Celebrating 20 Years of Psychiatric Rehabilitation “Firsts”
Friday, June 22, 2012 • 10:54am
NEWARK—In the two decades since the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–School of Health Related Professions launched the State’s first degree program in Psychiatric Rehabilitation — a joint Associate of Science Degree with Middlesex County College — it has made significant contributions to the people of New Jersey. The Department has played an integral role in major efforts to combine education and service to underserved persons in need in the State. It also has trained professionals for the growing fields of psychiatric rehabilitation and rehabilitation counseling. The job market for these professions continues to strengthen: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mental health counseling field is expected to grow by 36 percent between 2010 and 2020.
On June 15, 120 invited guests turned out to celebrate the Department’s contribution to the fields of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Counseling and its service to the State of New Jersey and to honor the accomplishments of its graduates, including:
- Aaron Levitt, director of research and project evaluation for the Center for Urban Community Services in Manhattan, which provides services for people who are homeless, or have serious mental illness, HIV, AIDS or substance abuse issues. He decided to further his studies part-time at UMDNJ by obtaining a Masters degree in psychiatric rehabilitation and is now pursuing a PhD to more effectively serve this at-risk population. “Not only does the degree look at mental illness in depth, but it is person-centered, rather than being illness-focused.”
- Zakia Clay, a team leader for Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services Residential Intensive Support Team (RIST), which helps individuals recently discharged from New Jersey’s state hospitals to find housing and live successfully in the community. “Many have no families and a large number are substance abusers. They’ve been in and out of hospitals and have faced a lot of trauma,” she explains. “Our objective is to help them maintain and secure housing in a community of their choice.
Guest speakers at the event included Dr. Kim Mueser and Dr. Patricia Nemec of Boston University, and Dr. Phyllis Solomon, of the University of Pennsylvania. Each spoke on the future of the field’s services, research, and educational practices.
The Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions has contributed a number of innovations to the emerging discipline of psychiatric rehabilitation and related professions. These include:
- Establishing the:
• First PhD in psychiatric rehabilitation and first online PhD program in Health Sciences with a psychiatric rehabilitation specialization
• First MS degree devoted solely to leadership in psychiatric rehabilitation now adapted to internet delivery
• First dual BS major in psychology and psychiatric rehabilitation with Kean University
• First AS degree in psychiatric rehabilitation now offered jointly with eight of New Jersey’s county colleges
• First MS in rehabilitation counseling in New Jersey (begun in 1985), acknowledged for its excellence by US News and World Report as a top program in this discipline two years in a row.
- Authoring Psychiatric Rehabilitation, the first comprehensive, introductory textbook in the field (Pratt, Gill, Barrett, & Roberts, Academic Press, 1999, 2007).
- Editing Peers as Providers of Psychiatric Rehabilitation (Swarbrick & Gill, 2011).
- Convening the first national meeting and establishing the Consortium of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Educators (2001).
- Taking a leadership role in developing the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Provider (CPRP) credential, a test-based certification program (2001). Faculty and graduates from UMDNJ were among the first to be certified in the nation.
- Co-sponsoring of the American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, a new peer-reviewed journal.
The department also sponsors several major initiatives to integrate clinical service, faculty participation in best practices, and consultation services to the mental health and social service system. These projects include the Center for the Study and Promotion of Recovery from Severe Mental Illness, the Integrated Employment Institute to promote employment services and outcomes throughout New Jersey’s mental health system, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Initiative in New Jersey’s state hospitals and anti-stigma initiatives.
The department also pursues a research agenda that complements its educational and service initiatives, including the first federally funded randomized controlled study of supported education, cognitive remediation for post-secondary students with serious mental illness and international psychiatric rehabilitation training and consultation.
Images from the event are available.
Journalists who wish to find out more about psychiatric rehabilitation in New Jersey, interview featured graduates or learn specifics on the growing need for mental health professionals can contact Patti Verbanas at 973.972.7273 or at email@example.com.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey’s only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey’s only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.