Initiatives & Programs

El Paso Psychology Internship Consortium (EPPIC)

The U.S.-Mexico border region is dramatically underserved in the area of mental health, especially by doctoral-level care providers. A team of psychologists from UTEP and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center developed a doctoral internship that will help meet the need for mental health providers. Initial funding for the program is provided by Paso del Norte Health Foundation and The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. The program recruits nationally and trains a growing number of interns annually as generalists in professional psychology, with special emphases on multicultural and bilingual training. Training includes individually supervised practice opportunities at each clinical training site, as well as joint case conferences and didactic training hosted by the UTEP Psychology Department. Graduates of the program can be recruited by area employers. Such a program provides a solid training opportunity for psychologists interested in Latino mental health and permits El Paso natives to return home to complete their training in professional psychology and begin their careers in practice.

  • Though El Paso is among the most populous cities in Texas, at the time the internship was initiated, El Paso had only 38 Texas-licensed psychologists, compared to 489 in Austin, 400 in Dallas, 584 in Houston, and 297 in San Antonio. Thus, based on population statistics from the 2010 U.S. census, El Paso had 17,082 residents per licensed psychologist, compared to 1,616 in Austin, 2,995 in Dallas, 3,595 in Houston, and 4,469 in San Antonio.
  • El Paso County is designated as a Health Professions Shortage Area in the domain of mental health by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. This shortage is particularly significant when it comes to doctorally-prepared psychological service providers.
  • Psychologists often stay in the area where they complete their internship or postdoctoral training, if jobs are available there.
  • Until EPPIC was accredited, the closest APA-accredited site was in Albuquerque, 4 hours away, and the closest Texas site was in Lubbock, 7 hours away.
  • The major employers in El Paso, experience great difficulty recruiting licensed clinical psychologists leaving numerous positions unfilled.

EPPIC was recently accredited by the American Psychological Association, making its graduates eligible for virtually any clinical employment setting, including employment by the United States Department of Defense and Veterans Administration (VA). For more information contact the Foundation Program Lead Enrique Mata at emata@pdnhf.org or Dr. John Wiebe, University of Texas at El Paso Associate Provost at jwiebe@utep.edu .


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