University of Pikeville

School of Social Work
Genesia Kilgore-Bowling
Chair, School of Social Work
MSW Program Director
(606) 218-5011


In June 2021, the University of Pikeville was awarded the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant (BHWET) through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. This grant will provide a $10,000 stipend and additional perks for up to 20 students per academic year, who are in their final year of the MSW Program, and who are also interested in behavioral health social work practice. 

Stipends are subsistence allowances for students/interns to help defray living expenses during the training experience during the final 30 hours of the MSW program. The stipends are not provided as a condition of employment, or for tuition, fees, health insurance, or other costs associated with the MSW program. No more than one year or 12 consecutive months of stipend support is allowed per full-time student and cannot be combined with any other federal student aid except for federal loans and Veterans Administration benefits. Further, the prospective recipient must certify through execution of a commitment letter that they are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in this transaction by any federal department or agency.

Every county in the University of Pikeville’s Central Appalachian BHWET service area (eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, and southern West Virginia) has been designated as a mental health care health professional shortage area by HRSA. It was that need that prompted UPIKE to initiate a Master of Social Work (MSW) program, which has a specialization in mental health and addictions, in Fall 2020.

The stipend program is an initiative of the federal government through HRSA to expand the number of behavioral health professionals trained to transform integrated behavioral health and primary care teams as well as to effectively prevent and treat mental health in community-based practices across our country. Additional goals of this program are to increase telehealth services as well as increase access to behavioral healthcare in youth. The University of Pikeville MSW program was selected as a recipient of this prestigious grant to assist in the initiative by preparing social work students for this practice across the Central Appalachian region.

Stipends for the BHWET Scholars Program are currently limited to MSW students. Students must be in good academic standing and students must be eligible to work in the United States. Federal guidelines dictate that a student/trainee receiving support from grant funds must be a citizen of the United States or a foreign national having in his/her possession a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States.

If a student is selected for the BHWET scholars program, funds will be issued during the final 30 hours of the MSW program. This grant is for those interested in integrated behavioral healthcare, Telehealth, and expanding services to youth.

Please review the application carefully and apply only if your educational and career interests are aligned with the nature of the HRSA BHWET Stipend Program. Please note there are conditions associated with the award such as selecting course electives that focus on telehealth, youth, and integrated care, participating in interprofessional education events and other professional development training, participating in mock placement/job interviews and job fairs, and completing professional development modules in Canvas.

The HRSA MSW-BHWET Scholars are selected through an application and interview process. In addition to the application for the MSW program, students are required to submit an additional application and two-page essay outlining their interest in becoming a behavioral health professional working with vulnerable and underserved populations. The applications will be reviewed by the HRSA MSW-BHWET Scholar Selection Committee composed of MSW faculty and community partners. Students who show promise and passion will be invited via email to an interview utilizing video conferencing with the committee. If selected, students will be notified via email. Students who are offered and accept a position as a HRSA MSW-BHWET scholar must sign a commitment letter agreeing to the conditions of the award.

The Principle Investigator for the grant is Mr. Buford Edward, the Field Coordinator for the MSW program.  You can contact him at or 606-218-5023.

Application Information

When students are enrolled into the MSW program, their information is forwarded to the BHWET Principle Investigator who will send an invitation to students to apply for the stipend When they are eligible. Invitations are sent to the student’s official UPIKE email address.

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,118,580.00 with no percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.

The University of Pikeville does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age or disabilities in its programs, activities, hiring or the admission of students.

The University of Pikeville School of Social Work is committed to non-discrimination and providing equal education opportunities without regard to race, ethnicity, nationality, age, class, color, disability, gender, marital status, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. The School does not discriminate based on any of the aforementioned characteristics in policies related to admission and all related academic endeavors.

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