News Release

Hines and Ihara receive funding for education and training program

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Denise Hines, Associate Professor, Social Work, and Emily Ihara, Associate Professor and Chair, Social Work, received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Mason’s Master of Social Work (MSW) Program Behavioral Workforce Education and Training Program: Mason Community-Academic Partnerships in Behavioral Health. 

The purpose of this grant is to increase the number and quality of MSW professionals with specialized behavioral health training to address the complex issues that arise from untreated trauma and behavioral health issues.  

The proposed project goals are to: (1) Establish relationships with community-based partners to increase access to quality behavioral health services in high-need and high-demand areas for populations across the lifespan, with a special focus on children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth; (2) Promote collaborative training by utilizing team-based models of care in integrated, interdisciplinary behavioral and primary care settings, and (3) Recruit a workforce that reflects participation in the institutions' programs of individuals and groups from different racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic, and class backgrounds and different genders and sexual orientations interested in serving high-need and high-demand areas.  

The project's objectives are to: (1) Increase the number of experiential training sites; (2) Enhance didactic and experiential training activities through the development of competencies in primary and behavioral integrated, interprofessional team-based trauma-informed care; (3) Establish community partnerships to ensure participation in the institutions' programs of individuals from different racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic, and class backgrounds, and different genders and sexual orientations; (4) Promote technology integration in the provision of services and training programs, and (5) Reduce financial barriers by providing financial support to trainees.  

The program will provide a multi-layered approach to understanding the root causes and consequences of unmet behavioral health needs, the importance of integrated care, and advanced tools for treating trauma and violence exposure. Scholars will be trained through didactic and experiential learning, two additional required courses that provide them with the theoretical understanding of violence prevention and trauma and recovery, and hands-on application of advanced skills through virtual reality/simulation, telehealth, telementoring, role-playing, and case-based discussion. 

The researchers received $480,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for this project and will receive $1.92 million over four years. Funding began in July 2021 and will end in late June 2025. 


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at


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