The Pandemic Health Disparities Fund, a $1 million fund primarily supporting students of color disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, closed after granting approximately $500,000 to students across the IU system. The remaining funds were distributed via a grant to improve mental health resources on IU campuses with the goal to:
- Protect the health and safety of all students served by the university.
- Support current pandemic-response efforts and broaden available support mechanisms for Black and Hispanic/Latina(o) students.
- Provide additional channels for students to pursue positive practices in mental and physical health.
Lemuel Watson, associate vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs, said, “Different campuses have different initiatives. Whether it was to start new initiatives or hire new staff members, it was very exciting to look at their campuses and see how they stayed true to their IU campus and the population it serves.”
Denise Hayes, director of counseling and psychological services at IUB, submitted one such proposal. Hayes is a licensed psychologist who possesses nearly 30 years of experience in university mental health and states that her experience in mental health comes from the passion she has for the field.
Hayes first became aware of the grant after Dave O’Guinn, vice provost for student affairs and dean of students, sent her the grant link. Hayes was already on the committee for the Pandemic Health Disparities Fund and was familiar with the work of the PHDF. With this funding, Hayes hopes to hire a post-doctoral student to work at CAPS.
“What we need at CAPS is someone on staff who reflects the diversity of students,” Hayes said.
By hiring a post-doc student who reflects IU’s diverse student population, Hayes hopes to inspire other diverse individuals to join the IU family.
“Even if they’re only here for a year,” Hayes said. “They bring the benefit of whatever knowledge they have to our university, students, and community.”
The applicant would be an accredited post-doc who studied clinical/counseling psychology, and working with CAPS would count towards the hours needed for their licensing. Additionally, Hayes plans to connect the applicant with an IU department or institution that fits their interests, such as sports psychology or the Kinsey Institute.
Hayes hopes to have the position filled by August 1st.