Mental Health Services in Medically Underserved L.A. Communities Gets Big Boost With $7.2 Million OSHPD Grant to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

$5.5 million to support Psychiatric residency programs; $1.7 million for Public Mental Health Nurse Practitioners;


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (September 21, 2020) – Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) received $7.2 million in funding from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), as part of an effort to help further build the pipeline of public mental health professionals throughout the state.

CDU’s College of Medicine will receive $5,491,295 to create new Psychiatry residency positions, while the University’s Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing will receive $1,690,500 to fund additional Public Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner slots.

“This provides an extraordinary boost to all of us throughout the state who are working to bring more mental health services to chronically under-resourced areas, such as South LA, where CDU is located,” said CDU President and CEO Dr. David M. Carlisle, a former director of OSHPD. “Our Psychiatric residency program has put 18 new physicians into South LA over the last three years. With this new funding, we can add even more Psychiatrists and Public Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners to these communities.”

The grants are being funded through the Workforce Education and Training program as part of the Mental Health Services Act, which is intended to address the shortage of mental health practitioners in the public mental health system. Collectively the grantees will add 36 Psychiatry Residency slots and fund 336 Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner slots. The funding will also help launch a new Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship program.

As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, the uncertainty and fear related to the pandemic has brought about uneasy feelings that can further exacerbate mental health issues while creating additional barriers in accessing supports and services,” said Acting OSHPD Director Marko Mijic. “We must double down on our efforts to build our public mental health system in order to expand access to quality services to all Californians.”

“We are extremely grateful to (OSHPD) for this funding,” said Deborah Prothrow-Stith, MD, Dean of the College of Medicine at CDU. ”Psychiatric and mental health services are some of the most needed yet most difficult to access health care services in under-resourced communities. So, this award will help us put more psychiatrists directly into medically underserved areas where these services are in high demand.”

“This grant will help us continue to recruit and train Public Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, most of who we draw from communities of color and who are also underrepresented in the health professions,” said Diane Breckenridge, PhD, MSN, RN, ANEF, Dean of the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. “This will also help us create the diverse health workforce our population needs to address a critical shortage of mental health practitioners in under-resourced communities. Thank you to OSHPD for supporting our mission.”

In addition to an overall shortage, the public mental health system lacks a workforce that reflects the State’s cultural and linguistic diversity. This includes individuals with lived experience to provide consumer- and family-driven services that promote wellness, recovery, and resilience. These funds will help build new and existing training programs in order to help not only mitigate the shortage of providers but ensure that the providers reflect the communities they serve.

The full list of awardees receiving funding:

Program Name

Grant Amount

United Advocates for Children and Families Psychiatry: Real Life


Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Psychiatry Residency Program


Butte County Psychiatric Residency Program


CSU San Marcos School of Nursing PMHNP


Western University of Health Sciences PMHNP

$   955,466

University of San Diego PMHNP Program


Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science PMHNP



 TOTAL $17,322,115

For more information, visit, and follow CDU on FacebookTwitter (@cdrewu), and Instagram (@charlesrdrewu).


ABOUT CHARLES R. DREW UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND SCIENCE CDU is a private, non-profit student centered minority-serving medical and health sciences University that is committed to cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations through outstanding education, research, clinical service, and community engagement. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated, since its inception, more than 600 physicians, 1,225 physician assistants and over a thousand other health professionals, as well as training over 2,700 physician specialists through its sponsored residency programs. Its School of Nursing has graduated over 1,300 nursing professionals, including over 950 family nurse practitioners. CDU is a leader in health disparities research with a focus on education, training, treatment and care in cancer, diabetes, cardiometabolic and HIV/AIDS.

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