as Emphasis (5 Credits)
SCH AC600 - Mental Health Disparities: Multicultural & Global Perspectives (credits: 2) 
One of the following courses: One of the following courses:

Course Sequence

YEAR ONE
Fall Semester

Complete a Concentration Declaration Form by October 15 and submit to gemima_stlouis@williamjames.edu

Spring Semester (2 credits)
SCH AC620 - Introduction to African & Caribbean Mental Health (credits: 2) 

Summer Session I (1 credit)
One of the following courses: Summer Session II (0 credits)
Haiti, Kenya or Guyana Service Learning/Immersion Program

YEAR TWO
Fall Semester
(2 credits)
SCH AC600 - Mental Health Disparities: Multicultural & Global Perspectives (credits: 2) 

Spring Semester (2 credits)
SCH AC700 - Cultural Foundations: The Experiences of African and Caribbean Groups in the U.S. (credits: 2)

Summer Session I (2 credits)
SCH AC810 - Assessment & Treatment of Individuals of African and Caribbean Heritage (credits: 2) 

Additional Notes

  • Enrollment in the ACMH Concentration may increase the total number of credits for graduation. School Psychology students should consult with their Department Chair and advisors.
  • Submission of the Concentration Declaration Form means that these courses are now considered to be part of your required coursework, and are eligible for financial aid for those who qualify.
  • Students may complete the ACMH Concentration as a Major Area of Study or an Emphasis.
    • Major Area of Study requires a total of 9 credits. Students must choose a Doctoral Project in an area related to the content of the ACMH Concentration. Each Doctoral Project topic needs to be approved by the ACMH Concentration Director.
    • Emphasis requires a total of 5 credits. Students at the Emphasis level are encouraged but not required to choose a Doctoral Project in an area related to the content of the ACMH Concentration.
  • All ACMH courses will be offered on Wednesday evenings (6:40-8:30 pm). 
Field Placement

Students will complete their practicum placements at clinical training sites where at least 25% of the training experience will be with clients of African, African-American and/or Caribbean heritage. A list of sites approved by the concentration director can be accessed via SSIG.

Doctoral Project

Doctoral-level students who are completing a Major Area of Study in the ACMH concentration will be required to complete a doctoral project on a topic germane to ACMH. It is recommended that at least one of their doctoral project committee members be a Multicultural and Global Mental Health Center faculty or a professional with substantial experience or expertise in the field.

Doctoral-level students who are completing an Area of Emphasis in the ACMH concentration are strongly encouraged, but are not required, to choose a doctoral project with a focus on the population of interest.

Additional Requirements

To support student’s professional growth and development, ACMH concentration students must attend at least one Continuing Education (CE) event annually that is sponsored or approved by the Center for Multicultural & Global Mental Health. Students are also encouraged to attend a variety of activities (e.g., conferences, lectures, film series, social and cultural events) throughout the year that are organized by the Center for Multicultural & Global Mental Health.

FAQs

Q: What concentrations are offered through the Center for Multicultural & Global Mental Health (CMGMH)?

A: There are three CMGMH concentrations: African & Caribbean Mental Health, Global Mental Health, and the Latino Mental Health Program.


Q: Can I enroll in more than one concentration?

A: Yes! Many of the students in CMGMH concentrations are enrolled in more than one concentration. In addition, concentrations can be completed at one of two levels: “Major Area of Study” or “Emphasis”. 


Q: What’s the difference between a “Major Area of Study” and an “Emphasis”?

A: Students enrolled in a PsyD Program can complete a CMGMH concentration at the “Major Area of Study” level. This requires between 8-9 course credits, depending on the concentration. Students enrolled in a Master’s or PsyD Program can complete a CMGMH concentration at the “Emphasis” level. This requires between 4-5 course credits, depending on the concentration.


Q: Do I have to participate in an international immersion trip? I don't think I can spend that much time away from home. 

A: No, you do not have to participate in an international immersion trip. There are opportunities for local immersions that won't require you leaving home and will still fulfill the concentration requirements. 


Q: If I declare a CMGMH concentration, will I have to do my Doctoral Project on that topic?

A: Students who are completing a concentration as a Major Area of Study are required to do a doctoral project on a topic germane to their concentration. It is recommended that at least one of their doctoral project committee members be a CMGMH faculty or a professional with substantial experience or expertise in the field. Students who are completing an Emphasis are encouraged (but not required) to choose a doctoral project with a focus on the population of interest.


Q: How will a CMGMH concentration affect my field placement choices?

Students in a CMGMH concentration will complete their practicum or internship placements at clinical training sites that have been approved by the concentration directors. The list of approved training sites can be accessed via SSIG. Also, at least 25% of the training experience will be with culturally diverse clients or organizations that serve the population of interest. 


Q: Are there other requirements that I should know about?

A: To support students’ professional growth and development, CMGMH requires that all concentration students attend at least one Continuing Education (CE) event annually that is sponsored or approved by the Center for Multicultural & Global Mental Health.


Q: I saw that October 15, 2016 was the deadline to apply for a concentration. It is past the deadline but I still would like to declare a concentration. What do I do?

A: October 15th was the official deadline, but you may be able to declare a concentration up until registration for spring courses. There will be an additional opportunity to declare CMGMH concentrations in the spring. Contact the director of the concentration that you are interested in applying for to find out if you are still able to declare.


Q: What is the enrollment process?

A: CMGMH concentrations are open to all WJC students who have a strong interest in serving historically marginalized individuals, families and communities. To enroll, students should download and complete both the Concentration Application Form and the Concentration Declaration Form from the Registrar’s Office webpage, and submit it to the concentration director. The Concentration Declaration Form must first be reviewed by the student’s advisor. Students typically apply in the fall semester of their first year and begin courses during the second semester of their first year.


Q: I am interested in learning more about the international immersion programs. Who do I contact?

A: Students who are interested in the Ecuador immersion program should contact Dr. Mari Carmen Bennasar (mari_bennasar@williamjames.edu).

Students who are interested in the Guyana immersion program should contact Dr. Natalie Cort (natalie_cort@williamjames.edu).

Students who are interested in the Haiti immersion program should contact Dr. Gemima St. Louis (gemima_stlouis@williamjames.edu) and Dr. Jill Bloom (jill_bloom@williamjames.edu).

Students who are interested in the Kenya immersion program should contact Dr. Claire Fialkov (claire_fialkov@williamjames.edu) and Dr. David Haddad (david_haddad@williamjames.edu).


Q: Where can I find additional information about CMGMH concentrations?

If you have any questions about the concentration requirements, please email cmgmh@williamjames.edu or contact the concentration directors:

African & Caribbean Mental Health: Dr. Gemima St. Louis (gemima_stlouis@williamjames.edu)

Global Mental Health: Dr. Jill Bloom (jill_bloom@williamjames.edu)

Latino Mental Health: Dr. Mari Carmen Bennasar (mari_bennasar@williamjames.edu)

 

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