Current Events

Detroit Mercy Counseling and Addiction Studies Faculty

Continuing to Lead the Way

 Detroit Mercy Counseling faculty and students in Nashville

Assistant Professor of Addiction Studies, Varinder Kaur, and graduate Counseling student, Timothy Martin (above left), co-presented The Role of Civil Disobedience in Competencies for Ethics, Multiculturalism and Social Justice at the annual conference of the Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors in Denver, CO in October, 2023.

Assistant Professor Tahani Dari and graduate Counseling students, Christian Green and April Lark (above right), co-presented Synergies of Community-Based Participatory Research Methods:  Scoping Review at the annual meeting of the Association for Assessment and Research conference in Nashville, Tennessee in September 2023.

Assistant Professor of Counseling, Kelli Anderson, Ph.D., presented Participant Selection in Research with Children and Families at the annual meeting of the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling at the annual meeting of the Assessment and Research conference in Nashville, in September 2023.

Assistant Professor of Counseling Tahani Dari, Ph.D,. received the 2023 Humanistic Advocacy & Social Justice Award from the Association for Humanistic Counseling. 

 Counseling Faculty Receive More than $3.7M

in External Grant Awards through 2025

  Detroit Mercy Counseling Program’s CUSP-CAY Fellowship and Workforce Enhancement Project

Graduate students in Detroit Mercy’s Counseling program will continue to focus on addressing the critical mental and behavioral health needs of the most vulnerable young people, thanks to a $862,000 grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).  The two-year grant-funded project designed by and awarded to Nancy Calleja, Professor and Department Chair, provides specialized training to master’s level Counseling students and community-based clinical supervisors with an emphasis on addressing the complex needs of the most vulnerable adolescents and young adults in the region. The project will run from 2023 through 2025.

This newest funding award which began in September, 2023 follows two similar previously highly successful grants awarded to Nancy Calleja, Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) that provided more than $1,600,000 in funding since 2014.  The Working with At Risk Youth (WARY) Fellowship (2014 – 2017) was designed to specifically prepare master’s level counselors to clinically treat the most vulnerable and high-risk adolescents while the Counseling Underserved Populations (CUSP) Fellowship program (2019 – 2022) prepared Master’s level clinicians to provide clinical treatment to the most vulnerable individuals of all ages (i.e., complex needs of co-occurring poverty, mental illness, addiction, public system involvement).

The current project, the CUSP-CAY Fellowship and Workforce Enhancement project continues this important initiative focused on closing the treatment gap—ensuring those in greatest need of mental and behavioral health treatment receive it.  As a result, the project aims to further significantly expand the specialized behavioral health workforce in Detroit and southeastern Michigan specifically treating young people with the most complex mental health needs, with an emphasis on those who are system-involved and in need of face-to-face mental health treatment.  Over the next two years, 40 CUSP-CAY Fellowships will be available to Detroit Mercy Counseling students that will include receipt of specialized additional training and a $15,000 stipend, 40 community-based clinical supervisors and managers will receive enhanced supervisory training, and several new Counseling program-community partnerships will be formed. 

The CUSP-CAY project faculty team also includes Counseling program full and part time faculty members, Kelli Anderson and Daniel Lawrence who will respectively serve as the CUSP CAY Internship Coordinator and Supervisor Trainer and Lead Clinical Trainer.  Full-time Counseling program faculty Tahani Dari and Varinder Kaur will also participate in the project as will part-time faculty members Regina Bell, Krystal Armstrong and Jennifer Korenchuk.

The CUSP-CAY Advisory Board includes leaders from the region’s key community-based organizations, including Black Family Development, Inc., Oakland Family Services, Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services and the Wayne County Department of Juvenile and Youth Services.   

