College of Health Professions Captures State Grant to Provide Mental Health Services for the Underserved

Pacific University’s College of Health Professions has been awarded a prestigious $985,752 grant to better serve the mental health and substance use treatment needs of rural and medically underserved patients.

College of Health ProfessionsThe three-year grant comes through the state’s Healthy Oregon Workforce Training Opportunity Grant Program (HOWTO), a program administered under the direction of the Oregon Health Policy Board in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Health & Science University. The grant will be formally announced this winter, following a round of reviews by the Oregon Health Authority.

Under the proposal submitted by Pacific’s College of Health Professions, 10 students and one Physician Assistant (PA) Fellow will be placed each year into an interprofessional clinic focused on rural and underserved patients dealing with behavioral health and substance use issues. This cohort of students will pioneer new training protocols for serving these patients and will establish the first post-graduate PA Behavioral Health Fellowship Program on the West Coast. These training programs will emphasize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in providing integrated, team-based care in the new Pacific Interprofessional Clinic in Baker Hall on the Hillsboro Campus.  

The grant application was prepared by a team headed by Mary Von, the director and professor of the School of Physician Assistant Studies and the interim director of the School of Healthcare Administration and Leadership. Von said she was “absolutely thrilled” by the announcement of the award. 

So is Ann Barr-Gillespie, the vice-provost and executive dean for the College of Health Professions. 

“Not only are congratulations in order for Dr. Von as the Principal Investigator of this significant and prestigious award, but for the entire new Pacific Interprofessional Clinic team,” Barr-Gillespie said in an email. “What an auspicious beginning for this new clinical facility that will support the education of our students in important practice areas that serve fellow Oregonians!”

For more information about the HOWTO program, visit



Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020