Diversity and Inclusion
The National Psychology Training Consortium (NPTC) promotes…
ongoing development of best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion with our interns, supervisors, and staff, as well as at our partner sites, by providing consultation, guidance, suggestions, and resources on topics related to diversity. As part of best practices, NPTC will model humility as a medium for nurturing diversity, equity, and inclusion. We endeavor to humbly reflect on each individual’s own positions in power and privilege as a regular part of our consultation process.
Training Tomorrow’s Psychologist in the Discipline and Practice of Psychology with Rural and Underserved Patients
The mission of NPTC closely aligns with the vision and mission of the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Rural Health (CRH). The mission of NPTC emulates that of the CRH in the following ways:
1) ensuring availability of behavioral and physical health services;
2) improving the availability and retention of psychologists;
3) increasing psychological services; and
4) encouraging integrative care to reduce behavioral health care stigmas.
Our Diversity Committee
Aimee Dershowitz, Psy.D.
Diversity Committee Chairperson
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Regional Consultant – Great Lakes Region
Dr. Aimee Dershowitz is a licensed psychologist currently in private practice in Zionsville, Indiana. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Indianapolis with concentrations in Child and Adolescent Psychology and Health Psychology. She has been the NPTC Great Lakes Region’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion since 2015 and the chair of the NPTC Diversity Committee since 2017. Dr. Dershowitz values learning and teaching in the area of diversity, particularly as it relates to recognizing the aspects of diversity that can be frequently overlooked by the general population, and the intersectionality between those aspects and the more commonly recognized aspects of diversity. She fully believes that exposure to differences, and approaching those differences with humility to learn about them, is the responsibility of all psychologists. Diversity is an ever changing subject and learning in this area is never completed. Dr. Dershowitz is a lifelong learner and can’t wait to continue her exploration in Diversity and Inclusion.
Ruth Olmer, Psy.D.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Regional Consultant – Cascades Region
Dr. Ruth Olmer is a Behavioral Health Consultant practicing at Community Health of Central Washington with rural and underserved populations. While the overarching tone of her work has been with economically and resource disadvantaged individuals, she has intentionally engaged in trainings, personal readings, and advocacy to better serve the different pockets of diversity within that general population – people of color, LGBTQA+ individuals and couples, migrant workers, and refugees. As a member of the Army Reserve and growing up in a military household, she has a specific passion for individuals and families in the military community and fostering an Army culture that is safe, inclusive, and valuing of all people. Her mission aligns strongly with that of the diversity committee, which is to develop and model humility as a medium for nurturing diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the Cascades Regional Director of Diversity and Inclusion, she provides consultation, guidance, and resources on topics related to diversity for NPTC partner sites.
Karen Shipley, Psy.D.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Regional Consultant – Central Region
Dr. Karen Shipley, a licensed clinical psychologist with 30 years of experience in the behavioral health field, is dedicated to raising awareness, connection, and compassion for those who receive services and those who provide services through a relational and trauma informed approach. She divides her time between clinical practice, teaching, training and consulting across the U.S. As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the National Psychology Training Consortium (NPTC), Central Region, and a member of the NPTC Diversity Committee, it is her priority and responsibility to address, educate, and contribute to an ongoing learning environment that is culturally conscious and holds diversity, inclusion, and equity as necessary and constant aspects of daily professional and personal dialogue. An experienced DBT therapist, Dr. Shipley focuses on creating a more diverse network of DBT providers to increase the effectiveness of the treatment as a whole and for clients. She specializes in the treatment of pervasive emotion dysregulation, chronic suicidality, self-harm and risk behaviors, eating disorders, trauma, and grief and loss across diverse populations.
Ianto West, Psy.D.
Diversity Committee Member
Dr. A. Ianto West is a licensed psychologist practicing at HealthPoint Redmond in Washington state. As an integrated FQHC psychologist, Dr. West works with many immigrants and refugees. He also has a small group practice focusing on transgender care, trauma, and ADHD. He received his doctorate from Antioch University Seattle – a school with a long history of focusing on social justice. Prior to doctoral study, he worked for nonprofits focusing on crisis services for LGBTQ youth. He has additional experience working for homeless outreach, advocacy, and sexual health education. He has been active with transgender consultation and advocacy organizations over the past decade. Dr. West values decolonizing research methodologies and evidence-based diversity training. He has been a member of the NPTC Diversity Committee since 2020.
