OLLU student awarded Hogg Foundation Scholarship

Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012

OLLU graduate student Yesenia Almeda has been awarded a scholarship by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to support bilingual mental health services in Texas. Almeda is a student in OLLU’s Worden School of Social Service.

Now in its fourth year, the bilingual scholarship program has awarded a total of 109 scholarships since fall 2008 to increase cultural and linguistic diversity in the Texas mental health workforce.

Scholarship recipients receive full tuition and fees. Recipients must be fluent in English and a second language chosen by their graduate program, typically Spanish. They also must commit to working in Texas after graduation providing mental health services for a period equal to the timeframe of the scholarship. Scholarships are available at all 12 Texas graduate schools of social work that are accredited or pending accreditation by the national Council on Social Work Education.

“I strongly believe there is a need for more Spanish-speaking professionals, especially in the mental health field, because there are many stigmas that Spanish-speaking communities place on mental illness,” Almeda said. “I would like to be an empowering Spanish-speaking, Mexican-American woman to the many people who seek acceptance and assurance of their situation.”

Past experiences with Spanish-speaking populations in her life and academic career have taught Almeda that there is a noticeable disparity between consumers and health care providers within Spanish-speaking communities.

“The Hogg Scholarship program recognizes the need for social work professionals who are competent in multicultural environments, something the Worden School of Social Service emphasizes,” said Dr. William Rainford, director of the Worden School of Social Service. “OLLU students have received this scholarship each year since its inception, and we are proud to be contributing to the cultural diversity of the Texas mental health workforce.”

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 Governor James S. Hogg, and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.