William James College Launches Black Mental Health Graduate Academy

Program designed to provide mentorship and professional enrichment to talented Black students pursuing a graduate education in mental health

November 10, 2016

BOSTON – November 10, 2016 –William James College, a leader in educating mental health professionals and the largest graduate psychology program in New England, launched its Black Mental Health Graduate Academy and inducted 16 Academy Scholars during an Inaugural Dinner on Oct. 20 at the college. The Academy—an innovative emerging academic and leadership pipeline program — is designed to recruit, mentor, and support Black students interested in pursuing careers in mental health counseling and psychology.

Racial and ethnic minorities represent approximately 30 percent of the population, yet more than 90 percent of mental health professionals identify as non-Hispanic White. This profound lack of racial and ethnic diversity is a significant contributor to the disparities minorities face when seeking and receiving mental health treatment.

“As our country becomes more diverse in terms of language, race and ethnicity, it is our mission at William James College to meet the evolving needs of our society,” said Dr. Nicholas Covino, president of the College. “The Black Mental Health Graduate Academy is helping our school take yet another important step toward improving accessibility of mental health care for all.”

Developed under the auspices of the Center for Multicultural & Global Mental Health at the College, the Academy is designed to provide critical mentorship, career orientation, skill building and professional enrichment to talented Black students. A major goal of the Academy is to develop partnerships with undergraduate colleges to create a pipeline for Black students interested in pursuing a graduate education in mental health. To this end, the college is looking for undergraduate institutions that share the same mission.

“Our commitment to increasing diversity and cultural competence in the mental health field via the Academy reflects our recognition of three important truths: 1) excellence is achieved through the integration of diverse perspectives, 2) our field loses relevance if we continue our conscious and unconscious neglect of the multiplicity of voices and life experiences of our clients/patients, and 3) ethical practice cannot be consistently achieved without multicultural humility and appreciation” said Dr. Natalie A. Cort, Director of the Black Mental Health Initiative & Graduate Academy.

Cort is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology Department and a core faculty member in the college’s Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, and Concentration in Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience. Cort, a highly credentialed, former clinical researcher of racial/ethnic disparities in mental health is dedicated to training clinicians who seek and celebrate multicultural perspectives in order to increase the provision of authentically empathic and appropriately responsive care to historically underserved patient groups. Cort earned a B.A. from Binghamton University and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.


About William James College

Founded in 1974 as an independent graduate college of psychology, William James College is the largest graduate psychology institution in New England, offering degree programs in mental health and applied psychology at the doctoral, master’s and certificate levels. William James College is a leader in educating organizational leaders and mental health professionals who are committed to meeting the needs of our most vulnerable populations and is constantly evolving to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society. The College’s highly skilled professionals care for Latinos, Veterans, children, adolescents and families in a variety of settings, including the schools, the courts, the community and the workplace.