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Interns gain valuable insight during two-week immersion experience

Tessa Long, M.A., and Beth Larson, M.S., spent two weeks observig daily operations at a Southeast Kansas clinic providing care in rural and underserved communities.

Psychology doctoral interns Tessa Long, M.A., and Beth Larson, M.S., gained real world experience in providing care in rural and underserved communities when they recently participated in a two-week immersion experience at a Southeast Kansas clinic.

Long and Larson primarily observed day-to-day operations at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Oct. 11-25. They observed a broad variety of care activities, such as: 

  • Individual psychotherapy (both in person and via telehealth) with children and adults
  • Behavioral health consultations (BHC) in primary care clinics and within a school setting
  • Home visits to deliver medication,
  • Peer-led addiction recovery support groups,
  • Individual addiction medication and therapy treatment,
  • Individual psychiatric nurse practitioner visits
  • Assessments (psychodiagnostics, bariatric and cognitive)

On their first day, Long and Larson also were treated to a driving tour of Pittsburg and enjoyed lunch with the staff.

For Long, the most meaningful part of the experience was seeing the wide range of services offered within the clinic and how well integrated those services are within the community.

“It was clear the clinic goes above and beyond to care for the entire community,” said Long, who noted the experience helped her see the broad range of care settings in which psychologists can work.

“I was able to see how a psychologist can work within many different settings or within a multidisciplinary context to provide services,” she said. “Particularly, it was helpful to understand how treatment can be tailored to fit the specific community within which we're practicing.”

The most meaningful part of the experience for Larson was learning how services are provided through Federally Qualified Health Centers.

“It was exciting to see that all patients were provided quality care and other resources that are otherwise quite financially burdensome for many people. I also gained a greater understanding of individual diversity within rural patient populations,” she said. “I had fun exploring Pittsburg and appreciated the sense of community and down-to-earth atmosphere within the clinic.”   

Larson’s career aspirations include eventually working with rural and underserved populations, and she said the immersion experience was a great learning experience that allowed her to get a sense of how rural community health centers operate. The opportunity also provided her with a chance to observe different health care providers such as social workers, nurse practitioners and addiction treatment specialists.

“I feel like I now have a better understanding of what other professional do on a daily basis, which will be useful in my future career when working within an integrated team and when making referrals,” she said.

Long and Larson are on the doctoral internship program’s Underserved Populations Track. That educational track is designed to train psychologists who are committed to working with some of the most vulnerable in our society, such as people from underserved communities, people at poverty or low-income status and individuals with chronic and serve mental illness.

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

University of Kansas Medical Center
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Mailstop 4015
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-6400
Fax: 913-588-6414