Clark Atlanta University awarded four-year $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Clinical Mental Health Program


Atlanta, GA (June 29,2021) – Clark Atlanta University School of Education, associate professor Dr. Ken Shell and Whitney M. Young, Jr., School of Social Work associate professor, Dr. Kenya Jones have been awarded a HRSA grant in the amount $1.8 million over 4-years beginning July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2025. 


The title of the Project Counselor Education and Social Work Inter-professional Collaboration and Education at Clark Atlanta University will provide training in behavioral health and education to master level Counseling and Social Work students. The grant will also provide stipends to the students that are selected to participate in the program.  Dr. Shell will serve as principal investigator and Dr. Jones will serve as principal and co-principal investigators. 


The grant will be used to pay a stipend for 28 students in their clinical year of studies working toward a Master of Social Work or a Licensed Professional Counselor.

 “For many black folks entering mental health, the full-time unpaid internship is a barrier,” Shell said.

In the past Shell has had students who’ve worked full-time while they complete their internship.

“I really wanted to find money so they didn’t have to do it the way I had to do it,” Shell said.


Jones said they are working on putting together a multi-disciplinary list of students to participate this year. “We want to take a holistic approach,” Jones said. “Our goal is to add to and enhance the programs we already have.”


Professors Shell and Jones are excited for the recognition the BHWET grant will bring to their respective schools. CAU can also use the grant as a recruiting tool in the future because at most universities graduate internships are unpaid.

“We’re trying to get more black practitioners in mental health,” Shell said.

In addition to the relationships CAU already has with mental health facilities, the HRSA also provided the university with a list of high-needs mental health facilities in metro Atlanta.

“With this grant, we will be providing training to 28 students in the first year, but those students can spread the information further and touch more people when they move on in their career,” Jones said.

Students in their clinical year are close to graduation. Jones and Shell said they hope the BHWET program will set them up well for their job search.

While Jones and Shell spearheaded the application, both emphasized that it was a collaborative process. They worked with their deans in the School of Education and Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work and the

About Clark Atlanta University

Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869).  Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African-American tradition and focused on the future.  Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement.  CAU cultivates lifted lives that transforms the world.  Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing "The Black National Anthem"; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit For more information, please contact Jolene Butts Freeman at (404) 880-8000 or