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About the Fellowship

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Fellowship Program

The MHSAFP is targeted to but not limited to racial/ethnic minority individuals pursuing a doctoral degree in social work who hold a social work master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program and are preparing to provide leadership in practice, research, teaching, and policy promulgation in government and private organizations serving underrepresented and underserved persons with or at risk for mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. The purpose of the program is to reduce health disparities and improve health care outcomes of racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the number of culturally competent behavioral health professionals available to underserved populations in the public and private nonprofit sectors.

Funds for the MHSAFP are provided by Center for Mental Health Services, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be American citizens, noncitizen nationals, or have permanent residence status (international students and work visa holders are not eligible to apply)
  • The fellowship is targeted to but not limited to minority ethnic/racial groups
  • Must have a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program and be starting full-time study leading to a doctoral degree in social work or be currently enrolled as a full-time student in a doctoral social work program
  • Demonstrate potential for assuming a leadership role providing mental health and substance abuse services to ethnic/racial minority individuals and communities, and potential for success in doctoral studies
  • Cannot receive another source of federal funding during the fellowship year (federal loans excluded).

Key Selection Criteria

  • Evidence of strong fit with and commitment to behavioral health services for underserved racial/ethnic populations
  • Life experiences relevant to and/or volunteer or work experience  with racial/ethnic populations
  • High quality scholarly writing showing ability to think and write at the doctoral level
  • Academic evidence of ability to achieve timely degree completion
  • Behavioral health services or research agenda fit with MFP mission


  • Monthly stipends for a 1-year period to defray living expenses; some tuition support may be provided depending on the availability of funds
  • Duration of award is 3 years, awarded one year at a time and contingent on funding and whether the fellow maintains satisfactory progress toward degree objectives