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Announcing the establishment of the Clinical Psychology Diversity Committee, PhD Program in Clinical Psychology, Hofstra University
This committee was established during the fall 2018 to facilitate the development and implementation of an overarching and strategic approach to incorporating issues of diversity and addressing the needs of diverse students (broadly defined) throughout our training program. It is led by a faculty sponsor (Dr. Erin Reilly) and comprised of graduate students who volunteered to participate on the committee. To date, the committee has updated the program website with information about how issues of diversity are woven throughout our graduate training program and have conducted a campus diversity climate survey to identify areas for growth and improvement. Going forward, the committee will organize events and programs for students and faculty concerning the intersection of diversity and clinical practice.
Diverse and critical perspectives form the bedrock of academic institutions. Since its founding, Hofstra University has had a long-standing commitment to equality, inclusion, and respect for cultural diversity. The University is devoted to cultivating multicultural understanding and tolerance within and beyond the classroom.
As an institution, Hofstra University commits to equal opportunity admission and employment to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, marital or veteran status. The University maintains its commitment to equal opportunity in the conduct and operation of all educational programs and activities. (Learn more about diversity at Hofstra University.)
As a PhD program in clinical psychology, diversity is integral to our academic program and valued among faculty, staff, and students. Awareness, understanding, and respect for cultural diversity is reflected in every stage of training, from academic coursework to clinical and research training.
The program’s commitment to integrating diversity in clinical training starts in the first-year course sequence. Students learn about the historical foundations of clinical psychology, and how the perspectives of many people across time and geography contributed to contemporary practice (PSY 209 – History, Basic Concepts, and Classical Issues in Psychology). In ethics sequence (PSY 274 – Ethics and Professional Practices in Psychology), students learn about the APA ethics code as it relates to clinical, research, and professional practices, including the importance of an ongoing commitment to seeking training, supervision, and consultation to understand factors associated with a wide range of diverse experiences and characteristics with which patients may identify or have experience. In Clinical Interviewing, experiential and reflective learning exercises help students hone their core therapy skills while remaining mindful of the necessary adaptations that need to be made for whomever is in front of them (PSY 227 – Interviewing and Counseling). In the second year, cross-cultural diversity (PSY 275 – Cross-Cultural and Diversity Issues in Professional Psychology) provides students with the opportunity to understand not only how their own cultural background influences their therapeutic style, but also the chance to get more familiar with practices and traditions from other cultures. Throughout the rest of the program, externship seminar (PSY 371-374 – Externship in Clinical Psychology) gives students the space to share their experiences working with diverse patient populations, as well as brainstorm ideas to overcome obstacles to treatment.
In addition to training within a culturally sensitive framework, we believe that our program is best served when our faculty, staff, and students reflect and celebrate the diversity of society at large. We are fully committed to training students from underrepresented minority groups to address the inadequate representation of these groups among clinical psychologists. Thus, our program provides one annually awarded “Diversity Scholarship in Clinical Psychology” that covers tuition for all courses taken in the program through graduation.
Our students are afforded the opportunity to begin their clinical training at the Joan and Arnold Saltzman Community Services Center located on campus. The Saltzman Center serves children, adolescents, and adults from the surrounding communities in Nassau County, NY. The Saltzman Center is committed to serving the community, and therefore partners with local community organizations and provides low-cost mental health services. Thus, the population of individuals seeking assessment and psychotherapy at the Saltzman Center reflects the socio-demographic diversity of Hempstead and greater Nassau County, NY. During clinical training at the Saltzman Center, students are taught how to apply evidence-based treatment to diverse populations.
With their training at the Saltzman Center as the foundation, our clinical PhD students are successful in securing highly regarded externship placements throughout the New York metropolitan area. Students often elect to train at community mental health programs, hospitals, and academic medical centers that treat underserved and diverse populations. Students gain additional experience providing culturally responsive, evidence-based assessment and treatment under the supervision of licensed psychologists while on externship and internship. Our students frequently pursue training and career opportunities with organizations committed to culturally sensitive research and clinical work.