“This most recent funding further cements the Detroit Mercy Counseling program's role as an essential partner in nationwide efforts to effectively prepare highly-skilled behavioral health clinicians to work with those in greatest need, and particularly those whose needs are not being met with the transition to virtual therapy,” said Nancy Calleja, Ph.D., LPC, CUSP-CAY, CUSP and WARY Project Director and Principal Investigator and chair of Detroit Mercy’s Department of Counseling and Addiction Studies. “With an emphasis on individuals in face to face clinical settings in southeastern Michigan, we will continue to close this critical gap while continuing to significantly enhance the region," she added.

As an institution rooted in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions, Detroit Mercy has long focused on serving vulnerable individuals, particularly within Wayne County and the city of Detroit.  With a 100% employment rate among CUSP Fellows within 15 days of graduating from Detroit Mercy’s Counseling program, a Counseling degree from Detroit Mercy provides just the edge needed today to work with those in greatest need. 

Ethel and James Flinn Foundation - Addressing the Complex Needs of Vulnerable Adults through the Delivery of Evidence-Based Treatment and Integrated Health Screening and Care Coordination

Nancy Calleja, Professor and Chair, Department of Counseling and Addiction Studies was awarded $200,000 to develop and implement an integrated health care program for medically-underserved adults.  The two year project addresses substance use, trauma symptoms, and mental health needs and involves screening and treatment delivery and primary health screening and care coordination for older unemployed adults in the city of Detroit.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Preparing Primary Health Professionals to Assess Substance Addiction

Professor and Chair, Department of Counseling and Addiction Studies Nancy Calleja, Ph.D., secured a $200,000 grant from the SAMHSA to provide specialized addiction training to primary health professionals. Calleja (Principal Investigator) leads an inter-disciplinary training team that includes Elvita Kondili, assistant professor of counseling, Constance Burke (physician assistant), and Mary Serowoky (nursing). The two year project (2020-2022) will result in preparing 300 primary health professionals to assess and address substance addiction. This marks the second award by SAMHSA to University of Detroit Mercy and the second led by Calleja, involving an interdisciplinary team and designed to expand the health care workforce to address addiction.

Calleja also received a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grant from SAMHSA  2015 - 2018 and two previous HRSA grants for mental and behavioral health workforce development.  She developed the WARY Fellowship and CUSP Fellowship programs from these awards.  These three previous grants awarded through 2021 totalled more than $2,8000,000 and have also resulted in more than $100,000 in Counseling student Fellowship awards.   

Counseling Students Receive Prestigious External Scholarships 2023-2025

Ali Haidar, 2nd year Clinical Mental Health Counseling student, received the Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship from the scholarship from the American Psychological Association.  Bradley Collins, 1st year, Addiction Counseling student, received a Health Professional Scholarship award from the Veteran's Administration.

Introducing the 2023-2024 Counseling Program Scholarship Recipients

Each year the University of Detroit Mercy Counseling program offers competitive Graduate Research Assistantships to several students. In 2023-2024, more than $35,000 in research scholarships will be provided directly to Counseling students for additional tuition support. These scholarships provide an opportunity for students to work directly with faculty members on a variety of research and grant-funded projects, enhancing their learning experience through the development of a range of research skills and scholarship.

In addition, a competitive scholarship is typically awarded to one student to serve as Administrative Assistant in the Counseling Clinic, in order to learn directly about clinic operations and provide support services to clinic staff and student counselors.

Finally, a need-based scholarship is awarded each year to one student in honor of a Counseling program alumna, the Denise Davenport Memorial Scholarship

2023-24 Graduate Research Assistants

  • Nina Nestorowich, 2nd year (Dari's lab)
  • Katie Augugliaro, 2nd year (Anderson's lab)
  • Michelle Hussey, 1st year (Kaur's lab)
  • April Lark, 2nd year (Dari's lab)
  • Matthew Worpell, 3rd year (Dari's lab)

Counseling Clinic Administrative Support Assistant

  • Jena David, 1st year

Denise Davenport Memorial Scholarship


Addiction Studies Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients

  • TBD