Following on from our article on the school telehealth scheme in Michigan (Smaller scale telehealth and telecare sucesses, TTA Jan 4), we report now how a remote counselling clinic started by Texas A&M to provide psychological counselling to rural population has expanded. The Telehealth Counselling Clinic in Centerville, Leon County, was started from a grant in 2007 to the Center of Community Health Development (Texas A&M) and Leon County, and provides counselling using Texas A&M faculty and graduate students in the counselling psychology program, supervised by licensed psychologists.
The service has now been expanded to Madison and Washington counties based on the success seen in Leon County. Two more sites are planned for opening in 2014. On the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development website, the director of the clinic Dr Tim Elliot says the growth is attributable to the partnerships in place and being able to take advantage of funding that accommodated new ways to provide care to underserved individuals in the communities.
In addition to providing a service to the community, the experience the students gain working for the centre is helping them to find good placements as well as spreading the ideas of telehealth. Examples are given of one former student who worked for Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, providing post-traumatic stress syndrome treatment for soldiers via videoconferencing all over the continent and another who now works as a “telehealth psychologist” for the Dallas VA, providing services exclusively via videoconferencing.
[Editor Donna: Go Aggies! (‘Aggies’ is the fond moniker for all Texas A&M teams, harkening back to their long-ago roots as an ‘agricultural school’]