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East Texas Baptist University receives additional ETMC grant

September 17, 2021

The East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) Foundation recently awarded East Texas Baptist University a $100,000 grant to help meet the growing need for mental health care in Smith County and greater East Texas region. ETBU opened the Community Counseling Center in 2020 at the ETBU-Tyler site located at 1301 S. Broadway in Tyler and launched a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in January of 2021. Both the counseling center and classes for the MA program are designed with flexibility and working professionals in mind, and features evening and online courses. This is the second year in a row that the ETMC Foundation has provided support to ETBU’s Community Counseling Center and Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

“The ETMC Foundation’s support last year was critical in helping us launch the ETBU-Tyler site, and we are grateful for the additional support that demonstrates their belief in our work to help meet the mental health needs of the people of Smith County,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “Both the Community Counseling Center and the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program are off to a great start at our ETBU-Tyler location. Our counselors are helping clients, and students are making progress toward becoming Licensed Professional Counselors. We are extremely grateful for the East Texas Medical Center Foundation and their partnership over the last two years.”

The University’s two-pronged approach enables ETBU to address current needs for mental healthcare while providing for the growing demand for additional qualified and trained Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in the mental health field. Enrollment for the University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program has grown 191% since its inception in 2012, with a 60% growth rate just over the last three years.

“Our program is unique because we provide the combination of providing professional counseling skills education and helping our counselor trainees understand how to integrate their faith in the counseling process to provide for the client’s needs in a more holistic approach,” Director of ETBU’s Counseling Care Center Terrie Howe said. “So far, we have had the opportunity to meet with clients for individual counseling sessions and attend events that other organizations have hosted to provide mental health resources to the Tyler area. These counseling sessions have already helped people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford counseling.”

All clinical hours required by the program can be completed through the onsite clinic in Tyler. These skilled mental health care professionals are trained to comprehensively understand counseling practice management and emerging counseling treatment and methodology trends. The program, designed with academic rigor and holistic attention to the intellectual, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical development of the person, produces graduates who are educated, equipped, and empowered to provide professional counseling services in a variety of settings.

“Mental well-being is important for all East Texans,” Executive Director of the ETMC Foundation Dawn Franks said. “By training additional counselors, the ETBU Clinical Counseling program is increasing access to needed services throughout our region. The ETMC Foundation is pleased to support this expansion as East Texas continues to grow.”

The ETMC Foundation is a private foundation created by the sale of the East Texas Medical Regional Healthcare system to Ardent Health Services in 2018.Read more about East Texas Baptist University’s partnership with ETMC here.