Letter from the Department Chair

"Mental illness touches everyone. We must improve access to care and treatments, and we need to put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns… Too many Americans are suffering, and far too many are not receiving the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives."

- Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America

The Department of Counseling and Behavioral Health at Jefferson- and more specifically our expert faculty, our growing alumni base, and the nearly 150 pre- and post-professionals in our training programs- have never before been more critically relevant.  The United States is facing a mental health crisis and the existing workforce is largely unprepared to serve the often complex needs of individuals, families and communities impacted by poverty, trauma, stress, racial and cultural oppression, separation, loss, and addiction. Jefferson’s Department of Counseling and Behavioral Health is committed to providing relevant, cutting-edge training that prepares graduates to be excellent clinicians, advocates and trainers. Students emerge with a strong social justice lens, with a deep sense of cultural humility and racial literacy, with the skills and knowledge to serve our most vulnerable citizens, and with an excellent foundation to pursue doctoral training and advanced research competencies.  As the first Chair of Counseling and Behavioral Health, it is my pleasure to welcome you to and orient you within our newly established Department.

Upon the merger of Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University, the Counseling and Behavioral Health Department was formed to increase collaboration among behavioral health programs across the East Falls (Philadelphia), Center City (Philadelphia), and Camden County (New Jersey) campuses and to establish Jefferson as an important presence for behavioral health training, education, and community impact across the Greater Philadelphia Region.

Our faculty are exceptional. Their commitment to the quality of the educational experience for our diverse student body is truly unique. They are expert clinicians and researchers and they are actively learning about and engaging within the community. One example among many is Dr. Sara Corse, who taught recently in Ladakh, India to support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and growth while preserving the cultural heritage of Ladakh and the Himalayan region. Another is Dr.Angelle Richardson, a clinical expert in grief and traumatic loss, who spends two days per week embedded in a Philadelphia public high school where she provides direct counseling services to students and supervises Community and Trauma Counseling MS students on site. Drs. Nicole Johnson and Yoon Suh Moh are also consulting with a local public elementary school to design outdoor space dedicated to healing and to grow the school’s capacity to serve the needs of trauma-impacted students. Our faculty are also strong advocates for their respective professions and nationally recognized for their contributions. In fact, CFT Associate Director, Dr. George James, received the 2019 American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Media Excellence Award at the national conference in Austin Texas and frequently appears on the Today Show and local news outlets. Additionally, our faculty are contributing meaningfully through publications and national presentations. In fact, Drs. Rita DeMaria and Rachel Brandoff have both published workbooks this year that provide helpful clinical strategies. Our faculty are continuously finding ways to make a difference,

Our students are exceptional. They are diverse in age, experience, race, culture, orientation, goals and interests and they are committed to contributing to safe, inclusive learning environments. They are not only learning requisite information in the classroom, but they are applying that knowledge and marrying it with clinical skill through various required field placement experiences. Over 100 Jefferson CBH students accrue between 100 and 700 hours annually (contingent on program and status) in various community and private practice settings across the region. I am continuously impressed by the positive feedback we receive from site supervisors across the region about our Jefferson students’ unparalleled knowledge, professionalism, and clinical skill.

I am excited to welcome you into Jefferson’s growing CBH community. We have the privilege of guiding and witnessing incredible growth among our students and further watching the powerful, positive impact they have on others. When you join our department, I look forward to witnessing your transformation as a clinician and change agent equipped to serve, lead, and heal. Behavioral health professions require strong, knowledgeable and skilled leaders. Choose us as partners in your journey!

Best,

Jeanne M. Felter, PhD, LPC
Department Chair and Associate Professor