CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An innovative pilot practicum with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Behavioral Health (BBH) is introducing college students to the public behavioral health field and providing an opportunity to respond to the demand for future behavioral health practitioners.

Charleston, WV- The BBH Pilot Practicum launched this summer and offered two placements for undergraduate students pursuing studies in a public health-related field. The students met with a wide range of West Virginia’s key behavioral health professionals, attended meetings and conducted literature reviews on stakeholder feedback, health equity, compassion fatigue, and behavioral health workforce shortages in the wake of COVID-19 and the evolving opioid epidemic.

The practicum participants will share their experiences during a virtual session featuring the BBH Pilot Practicum at the 2022 WV Rural Health Conference, to be held October 19-21, 2022, at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg. Rebecca Roth, director of the practicum and Director of BBH’s Policy, Planning, and Research division, will speak about the behavioral health workforce as part of a conference panel.

“Building the behavioral health workforce is a critical priority for West Virginia,” said Christina Mullins, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health. “Our workforce is being called upon to meet needs that have never been more pressing and challenging, particularly when it comes to public health. We hope this practicum will become a permanent opportunity for students and provide a roadmap for other states to follow.”

To learn about job opportunities available with DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health and other DHHR bureaus and offices, please contact