AUSTIN, Texas – The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has awarded 14 graduate social work students across Texas who have demonstrated a strong commitment to providing mental health services after graduation with scholarships of $5,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year.

A recent policy brief published by the Hogg Foundation summarizes the current state of Texas’s mental health workforce. As of last year, 185 Texas counties out of 254 did not have a single psychiatrist, which left more than 3 million Texans without access to a psychiatrist. Worse, 40 counties didn’t even have a licensed clinical social worker.

The Ima Hogg Scholarships, established in 1956, are one of the ways that the foundation works to create positive impact on mental health services in Texas. Nominated by the heads of their social work programs, these fourteen graduate students were chosen for their potential to bring renewed energy to the Texas mental health workforce.

“Addressing the mental health workforce shortage must be a priority for Texas,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr. executive director of the Hogg Foundation and associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “We think it is fitting that these scholarships, one of the foundation’s oldest programs, addresses this long-standing need.”

Recipients are selected on the basis of academic achievement and their commitment to providing mental health services after graduation. Applicants must attend an accredited graduate social work program in Texas and be nominated by the head of their program.

The 2016 recipients are:

• Nikki Barnett, Texas A&M Commerce
• Matt Beene, Texas Christian University
• Karla Betancourt, University of Texas at El Paso
• Halley Cortez, Our Lady of the Lake University
• Margie Ehlers, Baylor University
• Annjanette Gonzales, University of Texas at Pan American
• Enedelia Jessup, Abilene Christian University
• Rebecca Liles, University of Texas at Arlington
• Erin Osborne, West Texas A&M University
• Marissa Lares, University of Texas at San Antonio
• Sarah Tadlock, University of Houston
• Patrick Thomas, Stephen F. Austin State University
• Lindsay Walsh, University of Texas at Austin
• Rana Zeidan, Texas State University

The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.