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PIPELINE for Youth Health FAQ

How do I apply for the PIPELINE for Youth Health program?

The PIPELINE for Youth Health application process is available here.

What is behavioral health integration (BHI)? 

Behavioral health integration (BHI) has the potential to facilitate early identification and expeditious access to evidence-based treatment for youth with mental and behavioral health concerns, as well as address the social determinants of health that drive longstanding racial health disparities. BHI within traditional health and primary care settings, school-based health centers, and schools themselves represents an opportunity to augment existing evidence-based treatments with universal, targeted, and indicated preventive interventions that emphasize protective factors, enhance social-emotional learning, and assist children and families in developing adaptive coping responses that foster both physiological and psychological health while remaining trauma-informed. 

Why should social workers be involved in BHI? What is the state of the social work workforce? 

Social workers constitute 40% of the behavioral health workforce, are increasingly deployed in large, integrated health systems, and possess expertise in ecological approaches to service delivery. The profession is well-positioned to play a critical role in addressing upstream, systemic issues that prevent equitable access to service, yet recent data show that the profession remains primarily white (85%) and does not mirror the population it intends to serve. It is more imperative than ever that those in the profession mirror the people being served racially, linguistically, and culturally.

What are the needs? 

In NYC and surrounding metropolitan areas, there is an urgent need for behavioral health care in communities that are plagued by health inequities, especially communities of color that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. There is also a well-established city-wide shortage of providers qualified to provide behavioral health services specifically to children, youth, and families that is occurring in the context of a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. Demand for youth behavioral health services continues to rapidly outpace workforce supply, and behavioral health practitioners are not well-versed in prevention initiatives. Finally, there is a critical need to diversify the social work behavioral health workforce, as its current composition does not mirror the population it intends to serve. 

How will PIPELINE for Youth Health address these issues? 

The PIPELINE for Youth Health program intends to address these issues by training a highly qualified, diverse cohort of advanced year social work students in integrated behavioral health competencies, prevention, and health equity. Master’s-level social work training requires field placements where students are provided an opportunity to apply their skills with supervision. 

Who participates in PIPELINE for Youth Health

A small cohort of 26 advanced year MSW students enrolled in Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service will be selected for participation through a competitive application process. Advanced year social work students who are selected as PIPELINE for Youth Health Fellows will be chosen, in part, to culturally and linguistically match the behavioral workforce to the population they will serve. Approximately 26 advanced year MSW students will be accepted as PIPELINE for Youth Health Fellows through a competitive application and review process; 75% of PIPELINE for Youth Health Fellowship slots each year are reserved for students of color.

What is required of me if I am selected as a student fellow? 

Students selected as PIPELINE for Youth Health trainees are required to enroll in a specialized training program focused on prevention, integrated care, and health equity comprised of coursework (inclusive of fieldwork) supplemented by a monthly seminar series. As a component of field education, Fellows will be required to complete an advanced year placement in an integrated care setting that provide opportunities for interprofessional practice geared towards children, youth and families. Fellows are also required to complete a capstone project focused on their field placements that will be presented at the conclusion of the Spring semester, and to participate in data collection activities for up to 1 year following graduation (self-report surveys) in compliance with HRSA reporting requirements. 

1) Required coursework consists of the following:

  • Integrated Behavioral Health in Social Work Practice (3 credits; offered Fall semester)
  • Health Care Policy and Advocacy (3 credits; offered Spring semester)
  • Enrollment in PIPELINE for Youth Health Integrative Seminar (a component of field education; Wednesdays throughout advanced year; this replaces the Specialist Integrative Seminar).

2) PIPELINE for Youth Health Speaker Series. Student fellows are required to attend the speaker series, which features leaders and innovators in BHI with youth. The series meets monthly from September – April. 

3) Capstone Project. Student fellows will be required to complete a capstone project that designed to address a particular need of the population served by the agency. The capstone project is an opportunity for students to demonstrate skill acquisition that prioritizes prevention and health equity in integrated care settings. 

4) Completion of Assessment Metrics. Student fellows will be asked to complete a series of assessment measures to evaluate the program during their advanced year and the year following completion of the program.

What are the benefits of the PIPELINE for Youth Health Fellowship? 

  • Upon completion of the program, PIPELINE for Youth Health Fellows will be equipped with a specialized skillset designed to both prevent and address the adverse impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including pandemic-related sequelae, as well as other risk factors for behavioral health disorder development in children and youth. 
  • Each MSW Fellow will receive a $10,000 stipend dispersed via 4 payments of $2500 throughout their advanced year; funding is contingent upon adequate progress in the program. 
  • Upon completion of the program, each trainee will be eligible to participate in PIPELINE Propel, a cohort-focused model of professional development designed to support transition to the professional workforce.