Current Events

Detroit Mercy Counseling Faculty Continuing to Lead the Way

Associate Professor of Counseling Jocelyn Bennett-Garraway, is a team member on a National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant awarded to the College of Engineering and Science in 2020. Led by Shadi Banitaan, associate professor of Computer Science, the $999,976 award will fund scholarships and support services for underrepresented Detroit Mercy students in engineering, computer science and math through 2025. Bennett-Garraway will direct the educational research and group counseling services for program participants.

Assistant Professor of Counseling Elvita Kondili, Ph.D., co-facilitated a talk for professional counselors, counseling faculty, and other behavioral health professionals in summer, 2020. Her timely talk, "Trauma-Informed Counselor Education and Supervision" was virtually packed and resulted in a lively discussion. The talk was sponsored by the Michigan Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors.

Assistant Professor of Counseling Kathleen Palmer, Ph.D., co-presented with counseling student Alex Belanger, at the virtual conference sponsored by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Their talk, "Conceptualizing Mental Health Issues to Mitigate Negative Effects of Stigma on Self-Concept and Self-Esteem," was delivered in April, 2020.

Counseling Program Faculty Receive More than $2.6M
in Federal Grant Awards through 2022

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), Kimberly Moner (nursing) 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.

Health Resources and Services Administration - Counseling Underserved Populations (CUSP Fellowship Project)

Nancy Calleja, professor and chair, Department of Counseling and Addiction Studies, secured a $932,000 grant award from the Health Resources and Services Administration HRSA) as part of the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) for Professionals program. The four year grant program (2017-2021) expands the mental health and substance abuse workforce specifically serving medically underserved populations. The project supports specialized education and training for Detroit Mercy Counseling students to work specifically with underserved populations, with an emphasis on integrated health, trauma, poverty and court-involvement. Counseling students who are CUSP Fellows receive $10,000 in stipends while they complete their clinical internship and commit to dedicating their early careers to treating those in greatest need.

Detroit Mercy's Counseling Underserved Populations (CUSP project) further expands the role of the Counseling program in preparing Master's level clinicians to work with highly specialized populations and was awarded following the Counseling program's highly successful WARY Fellowship program that ended in December 2018. According to CUSP Project Director and Principal Investigator, Calleja, "This most recent funding further cements Detroit Mercy's pivotal role as an essential partner in nation-wide efforts to effectively prepare highly-skilled clinicians to work with those in greatest need." Furthermore, "with Detroit and southeastern Michigan as a central focus for treatment delivery, the positive regional impact will only continue to grow."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Grant - Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Nancy Calleja was also the Principal Investigator on a $780,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of the federal Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Coordination of Treatment (SBIRT) initiative. The project provided advanced training to more than 1,000 Detroit Mercy primary and mental health professionals, including dentists, physicians' assistants, nurses, psychologists, and counselors from 2015-2018. Calleja led an inter-disciplinary team of faculty and administrators across the University in this highly successful project that also included Detroit Mercy's Counseling, Dental, McAuley Health, and Psychology Clinics. According to Calleja, "because these four clinics collectively serve more than 22,000 community members annually, most through providing no or low cost services, the impact of the project on the region cannot be underestimated."

Introducing the 2020-2021 Counseling Program Scholarship Recipients

Each year the University of Detroit Mercy Counseling program offers competitive Graduate Research Assistantships to several students. In 2020-2021, more than $25,000 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

2020-21 Graduate Research Assistants

  • May Sabah, 1st year (Kondili's lab)
  • Olivia Maleckas, 1st year (Kondili's lab)
  • Zachary Osbourne, 1st year (Bennett-Garraway's lab)
  • Manar Aboul-Nour, 1st year (Bennett-Garraway's lab)
  • Vanessa Burrows, 2nd year (Palmer's lab)

Counseling Clinic Administrative Support Assistant

  • Not provided in 2020-21 during the Clinic's temporary conversion to telehealth.

Denise Davenport Memorial Scholarship

  • Kimberly Sorrell-Hall
  • Cham Smadi
  • AlexSaundra Clark
  • Mona Baydoun

Addiction Studies Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients

  • Precious Pollard, Senior
  • Mikala Redgate, Senior