“In almost all rural and frontier areas, health care practitioners, services and infrastructure are in short supply. The population is small and is disproportionately older. These areas have low household incomes, relatively high unemployment rates and high poverty rates. Unfortunately, they also have a high proportion of the population that lacks health insurance or has inadequate coverage. Providing behavioral health care services to rural residents is further complicated by the presence of stigma” (American Psychological Association, 2012).
These words are taken from the American Psychological Association’s (APA) webpage dedicated to rural health awareness and initiative. They represent a longstanding commitment on behalf of the APA to promote increased awareness and resource allocation for rural residents and frontier populations. A significant barrier repeatedly encountered by organizations such as the APA Committee on Rural Health and The National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) is the limited amount of specialty mental healthcare clinicians interested in rural practice.
Results of the shortage of specialty mental healthcare clinicians in rural areas have been changes in public health policy and the reallocation of financial incentives to attract practitioners, such as psychologists, to rural America. The recent expansion of the scope of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan forgiveness programs has allowed further attraction of psychologists to these underserved areas. Other results from the shortage of psychologists in rural America have been the development and expansion of various training institutions, programs, and continuing education venues such as the National Psychology Training Consortium (NPTC). Since its inception, NPTC has changed the specialty mental healthcare landscape across its regions with many graduates staying on to work as licensed psychologists in those same rural areas.
The above listed initiatives and incentives are important as years of research have shown rural life to be less idyllic and tranquil than often thought. The facts are that rural Americans suffer from similar rates of psychological disorders as their urban counterparts. Additionally, illicit drug use, often methamphetamine, and male suicide rates have been found to be disproportionally higher in rural Americans compared to urban Americans (Lorenz, Wickrama, & Yeh, 2004). According to the same authors, reasons for these higher rates of psychopathology have been attributed to the stresses of isolation and the deterioration of culture/community. Furthermore, the lack of licensed specialty mental healthcare providers, such as psychologists, contributes to these trends of mental illness in rural America. For these reasons, NPTC continues to recommit itself to address the psychological needs of the rural underserved.
For more information about Rural Mental Health, you can visit the follow web sites:
Long-Term Diversity Plan
NPTC is committed to promoting and infusing diversity into every facet of the training experience. NPTC adheres to the definition of diversity provided in the Commission on Accreditation-Guidelines and Principles (2012), Domain A, Section 5, as “personal and demographic characteristics. These include, but are not limited to, age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and social economic status.” NPTC is dedicated to providing psychology interns with opportunities to work with populations in a variety of settings that promote and provide necessary exposure to diverse populations and issues. In addition, NPTC recognizes the importance of multicultural awareness and competence in the provision of professional service and strives to prepare prospective psychologists to meet the needs of a progressively global and dynamic society.
With this in mind, NPTC has devised a long-term diversity plan not only to provide diversity training and experiences to its interns, but also to provide a safe, trusting, and accepting atmosphere at its sites. In order to accomplish these goals, NPTC has outlined three main areas of program diversity:
1. Diversity Education
a. NPTC’s mission statement is to train psychologists in the discipline and practice of psychology with rural and underserved patients. All training sites provide treatment to patients who represent various aspects of diversity, including age, religion, disability, and lower socioeconomic status. Supervisors provide interns with opportunities to work with diverse patients as cases become available.
b. NPTC has made diversity and diversity training a core component of its program goals and objectives in order to provide the appropriate emphasis on diversity to interns and ensure they graduate with appropriate respect and humility toward diversity in all its forms.
c. NPTC values and emphasizes the importance of training in diversity and is committed to dedicating at least two and a half hours of training on diversity issues each month, as well as utilizing speakers from various areas of diversity when available.
d. All interns are evaluated quarterly on their ability to work with patients from diverse backgrounds.
e. As part of their core training expectations, Interns spend two hours each week in self-directed journal review, at least 10% of which must include diversity-related topics. Fulfillment of this guideline is monitored and verified monthly by the Site Training Director.
f. Each region of NPTC has a Director of Diversity and Inclusion who initiates and monitors the Long-Term Diversity Education Plan. This individual also presents diversity trainings, enhances diversity engagement, consults with interns on diversity issues, and, if necessary, provides interns with referrals to other diversity experts.
g. NPTC’s Board of Directors has a Diversity Committee chaired by one of the agency’s Directors of Diversity and Inclusion. This committee reviews research pertaining to both training and education of diversity topics as well as best practices for employment and retention of diverse staff. This committee reports to the Board during each Board meeting and disseminates their recommendations agency-wide for reference and application as appropriate.
h. The majority of NPTC’s member sites provide regular diversity training for their employees. The other NPTC sites conduct periodic diversity training as well as informal discussions relating to diversity in their regular staff meetings and in supervisory or training activities. Information has been provided to these sites on various online trainings that are available to them to use.
