Mercer University School of Medicine Master of Family Therapy (MFT) students Grace Choi and Jayla Head were recently accepted to the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP-Y) offered by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The MFP for doctoral-level students was created in 2007 at the AAMFT Research and Education Foundation, whose mission is to fund systemic and relational research, scholarship and education in an effort to support and enhance the practice of systemic and relational therapies; advance the healthcare continuum; and improve client outcomes. SAMHSA began to fund the program in 2008.
In 2014, SAMHSA expanded the Minority Fellowship Program to include the MFP-Youth for master’s-level students.
The MFP-Y program aims to increase the number of culturally competent master’s-level trained behavioral health professionals available to serve children, adolescents and youth transitioning into adulthood, ages 16-25.
Fellows receive a stipend and supplemental training focusing on issues of substance abuse and prevention as well as providing mental health services to minority youth populations in a culturally competent manner with an evidence-based practice approach.
Choi earned her undergraduate degree from Florida State University with a major in family and child sciences.
Inspired by her own life experiences, she hopes to work with immigrant and refugee populations, especially adolescents and emerging adults that come from communities where more risk factors predispose them to mental health and substance disorders. In addition, she hopes to improve access to mental health services for second-generation adolescents from immigrant and refugee families and to help put into words how it feels to grow up in two cultures.
Head earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri with a major in psychology.
As an aspiring clinician, she is working to acquire the skills needed to work with diverse communities and gain both professional and interpersonal competence in clinical, community and academic settings. In addition to marriage and family therapy, she also hopes to someday start a nonprofit organization that informs marginalized communities about the importance of mental health, especially in the African American community where seeking therapy remains taboo.