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Scholarships and Loan Repayment Available to LPCs Who Work in Underserved Areas

To help remedy the country’s shortage of mental health professionals in underserved areas, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is playing a critical role in bringing primary-care medical, dental, and mental health professionals to communities in which people would otherwise have to travel miles for healthcare, or go without help. In return, NHSC offers help in the form of both scholarships and repaying student loans. 

For example, the loan repayment options for 2011 are $60,000 for two years of service and $170,000 for five years of service. There is an option to pay off all student loans with additional service.

The NHSC offers tax-free student loan repayment, in addition to salary, in exchange for working in communities with limited access to care to fully trained and licensed mental health professionals. Mental health professionals eligible for the NHSC’s Loan Repayment Program include psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors.

The current application cycle for loan repayment closes on May 26 and applications will be accepted for the NHSC scholarship program starting later this month.

“You don’t just do one thing with the NHSC. It’s just a great opportunity. The experiences that come your way in one year with the NHSC mean you gain more experience than you would in 10 years somewhere else.  It makes you a better clinician and a better person,” says Nicole Tolle, a Licensed Professional Counselor in Alamosa, CO.  “I’ve been able to engage with the community where I practice, and I don’t think that is something I’d have been able to do, had I not been with my NHSC site.”

This year’s investment in the program, which includes $290 million from the Affordable Care Act, seeks to address shortages in the primary healthcare workforce.

The Affordable Care Act also provides more flexibility in how the Corps administers the loan repayment program. In addition to higher monetary awards, the Corps gives members the option of working half-time and provides credit for some teaching hours. And for the first time, clinicians may apply online to the NHSC loan repayment program, where they will find tutorials and additional information to assist in the application process.

Click here for more information about the loan repayment program, and click here for answers to FAQs.

Mindfulness Manuscripts: 
Journal of Mental Health Counseling Call for Proposals

AMHCA’s scholarly, quarterly, peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Mental Health Counseling (JMHC), is planning a special issue on “Mindfulness Approaches in Mental Health Counseling” for the July 2012 issue and is seeking proposals for manuscripts. The deadline for proposal submissions is June 1. Prospective authors may find it helpful to consult the JMHC Author Guidelines on AMHCA’s website.

Proposals should include:

  • Title of manuscript
  • Abstract of 100 to 250 words
  • Outline of major topics and subtopics (Manuscripts should not exceed 25 pages, including references and tables.)
  • List of three to five seminal resources
  • Description of authors’ expertise related to the topic—clinical experience, publications/presentations, or research

The timeline for this special issue is as follows:

  • Proposals for manuscripts due onJune 1, 2011
  • Authors notified of proposal acceptance on July 1, 2011 (Please note that acceptance of a proposal does not guarantee acceptance of submitted manuscripts.)
  • Manuscripts due no later than October 1, 2011
  • Reviews and action letters to authors by mid-November 2012
  • Revising and editing process during the following two to three months
  • Final accepted manuscripts completed by mid-March 2012
  • Authors review proofs of articles
  • Issue published in July 2012

Submit proposals in an attached Word document by email to JMHC Editor Dr. Quinn M. Pearson, University of North Alabama, at and to Special Issue Guest Editor Dr. Richard Ponton, Township of Ocean, at If you have questions or need additional information, please include both editors in your 

Promoting Your Practice: More on Search-Engine Optimization

By Sara K. Sims, Director of Business Development

If you’ve read my tips in the last two issues of The Advocate for marketing your practice online, then you should by now have a website and a directory listing. If so, congratulations, I’m sure you’re beginning to see your hard work pay off. Of course, if you work in a competitive market, you probably wonder what more you could do to rank higher in search-engine listings. It’s all in the search-engine optimization. 

In the last issue (April), I talked about the importance of getting listed in appropriate directories. The more inbound links pointing to your site the better. These links should come from large, high-quality sites that are topically related to your field. 

If you have a TherapySites website, this has been done for you. TherapySites has researched some of the most highly ranked inbound link sources on the Internet, and with a subscription to TherapySites, your website will be submitted to each. That means that in addition to the major search engines themselves—Google, Yahoo, and Bing—many other important directories such as Google local, Yahoo local, and more than 50 of the top directories are already linking to you. So sit back and get ready for all the business that will come your way.  

If you don’t have a TherapySites ( website, you still can—and should—try and submit to as many of these directories as you can on your own. Though it will be more time-consuming to do it on your own, it can make a big difference in your ranking.

A well-networked website is a high-ranking website. And high rankings mean high visibility. Let’s face it, the more visible your website is, the more business you’re going to get. Happy networking!

APA Seeks Additional Volunteers for DSM-5 Trials

Joanne (Jodi) M. Moore, LPC, NCC, BCETS, CCH, an AMHCA member who owns her own private practice in Virginia, has been selected to participate in the DSM-5 clinical trials and is currently in the first phase.

“I am pleased that our profession is being given its due in terms of our value and contribution to clinical mental health practices,” Moore says. 

“DSM-5 Field Trials in Routine Clinical Practice Settings will test the feasibility and clinical usefulness of the proposed diagnostic criteria and diagnostic-specific measures in real-world clinical settings,” according to APA’s website. 

In the April issue, we noted that AMHCA board member Camille A. Clay, EdD, LPC, AMHCA’s North Atlantic Region director is also participating in the trials, which are a vital part of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 development process. 

“These field trials will also examine whether the measures adequately capture changes in patients’ or clients’ symptom levels over time and if they are informative to treatment planning,” according to APA’s website about the field trials.

If you are participating in the DSM-5 trials, please let us know. Participants will be recognized in the fifth edition ofAPA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and earn continuing education credits.

Nominate Yourself,  a Peer, or a State Chapter for a 2011 AMHCA Award

Every year, AMHCA bestows awards on several individuals and AMHCA state chapters at the Annual Conference in July. Award nominations are due on Friday, May 13.