2. Psychology Intern Diversity Recruitment and Retention
a. NPTC highlights the opportunities for diversity training through the training sites on its webpage and in the APPIC directory.
b. To encourage applicants interested in working in rural, need-based areas, NPTC highlights sites that are members of the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program. This increases the potential of attracting diverse applicants interested in longer-term placements in high-need diverse areas.
c. NPTC advertises available internship positions in the APA Division 38, APA Division 44, and APA Division 45 newsletters in order to encourage a more diverse applicant pool.
d. NPTC advertises its program and available positions by sending its brochure to doctoral programs which have degree concentrations in Rural Psychology and/or Integrative Primary Care.
e. While it is likely that psychology interns will have a range of pre-existing attitudes and values related to diversity issues, acceptance to the training program is seen as a commitment to:
i. The social value of respect for diversity;
ii. Willingness to engage in self-disclosure, self-reflection, and introspection; and
iii. Readiness to resolve or eliminate attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that could have a negative impact on their ability to perform the functions of a mental health professional in accordance with the highest standards and principles of professional practice and ethics.
3. Staff/Supervisor Diversity Recruitment and Retention
a. All NPTC member sites are encouraged to consider the following strategies when choosing staff and supervisors for their sites:
i. Advertise staff openings in venues targeting diverse applicants.
ii. Incorporate an inclusive diversity statement in all staff job advertisements.
iii. Request referrals and nominations of candidates from underrepresented groups completing doctoral programs.
iv. Allow/encourage support staff, supervisors, and interns to attend diversity-oriented training and conferences.
b. All NPTC member sites have non-discrimination policies in place within their organizations.
c. NPTC expects that all members of the Consortium will promote a safe, trusting, and accepting environment and strive to learn from each other in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
d. It is also expected that all members of the Consortium be supportive and respectful of all individuals, including, but not limited to, patients, staff, peers, administrators, and supervisors who are different from them in age, gender, gender identity, body size, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status.
Disability and Support Services
Within the guidelines set forth in this policy, NPTC and member sites are committed to providing an accessible and supportive environment for individuals with disabilities. NPTC and member sites do not discriminate on the basis of disability against otherwise-qualified individuals in any program, service, or activity offered by the consortium. NPTC is committed to ensuring that no otherwise-qualified individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids or other appropriate services. Such accommodations, however, cannot result in an undue burden to NPTC or member sites or fundamentally alter the requirements essential to a psychology training program. NPTC reserves the right to determine whether a psychology intern or resident is capable of performing the duties required by the program.
Notification to the Consortium of any and all types of personal needs involving physical, emotional, and learning difficulties and/or needs related to the Americans with Disabilities Act is the sole responsibility of the psychology intern. The individual should notify the Support Coordinator for Persons with Disabilities as well as their site’s HR department as soon as the need for accommodations becomes evident. For accommodations needed at the site level, the psychology intern should follow the steps lined out in their site’s accommodation policy. In order to receive accommodations, the individual must provide the Support Coordinator for Persons with Disabilities and/or site’s HR with appropriate documentation of the disability.
Only persons interested in receiving disability-related accommodations need to provide disability documentation. If eligibility for accommodations is established and the request for accommodations approved, the Support Coordinator for Persons with Disabilities will coordinate a meeting between psychology intern and the necessary Training Directors, site’s HR representatives, and/or supervisors to review the approved accommodations. While all reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate individual needs, it is conceivable that some conditions and circumstances may exist which cannot be reasonably accommodated. To initiate an inquiry or request for accommodations, the individual must contact Katherine Dixon at email@example.com.
NPTC and member sites are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employers and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, creed, ancestry, gender, disability or age, sexual orientation, or veteran status in employment or in any of its programs and activities. For questions, concerns, or more information, contact Katherine Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Psychological Association. (2012). Rural health. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/practice/programs/rural/index.aspx
Committee on Rural Health Mission. (2012). Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://www.apa.org/practice/programs/rural/committee/mission.aspx
Lorenz, F. O., Wickrama, K.A., & Yeh, H. (2004). Rural mental health: Comparing difference and modeling change. In N. Glasgow, L. W. Morton, & N. E. Johnson (Eds.), Critical issues in rural health (75-88). Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing Professional