Rural and Greater Minnesota Division Update - April 30, 2017

The mission of the Rural and Greater Minnesota Division of the Minnesota Psychological Association is to enhance rural practice through advocacy, representation, and education. Rural psychological practice is highly rewarding as practitioners have a significant impact on their own communities and the state. Psychologists working in small communities are part of the first responders for critical incidents, emergencies, and the emotional well-being of rural residents. Rural psychologists often observe the direct impact of behavioral health services on their communities, while helping to maintain a productive rural workforce. It is this workforce that provides the agricultural and manufacturing resources that support larger cities in the state and nationally.

Recent Rural & Greater Minnesota Division activities include the on-going planning of the Rural Behavioral Health Conference by Coordinator Dr. Kay Slama, and co-chairs Dr. Scott Palmer and Dr. Willie Garrett. The conference is web-based and offers all practitioners rural-specific training. The conference is inexpensive and high value, with national speakers, for up to 7.5 CEs. Past training topics have included integrated behavioral healthcare ethics, substance abuse, GLBT, diversity and cultural minorities, suicide interventions, the Affordable Care Act, school based interventions, and military deployment and reintegration. Rural students and educators also present poster session research. Attendees cross seven time zones and offer diverse perspectives on rural practice. The next Rural Behavioral Health Conference is October 6, 2017.   

Rural Psychologists and Dr. Willie Garrett participated in Mental Health Day on the Hill on March 16, 2017 in St. Paul, with a contingent of MPA Governing Council representatives and   psychologists. Arranged legislator meetings addressing practice issues were advocated in informal sessions.

At the 2017 MPA annual conference on April 7th, the Rural and Greater Minnesota Division had a division meeting and open house. Dr. Kay Slama and Dr. Willie Garrett met with psychologists interested in the division and rural practice.

Dr. Kay Slama, with the assistance of Dr. Willie Garrett, presented “What Urban Providers need to know about rural practice, and why,” at the MPA annual conference on April 7th, and focused on how technology, specialized services, and new policies are narrowing the distance between rural clients and urban psychologists. This was a presentation on cultural-competence for urban psychologists with rural clients. 

Willie Garrett, M.S., LP, Ed.D., is a licensed psychologist with over 35 years of practice in both rural and urban settings.  He is a generalist psychologist who has expanded his practice from child-adolescent to include adults and elder clients.  In addition, he is a consultant and Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP) specializing in safety, crisis, and workplace performance issues.  He has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Minnesota State – Mankato (1990) and an Ed.D. in Organization Development from the University of Minnesota (2002).

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